University of Iowa
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Penn State Room, 337 IMU

Councilors Present: Linda Boyle, Gloria Bulechek, Christine Catney, Michael Cohen, Donna D’Alessandro, Virginia Dominguez, David Drake, Steve McGuire, Frank Mitros, Michael O’Hara, Catherine Ringen, Jarjisu Sa-Aadu, Downing Thomas, Brad Thompson, and James Tomkovicz

Excused: Vicki Grassian, Paul Heidger, Linda Snetselaar, and Jerold Woodhead

Officers Present:  Sheldon Kurtz; President, Victoria Sharp; Vice President, and Jennifer Glass; Secretary

Officers Absent:  Richard LeBlond; Past President

Guests:  Francois Abboud (COM/UI Presidential Search), Marc Armstrong (CLAS), Steve Collins (Faculty Senate/CSCAO*), Pat Cain (Vice Provost), Jeffrey Cox (History/ CSCAO*), Charlie Drum (University Relations), Barbara Eckstein (CSCAO*), Mary Greer (Staff Council), Diane Heldt (Cedar Rapids Gazette), Patricia Kelley (Emeritus Faculty), Matt Nelson (The Daily Iowan), Margaret Raymond (College of Law/CSCAO*), Lynn Richman (CSCAO*), and Katherine Tachau; History Department/UI Presidential Search

* = Committee on the Selection of Central Academic Officials

I.  Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 3:33 pm

II.  Approvals

   A.   Meeting Agenda—

President Kurtz asked to shift the order of agenda items and to limit the time spent so that he could discuss the strategic assessment process and enter into a closed session to discuss the status of the presidential search. He asked that the student group present first. 

Professor O’Hara moved; seconded by Professor Ringen; the motion carried.

   B.   Faculty Council Minutes, October 3, 2006

Professor Cohen moved that the minutes be approved with the fuller and clarified comments made by Professor Steven Collins immediately before the Executive Session.  The motion was carried by a voice vote.

   C.   Reports

  1. Student Resolution to Support Early Textbook Adoption Proposal, 

Peter McElligott (President, UISG), Addison Stark (Vice President, UISG), and Pamela Brande (Academic Affairs Committee, Student Services Committee

The three students were introduced.  Pam Brande addressed the issue of early availability of textbooks in need of modification.  The process currently takes up to eight weeks for a book to be modified from the general text into a format suitable for visual or other impairment, making it impossible to use the main text in a timely way.  She said students have been left without books until midterms.  In the interest of the education for which they are paying, the students are asking to set deadlines for receipt of materials in a timely way in order to make the process more efficient.

Ms. Brande suggested deadlines as follows:  Receipt of materials in May or June for the Fall semester and in October to allow two months necessary for the Spring semester. The final deadline would be in  April for summer classes. The students said they are ready and willing to work with departments or colleges to make this happen, but wanted Faculty Council input.

Professor Ringen asked about course packs that faculty rely on.  She thought some would have difficulty preparing them in advance.

Ms. Brande confirmed the capability to convert course packs as well.

She was unsure whether publishers have the capability to convert text and said it was done locally. 

Mr. McElligott confirmed that the UISG had already discussed this with Interim President Fethke and Dean Phillip Jones.  

Vice President Sharp said she would take the issue to the CIC Faculty Governance meeting at Penn State to inquire what the other schools do. Perhaps there will be a pre-existing program the UI could tap into.

Ms. Brande said that was definitely something they would like to look into, but she was more concerned that something be done now to get students their textbooks as soon as possible.

Professor Dominguez asked why it takes so long and if more staff would help.  Ms. Brande said that getting permission from the publisher, more than the conversion itself, is what delayed the process. She said there was insufficient staff to move this along any faster.  Professor Dominguez said her concern was that for a great many people in CLAS, especially those teaching above the lowest introductory classes, which are not always offered on a regular basis, the work cycle is such that they are unlikely to have texts available in May for the Fall.  She wondered if a compromise might be sought. Professor Bulechek said it typically takes up to six weeks to get publishers’ permission. Ms. Brande said students would be willing to compromise. 

