University of Denver
Meeting of the Faculty Senate
November 9, 2001
Guests: Vice Provost Sheila Wright; Provost Bob Coombe; John Lowe, Chair Faculty and Educational Committee (FEAC), Board of Trustees
The meeting was called to order at 12:10 p.m.
The minutes were approved as corrected.
Sheila Wright addressed the Senate on a number of undergraduate issues:
Sadler asked if persistence targets limit opportunities for students who would like to transfer in from community colleges. Wright: No DU is actively recruiting transfer students. They have a track record of success, and they will stay. All departing students are interviewed; they tend to leave because the culture is not what they want, because the curriculum is not challenging enough, for financial reasons, and because they are too far from home.
Tom Stephen (Physics). Is the focus on academic intensity a deterrent? Wright: We may lose some for that reason, but students are returning at a high rate, especially those involved in the Living and Learning Communities and in Athletics. We did not do as well with African American students. High-risk students, however, tend to stay at DU and do well.
Sadler: Has the restructuring of the Offices of Judicial Affairs and Honors Code Management changed the emphasis on the Honor Code? Wright: No. The initiative hasnt changed. We looked at offices that gave value added to student services; and these were protected. Emphasis was placed on peer advisors in the residence halls, and their roles and responsibilities have been clarified. But they are in no way to be considered academic advisors. Chip Reichardt (Psychology): You've talked about the reasons why people leave. Is Ritchie Center one reason why people come? Has Division I increased visibility for DU? What other factors attract students to DU: athletics/sports center, academics, computing?" Wright: Its hard for me to say that Division I has had an impact. Students come because of one-on-one student contact, and the University's student-centered mission. The Undergraduate Office works with UTS to ensure that students who cannot afford a laptop have access to one. Andy Divine (Hotel, Restaurant... Mgt) asked about interviews, and information gathering for next year: We interview (have a form) students who leave. We interview applicants. Do we interview/survey students who stay? Wright: That is appropriate role for the Office of Assessment. Honors students are tracked. Their reasons for staying are peer interaction. Major not a large factor. We need to gather more information. Bob Coombe: Admitted students answer a questionnaire. There are tons of data that are correlated across institutions. The big attractors remain academic ones, and the perceived quality of majors, academics, etc. Division I Sports brings additional visibility, but the big interest remains academics. Divine: "This is the perception upon admittance. We need to know if its born out." He also suggested the addition of faculty members to Wrights primarily staff-comprised committee. Wright: The process is largely operational, and the faculty piece is missing. We struggle to recruit potentially high quality students who dont perceive DU as highly as they do others. Stephens: High quality students have a number of opportunities. They can afford to wait. Wright: Yes, the quality going up.
Dean Saitta (Anthropology): Is there a policy on who will make policy regarding undergraduate minors from professional schools? Is this the province of the Deans' Council? Linking professional schools with undergraduate programs is important. This may be DU's niche. Wright indicated that has heard is that the UG Council will continue to policy and recommendations re: the undergraduate curriculum. Saitta: Who is to make appropriate decisions? Coombe: Academic decisions regarding minors should be made in Undergraduate Council, and brought up in Deans Council as a point of discussion to ensure that they wont interfere with other programmatic areas. There is no question of Deans making curricular decisions. The caliber of the programs is paramount. We want to be prepared to deal with initiatives like these in rational way. Wright: Academics at the undergraduate level are different; teaching techniques, advising, and mentoring are intense. Don Stedman (Chemistry): Isn't a "zero sum game"? If graduate programs begin to offer UG majors and minors, given the cap on enrollments. This would take enrollments away from other divisions. Wright indicated that this was an important question; that the same question had been asked about the Performing Arts. Transfer students are being recruited to come in at higher level. Coombe: Capped is the wrong word. All that is capped is the ~1000 incoming freshmen in fall. The ultimate goal is to have ~4500 four-year UG students. Persistence improvement will result in larger numbers. These and transfers (target 240-250) may be vehicles for growth. That is our capacity at the Junior and Senior levels. The question of how to make room for the other things that we do is important. Quality should be the basis for all decision-making. A strategy is not yet in place. John Kuark (Statistics) suggested that mentoring and tutoring were important components of student retention, especially in the sciences and engineering.
