January 14, 2003
1. Call to Order
The eighth meeting of the forty-ninth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Philip B. Carter.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and guests. Chair Carter acknowledged the presence of the Council on University Professors, and the Holladay Medalists.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 7, November 26, 2002
The minutes were approved without dissent.
4. Remarks from the Chancellor
Thank you all for coming today. I want to thank you indeed for the opportunity and I appreciate your convening in a larger venue in order to discuss these issues that have proven to be tumultuous at North Carolina State. There is much anxiety about these recent events and I understand this anxiety and I feel frustrated as well-- because of the state’s absolute protection of personal records it is impossible for me to discuss the specific individuals. As your Chancellor I am bound by these regulations. I can assure you that these decisions were not precipitous. They were based on many months of communication written and verbal about the absolute necessity for coordinated, cooperative, consensus based leadership in Academic Affairs that would bring faculty issues to the table for full betting. This was about teamwork and the open sharing of information and therefore about the individuals who as part of the leadership of this university could participate actively in that teamwork.
Much have been written recently about my management style. How do I make decisions? How does my leadership team make decisions? My management style is to put all the issues on the table to encourage vigorous debate, to reach consensus and then to implement a strategy that will allow us to address any problems. It is absolutely vital in this environment that the Provost and his staff bring issues to the table of the Executive Officers. We need to have an effective advocate for the faculty and this requires a strong Provost and a staff who anticipate challenges and work with a team to provide solutions. I have no reservation at all in stating that these are fine people who love North Carolina State. They have interacted cordially with people on this campus for many years. In fact, this reality made these decisions especially difficult. The role of an administrator is multifaceted. It is like a two-sided coin. One side talks about the cordial relationships, which these individuals have with others. On the other side is the responsibility to bring forth projects and issues in a timely and complete and accurate fashion. These actions must in all aspects advance the collective missions and goals of the university. They must formulate academic issues in a way that can be debated by all of the officers of the university because only rarely does one really have an issue that does not affect other issues on campus.
Since my arrival in 1998, I have clearly articulated a vision for NC State, which includes a strong leadership team and active participation on that team. I have met with deans and department heads and they agree with that vision. They also agree on the need to bring many issues forward. Let me give you examples of issues that are not coming forward for discussion. Overcrowded classrooms, departmental operating budgets, flexibility in moving accounts from one account to another, graduation rates, facilities for offices and laboratories, thresholds for undergraduate and graduate admissions, faculty recruiting. Let me be more specific. All of you have just come back this week to a campus in which very often every seat is filled in your classroom and you have students standing around the room. Finding solutions to problems of this type, overcoming these kind of challenges is not being adequately discussed and there are others as well. I know these are critical problems, but we are not talking adequately about them as a campus community. That is a silence that really must be broken.
Let me explain why it is so critical for academic issues like overcrowding for example to come before the leadership team. Almost always there is a component of each of these or an implication for related areas in the university administration. Think about crowding. Student Affairs are involved; relationships with decisions that are made at the General Assembly about tuition and about support for the university; relationships with directions from the Office of the President, relationships to fund raising; the ability to attract additional resources to solve this problem; the connection to outreach and engagement and extension and even legal questions. So if we formulate a response to a broad question of this sort, we have to have all of those team members pulling together. If we do not communicate openly among academic and nonacademic units. We cannot reach the kind of consensus that will allow us to resolve really important problems.
If we do not do this well we will never be able to solve the problems that we need to to move to the next level. North Carolina State is known within the state of North Carolina as a problem solving institution. Solving problems is really what we do best. We can only do that if each senior administrator is committed to full collaboration and active collaboration that can lead to collective strength. It is only through vigorous debate that we can bring full consensus on how to go forward on many of these issues. It is a free exchange of information and ideas that will allow us to move forward and to handle future challenges as they arise. We must work as a team. We need a strong Provost and a staff who are committed to open discussion among all of their colleagues. Otherwise we can not move forward toward greatness that we all aspire.
