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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » February 6, 2003

Faculty Senate Minutes

2003 No. 583
February 6, 2003

The regular monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order by President Bruce Sorte on February 6, 2003 at 3:04 PM in the LaSells Stewart Center.

Meeting Summary
  • Action Items: Undergraduate Admission Policy Proposals [Motion 03-583-01 through 05]
  • Special Reports: Budget Impacts
  • Discussion Items: Graduate Issues; Student Access Fund; Presidential Search; and Report on National Survey of Student Engagement
  • New Business: None

Roll Call

Members Absent:
Acock, Bogley, Bruce, Butler, J. Coakley, Coblentz, Costello, Daugherty, Davis-White Eyes, DeGeus, Discroll, Filip, Filtz, Franklin, Gomez, Horne, Jennings, Jepson, Jolliff, Jones, Krause, Levine, Mosley, Plant, Pratt, Shaw, Strik, Trehu, Tynon, Weber, and Yim.

Members Absent with Representation:
Boyce, P. Jasleholm; Brooks, J. Moulton; Brown, C. Raunig; Dempsey, N. Dempsey; Ede, V. Tolar Burton; and Schoenholtz, G. Murphy.

Guests Present:
L. Burns, S. Francis, M. Fuller, M. McCambridge, M. Sandlin, and A. Stafford.

Faculty Senate Officers and Staff:
B. Sorte, Senate President; N. Rosenberger, Immediate Past Senate President; R. Iltis, Parliamentarian; Ex-officios: B. Burns, M. Carson, J. Lundy, M. Niess, J. Nishihara, S. Randhawa, and T. White; and V. Nunnemaker, Senate Staff.


Budget Impacts

Mark McCambridge, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Sabah Randhawa, Interim Provost, briefed the Senate on the state of the institution following the failure of Measure 28.

McCambridge reported that the failure of Measure 28 resulted in budget cuts in excess of $9 million. Additionally, lower than projected enrollment increased the OSU reduction. In response to Measure 28 cuts, one-half of the state general fund decrease was dealt with by implementing a tuition surcharge of $157 for both winter and spring quarter. Additional budget eliminations included: $750,000 for classroom enhancement; $1 million toward an operating reserve; $1 million for deferred maintenance; $500,000 for OSU 2007 start-up capital; and $1.8 million in across-the-board cuts to all units were imposed.

The FY 2001-03 cuts to all OSU entities total $31,478,415 to date. The breakdown is $6,291,013 in FY 2001-02 and $25,187,402 in FY 2002-03. These cuts include reductions to the academic programs, the Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension and the Forest Research Lab.

McCambridge felt it was fair to say that the future is not positive. The governor recently told community colleges that there would be no funds for them and they should anticipate significant cuts in their budgets. McCambridge voiced the concern that the same may be applied to higher education, although that has not yet been communicated. It is anticipated that the February state forecast shortfall will be between $100-150 million and the May forecast has been projected to be in the same range. He expects that very shortly state agencies will be dealing with another $300 million cut and expects that to result in another $9-10 million cut for higher education.

Randhawa felt that OSU has done well, given the cuts, and has tried to minimize the impact on students, but that the spring term impact may include class sizes increasing or sections being canceled. He is particularly concerned about the next biennium since PEBB and PERS will result in additional impacts. He also noted that balancing the budget cuts while trying to move forward, particularly with OSU 2007 initiatives, will be a challenge. He felt that although dismal, there is a positive outlook.

A question was asked of Randhawa last month regarding fund raising by the OSU Foundation for Reser Stadium and the Engineering initiative. He explained that fund raising during the first six months totaled $19,671,655. At the March Senate meeting Randhawa will have additional information from the OSU Foundation regarding the Reser Stadium expansion and the Engineering initiative.

Senator Westall, Science, noted that the access mantra has not been heard as much lately. Randhawa responded that access for fall and winter has been good, with the results better than these two terms last year. Spring term will be more difficult, particularly in Science and Liberal Arts, and additional available resources are being sought. Over the last six months $200,000 in funding has been set aside to help students cope with increased costs, especially in financial aid assistance, and the administration is looking for additional funds to assist students with the tuition surcharge.

Senator Moulton, Business, questioned how the access fund was actually being used since it was reported as already being used for the surcharge and now he's hearing that it was used for previous tuition difficulty. McCambridge explained that a $100,000 fund was set up to deal with the 8% increase in the fall. The tuition increase was originally in the 3% range and an additional $100,000 was added when the percentage increased. Some of the fund was spent to meet earlier student needs.

