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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » February 5, 1998

Faculty Senate Minutes

1998 No. 535
February 5, 1998
 

For All Faculty
The meeting was called to order at 3:00 pm by President Maggie Niess. There were no corrections to the minutes.


Meeting Summary
– Special Report: Conversation with President Risser
– Committee Report: Ad Hoc Committee on Off-Site Degree Programs, Bob Burton
– Action Items: None
– Old Business: None
– New Business: None


Roll Call

Members Absent With Representation:
Champeau, J. Schindler; Isensee, P. Brown; Jimmerson, K. Murphy; Primak, C. Sproul; and Reed, J. Hino.

Members Absent Without Representation:
Biwan, Cheeke, Coakley, Cowles, Farnsworth, J. Field, Frank, Grunder, Hathaway, Henthorne, Huyer, Jepson, Jones, Kerkvliet, Leong, Mix, Savage, Williams, and Yim.

Faculty Senate Officers/Staff Present:
M. Niess, President; R. Rose, President-Elect; A. Wilcox, Immediate Past President; R. Iltis, Parliamentarian; and V. Nunnemaker, Senate Administrative Assistant.

Guests of the Senate:
R. Born, L. Burns, A. Christie, S. Francis, E. Fritzell, A. Hashimoto, R. Landau, J. Nishihara, C. Pederson, K. Ritenour, and J. Schuster.


COMMITTEE REPORT

Ad-hoc Committee on Off-Site Degree Programs

President Niess explained that the Executive Committee (EC) had given a lot of thought to the Category I proposals tabled in January and to the general direction of off–site degree programs. The EC felt that prior to removing the actions from the table, the academic units needed to provide additional information to Senators to consider. The Deans of the affected units have been requested to provide specific information about: control of the program; specifics about the option(s) offered; faculty agreements for developing and teaching courses in a specific option; program advising; budget information supporting development and teaching; and commitments for offering the courses. Responses to these concerns will be reviewed by the Curriculum Council prior to providing an addendum to the current Category I proposal. Once the information is presented, it will be up to a Senator to remove the items from the table under Old Business.

The EC also considered the need for more information and general conversation about off–site degree programs and what it means for Oregon to be OSU's campus. In response to this concern the EC established an Ad–hoc Committee on Off–Site Degree Programs, co–chaired by Bob Burton and Gordon Matzke. The charge is to support a discussion of the issues, questions and recommendations involving OSU's commitment to off–site degree programs. Monthly reports will be made to the Faculty Senate and an executive summary will be prepared of the discussions, to be presented at the June Faculty Senate meeting.

Bob Burton reported that the ad–hoc committee is beginning to collect questions and encouraged Senators to contact them at: faculty.senate@orst.edu Most questions received so far fall into three categories:
1) program quality – some people have the assumption that the quality of distance programs will be less than on– campus instruction: is it really a correspondence course; don't we need face–to–face human interaction?
2) resources – who pays and what help is available?
3) market – do enough students exist to pay for the programs and make the effort worthwhile?

The committee is in the process of collating and organizing the questions and will next send them to those who can provide answers.


SPECIAL REPORTS

Conversations with the President
OSU President Paul Risser began his discussion by reminding Senators that OSU has historically been underfunded. Of all the institutions in the 11 western states, Oregon is ranked last in per capita funding and starts 32% below the average of other states.

There are major deficits at OSU in Athletics and Information Services due in part to the budget process that has evolved in the units which are expected to responsibly manage their own budgets. This process works if there are adequate reserves to cover a unit that doesn't stay within budget or if good leadership ensures that the budget is adhered to. Unfortunately, due to the effects of Measure 5 and significant underfunding, OSU has very few reserves left and there have been problems with budgets being managed responsibly. Several safeguards have been put in place to avoid these problems in the future: 1) a different accounting procedure has been implemented to track funding in all units; and 2) the President's Cabinet, deans and budget directors now meet quarterly to study the budget and expenditures across the university to determine potential problem areas. In addition, the Presi–dent's Cabinet looks at these figures each month. Risser felt he could guarantee "with absolute certainty" that there will not be surprises such have occurred in the past.

In regard to Athletics, Risser reported that they are now using the same accounting process as the rest of the university, a new business manager will soon be appointed, and all expenditures over $100 are being approved by the Athletic Director. In addition, a new procedure in Athletics calls for a monthly accounting to be provided to the Faculty Senate Budgets & Fiscal Planning Committee (B&FP) chair to track the budget. A committee of three (B&FP chair and two from outside the university who are familiar with accounting, recommended by the Foundation Board) will help Athletics begin to build a zero base budget. He reported that Lee Schroeder has moved permanently from Vice President for Finance and Administration to Athletics. His knowledge of the university will be an asset to the new Athletic Director and to Athletics overall.

Risser felt that Curt Pederson is doing a superb job with the challenges facing Information Services (IS). Erasing the debt means that IS spends less than in the past. He felt that the deficit recovery is on track and can be repaid in three years.