In my recent conversation with Deans, Department Heads and Trustees all are telling me that the talent for this leadership can be found on this campus and I fully agree. I want to reinforce the key role that the Provost and his or her staff on this campus will play. I pledge that I will choose a Provost whose title is Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. First among our Vice Chancellors providing a key leadership role in developing programs and assuring that necessary resources are made available for each of those solution. The Provost will work with me in opening new channels for communication and openness among senior administrators, deans, faculty, staff and students. The deans have told me they want a much more active role in interacting with the Vice Chancellors. They want to unblock this conduit that keeps decisions on one side rather than bringing them all to the same table. I pledge to them and to you that I will make that happen. Now we need to go forward. In our conversations with the deans, they told me that a Provost needs a greater role in setting the agenda for timely discussions of issues on campus and I fully agree with that. To that end I pledge my support for the Provost and his or her staff and their effort to work more effectively as a team. I will choose a Provost who will be an articulate advocate for academic issues, a leader who will be dedicated to shared governance. One who will speak out effectively for the needs of faculty and students. I encourage you to think very hard among those of your colleagues who might be able to provide this kind of leadership on this campus.
I want to say that I am grateful to Bob Barnhardt, the former Dean of the College of Textiles who has been willing to step in as an Interim Provost during this transition period. Bob is well known and very well respected in his discipline and across campus. He has been most gracious in being willing to provide the kind of leadership we need during this period. I also want to thank Marvin Malecha, Dean of the College of Design who will chair the search for the Provost. He has agreed to do this on a fast track and to be very responsive. In fact, as soon as I get a list of nominations from the Faculty Senate we will be appointing that committee and we will try to resume that work as soon as possible.
I recognize that these have been difficult times and difficult issues for all of us. We are committed to moving this university forward and I encourage each and every one of you to join us in that effort. Thank you for letting me speak today.
Faculty: Mary Anne I am very encouraged by what I heard you say. I do not minimize the difficulty of leading an institution. I guess the thing that I have difficulty with is if you wanted that strong team, it would seem to me that you would go to the Provost and fire him or what ever. It seems out of order to me that you should hold your subordinates that are in those key positions responsible rather than going over their heads and going down to dismiss people who are working for him.
Chancellor: The conversations that I mentioned about being written and oral for considering places for improvement in the Provost and his staff involved both Provost and the next level down. Had the Provost not resigned under the circumstances in which he did, I would have had to do just what you mentioned.
I would also like to mention that since Dean Malecha is here, I know he would be interested in entertaining any questions that you have about the search process as well, as you are formulating questions.
Faculty: I failed to see how you can say that you want the Provost to play a key role on campus given your history of the two Provosts that you have had. You had a Provost who wanted to play the key role on campus and then you had another Provost with a different style, which seemed more to your liking. That aside, we all know, that on this campus the power and authority we call Provost is extremely limited in relations to other major research universities. I have seen you do nothing about that. I would now like to say one thing about the three people who left office. I did not work closely with two of them but I did work very closely with Frank Abrams. Frank Abrams was one of the most decent administrators on this campus. I worked with him for three years on very volatile issues. He was in command of detail. He was extremely fair and as a result I believe more than any other administrator on this campus, he enjoyed the confidence of the faculty and the department heads and the deans. You are now implying that he was not up to the test. I find that appalling.
Chancellor: Let me respond first to the concern you express about Provost. We indeed did have a Provost that I hired, Kermit Hall who was a very honest man. When he came here he told me that he was interested in a college Presidency. The only thing that turned out to be different than what was anticipated is how quickly he assumed one. That conversation had implied that he would be here a longer time and I think that his motion toward Utah State where he serves as President for substantial career advancement over what he had here. Our second Provost as I mentioned has been involved in discussions and evaluations for a very long period. Frank Abrams as I mentioned is a very highly respected individual. I have nothing but the highest regard for him as well. The problem is the decisions that were made by many in the Provost staff but specifically those in which a change in my view had to be made or not communicated in such a way that they resulted in changes in the academic missions and problem solving at this university. That is what had to be addressed.
Faculty: I’m sure one of your favorite publications is the News and Observer. They had an editorial this morning that implied quite strongly that the Trustees in dissatisfaction demanded a change and that you were responding to pressure from the Trustees. I wonder if you would comment on what the limits are on which trustees may insert themselves in the academic processes of this university.
Chancellor: I want to be very clear that this decision was mine. Equally the academic and personnel committee is staffed by the Provost and by his staff. There have been many questions not only recently, but for several years about the effectiveness of information flow in exactly the same way I just described. While it is true that the Provost had concerns about exactly information and how the academic issues are being brought to them, they were not at all involved in the decision although they did bring out a problem which needed to be solved.
Faculty: So you don’t choose to comment to what extent you would limit the involvement of the trustees in academic issues of the university?
Chancellor: The trustees do not make personnel decisions at all. In fact, they do not even make a personnel decision about me. My position is an at-will position determined by the Board of Governors and President Broad in Chapel Hill. I did not mean to be evasive.
