ALABAMA COUNCIL OF UNIVERSITY FACULTY PRESIDENTSMinutes
Universities represented included: ASU, A&M, Auburn, AUM, JSU, Montevallo, TSU, TSU-M, UA, UAH, UAB, UNA, USA, UWA; TSU-D (absent).
On Friday, March 2, 2001, president Denise Gibbs called the meeting to order at 1:20 P. M. on the campus of the University of Alabama. The first item of discussion focused on the level of shared governance that is practiced on campuses. Robert Fox asked how much input Faculty Senates or Councils have in developing Faculty Handbooks.
Some institutions have handbooks reviewed by the Provost. At the University of Alabama, the handbook is controlled by the Faculty Senate. The Provost may make suggestions, but these suggestions are forwarded to the governance committee of the Senate. Handbook revisions occur every three years. Faculty members work with the administration in formulating handbook changes. The University of Alabama has a faculty governance document on it Faculty Senate web site.
Auburn University reported that it has a faculty governance document located on its Faculty Senate web site. Auburn has a University Senate composed of 91 voting members. Seventy are faculty members. Handbook revisions go through the Faculty Senate and are added periodically to the one on-line document.
West Alabama reported that the Faculty Senate President sits in at the Deans Council meeting, but has no vote. The Senate President may engage in discussion. At the University of Alabama at Huntsville, by-laws limit the amount of time that may pass before responding to suggested changes in the handbook. Troy state reported that there are difficulties having the administration approve changes. Suggested changes are sometimes lost due to changes in the administration and in the faculty leadership.
Most universities reported that presidents serve two-year terms to preserve continuity and follow through; some reported that they have a president-elect office, but that this does not necessarily ensure continuity. Most schools require two years of service and generally limit the terms of Senate President to two terms.
The group discussed the frequency of Senate meeting. Most Faculty Senates meet once a month, but University of Montevallo meets twice monthly.
President Sorenson as Guest
The University of Alabama President Sorenson provided an update on the Montgomery lobby. He discussed student enrollment and academic quality challenges that he addressed upon his arrival to the university. Sorensen suggested that additional funding sources for universities will be external rather than from the state.
President Sorensen proposed that incentives can be developed to support faculty members in becoming grant writers and recipients. At the University of Alabama grants and contracts doubled in a three-year period. Other indicators of increases in productivity included publications in refereed journals.
Other problems that continue to exist in the university arena include the articulation of faculty workload. In reporting the status of ACHE’s creation of student and faculty databases, the student database is complete, but the faculty database is much more difficult to construct.
A central problem related to the faculty database is that the legislature does not know what to do with the information, so the question of design is precipitated and wording of legislation requires changes. One suggestion is to use the Delaware Study to address the intent of the legislature and higher education. Using Delaware’s data, Alabama schools appear as bargains when compared to national peers. Alabama schools may choose their own peer group, research or teaching institutions, for comparisons.
President Gibbs led a general discussion of Montgomery issues. R.T. Floyd of UWA suggested that ACUFP should use electronics to the groups advantage in that letters and form letters could be downloaded from the ACUFP web-site.
Robert Fox made the motion that ACUFP should send an endorsement of the presidents’ position to legislators. The motion was seconded by Diane Porter. The motion received unanimous approval.
Robert Fox made the motion that ACUFP should send a letter for the state to embrace a true solution for problems for state funding of education. Diane Porter seconded the motion which was passed unanimously. Additionally, group members generated several other ideas that indicate support for financial solutions to state funding crises.
Friday’s session was adjourned at 5:15 P. M. President Sorensen hosted a welcoming reception for ACUFP meeting attendees.
The Saturday, March 3, 2001 meeting was called to order by President Denise Gibbs. Minutes of the 2000 meeting were read by Denise Gibbs and Brenda Webb. The minutes were approved as corrected. There were no changes in the treasurer’s report treasurer’s report.
Discussion of ACUFP fees generated several ideas including whether fees should be suspended for institutions considering financial restraints incurred by proration. The consensus of the group indicated that fees will remain the same as established to indicate that withdrawal of fees sends the message that university groups will accommodate insufficient funding.
Denise Gibbs, as president, expressed appreciation to the University of Alabama Senate President Pat Bauch for arranging the spring meeting. Appreciation was expressed for visits by President Sorenson and Provost Barrett. President Gibbs indicated that she would write thank you notes to these people.
Discussion of the resolution passed in November 2000 concerning positions of Governing Boards of Trustees resulted in a motion presented by R.T. Floyd to table discussions to allow the Executive committee to review and make recommendations to the group. The motion was seconded and passed.
General Comments and Action
Discussion continued from the previous day’s session on how to support stable funding for education.
A consensus of the group was to support the principle presented by the Council of University Presidents.
Bob Van Der Velde moved that ACUFP file a friend of the court brief, a common action by groups to articulate positions. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.
Pat Bauch moved that a statement from UA athletic director and coaches to the University president be copied to other athletic departments to encourage a “one voice” approach for funding of higher education. The motion was seconded and approved.
Correction for the ACUFP web page were solicited by R.T. Floyd who also provided general information about the possibilities of communication via the web page.
It was determined that JSU will host the fall 2001 meeting and the University of Alabama at Huntsville will host the spring 2002 meeting.
Bob Van Der Velde shared the perspective that ACHE is not moving forward with its efforts regarding student faculty data in that it doesn’t have the capacity for managing the data.
University reports were given.
The meeting was adjourned.
Brenda H. Webb, secretary
November 9, 2001
Back to ACUFP home