He noted that the colleges of Home Economics and Education and Science will not meet their budgets; admin– istration will work them to build a zero base budget.

He predicted that the university overall will have a positive cash balance at the end of the year, probably about $900,000. Ending the year with a positive balance means that some things will have to be deferred. It is imperative that every account be in compliance with the budget.

Risser stated that the Library has been underfunded for years, which has contributed to it not being afforded ARL (Association of Research Libraries) status. He noted the irony of a $45 million library being constructed, but not enough funding for adequate materials. The Library's obligation of the IS debt is $625,000. He felt that the book budget was a concern to all. The Library is facing a $126,000 reduction, or 4%, of the almost $3 million materials budget. The reduction distribution favored journals over books since journals have been cut in the past.

Senator Oriard, Liberal Arts, noted that the majority of the Athletics deficit has occurred in the last year and ques tioned why, given the new safeguards, they will continue to go further into debt. Risser responded that, although Athletics has been in debt for a long time, the deficit ballooned in the last two years and will continue for one more year. Every area of the budget has seen an increase, including salaries, expenditures, administration, and scholarships which have increased 80% and accounts for a large portion of the budget. He felt there are opportuni ties to cut costs, especially in management, but it will take a long time to cut expenditures, probably 6–7 years to pay down the debt. He noted that Athletics is required to pay interest on their debt, student fees account for about $875,000 of the Athletic budget, and about $2 million comes from the general fund.

Senator Thies, Science, questioned whether there was a commitment to placing an appreciable fraction of the revenue generated from increased enrollment into the teaching of courses since there will be more students to teach. Risser responded that funding will increase next year based on this years enrollment, but he didn't feel that the money should automatically be placed where cuts were made this year due to possible changes in the university direction.

Senator Daley, Agricultural Sciences, felt that the current economic problems are actually political in nature and asked what has and can be done to contact legislators to address this issue. Risser referred to two points: 1) an unacceptable discrepancy between the per capita funding for higher education in other states and the low per capita funding in Oregon; and 2) methods to get Oregon to change its behavior. The legislature can be blamed for the trend up until the last year when OSU lost money due to decreased enrollment. He referenced Governor Kitzhaber's two higher education task forces on access and the economy. The task force on higher education and the economy resulted in recommendations of sweeping changes, including: each institution should be fairly autonomous; each institution should consider its own board; and money shouldn't go back to the central pool. The recommendations spoke only to redistribution of funds rather than to increased funding. OSU drafted a blueprint in response to the recommendations which resulted in a few key points: instead of comparing higher education funding to previous years, it compares higher education funding to other states; each university should have its own board of trustees that understands the needs of individual institutions and can relate to the public at large, and becomes an advocate for the university. The State Board has two committees looking at funding and government structure. Risser will present the blueprint document to the funding committee on February 13. He felt that the governor has made it clear to the Oregon University System that the board needs to make some changes. Risser noted that he wants difficult issues discussed and the need for the campus to come together to talk about the needs that OSU satisfies in the state and the values provided.

Senator Lee, Science, heard that a full–time student generates $8–9,000 revenue and questioned how it's deter mined as to what fraction of that amount follows to where the student is taking courses. Risser referred to a discussion last fall when it was suggested that five things should occur: 1) peer panels look at departments; 2) look at how we offer courses; 3) increase OSU Statewide; 4) look at ways to make research visible to the State; and 5) think carefully about internal money allocations. In the past money has been allocated to deans with little accountability. After discussing the issue with deans, two things are expected to be finished by the end of February: 1) a small group is trying to determine the criteria for allocating money based on productivity; and 2) deans have been asked to think about how the colleges relate to the univer–sity criteria and are there special criteria within different colleges. Risser felt that enrollment clearly should be one of the criteria.

Immediate Past Senate President Wilcox explained that the Faculty Senate has a task force to study the Information Services deficit, which is proving to be a difficult task. He mentioned a previous reference by Curt Pederson that the library may be held accountable for a greater proportion of the payback, at least in the first year, than the percent of the deficit they incurred. Wilcox expressed strong feelings to preserve the library budget, and encouraged looking elsewhere for areas to cut. Risser responded that, since there are no reserves and little room for maneuvering, he felt that the actions being taken are the right things to do. He noted that there should be a $100,000 savings from roof repairs that could be put into books.

In response to Senator Tate, Science, questioning the degree of faculty input in arriving at the five steps referenced earlier, Risser indicated a year was spent talking with people across campus, alumni and the business community.

Senator Oriard, Liberal Arts, expressed the feeling that, in the spirit of inviting faculty and legislators to think about things differently, he encouraged the university community to think about the library and book budget in different ways also. He noted that cuts in the library budget preceded the Information Services deficit. Oriard felt it was appropriate to rethink the library's place in the institution, not just in terms of its budget, but as the center of a research institution. He suggested that the library be made a top fundraising priority for a several year period. Risser felt his sentiment was a good point, and that the budget process will allow for that next year.

