Senator Underwood reported that the BAC plans (5%, 10% and 15%) recommended no termination of permanent faculty, but that instructional budgets would likely need to be reduced under each of these scenarios. She also indicated that the BAC took the recommendations of the Faculty Senate very seriously in their deliberations and resulting plans. Plans for the current fiscal year will be released by the governor’s office in the next week or so, and cuts for the 2010 fiscal year will be released later this year (probably after the General Assembly session). In regard to the 25% cut in departmental operating budgets and the adjustments to the Spring 2009 schedule, Underwood indicated that the BAC had asked the provost and deans to undertake immediate initiatives for cost savings, but that the discretion as to the nature and scope of these savings were left to their discretion.Discussion: Senators asked about a 25% cut in discretionary spending across departments has been implemented that did not come from BAC. This budget cut includes many cancelled courses for Spring 2009. Senators did not know who made that decision. There was confusion about budget decisions in general. Senators requested clarification. Note: After the meeting, the governor announced a 5% cut for CNU for this fiscal year.
Thus, the committee decided to focus on:
Discussion: The committee suggested developing a student and faculty survey to ask how effective reading day is. Questions on the faculty survey should also ask whether faculty (1) believe students should be allowed to walk at graduation if they are missing a small number of credits, and (2) would like to be able to purchase meal plans. This subcommittee examined some of the same issues that objective 1 examined (meal plan and tuition remission and enrollment reciprocity). The two subcommittees to look at this issue will decide which committee should examine each.
President's Report: The SEC met with the provost and president who suggested a task force to examine the CNU curriculum to find efficiencies. President Wheeler met with Provost Padilla after that meeting. President Wheeler made this summary of that meeting. She also stated that provost will respect all contracts through May '09, including restricted faculty. He also wants to continue relationships with long term restricted faculty.
The provost has requested approval of the task force, and a list of names for this committee. The committee would take a provost-provided list of suggested curriculum changes, then revise these and submit them to the provost who will submit them through the course approval process involving UCC, LLC, and Faculty Senate).
The provost would give the committee a list of possible curricular economies as a way to begin the exploration. The committee would then, in broad consultation with faculty, chairs, deans and administration, develop its own list of curricular efficiencies. The committee would then submit their recommendations to the Provost who will take them under advisement. The provost will then build his set of recommendations and submit them through the normal curricular channels, involving the UCC, LLC, and faculty senate, etc., as specified by the handbook.
Discussion: The senate had a vigorous discussion about what should happen. Some senators felt that the university should not go to a 4-3 load if it means increasing class sizes. Some felt that this change should be temporary, not permanent, but the SEC agreed that the provost feels that many of these changes will be permanent. Some senators requested that the committee be provided a list of dollar amounts for all provost suggested curricular modifications. Others pointed out that there is more to this than just dollars. CNU must first provide students with an excellent education. For example, if we eliminate the Engl123 requirement, what kind of students would be graduated? How would increasing class size affect retention if students start to feel that they are "just a number" because of large classes? Would it even be possible to teach larger classes in current classroom buildings? President Wheeler said that the provost is trying to facilitate long-term, coherent careers throughout the faculty’s lives, including a stable course load, and resources for faculty development, including travel, summer funding and sabbaticals. Some senators felt that larger class sizes precluded the kind of faculty lives required for PBK status. Other senators felt that the revenue side should be examined more closely: for example, admitting more students (even if with a lower overall GPA) and increasing tuition. Senators felt that it is important to ask each department about how they would make their courses more efficient.
Senators then suggested broadening the task force in three ways: first, make it a senate subcommittee which will report to the provost instead of a provost's task force. Second, allow the committee to look at university revenue and expenses broadly, not just in the curriculum. Third, make the committee operate in the sunshine to allow maximum ideas and feedback from faculty and from departments. Senators also wanted the task force to report guiding principles with a dollar amount attached to each change they put forth.
With these changes, Duskin/Carlson move to establish a senate academic task force to examine how to respond to the budget crisis. Vote: All in favor. Motion passes.
Meeting adjourned at 6:26.