The Faculty Caucus was held on Friday January 10th, 2006 at 3 pm.
Their remarks fall into four broad categories.
The main theme of the afternoon revolved around communication issues, i.e. how ideas were being transmitted across various levels of the university.
First, there was concern expressed about loss of green space, including the ball park, walking trail, and driving range. The future of green space at the University was discussed, as was the relative lack of faculty involvement in the Master Planning process.
There was also concern about the direction being taken in the most recent mission statement. Several faculty expressed the belief that the current statement represents a loss to academics.
Concern was expressed about the state of the plans for restructuring and the likely repercussions from Spring retention.
The majority of the time was spent discussing the University’s identity and how faculty could be more involved in the processes of marketing and publicity. There was some consensus that the communication processes regarding publicity could be improved.
The faculty senate agreed that its own communications could be improved and has made plans to improve its website and to create a newsletter.
Finally, there was concern about the increasing number of programs on campus with minimum GPA requirements and what implications this may have for the university as a whole. The faculty called for the Provost’s office to hold a forum on this subject.
Minutes: Western Carolina University Faculty Senate
January 10, 2006 3-5 pm Killian 104
I. University Direction
Issue 1: Concern about movement away from green space/physical activity areas
(includes ball field, driving range, walking trail)
*University responsibility to community for use of these areas, including communication and notification of closures
*Call to get a plan going for replacing those facilities on Millenium Campus. Replacement should be relatively inexpensive.
*Discussion of limited faculty involvement in Master Planning process
Issue 2: The construction budget for the College of Business has been cut in half. The reason for the cuts has not been communicated with the faculty.
*Construction costs have been rising across the area
*The Dean implied that reason for cuts also not communicated to him
Issue 3: There hasn’t been much coming out of Public information lately—perhaps they are focused on enrollment management.
*Both the chancellor and the Provost promised to improve communications at the University
*Provost has added a newsletter and forums
*Recognition of Bill Stahl’s e-mail communications regarding Networking problems
*The administration should give the faculty assurance regarding their support for higher compensation and benefits.
II. University Organization
Issue 1: The Mission Statement on the Strategic Plan was disappointing. It doesn’t highlight intellectual development and challenge. Compared to previous statements, it is a loss to academics
*The Mission Statement makes us sound like a tech school rather than a comprehensive university
*The statement is too caught up in certain types of engagement
Issue 2: Restructuring—where is it heading? What is timeline and schedule?
*The restructuring should take place as soon as possible so that effective planning might take place
*how will restructuring effect the composition of the senate
Issue 3: Do we know anything about retention figures for this semester? How might retention effect faculty?
*Some surprise that we don’t know yet
*Concerns about faculty positions if goal is not met
*What can faculty be doing to work towards achieving retention goals?
Issue 1: Image and Communications are not well linked
Issue 2: Faculty Senate Communications could be improved
*Increased credibility to senate for improving its own communications
*Praise for Mary Adams and how she communicated information about faculty assembly
*Senate should have a newsletter
*Discussion of who/how web site communications for Senate should be done
*Suggestion that job description of senate secretary include tech skills
Issue 1: What is our image? Who is creating it? What is the role of the faculty in creating the image?
*Concerns about limited cooperation between faculty and marketing
*Discussion of image creation being done at the departmental level. Encouragement of proactive departmental efforts.
*Discussion of a program where faculty presented to members of admissions. Trying to align what the admissions people were selling with what faculty and departments actually do. How to differentiate our university from others.
*Disappointment at senior debriefings, still hearing that we are just like high school
*More programs (similar to above) proposed and supported
*Faculty should have influence over talking points for admission
*Questions regarding university level marketing—is this who we are? Image is coming from outside in, rather than reverse.
Issue 3: Who approves University publicity campaigns?
*Should be a focus group with faculty and student representation
*Process should be more inclusive than perhaps is
Issue 1: Differential admissions for departments
Programs that require higher GPA’s for admission that others creates a 2-level campus
*Request the Provost hold a forum on this issue
Issue 2: Problems with programs in registrar/advising programs not being communicated to faculty advisors
Issue 3: Lower attendance at faculty forum meetings. What happened to previous enthusiasm?