DAFVM Faculty Senate

MINUTES

April 13, 2006
1:00 P.M.

Attending Members: Kirk Swortzel, Greg Ibendahl, Clifford Hampton, Hamid Borazjani, Bill Evans, Linda Andrews, C.P. Coyne, Sharon Grace, Robert Meyers, Linda Andrews, Dan Brooks for Tom Kneckt, who replaced Marty Brock, and Jimmy Avery who replaced Steve Nichols

Excused Members: Al Rankins, Harvey Gordon, Deborah Gaddis, Wes Burger, Laura Grace, Wes Schilling, Mike Kidd, Shane Burgess, and Tom Knecht

Absent Members: Wayne Wilkerson, Joe Fratesi, Ken Willeford, Michael Caprio, Dan Poston, and Mark Shankle

Cliff Hampton, chair called the meeting order. Minutes from the March 9 and March 23 meetings were combined due to the cancellation of the March 9 meeting caused by impeding thunderstorms. Senators unanimously approved the minutes of the March 23 meeting. Hampton introduced new members of the Senate including: Jimmy Avery, of the R&E Center in Stoneville, replacing the vacancy of Steve Nichols, and Dan Brooks, Extension Computer Services, representing Tom Kneckt, Agricultural Communications, who replaced Marty Brock as Agricultural Communications/Computer Application Senator.

Chair Report

Replacement of Department Representatives - Hampton updated Senators on the status of representatives whose terms expire in 2006. He noted that notice had been sent out to all departments with expiring members regarding the need to hold departmental elections. At present, he has been informed that Wes Schilling will serve another term. Michael Kidd’s and Dan Poston’s replacements have been identified. Hampton also informed members that Forestry had two senators and due to size of the department, Deborah Gaddis' position will not be filled. Hampton stated that his seat representing Program and Organizational Development will likely not be filled due to that department being a part of Human Sciences, but he will seek clarification.

Senate Officer’s election - Hampton reminded Senators of the procedures for officer’s election. He noted that the Ag Faculty Senate By Laws state that the chair will inform members of the senate about who is a candidate for election. There was a general feeling that the same policy should be exercised for the position of vice-chair even though that position isn’t specifically addressed in the By Laws. He acknowledged a list would be sent out in the next few weeks of faculty members that qualify for filling the officers positions. Outgoing members of the Senate cannot vote for new officers. Once the notices have been sent out, senate members should send in their nominations. If one or fewer names are forwarded, nominations will be solicited from the floor during the next meeting. The last action of the May meeting will be the election of new officers. Two members are currently filling unexpired terms. It was expressed that they would likely not vote in the upcoming election.

Robert Holland Faculty Senate Report

Cody Coyne, Vet Medicine’s new Holland Senate representative reported in Laura Grace’s absences. Coyne stated that President Charles Lee addressed members of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate for the last time. Dr. Lee suggested to those in attendance to exercise diligence in persuading the state legislature to increase support for the Mississippi State University campus in the years to come, in part because it has been under-supported for such an extended period of time, and because it is the largest university in the state of Mississippi. Provost Peter Rabideau also discussed general aspects of several topics including the policy of closing the campus on occasions of inclement weather and slight modifications that had been made in the tenure and promotion document. He discussed the positive, but mostly the negative aspects of scheduling a Thursday night football game on the Mississippi State University campus and the positive and negative aspects of campus gated parking were discussed. Concerns were expressed about certain P&T guidelines and performance expectations being perceived or adopted on campus as P&T policy. Related to this topic were concerns expressed by members of the Ag Faculty senate about declines or static levels of federal support allocated to the USDA for their annual budget and how this will affect the growth and viability of the nation’s Land Grant University System.

Coyne noted that opinions would be sought from other Ag Division faculty members. Depending on the information obtained, members of the Ag Faculty Senate may request that a Position Statement be drafted that will be forwarded to Dr. Watson, Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

Faculty Affairs Committee Report

Hamid Borazjani reported that feedback was compiled from faculty members regarding the Robert Holland Faculty Senate approved Promotion and Tenure Document for Non-Tenure Track Faculty. The document is being reviewed by MSU Administrative Council and the Division Senate was given an opportunity to make comments. Input from Division Senators and their department’s faculty were:

1): Elected Representation:
Currently, there is no representation by Extension/Clinical/Research Faculty of Professorial Rank.

Recommendation by the committee:
Allow elected representation on the University Promotion Committee.

2): Complexity- “College level” Committees:
MSU-ES does not fit into any of “joint” committees within division.

Recommendation by the committee:
Allow faculty member, department head, and college administrator to determine the “appropriate” college level committee at time of initial appointment or annual review.

3): Service Component:
The language on service for promotion of non-tenure track promotion is not fully defined.

Recommendation by the committee:
Service should be a part of non-tenure track promotion document.

4): Responsibilities of department heads:
The documents still do not clarify the roles and responsibilities of center
and academic heads.

Recommendation by the committee:
This subject needs to be addressed and proper clarification should be added to the current document.

5): Criteria for evaluation:
The mission of research at R&E centers are more applied than basic compared to departmental mission.

Recommendation by the committee:
Experiment Station Bulletins and Trade Journal articles should be measured equally or as important as refereed articles in promotion considerations.

These recommendations will be forwarded to Vice President Watson for his consideration.

New Business

General Discussion
Several faculty members inquired regarding the criteria for salary increases. Several concerns were expressed by members including: new faculty being employed with higher salaries than faculty with higher rank and longer service; equity of salaries due to lack of salary increases;
wide variation of increases from department to department; salary increases based on merit using only one year of evaluation. Although no official vote was taken, there appeared to be general interest in an across the board 5% increase in salary to all staff and faculty due to extended period of time since the campus received allocations for across the board salary increases. Senate members were especially resistant to any “formula” that would be applied where individuals within a department or college received no salary increases in July 2006. A Position Statement letter expressing the concerns and possible options shared by members of the Ag Faculty Senate will be forwarded to Vice President Vance Watson.

Meting Adjourned 2:30 p.m.

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