November 3, 2011 Minutes

Meeting Date: 2011-11-3

Person Presiding: Michael Frizell

Members in Attendance: Sandra Arthur, Kelly Barnts, Scott Fiedler, Sandra Johnson, Nadine Jones, Charles Klarr, Erin Parrish, Holly Robison, Matthew Stublefield, Erin Trotter, Steve Turner, Andrea Weber, Kirk Whittington, Mary Ann Wood

Guests in Attendance: Melissa Osten, Catherine Holley, Catherine Beck, Janelle Melton, Holly Pepe, Kelly Cara, Yvettte Medley, Kara Foster, Mike Wood

Actions of Meeting

Agenda Item: Call to Order

Staff Senate has quorum, and was subsequently called to order by Chairperson Michael Frizell

Agenda Item: Approval of Agenda

The agenda was emailed in advance of the meeting. There were no changes requested and the agenda was approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Approval of Minutes (9/1/2011)

The minutes were emailed in advance of the meeting. One change was requested regarding the attendance to note that Peggy Jones was in attendance via proxy, which was Donna Hanley. The minutes were approved as amended.

Agenda Item: Reports

Workgroup Reports

Certified Professional Secretary

The survey of other university institutions is complete and the workgroup is now contacting area businesses that employ more than 1000 people to be similar to Missouri State University. Once all data is collected, a report for the executive committee will be put together. The workgroup hopes to complete data collection by the third week of November and have a report to the Executive Board Committee in December.

Mileage Rate

Preliminary research is complete. The workgroup plans to meet soon, but the current accreditation review of the College of Education will delay that a bit. The workgroup plans to have a comprehensive report ready by the next meeting.

Denim Days

The Denim Days workgroup has a meeting on Monday the 7th to wrap up, which will be at 3 o'clock in the Office of Student Engagement in PSU 101. The Denim Days workgroup usually begins work during the fall semester, but this year intends to begin work sooner. The upcoming meeting will take a look at how this year went and decide a meeting schedule to begin in the spring semester. In addition, the workgroup is waiting on the transfer of $800 from Chartwells to write a check.

Staff Activities

The Staff Activities workgroup is still soliciting ideas. They are currently seeking feedback regarding scheduling an event on Study Day in December. Multiple senators responded that Study Day is very busy and unfeasible for a staff event.

Public Affairs and Scholarship

The Public Affairs and Scholarship committee had nothing to report.

Administrative Council Meeting

Secretary Matthew Stublefield reported that the meeting went over the minutes from the last Staff Senate meeting and the subject of diversity and sensitivity in particular warranted extended discussion. Interim President Clif Smart reported that the day before the Administrative Council meeting, he and Interim Provost Frank Einhellig had met with five concerned faculty members regarding the scheduling of Showcase. The President recognized that the scheduling of Showcase this year during Yom Kippur was a mistake, and that the administration was taking steps to make sure it wouldn't happen again without due consideration. He went on to state, though, that Missouri State University is not a religious institution and subsequently cannot base its schedule around religious holidays. Should Showcase or another major University event fall on a high religious holiday in the future, the administration has committed to having high level discussions regarding the event and its scheduling, and will also meet with constituent groups. In addition, they hope to offer alternatives in the future if a scheduling conflict like this arises again, which it might (particularly in the case of Showcase, which must be held during a home football game, of which there are a limited number).

Interim President Clif Smart noted that Showcase attendance was at its highest this year, up 20%.

During the first week of December, University representatives, including members of the faculty with whom Interim President Clif Smart had met, will attend a recruitment fair in St. Louis which has traditionally been attended by high numbers of Jewish high school students to help address that population which was unable to attend Showcase this year.

In addition to discussing Showcase, the Administrative Council meeting also covered the Executive Budget Committee, GEP 101, the Staff Senate Display Case, and they solicited feedback regarding the upcoming salary increase.

