The meeting was called to order by chair, Nina Buchanan at 2:07 PM.
Present : Nina Buchanan, Helen Rogers, Robert Fox, Doug Mikkelson, Lincoln Gotshalk, Pila Wilson, April Komenaka, Sabry Shehata, Barbara Heintz
Student Members: Ginger Takeshita, Melvin Jadulang, Karlen Suga
Ex Officio: Christopher Lu, Keith Miser, Margaret Haig, John Whitaker, Kathleen Hughes
There was a correction to item #4 of the Minutes of the October 25th meeting. The last sentence was amended to read “A motion was made and approved to extend the date on the plan to 2010.” The Minutes were accepted as corrected.
Congress Chair Nina Buchanan made a PowerPoint presentation to the group entitled “Faculty Governance at UHH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” The University authorities establishing and sustaining shared governance at UH Hilo were described: BOR Policy 1-10, WASC standards, the Congress Charter, and the UHH Strategic Plan.
The difficulty now is that faculty involvement is stretched, and she described the committee chair impasse which came about because released time for the chair of the General Education Committee was denied by the vice chancellor for academic affairs. All chairs of Congress standing committees have resigned. A related issue is the establishment of academic committees without Congress involvement.
She then asked the question “Where do we go from here?”
April Komenaka suggested that there is a lack of guidelines for granting released time. Congress should come up with proposed guidelines. Without them, there will naturally be disagreements. She also noted the important emphasis on teaching at UH Hilo.
Sabry Shehata asked if Nina had talked to Chris Lu. Nina said that the vice chancellor indicated that under no circumstances would he grant released time to any committee chairs. Sabry indicated that, since Chris Lu is relatively new, he has a lot to learn about UH Hilo and needs to go through the learning process. We should give him an opportunity to express his opinion and tell us where he is coming from. Another point: we are here to provide high quality education … teaching, research, etc….not to teach only. We have to fight for democracy tooth and nail. We must not compromise. This committee will take a lot of time.
Robert Fox noted that Congress has been given more and more work. It is not appropriate to treat this as an argument over released time only. The issue is that Chris Lu and Rose Tseng are treating us like the faculty in a community college. He does not feel respected or trusted and is profoundly distressed at how the VCAA has treated the GE committee. We should cease operations until this is resolved.
April Komenaka stated that hurt feelings are not a good basis for making decisions on how things are going to go. We should proceed in a way that will achieve the ultimate goal. We must keep talking. The General Education Committee agreed that the departments most concerned could complete tasks set for the committee this year. Next year, the tasks will be much more complex and the chair will need released time.
Robert Fox disagreed. Faculty governance is falling apart. This is a mature faculty and it is not to be brushed off.
Pila Wilson noted that his college doesn’t have people to put into all the committees around campus. Released time is an important issue in times of scarcity.
Doug Mikkelson noted 3 separate issues: (1) the status of the Congress Executive Committee, since the committee chairs have resigned they’re no longer on the Executive Committee; (2) the General Education committee; and (3) who has authority to appoint faculty to various committees.
Nina Buchanan introduced a resolution on the matter, which was moved by Sabry Shehata and seconded by Lincoln Gotshalk:
That the UHH Faculty Congress, as the authorized and elected faculty governance organization at UH Hilo, is the proper body to create academic committees (curriculum, general education, assessment, academic administrator search committees, etc.) and to identify and appoint faculty members to such committees (whether formed by the Congress or the administration).
That faculty participation in academic governance is a time-consuming and central characteristic of UH Hilo. The judgement of whether chairs of committees should be allocated released time to carry out these activities shall be made on an annual or semester basis by the Congress with due regard both for governance needs and resource limitations.
That the UHH Faculty Congress cannot function if administration co-opts faculty without the cooperation of the Congress or if administration fails to provide appropriate time and resources for faculty participation in academic governance. In the absence of such, it is not appropriate for the Congress to be characterized to WASC as an effective governance body.
The Congress has full faith and confidence in its Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary and directs them to speak with Chancellor Tseng to create a written agreement consistent with these principles. The Congress suspends all activities until such an agreement is reached.
Chris Lu arrived at the meeting. He stated that Congress, not he, should appoint academic-related committees. He concurs with Congress’s position on appointments to academic and search committees. He described his record in empowering Congress: his attendance at Congress meetings and his encouragement of other administrators’ attendance, the assessment budget, his encouragement of people to participate in Congress committees, his monthly meeting with Congress Executive Committee, his asking for Congress to name people to committees.
As to course released time, UHH gives released time for many things. This is a difficult budget year. He is willing to consider proposals with justification.
He asks that the Congress not emphasize the differences. Emphasize the things administration and Congress do together.
Doug Mikkelson: When Congress was being formed, one of the reasons was to have a body that puts faculty committee appointments forward (as representatives of the faculty).
Robert Fox: We need to create a structure and to invest in that structure.
Chris Lu. When we select the permanent dean of CAS, think about the whole university.
Doug Mikkelson: Confrontations happen because we can’t say there’s one place we can go to and we can hold accountable.
Sabry Shehata moved to amend the resolution by striking the last sentence. Helen Rogers seconded the motion. Passed unanimously.
Pila Wilson said he supported the spirit of the resolution and asks the chair, vice chair, and secretary to work it out with administration. His main concern is that, should the Congress pass the resolution, the confrontational wording would become public and possibly do some damage.
April Komenaka noted that it is likely the resolution will get out and will be misunderstood. She would like to see administration and the Executive Committee work out an agreement of principles that the Congress and administration can sign off on. The whole process should be more cooperative than confrontational.
The resolution carried 8 for, 2 opposed.
Meeting adjourned at 3:55 p.m.
UHH Faculty Congress, Secretary