Senator Matzke, Science, felt that the university can't wait for the library's long range plan and raised the possibility of removing the library from the Information Services deficit and distribute that portion of the shortfall more widely across the university. Risser responded that that would be done.

Rubin Landau, Physics, expressed concern about each institution creating a Board of Trustees which would facilitate communication and recalled that the State Board was created because the existing communication channels between the legislature and university were not good. He was also concerned about another layer of bureaucracy and that faculty were not being included on the Board of Trustees. Risser felt that a strength of the State Board is that it doesn't advocate for any university, but it also doesn't allow individual universities to articulate values to the State. He acknowledged that another board does mean another layer but he'd rather take the risk of managing our own board and have the benefit of having a board articulate the university to the public. He felt there was a better chance of faculty input to a local board than to the current State Board.

Senator Rose, Forestry, questioned the amount of money needed to get completely debt free. Risser felt it was importation to reiterate that there are four units that aren't towing the line, but the rest are doing a good job. The total debt will be about $14 million on June 30. Mark McCambridge, Vice President for Finance and Administration (Interim), stated that, by the end of the fiscal year, it was believed that the university would be close to $1 million in the plus column.

In response to a comment from the floor, Risser declared that funding is absolutely fair among the institutions in the sense that no university is either advantaged or disadvantaged. He felt that institutions bring harm to themselves by quibbling amongst one another which gives the legislature excuses to withhold funding. Risser's proposal would allow each institution to keep their own resources and generate state resources from a straightforward formula.

Senator Woods, Engineering, questioned the funding formula for colleges such as Pharmacy and Engineering that have higher costs. Risser agreed that there were bonafide differences in educational costs in various areas. He felt that people now realize that the funding formula has to include the cost of education.

Senator Oriard questioned the strategy to deal with the legislature and build support from the business community, given that we're dealing with "two Oregons." Risser stated that the business community is clearly dominated by the Willamette Valley and Portland metro area, although the legislature does have people in key positions from the rural areas. He felt that OSU covers the topical areas of the state since natural resources appeals to the Eastern part of the State and Business, Engineering, Science and Oceanography appeals to the rest of the state. More difficult to overcome is the argument that public institutions need to cut expenditures, state government needs to be cut, and taxes need to be lowered. He made the point that if you look at individual earning power since 1980, only those with bachelors degrees have been able to keep up with inflation.

President Risser feels wonderfully optimistic about where OSU is going and noted there are lots of ways to measure quality: the competitive rate of outside funding ranks 8th in the country compared to state funding which ranks 43rd. The institution has to change and he feels that the university is willing to think about things differently. He feels there is a tangible change in thinking about higher education in the state.


INFORMATION ITEMS

– OSU Policy on Electronic Delivery of Instruction

– Educational Reform Coordinator/PASS Timeline

– Distinguished Service Award


REPORT FROM THE PROVOST

Provost Arnold reported on the following items:

  • Faculty have been involved in the search and interview process for the new Athletic Director.
  • Two of the Board's committees have discussed funding models. He cautioned Senators to understand that this falls under the heading of a public discussion committee and sharing information posed to that committee. Just because it appears in print, doesn't mean that decisions have been made; the process will continue to unfold.

REPORT FROM FACULTY SENATE PRESIDENT

President Niess' report included the following items:

  • During her first month as President, she has been impressed with the willingness of faculty and administrators to work together to get questions out and get answers to begin dialog. She noted the delicate balance of variables operating within higher education; how each variable affects another and creates a ripple effect.
  • She was impressed with the response from those looking at ways to assist the Royal Thai Scholars to remain at OSU.
  • The Athletic Advisory Board met with Lee Schroeder and will arrange a meeting with the new Athletic Director. The Board will continue to ask questions about the Athletic budget and how the deficit will be repaid. They have been assured that academics are very important to athletes.
  • Expect the Information Services Task Force to report at the April Faculty Senate meeting.
  • Input is being received on the Assessment of Teaching Task Force draft report and she encouraged faculty to continue to forward their input.
  • Niess noted that a cost associated with placing lecture notes on the Web is university paper used to print the notes at a rate of $40,000 per year. The Instructional Development and Technology Committee has been asked to collect information and prepare a recommendation for Senate consideration. She urged faculty to contact John Block if they have pertinent information.
  • There is a graduate student sponsored library petition available in the Faculty Senate Office.
  • Since Niess could not find any committee that faculty could provide input to regarding distance learning or extended education, the Ad–Hoc Committee on Off–Site Degree Programs was created. She is asking the Committee on Committees to review the committee structure and Standing Rules to determine if a committee could be reconfigured to allow for two–way communication on this issue.

OLD BUSINESS

Sally Francis, Home Economics & Education, referred to Provost Arnold's comment about faculty input on the Athletic Director search committee and noted that she was actually a member of the screening committee rather than a search committee.

Leslie Burns reported that plans are underway for OSU's new student orientation, Connect '98.


NEW BUSINESS

There was no new business.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:43 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Vickie Nunnemaker
Faculty Senate Administrative Assistant