Board of Governors Meeting

Of the numerous items the Board of Governors discussed at its last meeting, Chair Michael Frizell brought two before the Staff Senate.

First was the mid-year salary package, planned for implementation on Jan 1., 2012. Chairperson Frizell related that Governor Washington stated it is "incomprehensible that we haven't done this earlier," and that the Governor was, in fact, uncomfortable with the amount because he thinks it is too small. The resolution passed unanimously.

Second was the shared sick leave pool, which originated with Staff Senate. This resolution also passed unanimously. Staff Senate must have three representatives serving on the committee that will review applications for the shared sick leave pool. It has been suggested that two of these senators be from the Springfield campus and one from West Plains's Staff Senate.

Senator Charles Klarr asked what the term-limit would be for serving on the committee, and Chair Michael Frizell stated that he would seek clarification on this.

Senator Sandra Johnson asked if this applied only to 12 month employees or if it applied to full-time employees. Chair Michael Frizell stated that it applied to full-time employees, including faculty who accrued vacation or sick leave.

Senator Holly Robison asked if people who retire now can donate leave to the pool since it won't go into effect until July 1, 2012. Chair Michael Frizell stated that they would not be able to.

Budget Committee

The Executive Budget Committee met on October 25th. The details of its decisions can be found in the recent Clif's Notes: http://blogs.missouristate.edu/president/2011/11/03/clif%e2%80%99s-notes-vol-1-no-7/

Senator Mary Ann Wood asked if West Plains student enrollment was included in the figure given for student enrollment in Clif's Notes. Chair Michael Frizell clarified that West Plains is not included in this count.

Chair Frizell went on to state that the State of Missouri anticipates a $400-500 hole in the budget this year that will need to be filled by reallocating funds.

New Business

GEP 101

Mike Wood, Director of First Year Programs, was invited by Chair Michael Frizell to address the Senate regarding recent changes to GEP 101 by Faculty Senate. He opened by reading an email he [Mike Wood] sent to GEP 101 instructors on October 18th, which is included below in its entirety:

Dear GEP 101 Faculty and Staff Instructors,
 
As many of you are already aware, at the end of spring semester faculty senate passed a resolution essentially stating the current flat stipend compensation model for GEP 101 was out of compliance with the faculty overload policy. The resolution basically stated the compensation for GEP 101 for faculty should be 2.5% of base pay (per credit hour) to be in compliance with the policy. Unfortunately, I was not invited to be part of the conversation at that time, and I learned of this the same time all faculty and staff were emailed at the end of spring semester.
 
As one might imagine, there were unintended consequences the way the original resolution was written and approved by the former Provost and President shortly before their departure. For example, 5% of base pay for some of our non-tenure track faculty instructors would have involved a pay cut, which was not the intention of the faculty senate concerns committee. In addition, when I brought up my major concerns about the inequities for staff instructors (which comprise about 50% of our instructors), I was essentially told, “That’s a Staff Senate Issue.” Although that is technically true, it does nothing to alleviate my very real concerns in terms of the ability to staff roughly 95 sections of GEP 101 each fall. We simply can’t do it without dedicated faculty and staff instructors.
 
In subsequent conversations with Dr. Gallaway (Faculty Senate Chair), Associate Provost Darabi, and Provost Einhellig, a “Step System” model of compensation for GEP 101 was proposed and will be reviewed soon by the executive budget committee. (Proposal is attached). I’m also sharing this with Michael Frizell, Chair of Staff Senate and a current GEP 101 instructor.  As you will see, the proposal does involve an increase for all instructors. However, to have a good faith effort to address the  non-compliance with the faculty work load policy, there was a need to address different pay levels for the various faculty ranks, as is consistent with current faculty policies and practices in the colleges. It also includes an increase to recognize staff instructors who have earned a doctorate, with an equivalent $300 increase (the same as moving from a non-tenured faculty position up to an Assistant Professor faculty rank).
 
