The regular monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order on April 8, 1999, at 3:03 PM, in the Valley Football Center by President Kenneth Williamson. There were no corrections to the minutes of March 1999.
– Action Items: Approval of OSBHE Faculty nominees; Proposed Award, and Transit Resolution [Motion 99–547–01 through 03]
– Discussion Item: Education Reform
– Special Reports: University Honors College and Legislative Update
– New Business: None
Members Absent Without Representation:
Arp, Azarenko, Barth, Bird, Biwan, Bliss, Breen, Burt, Bushnell, Cornell, K. Daniels, S. Daniels, Doescher, Downing, Esbensen, Farber, J. Field, K. Field, Fisk, Frank, Franklin, Gamroth, Green, Gregerson, Hathaway, Henthorne, Huyer, Jepson, Jones, Kerkvliet, Krause, Lajtha, J. Lee, Lomax, Marks, Moore, Morris, Plant, Proteau, Prucha, Righetti, Rosenberger, Rossignol, Sayre, Strik, Tesch, Trehu, White, and Yamada.
Faculty Senate Officers, Ex-Officios and Staff Present:
K. Williamson, President; G. Matzke, President-Elect; M. Niess, Immediate Past President; R. Iltis, Parliamentarian; and V. Nunnemaker, Senate Administrative Assistant.
Guests of the Senate:
G. Beach, L. Connolly, S. Francis, C. Graham, A. Hashimoto, J. Hieb, D. Johnson, K. McCann, and D. Visiko.
Williamson noted that the legislation specifically states that this position be filled by a faculty member. However, there is opposition by the governor's and chancellor's staff who prefer an emeritus faculty member since they feel that an active faculty member would result in a conflict of interest.
OSU Award for Excellence in Service
Laura Connolly, Faculty Recognition and Awards Chair, requested approval of the criteria for a new award and requested permission to open a foundation account to fund the award.
Connolly explained that the award was initially proposed in 1995-96, but wasn't brought forward for approval since funding was not identified. The proposed award is geared toward non-teaching Professional Faculty which is a category that is currently not recognized during University Day. The criteria follow:
The Faculty Recognition and Awards Committee will consider the following evaluation criteria:
Senator Tiedeman suggested adding ‘Professional Faculty’ to the award title; Connolly accepted on behalf of the committee.
A friendly amendment to drop the word ‘wide’ in the fourth bullet was accepted.
Senator Sorte, Agricultural Sciences, moved to accept the criteria and open a foundation account; motion seconded. Motion 99-547-02 to approve the award criteria and foundation account passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes.
Senator Cornell, Liberal Arts, presented the following resolution in support of the Corvallis Transit drivers:
WHEREAS, Accepting this benefit, even if unused, confers upon faculty a moral responsibility to ensure that city transit workers receive adequate wages and benefits for their service;
WHEREAS, Under the current contract, city transit workers earn considerably less than the prevailing wage for the region, and are among the lowest paid in the state of Oregon; therefore, be it
Resolved, that the Faculty Senate supports the efforts of City Transit Workers in their campaign for a living wage.
Cornell explained that this resolution applied only to transit workers and not to school bus drivers, although they are both employed by Laidlaw. OSU currently pays $20,000 to Laidlaw for bus services in addition to between $50,000 and $60,000 that is paid by student fees. She felt that failure to take sides in the dispute would be perceived as acquiescence. The starting wage for Corvallis bus drivers is $6.65 per hour, which is the lowest in the region and well below what is considered a living wage. She also noted that direct negotiation with Laidlaw has failed, and felt that an expression of support for the drivers by the Faculty Senate would help to influence the City to reconsider taking a more active role in the negotiations. Cornell noted that the contract is quite profitable and felt that Laidlaw could finance a pay increase for drivers.
Senator Longerbeam, Student Affairs, felt that the resolution should be more comprehensive since there are also probably OSU employees who only earn the minimum wage. Cornell indicated she would be willing to bring forward another resolution that addresses the larger issue of minimum wages as opposed to living wages, but felt the proposed resolution should be addressed separately because of its immediacy.
George Curtain, union representative for the bus drivers, responded to a question from the floor regarding staffing. He indicated there were 12 full-time and two split-shift employees who drove city buses. Curtain also explained that city and school bus drivers belong to one union, but that the contracts are separate since one is with the City and one is with the school district.
Senator Daley, Agricultural Sciences, moved to approve the resolution; motion seconded.