Senator Lundy, IFS, questioned how OSU anticipates handling the next $9-10 million in cuts. McCambridge responded that the intent is not to manage additional cuts through an additional surcharge. Until there is something definite to consider, scenarios will not be developed.

Senator Prucha, Associated, questioned how much of the $19 million raised by the OSU Foundation will be accessible to fill holes in the shortfalls. Randhawa responded that he didn't know, but he will try to have more details available for the March Senate meeting.

Senator Edge, Agricultural Sciences, asked at what point does the University or OUS talk about financial exigency. Randhawa responded that he couldn't answer for OUS, but OSU is not intending to go down the path of financial exigency. Administration is currently looking at how to better reposition the University.


Undergraduate Admission Policy Proposal

Bob Bontrager, Assistant Provost for Enrollment Management, Larry Roper, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Leslie Burns, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and Roy Rathja, Undergraduate Admissions Criteria Issue Group chair, addressed questions related to the proposed Undergraduate Admission Policy.

Two motions were presented: one that asked for approval to begin using the proposed behavioral assessment tool and one that would increase the GPA to 3.25 for automatic admittance:
  1. The OSU Faculty Senate supports changing admission policies effective Fall Term 2004 to implement a three-tiered admissions criteria for high school students with fewer than 36 hours of college-level credit who seek admission to OSU-Corvallis consistent with the Undergraduate Admission Policy Proposal dated January 7, 2003, with an exception that retains the current 3.0 GPA requirement for guaranteed admission. Tier I will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's of 3.0 or higher. Tier II will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's of 2.75 to 2.99. Tier III will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's less than 2.75.

  2. The OSU Faculty Senate supports increasing the GPA requirements effective Fall Term 2004 for high school students with fewer than 36 hours of college-level credit who seek admission to OSU-Corvallis. Tier I will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's of 3.25 or higher. Tier II will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's of 2.75 to 3.24. Tier III will be applied to applicants with high school GPA's less than 2.75.

In opening the discussion regarding the first proposal, Roper indicated that there are other predictors of success that will allow for better decisions to be made regarding potential success and admission, other than what is currently used at OSU.

Senator Bowman, Health & Human Sciences, questioned whether, given the budget constraints, the staff is in place to accomplish the review needed in the first motion. Bontrager acknowledged that additional work will be required that cannot be absorbed within the existing staff. He noted that it would be ideal for faculty to do this work, but recognizes the need to look outside the existing staff to accomplish this work. It is important to have a diverse group representing diverse opinions reviewing the applications. The cost would be $8-10,000 per year.

Senator Selker, Engineering, noted that two measures give additive information, but a third piece not covered is letters of recommendation. He felt that this would have been one of the most insightful sources as well as being less prone to interpretation difficulty and would cost less. He is also concerned about the possibility of gaming the system. He felt the system would be difficult to implement (costly and logistically complicated to evaluate), easily gamed, and didn't see the richest source of information (letters). Bontrager explained that letters of recommendation are not currently required unless one does not meet the regular criteria and needs to go into an appeal process. Based on his experience, he disagreed about the value of letters of recommendation since it is difficult to get useful information in distinguishing among students of varying capabilities. Rathja noted that, in addition to the self-assessment, the proposal also looks at strength of curriculum and cautioned against focusing on the one tool since this particular assessment is one of several in the proposal. Roper indicated they were sensitive to someone else writing for the applicant (gaming).

Senator Melton, Liberal Arts, questioned the analysis of projected numbers in Tiers II and III and the turn-around time for Admissions. Bontrager indicated that there are about 3,000 applicants who would fall into this category, or 3,000 assessments needed. He noted that the process would need to be built so that it would not extend the time required for admissions decisions by more than a few days. There will also need to be an advisory group helping the Admissions staff think through variables.

Senator Landau, Science, indicated he had discussed the proposal with his college and a number of faculty felt put off by the word 'behavioral' and suggested not using this particular word. Also, if the intent was to be as inclusive as possible, he suggested that the word 'church' seemed inappropriate since it seemed to exclude non-Christian beliefs. He also felt that the behavioral assessment seemed to favor religion since three of the six questions used religion as an example. Bontrager felt that these were valid points and that a number of individuals had expressed similar concerns. He also stated that 'behavioral assessment' would be moved away from in favor of something resembling an 'experiential resume.' Bontrager also noted that there is a more recent version of the proposal.

