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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » January 20 - January 25, 2003

Faculty Senate President's Message



Faculty Senators

Bruce Sorte

Faculty Senate Summary
January 20 - 25, 2003

Good to see the University Budget Committee has been appointed and met. We have a number of academic and professional faculty members on the committee. They will review the Budget Reconciliation Model and consider all the recommendations that have been made to improve it. There are certainly ways to improve the Model, however, it will be tough for the Committee members to sort between the need to change the model to increase its recognition of faculty effort (e.g. scholarship or the centers) and a desire to mitigate reductions to specific units. With the maximum budget swing that can be driven by the Model at 4.5% per year, this will be the year that our resolve to move away from an historically based budget to a productivity based budget will be tested. It is often possible to accommodate a 4.5% reduction, however when it is more than doubled through compounding, structural changes may be required.

Faculty members have been suggesting ways to assist students, with tuition surcharges. It is a difficult question as to whether the Faculty Senate should endorse and publicize a fund raising effort on campus to offset surcharges or should the Senate sponsor and help organize it. I have been working with the interested faculty members and asking people in the Development Office and Foundation to suggest a couple of approaches that might encourage faculty to contribute to a fund for undergraduate and graduate students. John Morris did a lot of fine work to faculty to donate their "kickers", a few years back. This would be a similar type of effort asking faculty to donate all or part of their raise for a month or more.

The administrative offices and the Foundation are now referring any calls about the anti-war resolution to me. On the whole, the alums have expressed strong feelings; yet, seek out the reasons we considered the motion. Some faculty members have done the same, however, it has been interesting that some faculty members have been more willing than the general public to jump to conclusions without a careful discussion with me about the process and the issue. As I have mentioned previously, we rarely deliberate these types of issues so we are not very experienced at how to go about it. When I was considering land use appeals on the City Council, the Council members were regularly reminded by legal and administrative staff that the deliberation and a careful discussion of our reasons was very important to help everyone understand the decision.

I have been asking faculty members and alums/contributors who have experience working with the Faculty Senate and/or other legislative bodies to consider how we might think about what types of issues we discuss without running all over the top of academic freedom and the freedom of the Faculty Senate to consider issues that are very important to it. This is probably another dangerous topic, still, to avoid the discussion may be missing an opportunity to bring people who care about OSU and global issues closer together rather than driving them apart. I will keep you updated on these conversations and would appreciate your thoughts.

The Committee's remain hard at work. Budgets & Fiscal Planning has just completed a rough estimate of the costs and savings of the OSU-2007 initiatives, the only comprehensive estimate of which I am aware. My hat is off to Walt Loveland (chair), Kim Calvery, and Munisamy Gopinath for taking very seriously a routine request from me and making a significant contribution to 2007.

Friday, I spoke at a press conference on behalf of the faculty to describe some of the potential impacts of Measure 28 failing. In the first place, whenever I have worked with the media in the past, they asked questions and I tried to frankly and personally answer them. In this case, each person needed to do a presentation and the one reporter and one photographer that attended took notes, which caught me a bit unprepared. Tim White, Bridget Burns and Patti Mulder described personal and professional reasons for supporting Measure 28. I was impressed and wished reporters from other media were there. I tried to tell stories of the types of services that might be lost or the quality that might be sacrificed with budget reductions. The stories covered instruction, research and service. They included determining the safety of a ship's hold full of fish where the refrigeration had failed (Astoria), estimating the impacts of the Klamath drought, and what it means if professors can really engage students on issues like the ethics surrounding a profit and loss statement, prioritizing requests that exceed the capacity of an agency like child protective services, and working with government agencies that are deciding how to upgrade bridges at the lowest possible cost without sacrificing safety.

We will be out to you this week with some questions to think about for the presidential search process. Remember, if you are unable to attend next week's Faculty Senate meeting, now would be a good time to find a proxy. Contact the Faculty Senate Office ( if you are unsure of who is eligible to be your proxy since there may be multiple apportionment units within the same department. If you have any motions that you are considering, we would appreciate as much advance notice as possible. Thanks,