Faculty: It appears to me that the role of the trustees is to secure funding and outside support of this institution. As such they bear considerable power in their influence on the legislature among their attitude with citizens of this state.
Chancellor: That is true. That is one of their responsibilities, but not the only. They have also responsibility for looking at the quality of programs at the institution and advising the administration in that regard.
Faculty: So they do have a role?
Chancellor: Yes they have a role in providing advice and oversight. Again, they do not make personnel decisions.
Faculty: Would your office have the top level direct responsibility for classrooms, classroom budgets, classroom furnishings, etc?
Chancellor: Again this is a teamwork problem. To establish the need for these classrooms would come through academic affairs and therefore the Provost to provide financing for it. Some of that comes from the instructional budget and would be within the purview of the Provost. Other parts if it involves renovation and repair would be involved with facilities and therefore finance and business.
Faculty: You mentioned one structural change within your Vice Chancellors which would make the Provost the predominant position in the team of Vice Chancellors. Can you outline any other structural changes or responsibilities or go into a little more detail with respect to that change?
Chancellor: We will be working out those details with the new Provost. I pledge to you that I will cooperate to make sure that any of those operations are taking place in exactly that way. We are facing a very difficult legislative session this year. We are going into a capital campaign in which much of my time is going to have to be allocated off campus and out of state raising money. I must have confidence and the ability to share information with the number two person and clarity that that person is in charge when I have these other responsibilities.
Faculty: One concern with these structural changes in conjunction with a fast track search for a new Provost is that it would seem that a new Provost would want the structural changes to be in place for an agreement to accept the position and I think faculty would like those structural changes to be in place.
Chancellor: Each Executive Officer must build his own staff and team as well. We believe that as I mentioned in my earlier remarks that it is possible to identify that talent quickly on campus and that therefore if we have identified a Provost it would be important that that Provost have the flexibility to fill those positions in the way that he or she feels most appropriate. We believe it will be a number of weeks rather than a number of months for filling all of those positions.
Chair Carter stated that this new plan, that has not yet involved the faculty, needs some faculty involvement. It is fine that the deans have proposed this. I would hope that we can have a scheme whereby we can solicit faculty input on this proposal.
Chancellor: Phil this is exactly why I said that some of these details have yet to be worked out. It is to allow enough time to have that consultation and to build that relationship in such a way that the Provost is comfortable and at the same time the faculty are actively involved.
Faculty: I have chaired the Personnel Policy Committee for this academic year and Frank Abrams has worked very closely with our committee and has exhibited a great deal of leadership in getting the recommendation of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee to us for consideration and to get the implementation in place. This I consider to be excellent signs of leadership on Frank’s part and I think it is exactly what he should have been doing. The things that you have outlined that the Provost Office was not doing, you are aware of. It seems to me that if you knew that all of this was going on and that the need for it then it would be a simple matter directed to the Provost Office. I fail to see how the communication that you speak to did not take place.
The ultimate arbiter of brains, etc. has to be the faculty and that cannot be overturned by the administration or it should not be. That means that the faculty have responsibilities and rights which do not exist in business and therefore would be foreign to the CEOs and the Board of Trustees. Also, the rights and responsibilities of the faculty should go up to the Provost’s Office i.e., that there should be protections for the Provost on the academic side which should mean that you should not do what you did. The bottom line is I think that the Provost Office should not be considered in a business sense so that the actions that you took can be taken without consulting the faculty.
Chancellor: Thank you for that opinion. The reality is that these appointments are at-will appointments. It is very clear in the procedures that these at-will appointments serve at the pleasure of the Chancellor. The pleasure of the Chancellor is a phrase which has meaning. The meaning is not that I enjoy, in fact I mentioned to you that I like these people as individuals very much. My concern is about the university and about information flow. As I mentioned earlier I know that the interaction with the faculty, that part of the job for a director of staff that is a Chief of Staff in the Provost Office must interact through himself or through his staff with the faculty. There was a deficiency, in my view, about how information flowed from that office to the rest of the university and that that break in information flow could not be continued. It is true of course that Frank Abrams holds a tenured position, and he is assuming that tenured position. As a member of the faculty, he is returning, I believe, to what he wants to do under these circumstances.
Faculty: Chancellor you have lost the one with the biggest heart.
Chancellor: I have nothing but the highest respect for Frank Abrams. I think that is about all I can say.
