November 15-16, 2001
The Advisory Council of Faculty (ACF) met at Fairmont College on Thursday, November 15, to discuss a variety of issues and to prepare for the Higher Education Policy Commission meeting (HEPC) the following day. There was an evening reception at President Bradley's home on Thursday, followed by dinner for the Policy Commission, ACF, and a variety of guests and visitors to the Fairmont campus. The following details the Thursday ACF meeting and the Friday HEPC meeting:
Thursday ACF Meeting:
1) Report on HEPC October Meeting: Professor Moore (ACF Chair), Dr. Nemitz (WVSCM), and others gave their impressions of the highlights of the October meeting:
a) Concerning the economic development initiative in the State, most of the $48,000,000 in out-of-state research grants are generated by WV higher education faculty, a fact that the legislature needs to be made aware.
b) Concerning the newly established Eastern College, which appears to operate without faculty, functioning mainly with administrators and web-courses, Jim Hoey (Potomac State) offered his opinion that to increase Eastern's 60 FTEs after two years in operation, there appears an effort to "legislate the competition out of business."
c) Concerning Chancellor Mullen's vision of WV higher education, several points are worth noting as powerful shaping principles for the future of the system: All programs must "justify funding." The system must become "market driven." Institutions must give attention to the "qualifications of part-time faculty," as the State moves more and more toward the use of adjunct staff. "Maintenance of facilities" is as important as new building initiatives (the subtext, some ACF members felt, was that the Chancellor was placing the burden on the legislature to fund maintenance since institutions had little to spare for this purpose).
2) ACF/ACCE Higher Education Awareness Committee: This newly appointed committee will meet for the first time on Friday, after the HEPC meeting; representatives from ACF are Drs. Hough (Glenville), Miller (Marshall), and Shurbutt (Shepherd).
3) Administrative Evaluations: Given the current emphasis on faculty merit and evaluations associated with that issue, the ACF felt it important that all administrators (of both faculty and staff) be evaluated both from above and below, just as faculty are evaluated both by administrators and by students. Connie Moore will draft a letter to the HEPC, circulated for ACF input and revision, expressing ACF thoughts on this issue.
4) Supplemental Retirement Vendors: The HEPC committee working on this issue will present its recommendations (document available) at the November 16 meeting. Essentially, what the Segal consultants advising the HEPC are recommending is that if TIAA/CREF does not offer some flexibility in their current plans, there will be from two to three additional vendors for new employees to chose from (selected from a pool of about fourteen). There are political elements or lobbying groups behind this issue as well as TIAA inflexibility.
5) ACF Presentation to HEPC: The presentation that Dr. Nemitz is preparing will occur at the February HEPC meeting. ACF members have been asked to provide data from their institutions for Nemitz to utilize. The recommendation was made that we offer the HEPC and the legislature more than merely a public relations presentation; rather, that we develop a Ten-Point Plan or list of recommendations (Ten Commitments!), those include ACF representation on the HEPC and funding for professional development in light of the new merit edicts. Connie Moore will circulate the list for our refinement via email.
6) HEPC Report to ACF: Mark Stotler met with the ACF in place of Bruce Flack, who could not attend the meeting. Stotler shared two items:
a) Report from Adhoc HEPC Committee on "College Admissions Standards": Among items in the report are the establishment of a Math Task Force to find ways of improving public school math instruction and to make recommendations for improving the quality of math content in teacher certification. Research is being prepared on the teaching of foreign languages in the public schools. Measures will be taken to tighten the content and instruction in the senior year of high school.
b) Data Requested by ACF from HEPC to Measure Effectiveness of SB547 and Establish Baseline for SB653 (see item 8 in October Shepherd ACF Report): The data will be discussed at the next meeting (document available).
7) Statewide Compact: At the invitation of Chancellor Mullen, the ACF offered revisions to the wording of the Compact Principles (see September 20 Shepherd ACF Report). It does not appear that the suggestions have made any impact on the Compact document. The question that the ACF will pose in the Friday HEPC meeting is whether HEPC members had input in the writing and visioning of the Statewide Compact? The importance of the compact cannot be over-estimated since it will drive higher education in the next few years.
Friday HEPC Meeting (Highlights only):
1) Academic Policy Committee: Approval of "Teacher Quality in West Virginia" report (document available): Among the recommendations were to "offer more teacher preparation programs in areas of critical need" (i.e., graduate education at some regional institutions), "raise standards of admission to teacher education programs," "strengthen content in teacher education programs," and encourage professional development of public school teachers.
2) Certificate Program in School Nursing at Shepherd College: Approved
3) Approval of Mission Statements for Community and Technical Colleges at Fairmont and Shepherd: Approved.
4) Approval of Series 9, Academic Freedom, Professional Responsibility, Promotion and Tenure: Approved (document available).
5) Approval of Series 10, Policy Regarding Program Review: Approved (document available).
6) Retirement Vendor Feasibility Study: Recommendation to Send to Legislative Committee (document available).
7) Statewide Compact: The ACF questioned whether the HEPC had input into the statewide Strategic Plan draft, noting that the language of "Principles" remains divisive and problematic and represents a major shift in the focus of WV Higher Education. The HEPC said it had indeed had input but agreed that the language was severe (i.e., bullet #2: "Focus on students/clients, not on providers"). Chancellor Mullen said that he would continue to work on the language. (The ACF will send again its suggested revisions to Chancellor Mullen, copying the HEPC. See September 20 Shepherd ACF Report.)
8) Report Card: A variety of data was made available as part of the Statewide Report Card: "Graduate Tracking Report" (Teacher Education Students Hired in the State, 1999-2000), "Graduation Rates for First Time Freshmen Entering College in Fall 1995," "Historical Distribution of Higher Education Grant Dollars," "Funding Sources," "2001-02 Student Recipients of WV Higher Education Grant Program," "Summary of Public Higher Education System Characteristics" (broad range of data). (All documents available.)
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