February 3, 201102/03/2011
Greetings everybody. I’d like to assure you that we do not take lightly disrupting the academic calendar and deciding to close the university. However, we must consider safety as the number one priority. And from that perspective, I began speaking with the Chief of Police [at] about three o’clock in the morning when it looks like we need to make such or consider such decisions. We take into consideration the snow emergency levels of the surrounding communities in consideration of our faculty, staff, and students driving into the campus from those surrounding communities. We take into consideration the safety of the campus in terms of the ability for the grounds crew to clear the sidewalks and clear the parking lots to a level of safety that’s acceptable. And only if it’s warranted, make a decision to close. You know the ultimate objective is to minimize any disruptions to the academic calendar; however, I thought you might like to know the perspectives that are considered in making those decisions.
If I can add to the President’s comments, I’d like to think that we are in a situation of moments of oppor- tunity. While at the same time we have to consider the challenges that exist from a budget perspective, we also have to consider those as opportunities. Those are our moments of opportunity. We are looking at five, ten, fifteen to twenty-five percent reduction scenarios, with the appropriate triggers related to com- pensation. But I wanted to make sure that you understand that we’re also looking at revenue generation scenarios that link to adding classes during the summer, having more classes in the evenings, and having more classes on the weekends. What will we derive in terms of persistence of enrollment which would increase the revenue stream through our efforts to retain our students from one year to the next? So we are looking at and actually attempting to validate and verify what those numbers might look like. Obviously we’re looking for opportunities for efficiency to gain effectiveness and there will be reduction consider- ations. But I think the point is that there are moments of opportunity in that I have asked for the deans to submit to the Provost’s office, to the Office of Academic Affairs, scenarios for faculty hiring in strategic ways to begin the conversation and to begin the type of strategic thinking that is necessary for us to achieve our aspirations. And that is, I’ve asked them to think in two five-year increments of faculty hiring. So in other words, how would we plan to hire faculty in strategic ways across a ten-year period? And then the next level of exercise will be taking into consideration anticipated turnover in faculty. We’ll add that into the scenario so that as they develop the strategic plans to align with the university’s strategic plan, we effec- tively have a strategy for increasing the academic excellence of the academic programs that are invested in above the current level of investment. Along with the moments of opportunity for increasing revenue and planning for faculty hiring,are opportunities that come with considering our organizational structure. Soas you know, we have taken the step where Dean Midha is acting to manage the operational and business finances of the College of Creative and Professional Arts while he is also the dean of Arts and Sciences. So that’s the first step of a change in the oversight structure of Creative and Professional Arts. That is to be followed by, and it’s already started, conversations at the academic level for what an academic convergence might look like. Why, might you ask, should we or would we consider doing this? Well, there are a number of reasons. Leveraging scope, leveraging skill will be important considerations in consideration of implementing a budget system. It creates unique opportunity to revise or recreate a new 21st Century curriculum that truly prepares global citizens in consideration of a liberal arts education. There’s a timeframe for those discussion which, if the Chair would like, we’d be happy to review with you at this meeting, but that is the first step in those kinds of discussions related to gaining efficiencies and gaining effectiveness. We also have interacted with Faculty Senate Executive Committee from the perspective of leveraging opportunities that are, as of yet, unrealized in the area of health blank. Health something. Health sciences. Health whatever. In that you’re aware that Health Sciences and Human Services and Nursing have been discussing the possibility of a merger in recent years, we think that a greater opportunity exists for transinstitutional conversations if, in fact, we take a step to create a health something college into which programs have the opportunity to converge or to move that are not only those programs in Nursing and Health Sciences and Human Services, but potentially other programs across the university. This also would allow the opportunity for programs to consider adjusting their locations that, in a sense, might create a different way the opportunities that the President has outlined in terms of the university rediscovering a different organizational structure. Clearly we can leverage more opportunities in our relationships with Summa, Akron General, Children’s, NEOUCOM, and a significant investment this country will have to make in assuring the health and wellness of the society. And that is a great moment of opportunity. ABIA, as you know, is on a wonderful trajectory towards success. We can latch onto that. We’re partners in that. We can escalate that. NEOUCOM is on a different trajectory. And certainly Northeast Ohio and our collaboration with them and the BSMD program to help facilitate first generation college attendees who want to stay in the region as general practitioners is a wonderful opportunity that if we develop our strategies appropriately, can benefit from an enhanced collaboration with NEOUCOM.
