Fred Travis stated that many of the submitted questions surrounded the JCCI proposal but that since the president’s recent memo addressed the standing of JCCI, he wouldn’t have much to add to that, since that memo answered many of the questions. Most of the questions submitted referred to communications between administration and faculty, faculty governance issues, and faculty morale. He stated that he hoped this session would become a discussion between himself and faculty over these issues.
In addressing questions concerning improving communications between administration and faculty, he replied that there is already very productive communication on a day-to-day basis with chairs over hiring, promotions, tenure and curriculum issues. In 12 years, the administration has never hired anyone without faculty and departmental recommendation. In 97 tenure cases over 12 years, there were only 6 denials and those were because of negative departmental recommendations. In only a few cases did the administration work against departmental recommendation, but those were reversed after appeal or grievance. There is a growing agreement between departments and the administration over promotions, which Fred feels shows that communications are good and growing. The new core curriculum was created by a committee of 9 faculty and 1 administrator, and the recommendations for changes in the core curriculum was voted on and passed by faculty forum, with only one change. Everyday, there is ongoing and productive communications between administration and departments. On faculty morale, Fred stated that he was not sure how widespread feelings of low faculty morale really were, and that a silent majority is content with things at JCU. Some frustrations could be a result of rising expectations on the part of faculty. Since 1990, faculty salaries have risen 21% in real terms. In 1988, there were only 5 Grauel Faculty Fellowships awarded; in 2000-1, there will be 17 faculty on Grauel leave. In 1989, there were 16 Summer Fellowships awarded; in the Summer of 2000, 30 research and 5 course development Summer Fellowships were awarded. There was a teaching award established in the College of Arts and Sciences in the past 10 years, as well as a Center for Teaching Excellence, with workshops on teaching funded by the University each May. The Boler School of Business facility has been totally renovated, and the O’Malley Center was built. Other departments also saw new and renovated offices. The New Technology and Faculty Resource Center has been established. Faculty are teaching fewer students, since full time hires are up. The hiring of part time instructors has indeed risen in 10 years, but there has been a decrease this year because new full-time lines have been opened. In the fall of 1988, the faculty/student ratio as 13:85. In the fall of 1999, it went to 13:38, which is a 38% decrease.
Fred stated that as Academic Vice President and Provost, he is not responsible to faculty, but to the President of the University and to the Trustees. He also stated that he does not know why there might be low faculty morale. Because the salary system is merit-based, not everyone’s salary goes up, but this is not a gender issue, it is a performance and merit issue. Very few faculty salaries have not increased. Some faculty may want to run the university, but that is not going to happen. The trend in universities is toward less faculty decision-making, and most universities are looking for development and business people. Most universities are getting rid of tenure. Indeed, members of the John Carroll board of trustees want to get rid of tenure, but Fred has fought to keep it. While Fred wants faculty cooperation and input, he stated that faculty cannot run a university. Maybe there is a problem with faculty governance at JCU, but in Fred’s opinion, that problem is the Faculty Forum structure which he feels does not work. There are no more than 50 faculty members here today. Does the Forum really represent the faculty of this university? In response to questions concerning the evaluation of the administration, Fred stated that the President has created a system whereby the administrators will be evaluated through a system whereby each administration member picks their 10 evaluators and the President picks 10 evaluators of each administrator. Fred expressed his support of this policy. Fred closed here, and asked if there were any questions from the floor. He emphasized that John Carroll is a good university with good faculty doing their job. We are all lucky to be part of an excellent institution. JCU recently received $20,000,000 contribution from one individual, which is an indication of tremendous support. Faculty and Administrators should resolve to go forward together. Keep your eye on the ball.
In the question and answer session that followed, one faculty member asked if Fred had a proposal for a more effective or representative faculty governance model. Fred answered that an elected faculty senate might work better. When pressed for details as to why the Forum model was not effective, Fred answered that his sense of low attendance was part of the reason. One faculty member stated that the Core committee was an example of a committee formed by the administration instead of using CAP, a forum committee, but Fred disagreed, saying that departments were asked to nominate members of their departments, from which the Academic Vice President at the time, and the Deans chose the committee members. The Core Committee was not elected, but it was not formed without consultation. Third year review is another example of cooperation between faculty and administration, in Fred’s opinion. One faculty member said that the Boler School of Business DID have a means of evaluating administration already in place. Another faculty member stated that since Fred felt there was a silent majority of support, that maybe the whole faculty should be involved with administration evaluation. Fred replied that the procedure that Fr. Glynn is instituting is a new procedure of administration evaluation, and that, no, we had no means in place of evaluating administrators until now. He also stated that only 36 faculty members chose to ask questions; the silent majority chose not to ask any. Discussion then revolved around increasing opportunities for faculty/administration communication in order to improve a sense of trust between the two groups. There was a question concerning the status of departmental tenure procedures, to which Fred replied that the statements are beginning to come to him now, that the process of administration approval for those statements is still ongoing. In response to a question concerning the search for a graduate school dean, Fred replied that in the interest of getting JCU an EXCELLENT dean, the search is still ongoing. In response to a question on the use of part-timers, Fred replied that the administration began discussing this at a recent retreat with the deans. Before working with the forum on this, Fred stated, he needs to see the results of this year’s hiring. One faculty member stated that morale issues might lie in a perception that the quality of students is not increasing. Fred replied that there are different opinions on that issue; some of the long-time faculty thinks students are better now than they have been. College students are different now than they once were, which means that faculty need to be more creative in ways to reach them. Our admissions office works very hard, but we need a more culturally and geographically diverse student population, as well as being more selective. Even faculty at Ivy League schools complain about students being unprepared for college work.
Dick Horwath thanked Fred for his time in answering questions from the faculty. The meeting was adjourned at 5:30PM.
Submitted by Karen Gygli, Faculty Forum Secretary