FACULTY SENATE MEETING
Minutes, September 9, 2010
Members: R. Berls, R. Bowen, G. Ettari, V. Frank, E. Gant, G. Kormanik, B. Larson, T. Meigs,
S. Mills, K. Moorhead, L. Nelms, K. Reynolds, L. Russell, B. Schaffer, S. Subramaniam,
M. Sidelnick; J. Fernandes.
Excused: G. Boudreaux, G. Nallan.
Visitors: G. Ashburn, L. Friedenberg, C. Galatioto, E. Katz, J. Konz, K. Krumpe, L. Langrall,
M.L. Manns, P. McClellan, R. Pente, A. Shope.
I. Call to Order and Announcements
Dr. Frank called the meeting to order 3:16pm and welcomed new Senators and guests.
The agenda was modified.
II. Approval of minutes
The minutes of May 6, 2010 (3:15pm and 4:30pm) were approved with editorial corrections.
III. Executive Committee Report
Dr. Volker Frank reported for the Executive Committee.
Standing Rules and Rules of Order
Dr. Frank said the Senate is required to adopt Standing Rules and Rules of Order at its first meeting for the purpose of conducting its business. (The requirement is in the Constitution under Section 5. Such rules shall be in accordance with the Constitution.) The Standing Rules and Rules of Order passed without dissent and became SD0210F. See SRRO at: http://www3.unca.edu/facultysenate/2010-11/Standing%20Rules%20and%20Rules%20of%20Order201011.htm
Letter from Chancellor Ponder
Dr. Frank read an open letter from Chancellor Ponder.
Because of my obligation as Chancellor to attend the UNC Board of Governors meetings in Chapel Hill, I am unable to join you for the first faculty senate meeting of the year. I have asked Volker Frank to read my letter to you in place of my being with you.
First, I’d like to share, once again, my deep respect for the difficult work you as faculty have undertaken in the last year or so, as we have faced budget constraints that were unheard of in the recent past. These constraints have forced us to make difficult choices between competing goods. And when we were successful in making those choices, it hardly felt like victory, since it required us to say no to some really worthwhile endeavors. Thank you for your continued focus on our students and their well being, as you help to prepare them for the many challenges of this new century.
Second, I’d like to lend my full support and confidence in Provost Jane Fernandes, as our leader in the Reaffirmation of Accreditation process. There will not be a more important endeavor for us to undertake in the coming year. Provost Fernandes has outlined what she believes we will need in order to be successful in meeting the SACS requirements, and the senior staff and I have assured that funding will be available for these crucial needs. Each of us will have multiple opportunities to become part of this process, and I hope that you will enthusiastically participate in as much of this process as possible.
Third, I’d like to acknowledge the early and important advances we have made on our goal to improve both the diversity of our membership and our inclusive practices on campus. Our overall student body is reporting a slight increase in racial diversity (from 8.7% to 9.3%). Our inclusive practices, led by the Diversity Action Council, have included the campus climate study just completed last spring, several focus group studies to learn more about how we might be a more welcoming campus to specific groups, and a recent initiative to create gender neutral and family friendly rest rooms all across campus. Each of these steps represents a hopeful shift in our perspective on the possibility of real change. Thanks to each of you for your efforts in this area.
Finally, I want to share my excitement and enthusiasm for our newly-elected president of the UNC system, Tom Ross. As the current president of one of the most widely respected liberal arts colleges in the nation, he is someone who understands at a fundamental level the lifelong values of a liberal arts education. He recognizes UNC Asheville as the gem that it is. We will not need to make our case to our new president – he will be making that case for us.
You should know that I have a deep and abiding respect for Tom Ross’s integrity and leadership. As a North Carolinian, he has served our state in many capacities, including chairing the Board of Trustees at UNC Greensboro and participating in the UNC Tomorrow Commission, the study that outlined our university system’s future. He is also kind, insightful and resourceful individual.