Finally I’d like to point out that it’s been brought to my attention that we have a multitude of centers and institutes that over time have either flourished or in some cases atrophied or the status quo has been maintained. I think that now is a moment of opportunity to review the status of our centers and institutes and really make some decisions about their viability now and in the future and how we might otherwise reconvene or reconsider or re-aggregate different areas of research and teaching focus, as the President has alluded to, that might stimulate enhanced interdisciplinary research and teaching. And so with that, Chairman Sterns, I will end and entertain any questions.
Chair Sterns: Are there any questions for the Provost and Vice President?
Provost Sherman: If you would like Dean Midha to review the timeline we’re prepared to do that as well. Chair Sterns: Dean Midha would you like to quickly share that timeline?
Dean Midha: Sure.Good afternoon everybody.This is the proposed timeline how we plan to proceed with the academic convergence of College of Arts and Sciences and College of Creative and Professional Arts. You’ll see in this timeline that, so far, we have met the leadership of the Senate Executive Committee, as well as the AAUP Executive Committee. We have also met the Faculty Senate representatives from both colleges. When combined there will be 23 senators from CP and BCS. We have met all the chairs, directors of both the colleges together, met the staff of both the colleges together. Today we are presenting this timeline to you. Next week John Zipp, representing the College of Arts and Sciences, Neil Sapienza, the interim dean in the College of Creative and Professional Arts, and I plan to meet the faculty of the respective units in CPA; namely, the School of Communications, School of Dance, Myers School of Arts, Dance, Theatre and Art Administration. This will help us know the faculty of each unit and also to find out if there are any issues which need to be addressed in this convergence of two colleges. Thereafter, I plan to call a joint meeting of the faculties of both the colleges of Arts and Sciences and College of Creative and Professional Arts. There we’ll discuss the coordinating committees of the two colleges at the college and university levels. At the present time the curriculum will remain the same; weekly offerings will remain the same. As for RTP issues are concerned, they vary from unit to unit. They will stay the same. However, college-wide committees for example in Arts and Sciences we have curriculum committee for Buchtel College, likewise there is a committee in CPA. Also, there are college wide committees for RTP decisions in both colleges. We’ll be learning from each other how the structure is in these two colleges and what will be needed if we have to cut and what the structure of the committees are merged into one. In doing that our plan will be to form ad hoc committees which will have some elected members of both colleges and then we’ll have some appointed members to balance the rank, gender, and other demographic statistics for those committees. These ad hoc committees will study commonalities, differences, and what we can learn from each other and how we can be more efficient. At the same time, it’s possible that the former College of Fine and Applied Arts, which was split into two units: Creative and Professional Arts and Health Sci- ences and Human Services, may express their desire to be realigned with some units in Health Sciences and Human Services again. As Provost Sherman has mentioned, once we explore the possibility of a health related college there might be other realignment within the colleges. So, we’ll be open to any suggestions or any other realignments or alignments. What we’ll be doing rest of the semester is meeting the units, faculty first, then the college level, and then look at the college wide committees. We’ll be regularly inform- ing the Senate Executive Committee and we’ll update the Senate as a whole on May 5th, which is probably the last meeting of the academic year. Thereafter, our committees will work during the summer and they will come up with a report. Our plan here is, by early October, to give the recommendation. We’ll consider those recommendations at the joint faculty meeting and then after we’ll follow the procedures and rules and regulations that if it has to go to APC or if it has to come back to the Senate, we’ll be going through all those committee structures there. And then by December 2nd, which is the last meeting of the Senate during the  fall semester, we’ll bring back the recommendations and get advice and approval here. And the plan is to have all procedural issues resolved during the spring of 2012 with the hope that the convergence of the two colleges can take place in Fall 2012. The issues related to curriculum, degree requirements, and credits will be discussed through the curriculum committees of the two colleges together. I’d be happy to answer any questions. I’d be happy to take any suggestions.