Those of you who know me well know I have always argued against differential pay for teaching a first-year seminar for a variety of reasons; both philosophical and practical. Unfortunately, that is no longer an option because of being in non-compliance with the faculty workload policy, so this is an effort to provide an increase in compensation for everyone involved.
 
I would like to emphasize the attached proposal has not yet been formally approved by everyone involved, including President Smart. However, I wanted all of you as current instructors to be aware of this recent development before hearing about it through other channels. As you will see on the proposal, moving to this model will cost nearly $40,000 more next year, and the money must come from somewhere. With the President’s priority of providing an across the board raise next year, decreased enrollment concerns, projected additional cuts to state funding, etc., I know money is tight, and requests must be prioritized accordingly.
 
I hope all of you understand how much I value your commitment to our first-year students, and I hope you decide to teach again next year.  As a staff member myself, I can certainly relate to perceptions of unfairness with the proposed model, but it’s an attempt to split the difference with compliance with the faculty workload policy, and yet still provide an increase for all GEP 101 instructors.  Rest assured you have representation with Staff Senate with Michael serving as chair this year. I know several you serve on staff senate as well, so I’m confident our voices as staff are well represented. I assume if you have comments to share with Staff Senate, it would be appropriate to email them at: staffsenate@missouristate.edu .
 
If you have any questions or concerns that I might answer, please feel free to contact me.
 
Thanks,
Mike

Mike Wood explained that he had a second-hand understanding of the issue, despite it directly affecting the program he runs, because it was introduced in Faculty Senate and then approved by then-president Dr. James Cofer and then-provost Dr. Belinda McCarthy, but no one ever contacted or notified him. The email informing faculty of the changes was unintentionally sent to some staff as well, which is how he found out about this. Over 50% of the instructors for GEP 101 are staff, not faculty, but when attempting to discuss this matter with Terrel Galloway, Chair of Faculty Senate, Mike Wood was told that the issue of staff compensation was one for Staff Senate.

Secretary Matthew Stublefield related that Interim President Clif Smart expressed displeasure with the changes at the recent Administrative Council meeting, which will result in significantly higher pay for faculty to teach the same material with the same time commitment to the same students than staff will receive. Mike Wood went on to state that there are unintended consequences for faculty as well. With a pay bump for full professors, the GEP 101 program will only be able to afford a few because the amount of money to fund the program is the same. The assumption is that the pay raise will attract better and more full professors, but he will be unable to pay full professors, nor can he justify doing so when he can hire excellent staff or non-ranked faculty to teach the material at a lower cost.

Guest of the Senate Corbin Campbell asked for clarification regarding GEP 101. Mike Wood stated that GEP 101 is a required first year seminar course required for incoming students who have less than 24 hours of college credit unless they are in the Honors College, in which case they take a similar course named UHC. The course introduces students to Missouri State University's Public Affairs mission, life on campus, and a variety of other topics to give the student a better foothold at the University. Mr. Wood stated that 90% of four-year institutions have a course like this, but he is often asked by directors at other institutions how he has attracted so many faculty to teach (noting that over 50% of the instructors for GEP 101 are staff; the percent at other institutions of staff instructors for a course like this is significantly higher), and he related that the high number of faculty instructors was due to good working relationships with faculty.

Senator Scott Fiedler asked a question about pay for GEP 101 instructors. When he taught it several years ago, instructors were only paid about $1000 per semester, so the new rate proposed by Faculty Senate of $2,200 for staff instructors seems like quite an increase. Mike Wood stated that the $1000 rate was when the course was a single credit hour, but the course is now two credit hours. This amount hasn't been adjusted in ten or more years.

Senator Charles Klarr asked how much control Mike Wood, as Director of First Year Programs, has over the hiring/selection of instructors for the course, which has over 90 sections. Mike Wood stated that he has full control over hiring, but that if many full professors apply, he will have to turn them down due to an inability to pay them at the higher rate required by the Faculty Senate resolution. He went on to express that while faculty have significant knowledge in their chosen field, he did not believe that made them innately better instructors than staff, particularly those with many years of experience teaching.

