Advisory Council of Faculty Report

September 20, 2001

After lunch at the Erickson Center the ACF met with Faculty Senate chairs from across the State to discuss issues of higher education with the Chancellor and Bruce Flack. Chancellor Mullen first addressed issues concerning recent terrorist events in America, encouraging faculty to discuss the political landscape and the question of civility with students. He also noted that for those students in the military reserves who might be activated soon, 100% refunding for courses lost will be the rule.

The following issues were brought up by Chancellor Mullen:

1) Budgets: Flack and Mullen wish to eliminate competition for funding between peer institutions. Budgets will, in the future, be based on actual expenditures for instruction and support services rather than on "dollars coming in the front door" through enrollment. Budget requests will be channeled through the Policy Commission, which will rank requests. After having visited campuses across the State, Dr. Mullen believes that deferred maintenance is a major issue. Equipment will be funded on "defined need." Mullen believes that moneys from grants, gifts, and endowments must be seen as an important funding source, and to encourage these the State will match investment earnings from such sources, as well as scholarships and fellowships (i.e., "Immanent Scholars" program).

2) SB703: Mullen spoke briefly about the bill, noting productivity increases were not addressed.
[For Connie Moore's summary of the complete details of SB703, contact Shurbutt.]

3) Higher Education Strategic Plan: Mullen noted that the current plan does not address health and well-being issues of the State, including rural health care; nor is shared cost addressed. By November a tuition and fee policy will be developed.

4) Changes in Baccalaureate Admissions Standards: Mullen noted the implication for the proposal (see August ACF Report) is that higher education must be involved in public schools, who often don't have the staff to accomplish the new proposed standards. Mullen noted as well that after a certain point, there will be no remedial courses on college campuses at all (remediation will occur solely in the T&CC).

5) General Education in Colleges and Universities: General Studies assessment is now a major focus in the State. Evaluation will be based solely on learning outcomes. The Chancellor proposes a "warranty for matriculations of deficiencies," a guarantee that students graduating from WV colleges and universities are literate and qualified for the degrees they have received.

6) Electronic Delivery of Courses: Chancellor Mullen is committed to this method of instruction and considers it one of the central "tools" in the educational arsenal. Such courses will become necessary for cost-cutting and for maintaining both "variety and quality" in WV higher education. Mullen encouraged faculty to check the "Principles of Good Practice" on the SREB.ORG website. Shared courses, Mullen added, will "free faculty" to develop new courses. The faculty responded with the thought that while distance learning offers many possibilities for graduate study, many undergraduate students in West Virginia did not possess the self-motivation and discipline required for instruction from this venue.

7) The Challenge to Limiting Graduate Study to Two Institutions in the State: Mullen noted that "the structural basis for higher education" would change, with other institutions offering graduate work in addition to WVU and Marshall. He called for an "Academic Common Market" to be utilized in making graduate education available across the State.

8) Tenure at Four-Year Institutions: Though there will be a "20% cap" on tenure in the T&CC institutions, such a cap will not be instituted in the four-year institutions.

9) Recruitment and Replacement Plans for the Massive Retirements Forthcoming in WV Higher Education: Sixty-five percent of instructors in the State system are over fifty years of age. Plans must be instituted for their replacement. [Note the possible relationship between item #8 and #9.]

10) Merit Pay for Faculty: Chancellor Mullen insisted that faculty must be involved in plans for merit pay and those plans must be in place by 2003. [See ACF response below.]

11) Compact for the Future of West Virginia Higher Education: The faculty expressed concern about the language of the seven principles which suggested a completely new philosophy toward higher education (i.e., "Focus on student/client, not institution"). The faculty noted that the tone was demoralizing, appearing "binary" and polarizing in attitude and scope, and tending to separate students from faculty or "them vs. us." Dr. Mullen said that was not his intention. The faculty suggested that the language might be softened and clarified. Dr. Mullen agreed. [See ACF response below.]