Senator Lazar: Thank you. I’m not exactly sure to whom I should address this question. For clarification, is the academic convergence of these two colleges a foregone conclusion or is that what this process is going to determine?
Chand Midha: This is the process we’re following here.
Senator Lazar: To determine that or to make that happen?
Chand Midha: Both. I think we have a target to explore the possibility of the convergence. In the process, if some issues would come up here, we’ll be discussing that. If we can answer it in those committees, fine; if we can’t answer them, we’ll be reporting to the Provost and we’ll go from there.
Senator Lazar: Thank you and my second question is I would be very interested as a I think some of my colleagues would be in seeing some of the data that was used in evaluating and coming to some of the efficiencies, especially those that would benefit the performing arts in particular. I understand that the liberal arts will get a great boost from having some of the performing arts there, but especially what benefits would it be for the performing and visual arts as career projectories? What benefits would they gain by this proposed conversion? So there’s a location for that. I think we’d be really interested in that.
Chand Midha: Being a statistician, I can assure you I’ll bring all the data to the meetings. I’ve not seen the numbers, but roughly I can tell you Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences generates 43% of the credit hours for the campus and the College of Creative and Professional Arts generates about 10% of the credit hours. If I look at the revenue picture coming from locution and the subsidy, Arts and Sciences generates about 39% of the total revenue while the Creative and Professional Arts generates about 9.5%. And what’s the budget we have for the academic side, in terms of expenditures? We have 27% coming to Arts and Sciences and 9.4% coming to College of Creative and Professional Arts. It’s neutral as far as the budget is concerned. We’ll be pressing the case that our academic budget should be increased for both the colleges, if we are concerned about the global citizenship of our students. And as was mentioned if you were at the meeting two weeks ago, there will be incentives and rewards and no penalties.
Senator Lazar: Thank you.
Chand Midha: You are welcome.
Senator Speers: I was glad to hear your mention of liberal arts, because I haven’t heard that term in a long time. And it seems to me that our universities have been going toward specialization with parents saying, “What kind of job will this get my son or my daughter when they get this degree?” So, by having the fine arts absorbed under arts and sciences, it seems we’re going away from that specialization into a more generalization of liberal arts and I’m wondering about the timing with the rest of our larger society. I love liberal arts; it teaches problem solving and it does a lot of things for people. I have a similar background, but it also seems like they look at us as a vo-tech school now. What will this degree get me and by not focusing or at least having the creative arts featured, we kind of say they’re not all that important.
Chand Midha: That’s not our thought at all. I can assure you.
Senator Speers: Oh, I just wonder if that will be the effect. That’s all.
Chand Midha: No, I think fine arts will stay where they are. In fact we want to strengthen that. I was looking at the history of the College of Arts and Sciences and not long ago the name of the college was ‘liberal arts’ and I met a gentleman the other day who said that he got the degree in sciences, yet the name was liberal arts then. That man is here in the room I don’t know if you know that. So, I think we are not going to touch the creative and fine arts. It’s going to be absorbed. And so, as you ask me, the data will be there. We’ll show the data and we want to enhance it.
Senator Wilson: This may be directed to the Provost, but Chand you might be able to answer it, too, or Harvey. I heard you mention that you had met with the Executive Committee about this. Is that correct? At any point, have we been given a sort of formal proposal or rationale that lays out why your office feels this is necessary? We’ve heard terms of efficiency and other things. But does it exist in a form that we could look at? That’s my first question.
Chair Sterns: And we’ll have minutes from the Executive Committee coming up. Senator Lillie.