As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I intend to invite him to UNC Asheville so he can witness firsthand the standard of excellence that you have established and the model that UNC Asheville serves among four-year liberal arts universities. I am very proud of the educational experience that you provide and look forward to joining with you in hosting President Ross on our campus once he takes office in the new year.
I look forward to a time when the faculty senate meeting doesn’t conflict with the Board of Governors meeting. To that end, I will work with the chair of the faculty senate to ask for time to speak with you at an upcoming meeting. Until then, I wish you, each and all, a wonderful 2010-11 academic year.
Faculty Senate Representative on SGA
Dr. Subramaniam volunteered to attend SGA meetings once a month to provide representation and answer questions or bring issues to the Faculty Senate. Mr. Berls and Dr. Frank will serve as alternates.
IV. Faculty Welfare and Development Committee
Dr. Gary Ettari reported for the Faculty Welfare and Development Committee.
Dr. Ettari said he is honored to work with his colleagues in FWDC who have already provided valuable insight and advice.
The FWDC committee is concerned with faculty welfare and with development. They see themselves as a resource, a group of people who want to help with issues relating to faculty welfare or development. It is safe to say that on some level we are facing an institutional identity crisis of sorts and that directly affects faculty welfare. Dr. Ettari called upon his colleagues in the Senate to spread the word, along with FWDC, that FWDC is here to help inform faculty, be an advocate for them, and to make certain that faculty play a vital role in whatever changes this institution decides to make or not make.
The Senate appointed Dr. Blake Hobby to the Intellectual Properties Committee in place of Virginia Derryberry.
The following document was distributed for First Reading:
FWDC 1: Editorial changes to the Faculty Handbook
FWDC response to Senate mandate regarding electronic Student Rating of Instruction
Dr. Ettari presented FWDC’s response to the Senate mandate regarding electronic SRI.
Highlights of the discussion:
• A major issue is the need to follow the Faculty Handbook regarding whether or not there is any distinction between evaluating junior and senior faculty. (Moorhead, Ashburn, Friedenberg)
• According to Institutional Research, it is easier to set the default at 100% and therefore one would have to make an active selection of what not to evaluate. We should continue to follow our current procedures. Chairs will need to be proactive or all courses will be evaluated. (Kormanik)
• Chairs/program directors will receive a spreadsheet and it will be up to them to consult with faculty and to send it to Institutional Research so they know which CRN numbers to either exclude or set up as faculty-view-only. (McClellan)
• Regarding course sections to be evaluated, the sciences have classes where the lab section involves one faculty member, but the lecture portion may be partially from one’s and partially from another’s lecture. When students are asked to evaluate the course there could be some confusion, as the evaluation involves more than one faculty member. Perhaps these types of courses should be patently excluded. (Meigs)
• It should be explicit to the Chairs that this conversation with the faculty member in terms of making that selection is mandatory. Perhaps we should institute a process where that is clearly adhered to. (Subramaniam)
• Dr. Karin Peterson, chair of the Tenure and Reward Committee, will be invited to meet with FWDC before the committee completes its report and makes its recommendations so we will have important input and feedback into their recommendations. A low response rate is a major concern, particularly for untenured faculty. Another concern of faculty is whether or not the new system adequately measures what they do. (Frank)
• For clarification, the instructor has to send a reminder email to students. (Mills)
• In the program it will be defined when reminder emails go out to non-respondents. If an instructor wants to send out a reminder email to the non-respondents they can do that. It will have to be clear to students that faculty will not be able to identify non-respondents. What is probably more valuable is to talk to the class as a whole about the value of the student ratings of instruction and the feedback that they give. (McClellan)
• There will be an opportunity soon for faculty to look at the system online so they can see how they can add questions of their own choosing and what they can do with the data analysis. (McClellan)
• Will students not have access to their grades until they do this electronically? (Schaffer)
• We make no suggestion that students should be denied grades or anything of that sort. (Ettari)
• Does this represent a change? Students can access their grades once they are posted, regardless of whether or not they have completed the evaluations. (Moorhead)
• If we need to motivate students we can say: “When you do this, you will get to see your grades immediately.” However I would prefer not do this in the first semester. Let’s wait and see how things are going before we use our options. (McClellan)
• It is important to explicitly communicate to faculty that they communicate with the Chair in terms of which courses will be evaluated. (Subramaniam)
• There will be a prior agreement between the Chair and the faculty member on which courses will be evaluated. Faculty can expect in general an announcement: “Consult with your chairs about your course selection.” (Frank, McClellan)
Dr. Larson said FWDC has fulfilled the request that was made of it. It may not be perfect, but we have a reasonable starting point. He made a motion that the Senate adopt FWDC’s response. Dr. Russell seconded the motion. Dr. Moorhead said that Dr. Ettari was going to follow up on some questions that were raised that might modify the response. Dr. Ettari agreed that the Senate needs clarification on the Faculty Handbook before voting.
