American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the spring meeting, Saturday, April 26, 2008
1. In most cases the Kansas Conference meets on Saturdays, usually in October and April each year, but this year there was a pre-conference presentation on Friday afternoon, April 25, from 3:00 until 5:00, in the Sunflower Room of Rhatigan Student Center.
2. The pre-Conference presentation was by Provost Gary Miller, of WSU, who addressed the issue of Shared Governance. A written copy of his presentation can be found on the AAUP Kansas Conference website at http://www.aaup-in-ks.org/reports/. Below is a summary of a few of the points made by Dr. Miller.
- He believes that good decision making at a university must include faculty input and shared governance.
- He said that he agreed that students are not customers and that the corporate model is not the appropriate model for a university. However, he also said that the university administration does work on the corporate model. The president is the CEO and he/she is the only person on the campus with fiduciary responsibility to the governing board. He also said that he thought that the department heads (chairs?) should be selected by the deans and not chosen by the department faculty. He claimed that this “works” better, but he did not explain what working better means in this context.
- Dr. Miller said that there were three barriers to good shared governance.
- Faculty misunderstand the complexity of the university - including such things as government regulations and complicated-dynamic budgetary matters.
- The Faculty Senate, the faculty's shared governance organization, is often too rules-bound and cumbersome.
- And, similar to 2, the faculty senate is often too slow to respond in a timely manner on matters that need a timely response.
1. The official meeting of the fall conference was convened on Saturday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. at Wichita State University (WSU) in the Great Plains room of the Rhatigan Student Center. We received a welcome to the campus by JoLynne Campbell president of the WSU-AAUP Chapter.
2. At 10:45 we had a presentation by Dr. Elmer Hoyer on "Shared Governance: What does this mean, is it a reality?" A written copy of his presentation can be found on the AAUP Kansas Conference website at http://www.aaup-in-ks.org/reports/. Below is a summary of a few of the points made by Dr. Hoyer.
3. Dr. Hoyer reminded us that there will be no academic freedom at universities unless there is shared governance. The relationship of faculty governance to academic freedom has long standing in the AAUP and these two tenets are the two most central tenets of the AAUP. The fundamental principles describing the proper role of faculty in institutional governance were set forth in a 1966 statement that was formulated by the AAUP, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). This statement clearly indicates the intent that the governance of the institution is a shared effort between the faculty and the administration as well as the governing boards. There seemed to be a consensus that the department faculty selecting the department chairs is a key element in shared governance.
4. A question and answer period was scheduled for 11:30, but Dr. Hoyer's presentation was informal and discussion on various topics were masterfully integrated into his presentation. Around 12:00 box lunches were brought into the room and, for some reason, the enthusiasm for discussion began to wane.
Business Meeting (Saturday afternoon)
1. The minutes of the fall meeting (November, 2007) have been available on line at the Kansas Conference website for a number of months. Elmer Hoyer (WSU) offered a motion that the minutes be accepted, it was seconded and the motion passed.
2. The treasurer's report was distributed to the members present. After the treasurer briefly explained the report, Jon Scheinman (KUMC) moved that the report be accepted as presented, the motion was seconded, and it passed.
3. Elmer Hoyer (WSU), Committee A chair, reported on Kansas Conference Committee A (KCCA) activities since our last conference meeting. Regarding a particular recent case, he discussed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and various procedures and protocols relating to filing a case involving discrimination or retaliation.
Information on Kansas Conference Committee A (KCCA) activity can be found at the website http://aaup-in-ks.org/Committee_A/.
4. Next item of business was to discuss our delegates to the AAUP 93rd Annual Meeting to be held in June, 2008, in Washington, DC. At our fall meeting we elected four delegates: Donna Potts (KSU), Rob Catlett (ESU), Chuck Moore (KSU) and John Scheinman (KUMC). At the fall meeting we agreed to send two representatives to the AAUP Summer Institute to be held in July 2008 in Rhode Island. Rob Catlett, Jon Scheinman and Debbie Gorden expressed an interest in the Summer Institute and it is likely that Donna Potts and Chuck Moore will represent us at the AAUP Annual Meeting in DC. Rob Catlett (ESU) will contact Eizzie Smith of National AAUP to see if we can get financial assistance for our attendees at the Summer Institute.
5. It was time once again for the election of a president-elect of the Kansas Conference. This is a 2-year obligation with the individual serving as the president-elect the first year and as the president the following year. After a lengthy discussion Jon Scheinman was nominated and then Mel Kahn (WSU) moved the nominations cease. The motion was seconded and the vote was unanimously in favor. Congratulations to Jon.
6. It was decided that the Fall, 2008 meeting of the Kansas Conference would be held at either KSU-Salina or KSU. Later, the Kansas Conference Executive Committee will finalize the place and time and topic.
7. The final item on the agenda was Chapter Reports. See our Kansas Conference Newsletter for details regarding chapter activities. But, there are two reports that need to be mentioned as items of business.
- One was the discussion by Jon Scheinman regarding the KUMC Faculty Handbook. The KUMC Faculty Assembly “Faculty Concerns Committee” had made a number of recommendations to alter perceived deficiencies in the handbook. Jon led us through each of these and then it was moved by Bill Scott (KU) that we approve, in principle, the recommendations of the Faculty Concerns Committee. The motion was seconded and the vote was unanimously in favor.
- The other item was a motion to take action to get chapter officers at KU that are actually members of National AAUP. A motion by Debbie Gordon gave the Kansas Conference president, Rob Catlett, the authority to send e-mails and/or have meetings as necessary to accomplish the above. The motion was seconded and it carried unanimously except for one abstention.
8. The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
Rich Hughen (FHSU)