April 17, 2012

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Approved 9-11-12




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Auditorium, Radiology Building

K. Wilcox, G. Aben, W. Anderson, M. Becker, D. Campbell, S. Carter, K. Cheruvelil, E. Cushman, W. Davidson, L. Dillon, J. Dunn, M. Fillmore, C. Frilingos, M. Grieshop, L. Gut, M. Halloran, T. Holt, R. Jones, M. Kaplowitz, Y. Komori, K. Lovell, L. Mak, M. Morath, D. Moriarty, M. Noel, R. Ofoli, V. Poltavets, J. Powell, S. Pratt, L. Selanders, G. Stone, S. Tekalur, C. Vermeesch, D. Wilson, E. Yakura

Absent: President Simon, K. Ames, J. Boughman, S. Carey, E. Charles, M. Chavez, C. Coursaris, J. Foss, J. Goddeeris, S. Hassan, J. Hoehn, H. Hughes, M. Kasavana, M. Lawrence, T. Levine, R. Mabokela, A. Meisel, H. Melakeberhan, P. Menchik, W. Miller, B. Olivier, D. Pathak, H. Perlstadt, R. Putnam, F. Ravitch, C. Scales, M. Shapiro, D. Sheridan, A.J. Singh, R. Taggart, L. Udpa, S. Watts, J. Wright

The meeting began at 3:17 p.m. with a Bass quorum.

Approval of Agenda:
The agenda was amended adding an information item as follows: The Recommended Merger of the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Plant Pathology to form a new Department. The agenda was approved as amended.

Public Comments:
There were no public comments.

Approval of Minutes:
The minutes for March 27, 2012 were approved as distributed.

President’s Remarks:
President Simon was not able to attend the meeting.

Provost’s Remarks:
The Provost Wilcox noted the end of the Semester which means students taking exams and faculty determining grades. It is a time of the year when we look back on accomplishments. The BOT met last week and items on the agenda included Faculty Conflict of Interest, Research Faculty, Librarian Continuous Appointment, University Research Organization. Many of the items have been worked on for over a year in governance and are the kinds of issues that are important to the long term direction and organizational posture of the University. Provost Wilcox thanked members for their work this year.

The Steering Committee Chairperson’s Remarks:
Professor Powell thanked all of the Standing Committees and the Chairpersons and members of Faculty Senate. Professor Powell noted that the changes made in the Bylaws for Academic Governance went into effect this past Fall. During the discussions on changing the Bylaws, there was much talk about streamlining, the redundancy between the Faculty Senate activities and University Council. One action taken this year was to hold both meetings on the same day when there were no lengthy items on Faculty Senate. Much of the activity during the past three years in Faculty Senate (Faculty Council) dealt with the proposed amendments to the Bylaws.

The items on the Faculty Senate agenda for next year will require a much more action oriented Faculty Senate. A Task Force was formed to evaluate, revise and consider the Anti-Discrimination Policy in the Spring of 2011. The process was under way when the Federal Government issued new guidelines along the Sexual Harassment domain. Recommendations were made to the President with a response from the President. Dialogue has continued during the year to make sure all aspects are considered. The final recommendations will be written and a Handbook will be developed by the Office of Inclusion that will guide one through the Policy.

Another governance activity was the University Research Organization (URO) which was passed as a recommendation to follow the Task Force recommendations. The members of the Task Force, in addition to other members on campus, will be involved in the continuing planning, decision making and leadership of that group which will establish the next level of recommendations for the implementation for the project plan.

Governance approved the recommended changes to the Code of Teaching Responsibility and the University Policy on the Integrity of Scholarship and Grades this Spring Semester. The Provost Office will be exploring continuing issues such as testing centers for the online courses.

The At-Large Faculty were involved in a number of activities this year which included the preparation of the documents for the five year review of the Secretary for Academic Governance, organized the materials for the five year review of the Provost, met with College CAC’s, and held faculty forums. There are several topics that will be on the agenda for next year in various Committees. There will be ongoing discussion regarding the academic calendar issues, proposals from ASMSU such as grief absences from class and internship credits. Professor Powell ended noting governance will begin in the Fall with an active agenda.

