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Academic Affairs / Provost

Administration 203
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4116

Academic Council Minutes

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3:30 p.m.

U 237A

The Academic Council functions as the primary organizational group for department chairs and deans. The Council functions in an advisory capacity to the Provost/Chief Learning Officer for Academic Affairs. The Council recommends actions to the Provost who either responds or directs the recommendations to the proper person or organization within the university governance structure. These recommendations will indicate the Council's majority opinion on an issue or a call for action. The recommendations will be in writing and will contain the appropriate individual or group to receive the recommendation.

  • Approval of Minutes from October 8th, 2013. Approved unanimously; no abstentions.
  • Discussion Items
  • General Education update - Kathy Leicht, Paul Plummer, and Lisa Runyan.
    • Draft mock-up handout
    • 8 courses are approved, 17 on hold for revisions, 14 still need to be reviewed. Reviewing 5-6 per week.
    • Goal: gen eds finalized by the end of the calendar year
    • To help expedite the process:
      • If you have submitted, check curriculum Website for missing signatures.
      • Create a duplicate course. Once the duplicate is approved, the old one will disappear.
      • Check degree programs to make any changes.
      • Decide if you want to change competency 10
    • IGENs are now part of major, not gen eds. You can use any existing or new course in your program to fulfill the requirement. Committee chair or  Registrar just needs to know what it is.
    • Registrar will make mathematical changes to programs (e.g.  insert free electives if program does not fill the credit hour requirements.) A curriculum revision is only required if you are adding major course requirements.
    • Are you allowed to have a gen ed that has a pre-requisite? Handbook says you are allowed to have courses that require previous knowledge.
    • Looking into getting a FAQs Button for Ged Eds on the Provost page.
  • Department chair Discussions (Dr. Curtis, Deans, and Vice Provosts in attendance)
  • Revisiting P&T guidelines so we can revisit the process for and consequences of faculty evaluations. (Presented by Provost Curtis)
    • Should faculty evaluations align specifically with P&T guidelines?
      • Need to implement assignment letters that outline expectations of the position.
      • Suggestion: use technology to add attachments as faculty complete accomplishments. Reports could be run at any time for an update on faculty member. Most recent Blackboard purchase included some faculty functions. Concern: use technology to replace current workload, not add to the faculty workload.
      • Post tenure review? Campus needs to have that conversation. If no consequences, no one will take seriously. Review not exclusively used for dismissal but for redirection.
      • Need post tenure review policies.
      • Need to look into revising base, merit, and market pay guidelines.
      • Merit pay: like the idea, but budget concerns.  (suggestion: opportunity for one-time bonus every 4-5 years)
      • P&T guidelines need to be changed, not just practices.
    • Annual evaluations by department committee? (pros & cons)
      • Elected committee, chaired by department chair. Committee would be similar to P&T committee. Concerns rose about having 2 committees. Perhaps combine and have only one.
      • Some departments already have similar program (e.g. reviews every year until tenure, submit dossier every year, mentor program)
      • Discuss within the department and report back.
    • Full disclosure? (can a chair share info with a P&T committee about a faculty member that won’t show up in a dossier?)
      • Chair could share the amount of complaints, but not specifics.
      • Confidentiality concerns were raised.
      • Suggestion: one department uses anonymous letters for P&T faculty. Faculty gets 7 days to respond.
      • Chairs would like revised review form.
      • Chair should have the option to justify a faculty member who chooses not to immediately pursue tenure.
    • Should there be a 3rd-year review so that a new faculty member can be informed that they will/will not proceed in the 5-year pre-tenure period?
      • Maybe 1st and 2nd year review stays in department and 3rd year goes to provost.
      • Make expectations observable, specific, clear, and consistent as possible.
      • Dossiers have so much variation. Would like checklist.
      • Legally we need very clear guidelines and must follow them, both at department and college level. Department guidelines should be most specific.
      • Nothing should be a surprise. Faculty need to know well before tenure decision if they are meeting expectations or need improvement.
      • Suggestion: use a point system. Faculty cannot proceed until they accrue minimum points. (concern: misses uniqueness)
      • Teaching, scholarship, and service need more frequent discussion. Not only at P&T, but at least once a year, with faculty members.
      • Reviews need specifics, even if they are negative, for legal reasons.
      • Process needs more objectivity.
    • Mid-semester evaluations for new faculty members?
      • Perhaps use paper-and-pencil student evaluations
  • Dashboard - steering committee met Friday, Oct 11
  • Bring questions to next month’s meeting.

Submitted by Rachel Oglesby