Dr. Kormanik made a motion to amend the document by deleting everything in section B, starting with “Currently.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Berls and it passed unanimously.
Dr. Larson made a motion that the Senate adopt FWDC 2 as amended in a Sense of the Senate Resolution. Dr. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent and became SD0310F.
FWDC’s report, as amended, follows:
FWDC 2: Response to Senate mandate regarding Student Rating of Instruction
In the March 2010 Faculty Senate meeting, the FWDC was charged to address these issues regarding Student Rating of Instruction:
A. The percentage that defines a low response rate.
B. The procedure that an instructor uses to choose the courses that are to be evaluated.
C. An incentive system that encourages students to fill out the electronic evaluations.
FWDC will present this at the first Senate meeting in the 2010/11 academic year.
A. Because we are implementing a new technology for the student rating of faculty, it is difficult to determine a minimum or low response rate. The majority of available data suggests that there will be an initial, significant decline in response percentage. With paper surveys, the average response rate for UNC-Asheville classes was 83.8% in the 2008 – 09 academic year. There is evidence to suggest that we may initially see that response rate cut in half. According to the April 7, 2010 issue of The Boston Globe, for example, Northeastern University experienced a steep decline in response rate in the first year of electronic SRI implementation, falling from 80% to 54%. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the percentage will rise over time and likely reach (or even eclipse) the paper rate. Harvard University, for example, began using an electronic rating instrument in 2005 has, after providing the incentive of students receiving their grades early, has seen their response rate rise to 96%, as opposed to the 65% rate earlier in the process. Given the evidence available, the FWDC recommends considering a range of 40% to 60% response rate as low and, in addition, notes that department chairs and program directors, in consultation with their faculty, should have the final say in determining a class evaluation’s validity with respect to response rate. Such consultation is especially vital in the case of adjuncts, lecturers and untenured assistant professors, whose retention depends significantly on their teaching effectiveness. It is also worth noting that other studies have shown that though response rate percentages may initially decline, the deviation from the average scores an instructor received via paper evaluation were statistically insignificant, with one study noting a standard deviation of only .09 on a scale of 1 – 5.
B. The FWDC notes that the default setting is that all courses of the instructor will be listed for evaluation, and Chairs should actively select courses for evaluation, per our current practice. However the FWDC suggests that the change in format (paper to electronic) does not call for a change in policy.
C. Research has shown that incentivizing electronic surveys can substantially boost response rates. The FWDC suggests that any or all of the following be employed:
• Allow at least a two-week window of time for the evaluations to be completed.
• Send reminder emails to students who have yet to complete the survey.
• Students who have completed the course evaluation will have immediate access to their grades on OnePort once they have been posted.
• Encourage faculty to take class time in order to explain both the change from paper to paperless evaluation and the importance of evaluations in general.
• In the case of junior faculty, or those up for PTR or promotion, it may be advisable to book space in a computer lab or computer integrated classroom to facilitate a greater response rate.
V. Institutional Development Committee/University Planning Council Reports
University Planning Committee (UPC)
Highlights of UPC’s introductory meeting:
• Discussed the planned focus for the 2010-2011 academic year
• University budget decisions will be on the table for consultation and advice. These would involve expenditures, cuts and possibly tuition policy.