Senator Charles Klarr went on to ask what the point of creating higher tiers of pay was when there was no increase in the budget for GEP 101, and Mike Wood stated that the budget was a concern. The only method of paying for it would be to use one-time money from the Office of the President, because the Office of the Provost has already stated that they are unable to fund the increase.

Guest of the Senate Kelly Cara note that the Office of the President has an incentive to fund the higher pay because the first year experience directly impacts retention. Mike Wood agreed and stated that one of the University's goals is to increase learning communities, and GEP 101 is the anchor for those communities.

Director of Staff Relations Andrea Weber echoed Kelly Cara's sentiments and noted that when the Executive Committee met with Interim President Clif Smart at the Administrative Council meeting, he expressed that he values the experience staff bring to GEP 101 and that he doesn't like seeing the different levels of pay as proposed by Faculty Senate. He also shared his concern regarding the funding for the program in light of the other budgetary concerns at the University.

Chair Michael Frizell stated that this is why he has been requiring so much research this year in advance of resolutions or proposals. If Faculty Senate had called the Director of First Year Programs before making a resolution regarding First Year Programs, a lot of the problems with the resolution could have been avoided. While recognizing that Faculty Senate's goal is to improve student education, it would be good if there was improved communication and consideration from that group.

Secretary Matthew Stublefield stated that focusing on pay isn't worthwhile, because most staff who teach a course at the University are paid so little for the course in comparison with the hours needed to prepare, deliver, and grade that the course pays less than their hourly rate. If the primary concern regarding GEP 101 is about pay, either to attract good instructors or to achieve equity, then the University will be unable to reach a pay level that will be satisfactory to all. The primary focus needs to be on pedagogy and benefiting the students.

Senator Scott Fiedler stated that $2,200 is certainly more reasonable than the $1,000 from when he was teaching, because after taxes and other deductions it simply wasn't worth it financially. Secretary Matthew Stublefield pointed out that the amount paid staff doesn't count towards overload as it does for faculty, nor does it figure into retirement or other benefits.

Director of Staff Relations Andrea Weber stated that while Staff Senate needs to pick its battles, it also needs to exercise its voice. Staff Senate has a strength of asking questions and clarifying matters before jumping forward, so the Senate should devote itself to doing so in this case. It must not hide its head in the sand and remain silent.

Senator Mary Ann Wood stated that the Senate mustn't go in "guns blazing," but that it does need to bring this matter to the Faculty Senate's attention and get them to think beyond the room they sit in. She observed that this is not the first time Faculty Senate has approved a resolution that affects staff, which they do frequently. It would be worth sitting down to have a conversation with them.

Mike Wood stated that while there is a body that should be included in Faculty Senate conversations of this nature, the reply from Faculty Senate often seems to be that "faculty are in charge of curriculum."

Secretary Matthew Stublefield suggested that Staff Senate begin researching the definition of "curriculum" at Missouri State University so it can discover what Faculty Senate truly does and does not have control over. Matters of compensation, particularly for staff, do not seem prima facie to be a matter of curriculum.

Guest of the Senate Kelly Cara observed that faculty and staff would be teaching the same material, and while a faculty and a staff member may teach differently, she finds it hard to believe that difference warrants 150% pay. Recalling the State of the University address, Ms. Cara pointed out that Interim President Clif Smart has called the University to rid itself of an Us vs. Them mentality, but having compensation based on tenure and other factors seems to reinforce this mentality by granting increased pay to those who have been at the University longer rather than on merit.