Faculty: Chancellor, one of the problems that any administrator coming to you is your reputation of my way or the highway. Whether that is right or whether that is wrong, does not really matter. That is what the reputation is.
Chancellor: I believe that you correctly presented this as something which is almost a legend. I would add that it is not correct. I think that if you will ask my Executive Officers you will find that we have indeed, vigorous debate and I encourage vigorous debate. I cannot think of any month that have gone by where my original position on every issue brought to the Executive Officers emerged unchanged. So I would like to emphasize that on that particular issue that the need for more effective communication is something that I must address.
Faculty: Secondly I find it very difficult to understand how an administrator in the Provost Office responsible for budget and budget only is expected to exercise academic leadership. My guess is with the PeopleSoft program that was brought to this campus several years ago, anyone dealing with budget has a full time job just trying to figure out the approximate budget really is. That person who bought that in should have been fired at once.
Chancellor: With respect to PeopleSoft, that decision was made about a year before I came to campus. We have made our best attempts at figuring out how to adapt to the existing structures. I am told that semester by semester the PeopleSoft decision is becoming better.
The question of a budget officer in the Office of the Provost is not so much what he is doing but whether he is part of the team so that the information that flows is brought forward for effective decision making, and in my judgment that was deficient. It is the teaming that was critical.
Faculty: Information is a two way street. Was there a structure in place to allow information to flow both ways? Could that be changed in such a way that the faculty could be reassured that there would be better information flow with the new staff who would come on?
Chancellor: The reality is that information is flowing very well through the mechanism that we have constructed except that it requires each Executive Officer to bring problems and well thought out challenges onto the agenda before a decision can be made. To be frank there have been very few of those issues that have come to the Executive Officers for full discussion that have involved academic issues. It was because of this problem that it was necessary I believe to change the way in which that information was collected and dispersed through the Provost Office. That has a component of cooperation and collaboration. I believe that it will be very adequately addressed when we choose the right Provost who is dedicated to the shared information as soon as possible.
That mechanism change has worked for every one of the Vice Chancellors except for one. That is the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. It will be my goal to work with the new Provost to examine these mechanisms and to make sure that they will be applicable. But before one rejects existing mechanisms which worked for the other Vice Chancellors I want to be sure to give the new Provost the chance to use and evaluate that mechanism for information exchange.
Faculty: How will you address the backlog of information flow which has been constricted as a function of the dynamic mentioned?
Chancellor: Bob Barnhardt was on the job at 8 a.m. Monday. As soon as he finished his meeting he came up and asked me to generate that list and to help him to begin to assign priorities. The information needs to be collected and evaluated. I cannot promise you that within a matter of weeks that we will clear this backlog. The issue of having a backlog has risen now to a level of attention so that we are at a place where we can begin to correct and prioritize.
Faculty: I am concerned about the timing of the replacement with the challenges that have been presented. You mentioned that the deans think the talent can be moved into place rapidly. Do you feel that since you are the one in charge it will help to work with the talent that is put in place?
Chancellor: I agree with that assessment. I specifically polled the deans and department heads last week. I believe it was unanimous with the deans and nearly unanimous with the department heads. I fully believe that there are several candidates on campus who can provide exactly the kind of leadership–articulate, reasoned, data based, decision making--in which problems are analyzed and brought forward in such a way to improve the lives of our faculty, our staff, and our students.
Chair Carter commented that he and Chair-Elect Dennis Daley met with the Chancellor on Thursday morning and she asked their advice on this matter. He advised her to do an internal search.
Faculty: Does the title of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost imply a change in reporting relationships?
Chancellor: The management style requires a team interaction. I am told that one of the things that has worked very well in the last year or so is the Dean of the Graduate School reporting jointly to the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Provost. I would not propose a change in that reporting structure until or if the new Provost requests consideration for such a change. When we put that structure into place we said we would evaluate after several years and the feedback that we have had is that that is working very well. There is equal reporting between the Dean of the Graduate School to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, who is focusing on all of the issues relevant to external and sponsored projects, and the Provost, who deals with the academic issues.
The Vice Chancellor for Outreach Extension and Engagement remains an independent position and will report directly to me. Within a team we believe that that collaboration is going forward and one of the proposals from the deans that we will look at as soon as we have a proposal is whether there will be a subgroup that deals with academic issues and another subgroup that deals with finance issues. That will be part of negotiation and discussions as we identify a new Provost.
