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Faculty Senate » January 13 - January 18, 2003

Faculty Senate President's Message



Faculty Senators

Bruce Sorte

Faculty Senate Summary
January 13 - 18, 2003

We continued to get comments on the war resolution passed at the January Faculty Senate meeting. They did not oppose the resolution, however, a number of folks felt the deliberation was orchestrated through placement on the agenda and short discussion. It was not wired, my preference would have been for postponement and Robert laid out the alternatives carefully. We normally do new business at the end of the meeting because it is typically carried over to the next meeting. In addition, we had a full agenda with items (e.g. legislative, 2007, and admission criteria) that were also time sensitive. I have discussed the resolution with a number of reporters stressing we rarely consider these types of issues and I think a sense of the Faculty Senate is appropriate for issues of this magnitude and to which we may contribute. We just need to try to have more time and, if necessary, a special session or forum.

More budget cuts may be on their way and greater than just the impacts, if Measure 28 fails. The Governor and Legislature seem to be planning to avoid cuts to prisons and possibly the State Patrol and lessening impacts to K-12. That would mean greater cuts to the other agencies. If the spring economic/revenue forecasts predict less revenue, more cuts would be necessary. Within the next month, we may need to review a number of proposals to save funds for the rest of the year; you can help by responding quickly with pros and cons and communicating with your constituents.

Sabah Randhawa and Bob Bontrager had planned to take new admission procedures/criteria to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education this month and agreed to wait until next month to give us time to deliberate at our February 6th meeting. The assessment approach seems to have strong support, yet, good suggestions for improvement have been provided by Senators after the last meeting. The main question, which ASOSU opposes, is the increase of the GPA requirement for automatic admission from 3.0 to 3.25. UofO has gone to 3.25 and PSU has moved to 3.0. The students are concerned that the increase may be perceived as a backdoor way of capping admissions. Sabah has indicated that is not the purpose. The purpose is to admit students who are well prepared and who are more likely to be retained. This year OSU admitted fewer freshmen than last year. As I travel the state doing economic research, particularly in rural areas, OSU is often perceived as Oregon's university. I am concerned how raising the GPA may affect that view. The assessment process does provide lots of flexibility to admit students with lower GPA's, however, I have not seen an institution or state do an effective job of getting those types of procedures out in front of the GPA criteria. Please study the materials, consult with your colleagues, send questions to me prior to February 6th, and come ready to spend some time on the issue.

We continue to work on the Faculty Consultative Group Procedures that are used when a program/department is closed or redirected and Nancy Rosenberger is coordinating the process for the Executive Committee (EC). We hope to have a revised procedure that provides faculty as much advance notice and opportunity to comment on reorganization as possible, before the Legislature finishes the 2003/2005 budget. Even if the tax measure passes, the State will probably have a 10% budget shortfall.

Christian Stehr, chair of the Faculty Recognition and Awards, has worked with the committee and Vickie to try to streamline the nomination process for this year. The committee has developed a form that is specific to each award and will ask for fewer letters from colleagues and students. The EC has approved the process.

I have been enjoying and feeling particularly productive when I have met with committee chairs to plan this year's activities. We have 29 standing committees and task groups. These committees and their chairs are always able to discuss two or three initiatives on which they would like to work. We consider how the FS, EC or I can move those initiatives forward. I also try to ask them to help with one or two institution-wide issues and coordinate their efforts with one or two committees. As examples; the Budgets & Fiscal Planning Committee is just finishing a rough estimate of the costs and benefits of the 2007 initiatives, the Faculty Mediation and Faculty Grievance Committees are working on a short white-paper on collegiality and then will discuss their services with the Provost's Council and other groups, and the Distance Education Committee is working with the OSU Extended Campus to review a business plan that makes continuous progress towards a self-sustaining program and to develop an intellectual property proposal for distance education classes that recognizes faculty members' proprietary interests in the courses they develop, after offering the course some set number of times.

I still have early morning coffees available to discuss issues with individuals or groups. Let Vickie or me know (7-4344) if you have an issue that deserves some attention.  
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