University of North Carolina at Asheville


Minutes, October 28, 2004



Members:          L. Atkinson, R. Booker, B. Butler, L. Cornett, J. Konz, B. Larson, D. Lisnerski, S. Mills,

G. Nallan, P. Nickless, D. Pierce, B. Reynolds, I. Rossell, M. Ruiz. 


Excused:          S. Walters.


Visitors:            M. Alm, A. Bass, B. Spellman.




I.          Call to Order

Dr. Nickless called the special meeting to order at 3:20 pm and welcomed senators and guests. 

Dr. Jeff Konz, First Vice Chair of the Senate, presided over the meeting so that Dr. Nickless could fill her role as Chair of the Constitution Task Force. 


II.         Executive Committee

            Highlights of Constitutional Revision

            Dr. Nickless stated that the document titled “Highlights of the Constitutional Revision” is a report for informational purposes only and does not require action by the Senate.

            Sample Standing Rules and Rules of Order

            Dr. Nickless explained that the Faculty Senate does not have the power to adopt Standing Rules and Rules of Order under its current Constitution.  If the revised Constitution is adopted, the Executive Committee will review the sample Standing Rules and Rules of Order.  There will be an opportunity for Senate input before a vote is taken on any Standing Rules and Rules of Order.

            Standing Rules and Rules of Order serve two purposes -- to avoid frequent revisions to the Constitution and to put into writing items that have been done by tradition in the past.  The descriptions of the committees in the Constitution remain deliberately vague to provide flexibility.  For example, elections are conducted by the FWDC, not the Executive Committee as stated in the Constitution.  Also, when someone is on off-campus scholarly assignment, they have to either resign from the Senate or they are taken off the ballot.  This is not in the Constitution, nor should it be, because we do not know how it will change over time.  These are examples of items that would be included in the Standing Rules of Order.


            Second Reading:

            EC 1:  Proposed Faculty Senate Constitution Revision.


·         Dr. Nickless corrected wording to EC 1 that was inadvertently omitted.  In 1999, the Constitution was amended to add the phrase “…and all members in phased retirement are eligible for election…”  The passage should read: 


All full-time ranked members who teach six (6) contact hours or more per semester, all ranked librarians, and all members in phased retirement are eligible for election to the Faculty Senate and may vote in faculty elections.


The following amendments were made to EC 1:  (Changes in bold)

·         Dr. Nickless moved to amend Article II, Section 1 Powers and Duties.  The motion was seconded by Dr. Reynolds.  Following discussion and a friendly amendment by Dr. Rossell, the motion passed and Section 1 was amended as follows: 

            (o) Participate in institutional development by providing input into the ongoing planning and budgetary process;

            (j)  Advise members of the administration regarding standards of admission to the University including but not limited to academic standards;

(k) Advise members of the administration on matters pertaining to the level and use of tuition and fees;

(The list was re-alphabetized.) 


  • Dr. Nickless moved to amend Article II, Section 4 Officers of the Senate.  Editorial corrections were also made to the amendment. 


The Chair, who shall normally preside at Senate meetings, shall chair the Executive Committee of the Senate and serve as the official spokesperson of the Senate.  The Chair normally attends the Board of Trustees meetings and may respond to Trustee questions and/or give reports at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Trustees. 


            The motion was seconded by Dr. Larson and passed.  The Senate agreed that editorial changes would be approved by the Executive Committee.   


  • Dr. Nickless moved to amend Article II, Section 6 Standing Senate Committees.  The changes would give the Executive Committee more flexibility.  Dr. Rossell seconded the motion. 


EC 1 increased the Senate membership to 18.  The amendment addressed where the three additional members would serve and when the committee appointments would be made.  In summary, The Executive Committee shall at the first meeting of the Senate appoint Senate members to the APC, IDC and FWDC.  All Senators shall be appointed to a committee.  The Executive Committee would consider both expected committee work load and diversity of academic area, rank, and other appropriate concerns in determining the size of the committees.  APC, IDC, and FWDC would each have “…not less than five voting members.” 


The amendment also deleted the passage under FWDC stating that the UNCA representative to the sixteen campus Faculty Welfare Committee would be a voting member of FWDC, and “The committee may consist of only five members, in the event that the UNCA representative is also an elected member of the Faculty Senate.”  (This would be addressed in the Standing Orders).    


            The Senators made the following comments while debating the motion:   

            - questioned the wisdom of having floating members and thought this would create unnecessary bargaining amongst the members of the Executive Committee 

            - questioned when the committee appointments would be made, how the Executive Committee could anticipate workloads so far in advance, and whether members could change committees in mid-year 

            - preferred creating task forces to handle extraordinarily heavy workloads that would report to the Senate 

            - supported having the most breadth on APC as it addresses curricular issues  

            - favored appointing ex officio members when necessary for added breadth

            - suggested that more breadth could be achieved by dividing the membership evenly between committees

            - preferred having certainty on committee size and not making the decision annually.


            The motion tied with a vote of 6 to 6 with one abstention.  As the presiding Chair, Dr. Konz then voted against the motion.  The motion failed by a vote of 7 to 6 with one abstention.  


·         Dr. Lisnerski made a motion that IDC and APC each have six members, and FWDC have no less than five members.  The Standing Orders would address when FWDC may have six members.  Following discussion, Dr. Lisnerski withdrew the motion.