Faculty: I agree with your ideas about restructuring the administration. There is another kind of restructuring that is even perhaps more important. That is to get some structure where the faculty communicate more easily with the administration. My suggestion would be to have a study group look at this. One structure that I know has been successful in other universities is to form an Executive Committee to either meet with the Chancellor and maybe the Provost on a regular basis to discuss long range planning to improve the national representation of the university. Such a committee should be composed of well respected faculty.
Chancellor: I would welcome the opportunity to improve these relationships. I will take it as a pledge to examine that with the new Provost as soon as he or she is appointed. We would want to do so without interfering with the constituted authority of the Faculty Senate and those elected representatives as well.
Faculty: Do you have any specific plans for increasing the authority and jurisdiction of the Provost Office vis-a-vis, the non-academic administrative departments of the university.
Chancellor: The title change is more than simply semantic. It means that there is exactly a definition of the Provost as being number two on campus. It means, that many times as I am traveling because of other obligations, that he will be the person in charge of the academic mission and the coordination of the administrative team.
Faculty: Does the restructure entail giving the Provost the kind of jurisdiction which is much more normal in other Research I Universities?
Chancellor: The Provost here has a large portfolio. The Provost has control of money in consideration with a formula established by the Legislature. I would happy to share with the faculty exactly how the budget is developed.
Faculty: It seems clear from the discussion that we have heard today that the next Provost would have to be a person of the highest ability and the highest integrity. What would you say to a candidate with those qualifications who insisted on having complete autonomy in hiring and firing the staff in the Office of the Provost? Do you think the events in the last week and one half have materially affected the ability to recruit a person with such ability and such integrity?
I can say that these discussions have been taking place over several months. I do not believe that, in a new Provost, we will ever reach the impasse that had been reached about this decision making and therefore there will be no interference with autonomy.
Faculty: Were the Senior Vice Provost and Vice Provost dismissed at-will or for a cause?
Chancellor: They were at-will. They were not for cause.
Faculty: If it was at-will the concerns have been voiced that precipitousness of this action suggest appears malicious. Were these individuals guilty of any misbehavior? I think the precipitousness also contributes to the fact that so many people are gathered here today. To ask someone to clear their office by 5:00 seems rather harsh.
Chancellor: The decision is only apparently precipitous. There have been negotiations and discussions about improvement of team work well over one year and one half. There was a specific discussion with the Provost in August; another in early December and it looks precipitous only because I was unwilling to initiate this action before the holidays.
Faculty: You say at-will but then you say there is cause.
Chancellor: There is no cause because a cause would require sufficient demonstrated insubordination, refusal to do something. There are no such causes. What I need is a member on my team that can enhance communication so that decisions of this university can be made in a timely manner on the basis on adequate information. In my judgment that is the reason a change had to be made. It is not a cause per se.
Faculty: As you know and it has been expressed by several people, there is a very high opinion of Frank Abrams. To act apparently so harshly without cause was, in fact, something that we just do not do here at NC State, and that is why there is a real anger over the way it was done.
Chancellor: I repeat that this was not a precipitous decision. There had been multiple discussions over more than a year and a half. This was not a surprise.
Faculty: In early September of 1998, in your opening address you made a statement. You said, "The faculty is the heart of the university". Given all that is going on, there is a crisis of confidence in your leadership on campus from the faculty and amongst the faculty. Perhaps the idea of a faculty committee to meet with you on a more formal basis is one way but could you give us something substantial in how you are going to rectify that crisis of confidence?
Chancellor: I have been aware for some time that this communication has not brought faculty issues into Holladay Hall at nearly the rate and with the quality and accuracy that we have required. It is therefore attention to this pipeline that I believe will solve this problem. I am very much open to suggestions such as were made earlier about having a formal mechanism to do that. I repeat my earlier pledge to work with the new Provost, to construct such a mechanism, which is not inconsistent with the chaired governance with the existing Faculty Senate.
Faculty: Chancellor Fox can you comment on how these events will affect this year’s promotion and tenure decisions?
Chancellor: They should not affect them at all. The staff who prepare and look for completeness in the dossiers are in tact. We will proceed in exactly the way that we would on the schedule that we would. If we have an Interim Provost at that time, be assured that this is a scholar of the highest rank with administrative experience and he will fill in for the Provost. The standard evaluations which are read by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, the Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement will proceed in exactly the same way.
Faculty: I have heard you explain why you relieved the Vice Provost, but have not heard anything about why you did not relieve the Provost himself.
