MARCH 22, 2002
I. Call to Order
President Jim Tolhuizen called the meeting to order at 10:01 a.m..
II. President's Business
President Tolhuizen announced that the nomination forms for Faculty Organization offices are due by noon today. Ballots for these offices will go out next week.
As of today, all divisional elections for membership on the new Academic Priorities Committee have been held. The APC will begin work immediately.
The remainder of today's meeting will focus on IUN's Shared Vision. President Tolhuizen called on Chancellor Bergland to begin today's discussion.
III. Chancellor's Business/Shared Vision
Chancellor Bergland asked the chairs of the various Shared Vision task forces to present updates on their activities, outcomes, and benefits. The presentations were made and then the floor was opened for discussion. A lively dialogue ensued. Below are representative questions and comments offered by the faculty and Chancellor Bergland's responses.
Comment: We want to understand the chancellor's commitment to academic excellence, defined as traditional academics in a university, that is, solid research and teaching. It appears to be missing from the Vision process. Very little has been accomplished over the previous 2.50 years regarding academic excellence. Most of today's presentations are about outreach, rather than scholarship and teaching.
Chancellor's response: We all feel strongly about the importance of academic excellence. We would like to hear initiatives from the faculty. Please let me know what you want to see.
Comment: What happened to creating a Faculty Learning Center? It has been discussed for years but nothing has been done. Do we have a place and equipment for faculty to use? Interaction between such a center and the faculty would be a desirable goal.
Vice Chancellor Helm's response: Professor Charlotte Reed has begun planning and getting the office up and running. Things will begin to happen this fall.
Vice Chancellor Steward's response: We don't have a space yet, but we will soon, and we would like to hear faculty's suggestions on that issue.
Comment: Most of the Shared Vision is ancillary to our lives. The Areas of Excellence are the exception, yet they appear to lack progress in terms of academics.
Chancellor's response: I accept the responsibility for slowing down the work on the areas of excellence, for I wanted to put them into something broader that IUN can pursue to assist our region.
Comment: Academic excellence means funding key positions and keeping strong programs alive. One of our programs is suffering from position losses. How can that be called academic excellence?
Chancellor's response: We cannot do everything, we just don't have the resources. We will have to fund some programs and not fund others. The Academic Priorities Committee will make those decisions this summer. They will be tough decisions, they have to be, if we are serious about academic excellence.
Comment: We see many students unprepared for college work. We may have to be more stringent on admissions.
Chancellor's response: This fall, students that cannot read and write at the appropriate level will not be able to start their college careers here, unless they improve by going through programs to raise their skills. Students must be competent to come here.
Comment: We don't respect different points of view, for example, in the environmental center and in the Glen Park efforts. We need to make a conscious effort to hear different points of view.
Chancellor's response: Then please make proposals and tell us what you want to see.
Comment: We came up with proposals for cultural discovery, but we haven't done anything with them, due to lack of funds. If we don't have money for positions, how can we fund Shared Vision proposals?
Comment: We need to attract new faculty to campus, to replace the many retirements coming up.
Comment: We had problems with enrollment and funding two years ago, and all we have now are the Vision efforts, which are paltry. We have lost all this time. What have we done in two years to address the nine undergraduate principles?
Comment: Some proposals we have made do not require all that much funding. We could pursue them in the next year or so.
Chancellor's response: The movement of our campus is multi-dimensional. We are trying to address a number of issues at the same time. If one does not like what we have done so far, then where do we go?
Comment: A suggestion to reach academic excellence centers on recruiting. We should begin recruiting early for the critical positions. Why haven't we done this?
Chancellor's response: We should have, but we didn't. We will, however, with the new Academic Priorities Committee.
Comment: The University Park plan is a concrete benefit of the Vision process. The chancellor should be commended for forward-thinking.
Comment: We need to raise salaries for adjuncts. We're losing them and they are a big part of academic excellence.
Vice Chancellor Vasquez's response: The salaries are low, but they have gone up somewhat.
Comment: Resources are low, and money is needed. Where is the external funding?
Vice Chancellor Lorber's response: It takes about three to five years for external funding efforts to make significant returns. We have had to make some adjustments to past efforts, and those have been completed, so that we can now concentrate on new initiatives.
Final comment: Where are we with respect to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position?
Chancellor's response: We will have an interim vice chancellor. An internal search will begin next week, with a goal to get recommendations by the end of April. Then, we will begin discussions for a permanent vice chancellor.
There being no further business, the Faculty Organization meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m..
Stephen G. McShane