Senator Trujillo, Liberal Arts, noted that standardized measurements are culturally bound. Roper responded that there is a way to train people to interpret the responses in ways to identify the best predictors. He stated that an expert in the field will be coming to OSU to assist in interpreting the responses.

Bridget Burns, ASOSU President, felt that 75 words are not adequate for the written behavioral assessment. She also felt that every applicant should be required to complete the assessment so that some students are not meant to feel different from others. She felt that the proposal was an attempt to limit access and questioned the goal of the policy. Bontrager responded that the goal is to make more fair assessments of student success. Rathja listed the goals: student success, better assessment, enrollment management, and practical implementation. Roper indicated that another goal was to broaden the lens to look at more students.

Senator Ho, Science, asked if the amount of work involved could be estimated. He also asked what would happen if the Senate approved the proposal, but there is no money for implementation. Bontrager stated that the analysis of the cost and time involved was based on the experience of other institutions. He indicated he had received assurances that this proposed change is important enough to the university that the money will be available for implementation.

Senator Freeman, Extension, questioned if Tier III students may be told that they are not eligible to come if classes are full. Bontrager stated that was clearly possible. Although OSU values access, there is a sense of nearing campus capacity. He added that, with tuition increasing, the numbers may take care of the capacity issue. Bontrager felt that, if OSU reaches the point where it's necessary to admit fewer students, this proposal provides a much fairer way of screening students than anything OSU has used previously.

Senator Doescher, Agricultural Sciences, moved to refer the first proposal back to committee; motion seconded.

Senator Lee, Science, would like to see a policy formulated that is responsive to the concerns expressed during the meeting.

Senator Landau called for the question, motion seconded. Motion 03-583-02 to end debate passed by voice vote with no objections. Motion 03-583-01 to refer proposal #1 back to the EC and back to the Faculty Senate in March passed by voice vote with no objections.

Bridget Burns expressed opposition, on behalf of students, to proposal #2 and felt that it would limit student access, disproportionately affect low-income students and would substantially change the look of the campus. She also indicated that students were never consulted about this proposed change. She felt this was a way to impose an enrollment cap and stated that the legislature was not in favor of limiting enrollment. She called for an alternative to the assessment tool.

Senator Murphy, Forestry, had trouble understanding why the increased GPA was necessary and asked what was trying to be achieved. Leslie Burns responded that high school GPA is a key predictor of student retention and success, particularly for students with a GPA of 3.25 or higher. She also mentioned that high school grade inflation raises an additional concern with a predictive value of GPA less than 3.25. When the GPA is below 3.33, multiple indicators are better. Senator Murphy asked to see the study used upon which the information was based; Burns indicated they would try to summarize the report and provide it. Rathja stated that GPA is the best single parameter known today as a predictor, but he added that it is a poor predictor. The addition of SAT scores increases the predictability to about 30%. The remaining 70% includes unmeasurable parameters, such as illness. Bontrager noted that in Tier I, the intensity of high school curriculum is a better predictor than GPA.

Senator Quinn, Engineering, supported the motion and sees it as changing the threshold of automatic admission, taking into account grade inflation, while those with a lower GPA would still be admitted. He felt that it changes the level at which additional factors are considered.

Senator Gonzales-Berry, Liberal Arts, questioned whether it was true that the 3.25 GPA was a factor for some, but not all populations. Bontrager responded that it is a predictor for certain populations, which is why the proposal provides additional avenues for students to be admitted. Leslie Burns added that this is still the best predictor we have, taking into account other aspects of the student.

Senator Sorte, Health & Human Sciences, felt it was the responsibility of the faculty to determine the skill level of students and help them be successful. She was opposed to the motion, felt that students should be involved in the decision, and that it was sending the wrong message for a land-grant institution.

Senator Brooks, Business, noted that while Tier I shrinks, Tier II is broadened and expressed concern about how many additional students would be affected.

Senator Doescher called for the question, motion was seconded. Motion 03-583-04 to end debate passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes.

Senator Lee moved to table the motion with the intention that it comes back with Motion 03-583-01; motion seconded.

Senator Lundy called for the question; motion seconded. Motion 03-583-05 to end debate passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes.

Motion 03-583-03 to table the second proposal and have it come back with Motion 03-583-01 passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes.