Senator Burton, Science, supports the transit workers but opposes the resolution because he felt it is too political an issue and felt it was inappropriate for the Senate to consider. In response, Senator Cornell felt that faculty should take a stand on issues that directly affect the university community.
Senator Carson, Liberal Arts, felt the resolution was entirely appropriate and spoke in support of it.
Motion 99-547-03 to approve the transit resolution passed by voice vote with many dissenting votes.
Robby Robson, Education Reform Coordinator, provided a status report of the state-mandated transition to a proficiency-based admission standard system.
He noted that 49 of the 50 states are involved in standards-based education reform at the K-12 level which will result in an increase in the complexity and type of information provided by potential students. The information will speak to students' achievements and preparedness in individual areas as opposed to an overall grade point average.
Robson explained that, by 2005, OUS policy requires students to demonstrate proficiency in six content areas broken up into 33 different proficiencies. The content areas are: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Second Languages and Visual and Performing Arts.
The framework being considered would essentially equate the decision to admit a student to a commitment to provide a student with an appropriate program. The current admission policy is to admit any student who demonstrates evidence that they can succeed in the system. The difference between the current and proposed policy is the kind of evidence on which the decision will be based.
Senator Landau, Science, was impressed with the standards, but wondered if they weren't too rigorous. He felt it was premature to judge until there is an opportunity to see how the exams are structured and how well students do.
Senator Wrolstad, Agricultural Sciences, questioned whether the SAT and GPA would be phased out. Robson responded that the SAT is required for admission and that the GPA will be phased out for students graduating from Oregon high schools.
University Honors College
Joe Hendricks, University Honors College Dean, updated the Senate on the enrollment and activities in the University Honors College.
He explained that the College opened in 1995 with 225 students and the trend has been to double the applications each year. OSU is one of about 12 institutions in the country that offer a distinctive honors degree. He acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the support and coursework provided by teaching faculty.
Applicants are evaluated on GPA and SAT scores and three essay questions. The average GPA is 3.96 and the average SAT is over 1300. For fall 1999, there were 895 applications for 125 slots in each cohort; admission was offered to 292 with 83 alternates identified.
There were 188 freshman admitted in 1998 with 22% consisting of underrepresented minorities, 54% females and 89% were Oregonians. Current distribution by college is as follows: Engineering - 36%; Science - 27%; Liberal Arts - 13%; Agricultural Sciences - 8%; Business - 5%; UESP - 4%; Pharmacy, Health & Human Performance and Home Economics and Education - 2%; and Forestry 1%. Although not all colleges are currently offering courses, it is anticipated that all colleges will offer courses beginning fall 1999.
Activities of the Honors College include sponsoring keynote speakers, such as Julian Bond and Sally Ride, and having the student newspaper place first in a nation-wide competition of honors college newsletters.
President-Elect Matzke questioned the available budget given the number of students. Hendricks re-sponded that, to serve students, visiting faculty positions have been cannibalized and reduced from four to one; the money that would have gone toward a 1999 keynote speaker will be used (negotiations with Madeleine Albright were unsuccessful); and there is a minor allocation from the Emergency Board.
Kevin McCann, Community & Government Relations Director, provided an update on higher education funding.
He reminded Senators that they could not endorse measures or candidates during their personal time and wasn't sure how the Senate could justify personal time if these issues came up on the floor.
The higher education funding rally held March 31 was deemed a success and was the biggest rally this session; the crowd was estimated at 2,000. The Republican leadership in both the House and Senate were very pleased with the rally and have moved the higher ed Ways and Means hearings up several weeks. The Governor put $73 million above continuing service level increases in the higher ed budget, but the Senate Republicans want an additional $100 million. McCann expects higher education funding to be funded significantly higher than current levels. Final funding decisions hinge on K-12 funding levels.
McCann feels that OSU funding is positioned well for the state-wide public service programs: Agricultural Research, Forest Research and Extension.
Joe Hendricks, University Honors College, questioned the possibility of using tobacco settlement monies for funding higher ed. McCann wasn't sure if that was possible and Senator Lunch indicated that the governor's staff sounds skeptical about that approach.
The joint meeting of IFS, AOF and AAUP will be held May 8 in the CH2M Hill Alumni Center between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM.
Senator Wrolstad felt that if graduate students had been treated more fairly in the areas of insurance and health benefits, the union vote may not have been forced.
There was no new business.
Meeting was adjourned at 5:15 PM.
Faculty Senate Administrative Assistant