• University fundraising priorities will be on the table for consultation and advice.
• What are we currently raising money to accomplish?
• What would be ongoing priorities (i.e., scholarships)?
• What would be one-time priorities?
§ The Culture of Evidence for information and feedback
§ The highest priority is the reaffirmation of accreditation
§ Second is promoting institutional effectiveness
§ Third is strategic plan accountability
§ Provost Fernandes noted that we would need to be more explicit about who would be responsible for achieving the strategic plan goals, and who would hold these people accountable. It is not clear in the current framework of the strategic plan. As the plan is a living document, those issues will be addressed on an ongoing basis.
§ Chancellor Ponder returned from Chapel Hill and reported that Tom Ross (current president of Davidson College) was unanimously elected as the new President of the UNC system, beginning January 1, 2011. His background gives him an insight into a liberal arts campus that is a novel experience for us.
Chancellor Ponder said that we had known that it would be a difficult few years coming up, but did not know that we would need to plan for it so soon. Currently, the state is expecting a $3.3 billion shortfall on the $19 billion budget, which is a 17% shortfall.
§ The UNC Board of Governors has asked each campus to submit a plan for a 10% budget cut over current expenditures. In addition, we are asked to project what a $500 increase in tuition for 2011-12 (over and above the increase already planned for 2011-12) would do to mitigate this cut. For some perspective, UNC Asheville’s state budget is approximately $40 million, which means we would plan for a $4 million cut. ‘Business as usual’ will not be remotely possible at this level of cuts.
§ We have been asked to make two opposing arguments:
§ We were making this 10% cut plan so as to preserve our most important priorities and to inflict the least possible harm; and
§ It should be clear that a 10% cut presents a dire scenario for our campus with potential for irreparable harm.
§ Also in this plan, we will be asked for three things:
§ 2011-2013 enrollment projections
§ Requests for campus safety funding
§ Capital priorities (will little hope of getting this funded)
§ UPC can be most helpful in suggesting what we need to invest in, even as we make substantial cuts across campus. Even though we will be using our University Strategy for Resource Allocation document as a guide, such a dire circumstance will require that we get even more clarity on priorities. Chancellor Ponder suggested that we discuss that document and how we will use it at our September meeting.
§ UPC members were asked to think of other things we might research and bring to the group for consideration, as we prepare to make difficult budget decisions going forward. Operating budget priorities are due to GA from Chancellors by September 15.
§ Strategic Plan:
Christine Riley reviewed the UPC role in stewarding and monitoring the Strategic Plan to date. Questions were raised on what the work groups are responsible for, and what role UPC has in holding them [or anyone else] accountable for meeting the targets. When we do not meet a target, who makes the plan to revise the work and who actually does the work? This has not been established in the implementation phase of the Strategic Plan, and needs to be determined and communicated.
Institutional Development Committee (IDC)
Highlights of IDC’s introductory meeting
§ There are only two continuing faculty members are on the committee: Kevin Moorhead and Linda Nelms. Jeff Konz has become an administrator and Dan Pierce, Amy Lanou, and Bill Haas rotated off the Faculty Senate. Ted Meigs, Eric Gant, Lorena Russell and Gary Nallan are the new members. Gwen Ashburn is the new administrator.
§ Issues to examine for the Senate and for the Faculty:
§ What is the role of the faculty in building a Culture of Evidence within an environment of austerity?
§ Does a culture of evidence require homogeneity or is there room for a variety of standards as it impacts both tenure and resource decisions?
§ How do the issues brought up in the Delivering the Curriculum report and the current study of promotion and tenure process intersect? What should the faculty response to these issues be? IDC will review the Delivering the Curriculum report and will invite Karin Peterson, chair of the Committee of Tenured Faculty and Post Tenure Review, to work with her on time.
§ What role does faculty play in the various decisions of the University: Centers, non-UNCA residents on campus, and anomalous decisions?
§ How can IDC best represent the faculty on UPC?
§ Review of ongoing assessment as it relates both to SACS and to the Culture of Evidence.