12) ACF Representation on the HEPC: Again, the faculty requested representation on the HEPC. Mullen responded that faculty had ample opportunity for input into new policy, that we could offer our alternatives and revisions to all policy issues we questioned. The faculty responded that input was possible only "after policies were determined": the expertise of faculty should be utilized in initiating policy, not just reacting to policies. The faculty, after all, is the "engine that drives the machine" said one ACF member.

13) Function of HEPC and Boards of Governors: Mullen responded to the faculty's comment that the HEPC was a "governing" entity in higher education, not just a "policy commission" [i.e., determining rules and issuing them = "governing"]. Mullen noted that the real "governing boards" for institutions were the various boards of governors: "Curriculum belongs to the Board of Governors, not faculty," he said. Mullen further noted that "for every new program brought forward," there should be an offer "to close one."

14) Matching Institutional Missions to Local Demands for Service: Dr. Mullen said there should be at least a "90% pass rate on all licensure examinations." Institutions that don't achieve this rate will have to face "contraction" of programs, in both scope and level. Some institutions have only four years to face this challenge, he concluded.

ACF Meeting

The following items were discussed by ACF members after the meeting with the Chancellor:

1) Communication: Connie Moore (Fairmont), ACF Chair, again encouraged ACF representatives to communicate with faculty senates and with board of governors. She stressed the importance of ACF reps and board of governors reps being one in the same people and noted that ACF would make that proposal to the legislature. The conclusion was that there must be a strong communication loop for our faculty influence on policy formation and institutional governance to occur in WV higher education.

2) Faculty Merit Pay: Merit pay will consist of at least 60% of faculty raises and will be determined by each institution. Moore distributed information about the excellent two-day merit workshop conducted by Dr. Raoul A. Arreola, University of Tennessee (Developing a Comprehensive Faculty Evaluation System, Anker Publishing, ISBN: 882982-32-0). Arreola's approach is to have departments and divisions (not administrators or faculty senates) develop their own parameters. Individual faculty members determine their own percentage values and areas of evaluative focus each year, which may change from year to year depending on areas of faculty involvement and work. Moore noted that Fairmont faculty, who (as did most institutions in the state) had an unfavorable experience in the last merit debacle, were very impressed with Arreola's approach and were already on the way to developing their plan.

3) Report concerning Supplemental Retirement Vendors: By December 1, 2001, the HEPC will submit a list of alternatives to TIAA-CREF as a retirement vendor.

4) ACF Presentation to HEPC: Jim Nemitz (WV School of Osteopathic Medicine) will develop the report, which will include roles of faculty, diversity of faculty, faculty issues and concerns (shared governance, merit and faculty development issues, tenure and use of adjunct staff issues, retirement and recruitment of faculty). Jim requests our input for this important report in November or December.

5) Principles of the Compact for the Future of West Virginia: Shurbutt suggested several revisions in the Principles, since the Chancellor had opened the door to that possibility in the previous meeting (the revisions are based upon Shepherd Senate recommendations of September 17):
1) bullet #1 will now read: "Focus on the needs of the state--quality of life and economy--to shape the needs of institutions" (scratch "not on the needs of institutions")
2) bullet #2 will now read: "Focus on students/clients" (scratch "not institutions")
3) bullet #4 will now read: "Emphasize maximum efficiency within the constraints of limited student/family and state/taxpayer strategies" (scratch "emphasize doing better at lower cost within the constraints . . ."
4) add a final bullet in the place of "other": "Provide faculty and staff with adequate support and resources necessary to serve the citizens of the State"
The ACF also wished to change bullet #6: "Take a leadership role in developing the capacity of both in-state and out-of-state institutions to serve higher educational needs of WV citizens." These revisions will be forwarded to Chancellor Mullen.

6) October ACF Meeting: Concord College, 2:00 p.m.

Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Shepherd ACF Rep


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