Pete McElligott has spoken with Marcella David, EOD, and Dau-Shen Ju, Student Disability Services, about the legality of not having books available to students in a timely way.

Professor Ringen suggested trying to arrange blanket approval from publishers, instead of having to apply for it every time which should save some time. She added that many publishers will not provide an exam copy that far out; they have their own schedule for examination copies.  Ms. Brande said that if the student buys the regular copy at the same time as the rest of the student body, this is the point at which conversion begins, not before.   

Professor McGuire was optimistic that the majority of faculty would be willing and able to work within a reasonable time frame. Mr. McElligott said they did not expect miracles overnight, but emphasized that they were trying to help the students. Professor McGuire suggested working with individual colleges and deans to help spread the word.

Professor O’Hara agreed that setting a standard to make it easy for the university to make these materials available to students makes sense.  McGuire said if you identify the date, faculty will endeavor to comply; over time it will gain momentum.

Professor Cohen moved; Professor Ringen seconded, to support of the UISG resolution to accept an early textbook adoption proposal.  The motion was passed unanimously.  This item will go forth to the Faculty Senate. 

   D.   Draft Faculty Senate agenda, November 28, 2006    

The draft agenda was approved

III.  Reports

   A.   Faculty Senate President, Sheldon Kurtz

  • Strategic change process

President Kurtz reported that the resolution proposed at the last Senate meeting had been enhanced and forwarded to the Board Office.  The basic notion was that should the BOR decide to proceed with the process of strategic change for the three universities at this time, they should develop a formal planning process that is known to the public, open, and structured so as to assure input from all stakeholders to the fullest extent possible in all phases of the process.  Both the Staff Council and Shared Governance Council endorsed the resolution. Kurtz framed it such that he would be willing to present the resolution at the upcoming BOR meeting.  The Office did not immediately contact him, but later received a phone call that the resolution was not well received.  He was also told that he had not filed the document in time.  Kurtz noted that there is no filing deadline. He spoke with one of the Regents who suggested that tailoring one “whereas” statement might help to move it onto the agenda. It was Kurtz’ impression that he was now scheduled on the BOR agenda for the following week.

He further reported that some councilors had had a chance to meet with some of the Regents.  It was suggested to them it might be a good idea to suspend the strategic change process until a permanent president is in place.  A few days later, an email was sent from Regent Gartner to Board members stating that he was ready to present some ideas.  Kurtz said it is timely for Councilors to consider his latest resolution, copies of which he distributed. Entitled “UI Faculty Senate Resolution on Suspending the Strategic Change Process,” Kurtz explained that the basic notion was that we should wait until a permanent president is in place before moving forward with any strategic change process. He submitted the resolution to Councilors with his full endorsement.  He called for any questions.

Kurtz explained that the two resolutions dovetail.  He said the phrase “should they decide to proceed…” covers some contingencies.

Asked to elaborate on the content of Regent Gartner’s email, Kurtz replied that he had read it, but did not have copy.  He recalled mention of meetings with university presidents in Regent Gartner’s apartment, but it was unclear whether there were individual or group meetings.   There was some reference to “unanimity on what programs at each institution need to excel and some that need to be de-emphasized.”  Obviously they are thinking about programs, said Kurtz.  There was a section on Admissions, Financial Aid, which are perfectly good topics for Regents to consider.

Professor Sa-Aadu asked if it was Kurtz’ understanding that the rest of the Regents are aware of what transpired at these meetings.   Kurtz thought a public document was due to be published on the BOR website.

Professor O’Hara moved to accept the resolution; Professor Ringen seconded it.  President Kurtz called the question.  There was unanimous approval.

   B.   President Kurtz called for a closed door Executive Session of the Council to discuss an update of the presidential search process.  Only Councilors and select guests remained while others were asked to leave the room. 

III.  Announcements

  1. Next Faculty Council meeting:  Tuesday, November 14, 3:30 – 5:15 pm, Penn State Room, 327 IMU
  2. Next Faculty Senate meeting:   Tuesday, November 28, 3:30 – 5:15 pm, Senate Chamber, Old Capitol

IV.  Adjournment

Following the Executive Session, President Kurtz entertained a motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Professor O’Hara.  The meeting adjourned at 5:05 pm.