VI. Academic Policies Committee
Mr. Rob Berls reported for the Academic Policies Committee
Dr. Kitti Reynolds has agreed to be the APC represent on ILSOC.
APC 1: Absence from Class Policy (Revision of SD2002S) (Handbook 18.104.22.168.4)
This is in response to the mandate from General Administration that students receive a minimum of two excused absences for religious observance. These absences can be rolled into our current attendance policy in our syllabi. Faculty can not ask for proof of religious affiliation.
Dr. Gant asked for clarification of the term “bona fide”. Mr. Berls said it was in our current policy. We may consider removing it as faculty can not ask for proof of religious affiliation. Dr. Mills said it meant “in good faith.”
Dr. Meigs asked for clarification of “significant absences.” Mr. Berls said this phrase was put into place to deal with sports teams’ travel. If students miss multiple classes, it can affect their grades. It was left nebulous so it could be interpreted by any given instructor.
VII. Administrative Reports
Academic Affairs: Provost Jane Fernandes
Faculty Senate chair Volker Frank asked me to talk about the budget situation as well as our resolution to the issue of reassigned time. He also invited me to make some comments about priorities for our work together this year.
Ms. Linda Nelms covered the matter quite well in her summary of the University Planning Council meeting. With the possibility of a statewide hiring freeze later this year, I anticipate working closely with department chairs and programs directors to assure that our curriculum is delivered. Chancellor Ponder and I will need to remain vigilant regarding the economy and its potential impact on our budget for the next biennium.
In what I am about to say regarding priorities for our work together, I have adopted the word “enough” as a theme from a provocative little piece written by Pat Shipman, an adjunct professor, in The Chronicle Review. (Enough Already! - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Enough-Already-/124143/) Pat Shipman says that the defining idea of the next decade is “enough.” Through the concept of “enough,” we learn how to discipline ourselves to arrive at a place of contentment where we recognize when we have done “enough” and seek satisfaction in promoting the common good rather than striving for more and more in a rising spiral of ambition. It struck me as an idea that would resonate with us and our university’s commitment to sustainability.
Many of the priorities I created for us are grounded in the idea of what will make the education we provide at UNC Asheville sustainable. Gone from most of our minds is the idea that the American economy will come roaring back. We are now beginning nobly our third year of no raises and an increased work load by virtually everyone on campus. If our economy ever recovers, we now understand that is probably a decade away. In the wake of the economic recession, the whole world seems different. And now that it does, what is our response?
Academic Policies Committee (APC)
Our curriculum – upon what shared principles do we offer the university curriculum? I think our ILS and majors programs are on strong foundations – solid roots, strong trunk and branches that reflect commitment to liberal arts and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. But the curricular tree that I see has shoots all over. Some branches are growing in haphazard directions. We need pruning. At what point is our curriculum enough?
Is it permissible for our faculty to have four separate preparations as some do now in the name of our curriculum? Why do we carry courses that we offer one time per year? Courses that we offer one time every other year? Courses that we offer one time every five years? When should some course be offered as special topics once in a while and not carried as regular parts of our curriculum?
In a climate of shrinking resources, how can we continue to sustain majors and the resources they require when they have only one or two graduates, and sometimes no graduates, per year?
Can we revisit the policy for how many credits a transfer student needs to earn at UNC Asheville to be eligible for Latin Honors at graduation? We accept transfer students with their documented record of academic work and—even if it is perfect – we discount it because it was not done here. Is this policy really reflective of our university values? Is it a fair and sustainable policy given current resources?
Advising – there is a lot of room for improvement in the way that we do advising – now may be a time to look inward and improve the quality of what we do (e.g., advising) rather than the quantity.
We have adopted university Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the first time ever in our history. How does our curriculum support our SLOs, for majors, and for ILS, and for the work of APC?
Faculty Welfare and Development Committee (FWDC)
How do our University Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) align with and support the work of FWDC?