Senator Lillie: I just wanted to say that I was at that meeting and I think we had some opportunity to make some of the points that I’m sensing are being made by some of the senators. The upshot of the meeting was that this particular structure would be much stronger if there was a place in it which specifically indicated that the faculty of the two colleges were saying, “Lets explore this.” When the Provost and the Dean came to our meeting, the Dean in particular was very encouraging. He felt that he had talked to enough people, that there were enough people who wanted to do or at least look into it, and to see what would come of it. But I said and we felt that this would be much stronger with that kind of thing there in particular. Otherwise, it might appear to be a top-down imposition with all of the potential resistance that could occur from that. We thought it would be stronger if it had some expressed support from the faculty. Now, in light of all that too, one of the things that I think we’re seeing with our new Provost and with things changing as a result of perhaps of what the President said about the budget and so on, is that things may be happening perhaps a little quicker than they used to. We’ll be receiving a little more activist kind of leader- ship coming out of the Office of Academic Affairs, coming out of the Provost for us to look at. I support and I really think it’s a great idea to have the leadership, to have the ideas and intellectual challenges, but I do also think it would be important and would strengthen this whole process immensely if there were an opportunity for the faculty to say, “Yes, let’s move forward on this.” We did ask them to do that and that’s why you have some of the explanations here as to what’s going on. I think it would be better like that. And finally I am not sure if natural philosophy is part of the quadrivium or trivium but it’s in the liberal arts someplace.
Chair Sterns: And I think I can say, as Chair, that I encouraged Dean Midha to be here to fully present to the Senate as a whole so there’s an opportunity for us to begin the dialogue. We did raise the point that what happens if there are serious obstacles that would make this a non-opportunity and that we hope that that isn’t the case, but that possibility exists.
Chand Midha: We’ll address it and we’ll go from there.
Chair Sterns: So, thank you for coming. Other questions?
Provost Sherman: The only thing I could add is that I think we were responsive to those suggestions by indicating by March 11th the ad hoc committee formed to explore the convergence. Then on the basis of that exploration, the report would be reviewed by the faculty at the May 6th meeting. So, it very well could be that the ad hoc committees would result in a recommendation to take this no further. In which case, that would be the recommendation, the faculty would hear it, and then we would go from there. But I think we were responsive in that way.
Senator Lillie: The only thing I wanted to say was to thank the Provost for making that clear for me because I think it was an important part that we had spent some time on. I also just want to say quickly that I think the Provost is serious about wanting your input and I would encourage you to take that back to your colleagues.
Chair Sterns: And I would say Senator Wilson that any time that the Executive Committee has a meeting of this nature it was because of the fact that the Senate was not meeting until today and that some decisions had to be made before that time. Otherwise, we try not to assert the power of the whole Senate and of course anything we do is subject to your review.
Senator Wilson: I’m very appreciative as well. I just want to say that. I guess my question was that I’ve heard it expressed in a general way about efficiency and other kinds of things. I haven’t yet seen a very specific rationale for why this is a good thing or a bad thing. Are those specifics going to come out of the process of discussions? Is that sort of the idea here? Okay.
Provost Sherman: I think that the other universities who have considered an exercise like this let the process reveal the rationale from the perspective of the collaborations that can emerge, the ways students can move through programs with a better education. From a management perspective, it makes sense to have a shared services approach, so to speak, for the two colleges from a business and operations per- spective. We want faculty to have the consideration to explore ways this would work or ways that it may not.
Also to improve the quality of the instructional enterprise such that the faculty and the TAs feel supported in improving the quality of instruction. That is partly why our students will be more satisfied with their experience at The University of Akron.
We’re working on scheduling my interactions with the eight constituency groups related to the University Council proposal. I believe we’re going to have an initial meeting of the constituency groups as a whole and have kind of a collaborative conversation about that proposal. After that we will have individualized conversations with each of the constituency groups.
Our Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit is scheduled for 2013. It was originally in 2012. We’ve asked for that to be in 2013 so that we have time to be more responsive to some of the issues that you urged from the previous accreditation interaction. We have time for some of the initiatives that have been underway to realize a greater indication of their support of the academic enterprise. The leadership of the various constituency groups will be contacted very shortly to recommend and nominate individuals who would be willing, available and energized to serve on the different committees that will be required to be appropriately responsive to that accreditation visit.