Faculty Council discussed and passed a series of motions at its Thursday meeting, addressing campus-wide issues such as the upcoming vote on non-tenure track faculty voting rights, the University of Missouri Press transition and the closing of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute.
At the meeting, the last scheduled before spring break, the council reached a unanimous decision on the proposed motions. The council approved a voting method and ballot oversight committee for the upcoming NTT vote, as well as accepted a comprehensive report on the UM Press issue and a course of action for the NSEI closure.
Upcoming non-tenure track vote
When the council voiced that one NTT faculty member should be added to the oversight committee, the council reached a consensus in favor of Nicole Monnier. Monnier, associate teaching professor of Russian, has been outspoken in favor of the vote and immediately said yes.
“I’m here,” Monnier said to the council, laughing. “I would love to (join the committee).”
With the addition of Monnier, alongside Faculty Council members Tim Evans, Raja Gopaldas, Stephen Montgomery-Smith and chairman Harry Tyrer, the committee to oversee the NTT voting process was approved. Additionally, the council accepted the online survey system Qualtrics as the ballot of choice and decided to make the oversight committee responsible for the ballot language and voting date.
If passed, the NTT vote will expand the definition of faculty to include NTT professionals, giving non-tenure track staff voting rights in campus-wide issues.
Tyrer said he was happy that things are in motion.
“We are much closer to this,” Tyrer said. “And I have to tell you that I have had reporters beating up on me, trying to say, ‘Now when are you gonna have that election?’”
UM Press report
Management professor Art Jago discussed a review of processes that were filed on the UM Press issue, which has been an ongoing topic of discussion since responsibility of the press shifted from the University of Missouri System to MU in August.
Faculty Council unanimously accepted the document.
The review of processes, which the Faculty Council's Ad Hoc Cause Committee compiled, outlined the root causes of the initial press closing and ruled if they were ethical. The report stated that UM System President Timothy Wolfe had the authority to close the press unilaterally and without faculty input. However, it also stated that no faculty members were consulted about the closing.
“You might have expected that Intercampus Faculty Council might have been consulted, but they were not,” Jago said.
The review of processes also detailed lessons to be taken away from the UM Press closing. The processes used to make the press decisions were clumsy, opaque and could have been approved, according to the report. Among other takeaways in the report, one overarching lesson was that administration and faculty need to better understand consultation.
“There’s a need for a common understanding of what faculty consultations means,” Jago said. “Faculty consultation means consulting with representatives of the faculty.”
When Jago finished his presentation, Monnier raised her hand and praised the committee’s report. She said she has never enjoyed reading another Faculty Council document in her life, and no one opposed the statement.
Douglas Wakefield, director of the Center for Healthcare Quality, responded with a joke.
“Get a life!” he said, laughing.
Faculty Council approved a proposal that outlined plans for the future of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute. The proposal, presented by professor of mathematics Stephen Montgomery-Smith, listed four steps that would lead to the eventual reinstatement of the NSEI.
Faculty Council needs to first draft a letter to the MU Chancellor and Wolfe on transparency and authority, the proposal stated. The proposal further stated that an audit of the NSEI needs to be conducted, and a Faculty Council task force needs to perform a root-cause analysis. Additionally, the council needs to call upon the chancellor to restore NSEI to its status prior to March 12, 2012, the proposal stated.
“I think the lessons we can learn from NSEI are going to be very similar to lessons learned from the UM Press,” Montgomery-Smith said.
Wakefield, just moments after the council sang the praises of Jago with the UM Press report, had a comment for Montgomery-Smith.
“Can I make a nomination? If you do get some group cause or other committee, I think Art would make a terrific leader,” Wakefield said. “You the man, Art!”
After considerable laughter, Faculty Council was let out for their spring break recess, leaving a multitude of votes and proposals for April.