·         Dr. Lisnerski made another motion that IDC and APC each have six members, and FWDC would have five members.  Dr. Nickless seconded the motion.  In a friendly amendment, the following passage was deleted under FWDC:  “…and a voting faculty member who is the UNCA representative to the sixteen campus Faculty Welfare Committee.  The committee may consist of only five members, in the event that the UNCA representative is also an elected member of the Faculty Senate.”  The motion passed with a 9 to 3 vote with one abstention. 


            Dr. Cornett questioned the need to increase the Senate membership and stated that she felt uncomfortable deciding on the composition of the committees before deciding whether or not we want to have 18 Senators.  Dr. Konz explained that the increase in size of the Senate was not part of the amendment which was under consideration.  Since the revised Constitution as a whole was back on the table, he encouraged her to address the issue.

            Dr. Cornett explained that a faculty member who could not attend the meeting asked her to speak on this issue.  S/he was not in favor of expanding the Senate.  This sounds like an unpopular issue because everyone has big workloads.  The argument, as she understood it, was that there is an impression that the faculty has been less effective in recent years for any number of reasons and that expanding the number of participants might further erode the focus and the ability to get things done -- as difficult, time consuming, and energy consuming as it is with fewer people. 

            Dr. Pierce asked how many faculty members there were when the membership of the Senate was originally set.  Dr. Nickless responded that there were 15 Senate members in 1982, when there were probably less than 70 faculty members.  We now have about 180 faculty members. 

            Dr. Cornett asked if a greater number of faculty demanded a greater number of representatives to do the business of the Faculty Senate.  Dr. Ruiz added that he was not convinced that was true.  Dr. Rossell countered that in the past, faculty had a greater probability of serving on the Senate when there were fewer faculty members.  More Senate seats give more faculty an opportunity to serve. 

            Dr. Nickless stated that she resented the notion that the Faculty Senate has been ineffective and she did not believe that it was true.  The workload on the Senate committees has increased.  For example, FWDC now runs all of the elections.  In 1982, when the original Constitution was amended, the elections were run out of the Vice Chancellor’s office by a clerical worker.  The faculty did not run the elections.  Over the years, the faculty took on that additional job as part of FWDC.  When Dr. Nickless was on FWDC around 1986, they spent a lot of time talking about whether or not we would have 401K plans that were socially responsible.  We need more people because we have taken on more duties.  It is not just the representative issue that Dr. Rossell spoke to, although that is important too – that we give more people a chance to be on the Senate. 

            Dr. Cornett noted that the faculty member was concerned about losing efficiency and focus.  She may have overstated what they said about the perception that it is less effective – it may or may not be given the broader range of duties that the Senate has undertaken.

            Dr. Lisnerski noted that the perception of being less effective also comes from some things that we have very little control over.  Regarding the issue of giving faculty more opportunities, FWDC has worked hard to combine and reduce the number of committees.  There are not enough opportunities for all faculty to serve because we have so many faculty now.  About twenty faculty do not serve on any committees, while others serve on several committees because of their elected office or, because they are chairing one committee, they automatically sit on another committee.  We need to address this issue.   

            Dr. Larson supported Dr. Rossell’s point.  We talk about the work associated with being on the Faculty Senate, but in fact it is an extraordinary privilege for us to do so, and it should be provided to more of our colleagues.  It is a great forum for professional development, to get a sense of what it is to be a member of the academy who is engaged and participating. 

            Dr. Nickless referred to Article II Section 3 Election of Senators, and noted that currently two-thirds of the Senators are elected from academic areas and one-third is elected at-large.  This will change -- nine senators will be elected from academic areas and nine will be elected at-large.  She wanted everyone to be aware of this change.  All elected representatives shall represent the faculty as a whole and not solely the exclusive academic area in which they teach.  She did not have a sense that the at-large elections follow a pattern. 

            Dr. Reynolds added that the likelihood of the at-large members being weighted towards one academic area is fairly low.  Dr. Konz stated for the record that at the moment, with our current structure, we have a 6-5-4 division (6 from the social sciences, 5 from natural sciences, 4 from humanities).  He noted that the revision does give rise to a greater potential of imbalance.   

            Dr. Larson referred to the last sentence under Article I Definition of Faculty and Those Eligible to Serve on the Faculty Senate, and asked how we would know who the Chancellor’s staff is or the staff of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.  Dr. Nickless explained that the task force did not want to list titles because we keep changing administrators’ titles.  The sentence -- “Any faculty member serving on the Chancellor’s staff or the staff of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student affairs shall be ineligible for election to the Senate or any of the Senate’s elected committees and shall not vote in such elections regardless of rank or teaching load.” – refers to Assistant/Associate Vice Chancellors and the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.  If it becomes more complicated it will be addressed in the Standing Rules.  It includes anyone listed as a member of the senior staff.  EC 1 passed unanimously as amended and became Senate Document 0204F.


            Dr. Nickless referred to Article 3 Section 1 Amending and Revising the Constitution:  


Provisions outlined in this constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that at least a simple majority of the faculty members vote, and provided at least one month's notice has been given to the faculty of the vote. The vote shall be by secret ballot.


The Executive Committee will make editorial corrections to the document and it will be placed on the Faculty Senate web page by November 5 for faculty to review.  The vote will be conducted by paper ballot.


III.        Adjourn

            Dr. Konz adjourned the meeting at 4:25 pm.


Respectfully submitted by:          Sandra Gravely

Don Lisnerski