Chancellor: I would have relieved the Provost himself had he not resigned under these circumstances.
Faculty: Why didn’t you get rid of him first and then get rid of the others?
Chancellor: There are many ways in which one can address a problem of that sort. I do make errors in judgment and perhaps that is one of them.
Faculty: Were Bruce Mallette and Frank Abrams surprised when they were relieved of their duties?
Chancellor: They should not have been surprised, given the appraisals that had been going on for more than a year.
Faculty: What do the evaluations of Provost Cooper have to do with Bruce Mallette and Frank Abrams?
Chancellor: The evaluations of Provost Cooper are for the entire operation that takes place in the Provost Office. With every Vice Chancellor there are comments about those who work with him or her very closely.
Faculty: Were there official performance reviews of Frank and Bruce that are consistent with this dismissal?
Chancellor: The specific files for the Vice Provost are one level down. Those who do not directly report to me I do not review. I can tell you that there have been oral reviews and that specific written reviews in the Provost evaluation which involves evaluation of his staff did include that information.
Faculty: Did you at any time request a negative performance appraisal of Bruce and Frank?
Chancellor: I never requested any appraisal of Bruce and Frank, apart from the university regulation that there is an annual performance review of every employee.
Faculty: Have five Provosts provided any negative evaluations of Frank and Bruce?
Chancellor: Again, I do not review the files of Vice Provosts, only those who directly report to me. The implication of five Provosts I believe is an unfair one. Provost Stiles submitted his resignation before I arrived. Counting Interim Provosts as Provosts per se is probably not fair. Kermit Hall moved on, as all of you know, to accept a more challenging position. So I think the question should be focused on the current Provost.
Faculty: In the recent review of the Chancellor, I was one who received a form to fill out. It was organized by RTI. There have been complaints from faculty that a review was not broad enough. I presented that sentiment to the Board at the last meeting and of course it is with the focus on the next review.
What has happened after this is that those who have been polled (a very small minority of department heads) that there were no questions relating to the Provost’s performance or the performance of the Provost’s office. Could you explain what the Board of Trustees were assessing when they actually made those comments about the Provost?
Chancellor: The procedure for evaluation of the Chancellor is controlled by the Office of the President, because the Chancellor reports to the President and Board of Governors. The procedures that were suggested were followed. This survey was distributed to 350 members of the campus community, reflecting the President’s selection of those who would be representative of the faculty. The Faculty Senate was represented well. The Research Council, the Graduate School Advisory Group, I believe, was represented. These were not presented to me per se. They were presented as faculty, administrators, and students and as external constituents in the summary statement.
Faculty: I believe this is a very dark day for the university. I was hoping not to speak but there has been left an impression that the faculty do not have access to the administration. As a point of fact, the Faculty Senate has a very active participation and consultative role with the administration. If you do not like the way it works, I would encourage you that in short order you will be hearing people asking you for nominations or asking you to run for the Faculty Senate. You described almost exactly what is currently in place. I do not think we need to study it, we just need to work on putting the right people, getting the right information on the table and the right time. For more than thirty years I have known Frank, and he was someone that I looked up to very highly. If I had to find a person on campus that I thought would be someone we could do without, he would not be anywhere near that list. Again, it is a dark day but the procedures are already in place. If you would like to have access, the Faculty Senate enjoys that access. The Faculty Senate meets twice a month. The meetings are always open. Please run for the Senate.
Chancellor: In fact, that is part of the reason why the condition that I mentioned about this other one is to be sure there was not a interference in governance issues with the existing Senate.
Faculty: I recognize and understand your need for good communication. When you articulated your list of issues, facilities is among the issues that you listed. To some degree, when I look at facilities, even the room that we are in right now I wonder if you always need someone to facilitate that communication? I have had vendors come on campus who are amazed at the air conditioners hanging out the window, since this is a Research I University. In your Department of Chemistry, temperature may fluctuate five degrees C. What I would like to know as a member on the main campus, "Will we ever get the commitment where just observation of facilities might approach those that have been so nicely built on Centennial Campus?"
Chancellor: It is quite obvious that we have facilities problems. We have done two things about those in particular. That is the higher education bond referendum that passed in November of 2000. One reason why I anticipate this year that a lot of my time is going to tied up in the Legislature, as we prepare to go for the second half of the bond referendum, despite the fact that we will not be voting this year, is that we are going to be doing preparations for it.
