General Faculty meeting discusses shared governance

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | 9:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After planned presentations wrapped up at Wednesday's General Faculty meeting, a discussion concerning the lack of shared governance in the 2012 decision to reorganize MU's Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute took center stage during the comments section.

The conversation revolved around the administrative decision to reorganize the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute without speaking to affected professors beforehand in March 2012.

Chemical engineering professor Galen Suppes put a resolution before the faculty asking for the Nuclear Engineering Program — which means to replace the institute — to be reconstituted.

His proposed resolution also asked that all faculty be appointed to programs "through appropriate reviews and processes."

Nuclear engineering professor Sudarshan Loyalka spoke in favor of the resolution, saying that faculty governance was "violated terribly" by administrators when they decided not to involve faculty in the decision to close the nuclear institute.

Biochemistry professor Frank Schmidt proposed amending the resolution to allow it to be sent to faculty and put to an electronic vote.

Nicole Monnier, associate teaching professor of Russian, opposed the resolution. She said she would prefer to wait for information from the MU Faculty Council's ad hoc committee, which is tasked with piecing together the recent history of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute.

By the time faculty voted on Schmidt's proposed amendment to the resolution, enough faculty had left that there was no longer a quorum. Without a quorum, faculty also couldn't vote on the resolution itself. Although the vote was void, plant sciences professor Bill Wiebold, who also serves on the faculty council, said the council will still try to resolve the issue.

"Even though we can't vote here, I think you can take away at least some victory that it's still an issue in front of Faculty Council," Wiebold said. "And we will try to do our best to resolve this in a way that makes sense to faculty."

Other highlights from the General Faculty meeting:

Faculty Council update

Faculty Council chairman Craig Roberts briefed faculty members on the council's plans for this semester. Topics included:

  • student cultural competence
  • college and division reporting of diversity
  • use of time during the last week of classes and exams period
  • teaching evaluations
  • MU's standing within the Association of American Universities

Roberts said most of the newsworthy issues the faculty council deals with are more spontaneous issues. Recently, those events have included the University of Missouri Press, Renew Mizzou and the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, he said.

Out of a vested interest in the UM Press, the faculty council will be examining financial documents it recently received from the press, Roberts said.

"Faculty council is not attempting to direct the press," he said. "But we stood up for the press and have two representatives on the press advisory committee. So we are going to do this work to the best of our ability, to contribute."

Roberts also addressed faculty's exclusion from decisions made under the Renew Mizzou initiative. Calling the issue "hard to address," he said the faculty council is not a group that "head hunts" administrators, but he hopes faculty will be more included in upcoming decisions regarding spacing and renovation plans on campus.

Addressing revenue concerns, Roberts said low salaries for faculty are "damaging" to the university. A survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors in April showed that, on average, MU professors, associate professors and assistant professors earn less than their counterparts at other public universities with AAU standing.

"It's one thing to go at it in the state and say the University of Missouri is one of the most efficient universities in the United States, and there's so much bang for the buck," Roberts said. "Faculty can feel that bang for the buck. And that's not really a good recruiting tool."

Roberts also addressed:

  • the benefits of multifaceted disciplines
  • Faculty's desire for an open provost search

Campus update

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton talked about changes to MU and the One Mizzou initiative.

Changes included:

  • Expansion in the arts, including the acquisition of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts and the Confucius Institute
  • Growth in MU's international scope
  • New and larger scholarships, including a new $6,500 Chancellor's Award for Missouri high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class and earn a 31 on the ACT or a 1,360 on the SAT. The Curators Award increased to $4,500 from $3,500, and the Mark Twain Nonresident Scholarship increased to a $5,000 to $10,000 award from $2,000 to $5,500.

Deaton said the plan for One Mizzou from 2012 to 2020 will focus on endowments, including developing a $1 million or greater endowment for Mizzou Advantage.

One Mizzou has raised $313.4 million so far, and Deaton said it is raising more money than it is spending — a dollar for every 12 cents it spends. One Mizzou has a 36-member campaign team, and a funding goal has not yet been set.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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