NEWS FROM FACULTY COUNCIL #2
DATE: November 2, 2010
Faculty Council is pleased to send OSU faculty members a summary of the business conducted at the second Council meeting of the year. Council is made up of the 70 faculty members (and their alternates) who are elected annually to the University Senate as representatives of OSU’s colleges and regional campuses. Before the 1940s, all faculty belonged to a campus governance caucus, but the growth in the size of the faculty led to creation of a representative faculty council and then, in 1971, to establishment of the current University Senate, which is composed of faculty, students, and administrators. Unlike OSU faculty governance bodies internal to colleges, the Council serves as the collective faculty voice on matters of academic and educational policy that affect the entire OSU campus.
The second Faculty Council meeting of the year began with a discussion of the Faculty Compensation and Benefits Committee’s annual report then took up proposals from the Senate Rules Committee. FC chair, Myroslava Mudrak, first noted that, although the November 4 Senate meeting was being cancelled for lack of sufficient substantive business, important business was making its way through Senate committees and would arrive soon at Council and then Senate: for example, discussions concerning the financing of May term, diversity issues, the continuing consolidation of Arts and Sciences, ways to better streamline academic operations and office functions, and SEIs. She also invited faculty to volunteer to fill vacancies on three committees—the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, the Council on Student Affairs, and the Committee on Academic Misconduct.
Gene Holland, chair of FCBC, and Laura Gast, a research consultant in the Office of Human Resources, summarized the results of the committee’s annual assessment and its recommendations. OSU faculty salaries rose in comparison with their benchmark institutions (moving from 7th to 4th) and their AAU public peers (from 16th to 13th). Regarding benefits, however, they reported that reforms to STRS would be necessary due to the recent financial crisis, and pensions would probably worsen following reforms to the system. News about insurance premiums was mixed; premiums are rising, if slowly; dependent certification program will save money. FCBC recommends more improvement of regional campus faculty salaries. The committee has also discussed the idea of supplementing annual rate raises with one-time cash payments, though the time may not be right for that. Provost Alutto’s response to the FCBC report was generally favorable.
Discussions of the comparison of OSU salaries with those of benchmark institutions prompted questions about what our current list of benchmarks is. Julie Carpenter-Hubin from OSU’s Institutional Research and Planning office provided the list:
University of Arizona
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Florida
University of Illinois
Pennsylvania State University
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
T. K. Daniel, chair of the Rules Committee, and Allison Snow, Director of the Undergraduate Research Office, reported on a proposal that would allow more than Honors students to do and be recognized for an undergraduate research thesis. The proposed word change to the Faculty Rules allows non-Honors students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher to complete a research thesis and graduate “with research distinction” by following new, university-wide requirements (see http://undergraduateresearch.osu.edu/nutsandbolts/thesis/index.htm). These requirements were discussed and approved by the Council on Academic Affairs and several other committees during the past two years. Honors students who complete a thesis by meeting already-existing requirements will graduate “with Honors research distinction” on the transcript instead of the former term, “with distinction”. Council’s informal vote in support of the proposal was unanimous. So, too, was Council’s vote following a brief discussion of a resolution from the Office of Academic Affairs removing an unnecessary layer of administrative involvement in promotion and tenure procedures in the health sciences cluster of colleges.
All documents presented at Faculty Council can be downloaded here: http://facultycouncil.osu.edu/meetings/102910.html
Myroslava M. Mudrak, Chair, Faculty Council
James Rathman, Vice-Chair, Faculty Council
Richard Gunther, Chair, Steering Committee
Christian Zacher, Secretary of the Senate