University Committee on Curriculum Report:
Professor Halloran, Chairperson of UCC, presented the following UCC report:

  • There was 1 new program and 9 program changes approved. There were no program deletions.
  • The following course actions were approved: 6 new courses, 32 course changes and 8 courses were deleted.

A motion was passed to approve the UCC Report.

Recommendation for 2012-13 Faculty Merit and Market Pool Increase:
Professor Anderson, UCFA Chairperson, reported the UCFA Recommendations have been sent to the Provost in the Memorandum dated March 27, 2012, distributed to members. Professor Anderson noted that the UCFA request is based on a concern that MSU’s position in the Big Ten is slipping and is now 10th in the Big Twelve in salaries. MSU was in the 7th position a few years ago about where we were in 2002-3. This is compounded by other benefits and coverage that have been truncated for new hires. UCFA recommended for the 2012-13 a 3% increase in the general merit pool and also recommended a 1% increase for market adjustments.

A motion was passed to approve the UCFA recommendations.

The Provost commented that when calculating the total compensation at MSU places MSU at about the 8th position. The Provost will be asking UCFA to help with the task of a mechanism by which significant increases would be made in individual salaries at the time of promotion.

Provost Wilcox indicated that the State finances are looking better but currently the House and Senate recommendations do not necessarily bode well for us. The University is now much more dependent on student tuition than we are on State support.

Health Benefits 2012-13 Update:
A motion was passed to give voice to Renee Rivard and Chris Hanna to answer any questions.
Professor Anderson, UCFA Chairperson, reported meeting during the year with HR receiving update reports on programs and possible proposals being discussed, for example, the industry wide increase in long term care premiums. UCFA asked if other options could be explored which have been done. Another is the issue discussed was an update report on the Best Docs Program and the Generic Prescription program. Information was provided to UCFA on the rate increases for Community Blue and Blue Cross Network. The average increase for Community Blue was about 10% and UCFA was asked to comment on this increase. After much deliberation UCFA decided to accept for a year and then revisit. Professor Anderson raised the issue that governance needs to consider the role of academic governance and the interface with HR, providing input on decision making. Professor Powell responded that UCFA could make a recommendation to the Senate.

Several questions were raised. How much will the increase in Community Blue be in dollars? Professor Moriarty noted it was her understanding, when discussed in UCFA, when health care costs went up no more than 5% that the University would cover that 5%. Does this mean Community Blue went up 15% and Faculty is paying 10%?

Chris Hanna responded that the cost of Community Blue will increase $46.00 per month for single coverage and will increase 96.00 per month for two person coverage. Family coverage will increase $112.00 per month. When looking at the total cost for health care for the University, it is based on the total cost for Blue Care Network and what the University pays for Blue Care Network, Caremark and what the University pays for the Community Blue plan that is not paid for by the premium share, plus the Best Doctors and a few other things. The prior year cost and the base year costs are compared with the end of the following year. If it exceeds 5% in total, that would be a premium share situation. When the base year is looked at against the previous year, we are under the 5% cap for all groups again this year. Based on projections with the rate renewal information from this year, it is estimated that we will probably be under the 5% cap for the current year. The base plan is the BCN plan and when the premium share is measured against that, it is the difference in cost between the two plans that set the premium sharing and is independent of the 5% total cost measurement done every year. Chris Hanna indicated that other venders are looked at informally every year and every three years there is a formal RFP.

Recommended Merger of the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Plant Pathology to form a new Department:
Provost Wilcox reported that following many discussions between the Departments, a proposal was submitted to merge the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Plant Pathology. This Proposal is presented to Faculty Senate as an information item. The Provost will now bring the Proposed Recommendation to the President and then it will go to the BOT for a final decision.

Solicitation of Faculty Governance Issues for the Coming Year:
Professor Powell asked the members for agenda items for next year. A request was made to have an update on the Academic Calendar year. He encouraged members to discuss at the CAC meetings and with faculty to gather items. Professor Powell asked members about their willingness to meet the Tuesday before classes begin to generate and prioritize items for the year. No one voiced objection.

New Business:
There was no further business.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:26 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,


Jacqueline Wright
Secretary for Academic Governance


Tapes of complete meetings of the Faculty Council are available for review in the office of the Secretary for Academic Governance, W32 Owen Graduate Hall, 355-2337

Committee Meeting Date: 
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 3:17pm
Committee Type: 
Minutes Status :