Graduate Issues

Due to the lateness of the hour, Jeff McCubbin encouraged Senators to review the material from the Graduate Education Satellite team and forward any comments to OSU 2007. He also noted that, after Senators' review of the materials, he would come back to the Senate for discussion if it were deemed appropriate.

Student Access Fund

President Sorte announced that Kevin Ahern and Shing Ho would be asked to come back in March with a proposal to be voted on that would encourage OSU employees to donate funds to help students offset their tuition surcharges. The draft proposal follows:

Motion to Establish an Emergency Fund for Student Access
(Draft, 2/1/03)

Whereas budget reductions to the Oregon University System resulting from the shortfall in the State of Oregon's November 2002 budget forecast will result in surcharges imposed on student tuition for the Winter and Spring 2003 terms,

Whereas the failure of Measure 28 (to temporarily increase the State of Oregon income tax scheduled rates) will result in additional surcharges to student tuition for the Winter and Spring 2003 terms,

Whereas the sum of these tuition surcharges (estimated to total as much as $199 per student per term for the Winter and Spring 2003 terms) will impose a dramatic and, for many, unexpected financial burden to the students enrolled at OSU,

Whereas the dramatic decline of value in the OSU Foundation's investments have resulted in a significant number of scholarship funds falling below their historic values meaning, consequently, that the Foundation cannot or will not pay out these to the appropriate students, and

Whereas all the above have contributed to an overall reduction in student access to the educational opportunities at Oregon State University

Be it moved that the Faculty Senate sponsor a voluntary Emergency Fund for Student Access (EFSA) in which:
  1. A fund will be established by the Faculty Senate with the OSU Foundation into which members of OSU Faculty and Staff (and other interested parties) can voluntarily contribute to,

  2. Such voluntary contributions can be designated by the contributor to be distributed to specified Departments or Colleges at Oregon State University, which the Departments and Colleges can use as necessary to insure student access, and

  3. That the Faculty Senate will negotiate with the OSU Foundation to reduce or waive the standard Foundation fees for this fund.

Ho indicated that the OSU Foundation is willing to waive their normal fees to accommodate this proposal. He also encouraged the Senate to think about how they wish for the funds to be distributed.

Senators should forward comments to the Executive Committee regarding this proposal.

Presidential Search

Fred Obermiller and Nancy Rosenberger, Presidential Search Committee members, asked Senators to provide advice on attributes in relation to the next OSU President. The head hunting firm, Isaacs and Miller, will consider the identified attributes and create an 8-10 page scoping document that will outline the challenges and opportunities for potential candidates. The following questions were used as a starting point:
  1. What are the primary opportunities and challenges facing a new president that should be considered in evaluating applicants?

  2. What skills, experiences, and traits should the committee look for in a new president?

  3. What advice would you offer the new president? How should he/she approach the position and what should be her/his immediate and long-term priorities?

The suggested attributes included:
  • Importance of an academic background - some agreed, some said it wasn't necessary
  • Need to cast a broad net to find an appropriate person
  • Demonstrated success and experience with financial restructuring
  • Long-term commitment to OSU
  • Familiarity with Oregon or be a quick study (especially in regard to politics)
  • Ability to work with the legislature
  • Drill deeply for ethical core
  • Ability to listen and learn
  • Commitment to land-grant mission; attention to how the land-grant mission is changing
  • Differentiates between business and academic environments; values academics
  • Realistic visionary
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate both externally and internally

The Search Committee has been appointed and is meeting while the Screening Committee is in the process of being appointed. The latter group will assist in winnowing the candidates down to about six.

Report on National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
Rebecca Sanderson will be asked to return in March for a presentation of the results of this survey.


President Sorte's comments included the following:
  • Senators were encouraged to check the website for President Sorte's weekly comments.
  • He noted that he had begun to feel as though Measure 28 may pass, so he was very disappointed when it failed.
  • The Budgets and Fiscal Planning Committee has been asked to take a first shot at determining how much the OSU 2007 recommendations would cost to implement. This group will also look at finding funding solutions without using Education and General funds.
  • The recent tragedy of the space shuttle Columbia reminds one of the need to keep doing what you are doing and demonstrating the same courage exhibited by the astronauts, whether it's during a meeting where citizens are stridently disagreeing with your stand, working with toxics or on offshore projects, stimulating students, or any number of challenging issues.


There was no new business.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:16 PM.

Respectfully submitted:
Vickie Nunnemaker
Faculty Senate Staff