Are the FWDC members well attuned to the work of the Committee on Tenure and Rewards Systems? I anticipate important recommendations from this committee. I hope that our tenure and rewards systems can be designed to support our values. It would be excellent to begin looking at the Faculty Record form and discussing how we could modify it so that it reflects what we value about our work.
And it is a good time to make revisions to the Faculty Handbook that may needed – especially in light of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmation of accreditation that is coming up soon.
Institutional Development Committee (IDC)
How does the work of the IDC align with and support the University Student Learning Outcomes?
What is the role of the IDC in shaping a culture of evidence on campus?
The work of IDC should be integral to the Institutional Effectiveness process. We are going to establish an Institutional Effectiveness Committee and I wonder how that will impact IDC’s current role on the University Planning Council. Is the role of IDC primarily planning, primarily institutional effectiveness, or is it a combination of both?
IDC should be the faculty voice in budgeting and planning. I would like to better understand how IDC is linked to important university budgeting and planning processes; to understand the connections between these university processes and our Institutional Effectiveness work.
Delivering the Curriculum/Reassigned Time
We have agreed with several major recommendations from the Delivering the Curriculum task force. We confirmed the priorities for hiring adjunct faculty; we agreed to focus on student contact hours in equitably quantifying faculty; the remaining point needing clarification is related to reassigned time.
In an effort to address faculty mental health, we will seriously explore awarding reassigned time to about 65 faculty members for the 2011-2012 academic year. This is about one-half of the faculty who do not have reassigned time from any other source (for example, serving as department chair, holding an endowed professorship, etcetera). The program area deans will work this semester with department chairs to develop guidelines for awarding one reassigned course each to 65 faculty members. We hope to have this decision made by the end of this semester.
In the meantime, Chancellor Ponder and I will work on arguments to the Board of Governors regarding the unique nature of faculty work at UNC Asheville in an attempt to seek a more reasonable teaching load standard from the Board of Governors.
Thank you for the opportunity to share ideas with the Faculty Senate about the budget, reassigned time and priorities for our work together in the coming year.
Notes: See also “The Logic of Sufficiency," by Thomas Princen (MIT Press): http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=10635
See Guidelines for Reassigned Time 2011-12: http://www3.unca.edu/facultysenate/2010-11/Guidelines%20for%20Reassigned%20Time%202010-2011.htm
• Dr. Russell said she is glad to hear that there is an effort to try to put a number to the non-tangible work that we do, such as undergraduate research.
• Dr. Moorhead asked for clarification: I assume the policy on faculty reassigned time is not suggested as a permanent change but as a response to the current economic climate.
• Dr. Fernandes said it is in response to our economy. Without an improvement in the economy everything that is paid for by the state will be under scrutiny. She could not say it is a temporary change right now.
• Dr. Moorhead asked for clarification: he assumed that Provost Fernandes was not going to purpose this change into the Faculty Handbook.
• Dr. Fernandes: No, but without clear sign of something changing, we do need to think about what our response to a completely changed environment.
Highlights of Mary Lynn Manns’s QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) report:
• The QEP leadership team is now complete and the 13 members have been assigned tasks.
• The broad area survey had wide participation: 76.5% of faculty, 31.7% of staff, and 35.7% of students.
• Three bodies will look at the data and will announce the broad area by October 1st:
o SACS working group
o QEP Leadership Team
o SACS Executive Committee
• Once we have our broad area, more time will be devoted to gather ideas from the community on the specific topic within that broad area. By November 15th the qualitative data will reveal the common themes. There will be more opportunity for people to comment on themes as potential topics. The topic will be announced by January 31 whereupon we will start Phase II.
• For more information on the process, see: http://sacs.unca.edu/sacs-qep-related-links
Highlights of SGA President Courtney Galatioto’s report:
• SGA is working on its constitution and by-laws.
• SGA is working to understand the needs of our non-traditional students.
• SGA will have an advising fair to help students now.
• SGA will be transparent and visible so students know who we are and what we are working on.
• Budget cuts: it is imperative that students give input in what they consider to be a priority.
• Students are excited about undergraduate research, the arts, and athletics.