Jim Hagler (Mathematics) asked why the incoming class numbers are lower in sciences. Wright: Serendipity. "Students who come into the sciences have higher SATs than others. There are no caps. It just happened." She indicated that she doesnt know why, that perhaps departments/divisions within the sciences were not as aggressively involved in recruiting as in the past. Coombe: Substantially fewer qualified students were admitted into the sciences this year than in the past. Paula Sperry (Theater): A re-evaluation of GPAs in arts classes might have a deleterious effect on enrollments. Artists should be evaluated differently. It is important to look at how the University analyzes data. A shift in mailing lists affects the composition of the student body. This may be a factor for NSME. Coombe: Many things changed last year. Timing was an issue, especially given the move from rolling admissions to a fixed admissions calendar. It is too early to say what the impact will be. It is hard to speculate. There was in no way an effort made to shape the class in terms of one division or another. Wright: Many first year students remain undeclared. Change makes trends hard to quantify. Cathryn Potter (Social Work): Does the emphasis on the whole person have an impact on NSME acceptances? There are structural issues that can be examined.
Sadler announced that lunch was being served, and asked that the group reconvene in 15 minutes. In the meantime, she announced that the Chancellor had indicated a desire to respond to faculty concerns about the budget, athletics, etc. His responses to questions will be printed in an upcoming issue of the Faculty Forum. Faculty members were invited to write their questions on the flip chart at the front of the room.
The group reconvened at 1:00. No one had come forward with questions for the Chancellor. Sadler suggested a few topics, indicating that we as faculty body have a responsibility to offer comments in such a way that they can be responded to by the Chancellor. We have a chance to ask questions. If we dont take advantage of it, we'll lose the opportunity. She suggested that questions be sent to the Senate Offices. Possible questions include:
Faculty frustrations reflect a deeply seated mistrust of the
administration's decision to move to Division I Athletics. Even now,
some continue to worry that our athletic initiative is our "budgetary
albatross". Can you respond to this concern?
Why does the University use tuition dollars to fund athletics
recreation? Doesn't this limit funding initiatives for academics?
Don't NCA accreditation recommendations DEMAND increased
funding for academics? How will these demands be met in the short term
What portion of the $5.4 million budget savings came from
academics? From the physical plant? From athletics?
Any 2-year budgetary plan will have residual effects that will
over into a longer-lasting recovery period. Is academic recovery likely
to lag behind athletic and recreation program recovery?
6. Reichardt: Where did the interviews for new undergraduates come from? What is their purpose? Is it to enhance the image of DU, to give incoming students human contact, to shift criteria away from SATs? Is this an attempt to weight the SATs less? Barrett: What are mission and goals of the initiative, and how do we know if we achieved them?
Committee Reports: Progress and Major Initiatives
Academic Planning (Saitta). The Faculty Research fund gave away $25,000; Requests exceeded $40,000. The Committee needs volunteers for a Technology Advisory Committee to work with UTS on questions like the modem pool, etc. A representative from Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences would ensure representation for that group.
Financial Planning (Potter). The Committee met with Bob Coombe and Craig Woody who provided an historical analysis of DU's performance through FY01 in terms of budget, enrollment, and long-term debt. A memo will be coming to faculty from Woody in next week. Discussion centered on the need for calculated strategic planning re: faculty salary issues. A working group will analyze available data, and move forward accordingly. DU is moving into uncertain financial times. Planning around faculty salaries is an important way to start the New Year. Stedman observed that moving salary increases from July to September to January to February eventually resulted in the necessity for one less move. Financial Planning is recruiting new members.
Nominations, Credentials, & Rules (Barrett). NCR is also looking for new members. Reapportionment is an issue. The current ratio of senators to electors indicates that departments are underrepresented. These findings will be taken to Deans' Council and to the administration. He then announced that committee chairs should notify the Senate Office of all upcoming meetings.
Personnel (Perkinson). Sabbatical Leave Applications are currently being reviewed. Progress continues to be made on the Tuition Exchange Policy, which was rejected last year. Deborah Howard is looking for participants to continue the initiative. A survey will be coming out very soon that will address the perceptions of faculty members about such a benefit. The Benefits Advisory Council is being revived. Chip Reichardt will chair. An attempt will be made to make a new tuition hour banking proposal viable (re: one was rejected by the administration last year). The committee will also continue to work on faculty raises.
Student Relations (Peebles). Peebles reported on campus life issues from AUSA. These included the expression of a high level of satisfaction with the DU experience and concerns about low external perceptions of quality at DU. There were few issues stemming from the GSAC meeting today. Ongoing concerns revolve around community and collaboration. Students want to increase communication across the colleges and schools. They are looking for opportunities for interaction and congresses for intellectual debate. They are asking for more academic intensity, and more opportunity to engage intellectually.
Continuing or New Business.
Sadler urges senators to serve as ambassadors, to connect with graduate and undergraduate students during the interterm to ensure that they return to campus following the break. She urged senators to encourage their departmental colleagues to do the same. Barrett suggested that mentoring groups have something special planned for the first week in January.
Meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
Deborah S. Grealy, Executive Secretary