The other part is that our renovations and repair budget has been zeroed for the last two years and for things that truly are room renovations, we simply have not been able to do that. Again, the reason is that it is not that we do not know about those, but what we need is information that assigns priorities, There are so many of these projects all over campus, as a function of the budgetary problem.
Faculty: I was impressed by the elaborate efforts made to bring Dr. Cooper and three other candidates to campus during the search for a Provost. It seems to me that the members of that Search Committee were not allowed to give a collective opinion after the four people had been to campus. In retrospect is this or any other aspects of the search for a Provost something that you might revisit?
Chancellor: There was nothing, as I recall, that prohibited you as a group from giving advice. In fact, I got a lot of advice about the candidates.
Faculty: As a group there was. We were not allowed to rank, but we were also not allowed to speak to you individually once the candidates were here.
Chancellor: I am open to whatever will accomplish the full objective, which is to give me three to five candidates unranked. I think Dean Malecha can address the means by which that can be accomplished.
Faculty: Apparently there was a dean’s review of Stuart Cooper in summer of 2002, and the professor who submitted it states that it was primarily positive that the critique was in the area of visibility stating that Stuart never had a platform for expressing a vision.
Chancellor: Such a dean’s review was never presented to me and I was unaware of it, although there was a review of the Provost by me as part of his annual performance.
Faculty: Certainly what was done was perfectly legal in the sense that an executive officer has the right to choose his or her staff, etc. The thing I found disturbing is when I came here twenty-five years ago, I came to a university from other universities where indeed communication was essential. I guess the question that I am asking is, "Are we running a corporation here? Is this a business that we are running or is this an academic institution?"
Chancellor: That is of course a value judgment because we have a very complex organization. I affirm to you my firm commitment about the preeminence of academic affairs in this campus. It is, perhaps when you have a Board of Trustees who are populated by businessmen, not too surprising that their comments would reflect their own backgrounds.
Faculty: Isn’t there a need for perhaps an articulation to those Board of Trustee members of what the role and function of a Land Grant Public University is?
Chancellor: And we do so at every Board meeting through the Academic Affairs and Personnel Committee.
Faculty: How are the trustees chosen, and can we get more diversity of experience?
Chancellor: Trustees are chosen one third by the governor and two thirds by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors are chosen by the House and the Senate. We make suggestions.
Faculty: Can you report on what you have done personally to improve communications?
Chancellor: Obviously internal communications in such a complex organization are very difficult and I have been spending a great deal of time in both improving my personal style of communication and also looking at the structure by which information flows. I would hope that within six months or a year you would see improvements there.
5. Remarks from Dean Marvin Malecha, Chair of the Provost Search Committee
I have had the appointment to be Chair of the Search Committee for the position of Provost. I came to this meeting from lecturing to a class of 120 freshmen. I see myself as a faculty member first, and I do this as a member of the faculty. I do not believe in the separation between administrators and faculty, and I hope that my faculty in the College of Design sees me that way. From that personal philosophical position I would like to say that when I was appointed to this position, among the first things that I insisted on was that we would have a committee that would be representative of the voice of the faculty, that we would have as large a committee as possible to be able to still move as quickly as we have to move. We will have ten members of the faculty, eleven if you count the representative of the Faculty Senate. There will be a member of the Executive Committee. There will also be a student voice on this committee. I think it is very important that we move quickly. Chancellor Fox uses the term fast track. I prefer to define fast track, however, as as quickly as possible while we can still do due diligence. What I mean by due diligence is the opportunity for the university community to be in a consultative role in this important search.
I do believe the talent is on campus to provide this leadership. I think that it is important at this moment and time as we discuss the enlarged role of the Provost that we have somebody from our campus community. I have been on campus only nine years. In my nine years I have seen and interacted with a number of people who I think could come in at this critical moment in the time of the university.
We will make it possible in the interviewing of these candidates for an open university forum. I am among the people who believes the Provost needs to be a strong voice. I know from discussions with Chancellor Fox over the last several days that she does believe the Provost has to be a strong conduit to her and from her on issues of the university. We really need to be as consultative in this process as possible. The first job of any search committee is to deal with the job description. In the process the deans have asked the Chancellor to reconsider the job description and enlarge the role and change the title. I also know that she will be open to suggestions from the Faculty Senate as well. I think this is an important time for us to do as well as we can in this search, to really consider the options. My intention is to offer to the Chancellor a slate of three to five candidates who will all be able to do the job. I assure that I have never been accused to keeping my opinion to myself about anything and I intend to offer my opinion to her as she makes her choice, and I would expect every member of this committee to also be able to offer their opinion to her. It is important to us that she hears what really believe about these candidates very directly because I think the Provost has to have your confidence.