VIII. Old Business
There was no Old Business.
IX. New Business
Major challenges of 2010/2011 academic year
Comments from Faculty Senate Chair Volker Frank:
Colleagues, I want to use the opportunity of the beginning of this academic year to share with you some thoughts on what lies ahead. Today I do not wish to enter into a detailed list of challenges and opportunities or tasks that we will be dealing with throughout 2010-11. My comments today will be a bit more abstract, but rest assured, there are a number of specific areas or issues we will have to work through. And several of these are not new. Till Dohse, in his last address to this Senate, mentioned a number of items he identified as on-going Senate projects: campus response to the budget crisis, review of tenure and reward systems, SACS, managing larger workloads with smaller budgets, and more.
In due time, we will address them. Today FWDC presented their response to a Senate mandate regarding Student Rating of Instruction, which was also a theme mentioned by Till.
Colleagues, I want to emphasize that what I am about to say comes from a deep personal concern for UNC Asheville’s mission. What I am saying I am saying as a professional Sociologist.
At the core of many of our difficulties is the increasing bureaucratization of our institution. It is not only UNCA that has this problem. All universities have it, all education institutions have it, all institutions the world over have it and are affected by this “virus.” Many of our ongoing problems, such as the budget crisis or SACS, put us on the defensive and are, in a real sense, simply the current and most pressing expression of this “virus.” Once the economy gets better and SACS is a thing of the past, there will be other challenges. For us think that we only need to get past SACS and the economic crisis to be “back on track” is an illusion. Like all social facts, bureaucratization cannot be wished away.
Bureaucratization, the nasty twin of rationalization, is here to stay. In the United States, the will of the people is usually called “the administration” and the health and well being of our children, parents, husbands, wives and partners, is accomplished by “managed health care specialists.” An increasingly amount of UNCA’s time, energy, and creativity is being consumed by the need to respond to the demands of those higher up in the state’s educational bureaucratic structure -- the State Legislature, the Board of Governors, and UNC’s General Administration. A good recent example is their concern with “productivity.” The final report of the “Delivering the Curriculum” committee, for example, states ”The UNC Board of Governors (BOG) uses two performance indicators to evaluate faculty productivity”. Remember how much we struggled with that report? “Delivering the Curriculum” response is framed to fit their expectations rather than a statement of our understanding (and explanation) of what we here at UNCA are and do!
My diagnosis has important implications for UNCA, specifically, the Senate and the administration and what we call co-governance. Now Jane, and if Chancellor Ponder were here I would also reassure her, please understand that I am not here to question an arrangement we have had for some time. I am merely situating that arrangement between administrators, faculty representatives, faculty, students, and staff, in a context or process which I happen to be worried about.
But what is it that we want to do here at UNCA? In our mission statement we promise that
“UNC Asheville is distinctive in the UNC system as its designated liberal arts university. Our practice of the liberal arts emphasizes the centrality of learning and discovery through exemplary teaching, innovative scholarship, creative expression, co-curricular activities, undergraduate research, engaged service, and practical experience.”
And a little later it continues, “At UNC Asheville, we respond to the conditions and concerns of the contemporary world both as individuals and as a university.”
I ask you my colleagues, let us take this collective responsibility seriously, very seriously. In fact, let us take it more seriously than SACS and other bureaucracies that become obsessed with the notion of “culture of evidence.” Let us reinvestigate ways of putting more creativity and passion into that which is so dear to us: teaching and learning. We cannot wish SACS away; to do so would be foolish and irresponsible. We cannot afford, however, to neglect our core mission. We cannot allow the ideal to be defined by, or sacrificed to, the pressing needs of the time. Here I stand with Max Weber, perhaps the greatest Sociologist of all time, when he warned us that the progression of bureaucratization increasingly reveals a tension between the demand for technical efficiency of administration on the one hand, and the human values of spontaneity, autonomy, liberty, tolerance, integrity, and diversity, on the other.
Dr. Frank adjourned the meeting at 5:10 pm.
Respectfully submitted by: Sandra Gravely