Director of Staff Relations Andrea Weber asked that since a Faculty Senate member directed Mike Wood to address Staff Senate, does that mean Faculty Senate assumes that Staff Senate will resolve this on its own? Mike Wood replied in the affirmative, and she asked about the relationship between the chair of Faculty Senate and the chair of Staff Senate. Chair Michael Frizell stated that there wasn't one at this time, and Ms. Weber stated that there ought to be. Staff Senate has a relation with the upper administration by having monthly meetings with the President, Chief-of-Staff, and Vice President of Administrative and Information Services. It doesn't make sense, to her mind, that there are two Executive Committees on campus that do not talk to one another.

Chair Michael Frizell stated that at this point, Ken McClure, the Vice President of Administrative and Information Services, has requested a letter relating Staff Senate's position on this issue be drafted and delivered on Monday, November 7th. The issue at hand is not one of money, but rather is about the right of a department head who is being ignored and Faculty Senate making a decision that affects staff. The letter will be reviewed by Mike Wood in advance, and Senators are encouraged to contact Chair Michael Frizell to provide input on the letter.

Senator Holly Robison stated that research completed while she was in the University Staff Ambassadors (USA) program last year indicated that the number one problem blamed for poor morale at Missouri State University was communication, which this situation highlights.

Recruitment and Retention

Director of Staff Relations communicated that Administrative Council asked that Staff Senate reflect upon and communicate how it and its represented areas are addressing recruitment and retention. Ms. Weber went on to state that recruitment and retention is the job of all employees at the University, not just Admissions.

Secretary Matthew Stublefield stated that, in the interest of time, he would email the Staff Senate regarding this item so discussion could happen over the next month.

Cost Savings

Chair Michael Frizell stated that Staff Senate needs to start thinking of proposals regarding cost savings, such as turning off computers at night like a recent email sent to the campus suggested. This might warrant a new workgroup.

Senator Nadine Jones talked about a recent student presentation to the IFMA which won a contest regarding after-hours power usage in Glass Hall. This report, she stated, might be helpful regarding identifying ways to save power.

Secretary Matthew Stublefield stated that a Staff Senate workgroup could partner with the Student Government Association committee on sustainability, with which he has been working regarding some initiatives in the Open-Access Computer Labs.

Resolution Regarding the University's Mission and Civility

This resolution has not yet been drafted. Senators should contact Secretary Matthew Stublefield if they want to assist in its writing.

Open Forum: Response to January pay raise

Senator Charles Klarr stated that it is a good step, but that he disapproves of the idea of the President's Office paying for the first six months with one-time money, then requiring that Cost Centers find a way to maintain the pay raise while communicating at the same time that Cost Centers need to cut significant amounts from their budgets.

Senator Erin Trotter wondered why Interim President Clif Smart seemed so much more interested in faculty and staff issues than the previous presidents. Chair Michael Frizell responded that it was perhaps because Mr. Smart had seen the last two administrations and the bickering and low morale that has been growing. He also seems to recognize that, during times of low morale, people often point to pay being the issue while numerous studies show that increasing pay does not improve morale. The issue is the culture at the University.

Guest of the Senate Yvette wondered what had changed in the last year politically that allowed pay raises now when they were considered unfeasible just a year ago.

Senator Mary Ann Wood stated that while the raise isn't a lot, it is meaningful to those who are in a pay group that hasn't seen any adjustment for several years. She would like to see it higher, but it's better than nothing.

Guest of the Senate Corbin Campbell stated that the problem over the last several years is that many people in upper administration were receiving "raises" for one thing or another while regular staff at the University received nothing.

Guest of the Senate Angie Anderson stated that while the salary raise is small, she greatly appreciates Missouri State University's benefits package after working in the private sector, and that the benefits make up for a lot.

Guest of the Senate Corbin Campbell stated that the subject of the Summer Leave Days, which have now been added to the staff extra given days during Winter Break, should be reconsidered. There is concern that Maintenance employees will be unable to use the extra given days during Winter Break, and the floating days during the summer were a very nice benefit because they let staff plan a bit better around family availability. Chair Michael Frizell stated that multiple senators had raised this point and that it would be brought to the next Administrative Council meeting.

Adjourn