Faculty: Do you perceive the title Executive Vice Chancellor to mean a return to the more conventional governance of the university where the Dean of Extension, The Dean of the Graduate School, The Dean of Research, etc., report to that Vice Provost to make that Vice Provost indeed, the head of the faculty? Would you envision that title to mean that that is one among several, each of whom separately report to the Chancellor, and what is your view on that and are you going to poll your committee as to their view on that?
Dean Malecha: Certainly it is not my role to describe to the Chancellor or to the executive team of the university exactly how it should operate, so I am going to refrain from answering that question directly. What I believe the deans have recommended to the Chancellor is that the title, Executive Vice Chancellor, is intended to be the second in command of the university. That can be implied as a way of the consultation at the Executive Committee meeting being a second or Senior Vice President without everyone answering through that person. I can see a mode working as the Chancellor described. I do believe that the Provost has to be the voice among the Executive Officers on academic matters. I do not believe anyone should have precedence except for the Chancellor on issues of academic affairs. I do believe that opportunity exists here and I also believe that the Chancellor believes that. I think it is important for the Chancellor to be able in the Executive meetings, in interactions on Board of Trustee committees, I think it is important for the Provost to be able to have that kind of a voice.
I have also heard, in the discussions with deans up to this point, that we would like to assure that by making some changes relative to the substructuring of the Executive Committee so that on issues there would be subcommittees relative to how she operates the Executive Committee. She has seen those suggestions and has in fact concurred that some kind of structure like that would be wise.
Relative to other suggestions that deans have made, we have suggested the possibility for a rotating position for deans on the Executive Committee for the University. The Chancellor has suggested that she would be willing to entertain those kinds of changes. There are other things she has suggested to be willing to discuss and has rightfully suggested that in the negotiations with a strong new person, that those are all issues to be discussed. I think philosophically at this moment the Chancellor is very sincere. In all of the discussions I have had with her, she has been very sincere about saying let’s get a strong academic voice here and let’s talk about how that works as we get this person in place. That is one of the reasons why I think an on-campus person is so critical at this moment. An on-campus person understands the nature of the place and can in fact, interact as one of us rather than having to adjust to coming from outside.
Faculty: Do we have people who know the situation, who would take the job readily, who we feel comfortable could represent the interest of the faculty?
Dean Malecha: I know of at least a couple of people who have indicated to me as they have heard I was in this search that they would be interested in being candidates. There are some people who are fully aware of where we are, who are willing.
This is not a passive role. One of the first things I am going to do to the committee is say each one of you come back with two to three nominations that we will call and personally contact to indicate their interest of putting their name forward. I want an aggressive committee, not a passive committee.
Faculty: Do you think that the Search Committee will have better powers and autonomy than the one we had the last time?
Dean Malecha: I have no knowledge of the last committee but I will say this in that I have chaired a Search Committee relative to operating with Chancellor Fox before. I have felt that she dealt with the committee that I chaired before with respect. Within the room when we made reference to the final candidates, although we did not rank, we were each able to express our opinion of who we thought were leading candidates or not leading candidates.
Faculty: Who will be responsible for composing the job description?
Dean Malecha: The Chancellor will compose the job description. The deans have made recommendations to the Chancellor relative to some changes to the job description and I would expect that the Faculty Senate would also have some recommendations. The committee have not yet met for the first time and therefore has not been charged. I have been charged to move forward as quickly as possible. That is my intention. The Chancellor has also charged me with being forthright in all of the issues relative to this search. I feel very confident that with regard to Chancellor Fox and her relationship to me, relative to being chair of the committee, I have been invited to make any comments relative to what I think are strengths or shortcomings in this search. Relative to the job description that really is Chancellor Fox’s province. We can make suggestions and recommendations, but she is the one who will incorporate those suggestions and bring them back to the Search Committee, and that is appropriate.
6. Resolution of Commendation to C. Frank Abrams
Secretary Banks presented the resolution for its first reading.
A motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules for a vote on the resolution.
The resolution was voted on and passed unanimously.
7. Resolution on Censure
Secretary Banks presented the resolution for the first reading.
The motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules for a vote on the resolution
The motion failed with a vote of 13 for and 17 against.
There will be a second reading of the resolution in the next Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday, January 21, 2003.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.