Minutes Present: Carl Adams (chair), John Adams, Dan Feeney, Roberta Humphreys, Robert...

Faculty Consultative Committee
Thursday, March 21, 1996
12:30 - 3:00
Dale Shephard Room, Campus Club
Carl Adams (chair), John Adams, Dan Feeney, Roberta Humphreys, Robert Jones, Fred
Morrison, Harvey Peterson, Michael Steffes
Carole Bland, Victor Bloomfield, Lester Drewes, Virginia Gray, James Gremmels, Laura
Coffin Koch
Provost William Brody
Mary Dempsey (Chair, Tenure Subcommittee), a DAILY reporter, Martha Kvanbeck
(University Senate), Maureen Smith (University Relations), 25-30 faculty and department
[In these minutes: biweekly payroll; tenure; discussion of AHC issues and tenure with Provost Brody]
Election of New Member
Professor Adams convened the meeting at 12:35, noted the resignation of Professor Maruyama
because of his acceptance of a vice provostship in Professional Studies, and recalled that past practice
has been to elect to early membership one of the newly-elected FCC members when a vacancy occurs on
the Committee under these circumstances. Professor Maruyama's term was to end on June 30, 1996. By
unanimous consent, Professor Adams was authorized to ask the highest vote-getter to begin service early
(or, if that individual was unable to do so, to ask the next-highest vote-getter). As soon as the election
results are known, Professor Adams will contact one of those elected to fill Professor Maruyama's seat.
Biweekly Payroll
Professor Adams then distributed a draft statement on the biweekly payroll issue. After minor
editing changes, the following statement was adopted unanimously.
The Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) is aware of the strong concerns
held by many faculty about the change to the biweekly payroll system.
A number of our faculty believe it is entirely inappropriate for the University
to begin delaying paychecks for a ten day period in order to adjust to the uniform
These minutes reflect discussion and debate at a meeting of a committee of the University of Minnesota
Senate or Twin Cities Campus Assembly; none of the comments, conclusions, or actions reported in these minutes
represent the views of, nor are they binding on, the Senate or Assembly, the Administration, or the Board of Regents.
Faculty Consultative Committee
March 21, 1996
payroll, thus in effect unilaterally executing a "loan" from affected faculty and only
repaying that "loan" at the point of retirement, termination, or resignation.
FCC understands that the level of faculty morale is not high, and that making
this payroll change at this time seems like one more insensitive slap at the faculty.
Unfortunately, the University has a reputation for never making change. In
the view of some in society, to not take the logical and economical step of adopting a
uniform payroll system, will likely be seen as one more indicator of the University's
resistance to change.
FCC supports the change to a uniform payroll system, but insists that the
administration find ways to provide, to those who are adversely affected by the
change, a cash flow equal to that of the current system at no cost to the individual.
FCC also asks that the full costs and benefits of the proposed change, including the
costs of administering any program to assist individuals adversely affected by the
change, be considered in making the decision to proceed.
On a related matter, FCC also believes that at the time of the change to the
biweekly payroll, faculty and staff who have appointment terms of less than the full
calendar year should have the option to have their salary paid over all twelve months.
FCC has been told that the payroll system could accommodate this service and is
puzzled as to why it cannot be made available to the faculty and staff. Making such a
change would mitigate some of the inconvenience that the change to the uniform
payroll system would entail.
Professor Adams reminded Committee members of the President's Retreat on Monday, March 25,
to discuss the biennial request. The intent of this retreat is to lay the foundation for the development of
the request, not to get into the substance of issues. He said the Committee has been promised future
meetings to discuss more substantive issues. He asked the Committee members read carefully the
materials that have been distributed in order that they can ask questions.
One Committee member expressed concern that this is the traditional way of proceeding, which
"has gotten us to the traditional annual retrenchment." Thought must be given to what should be
preserved, instead of to grand themes for the future. This analogous to talk about a bullet train, rather
than if there is a roadbed to run it on.
The Process of Revising the Tenure Code
Professor Adams then turned to Professor Humphreys for introduction of a resolution concerning
the recent distribution of the letter from Professor Adams and President Hasselmo. She noted that all are
aware of the contentious meeting on tenure held last week in the Mayo Auditorium; in her numerous and
lengthy subsequent conversations, she has learned that the questioning is not only about the process of
revising the tenure code, but that there is also growing mistrust of the faculty governance, and especially
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March 21, 1996
of this Committee. Were not a lot of comments made at the forum in Mayo were critical of faculty
governance, she asked?
Professor Adams said there was great concern about a variety of things; much was aimed at
administrative practices, and the lack of faculty "input" into those practices in the Academic Health
Center (AHC), things that did not have to do directly with tenure but with levels of trust. There was also
concern about the lack of information available. Other concerns were also expressed that could be seen
as critical of the governance system, although it was not clear there was criticism of the tenure process.
She has heard from a number of colleagues, Professor Humphreys reported, concern expressed
about the letter from the President to the faculty, ostensibly to correct mis-impressions that may have
been created by the editorial in the WASHINGTON POST; that letter needs clarification, because it was
not factually correct. Given what is going on at the University, people must be careful what they write,
she said, because it is not clear where the tenure revision process is going. Senior Vice President Infante
warned the Committee last week that the tenure code revisions coming forward may not be sufficient for
the Board of Regents, in that they do not speak to layoffs, and that the discussion could go into the
summer. One worries about what is written, especially when it goes out over the signature of the FCC
Professor Humphreys then moved that FCC adopt the following statement:
The Faculty Consultative Committee wants to clarify several statements in the
March 15th letter from President Nils Hasselmo and Professor Carl Adams, chair, FCC, to
the Editor of the WASHINGTON POST, and others concerning tenure review at the
University of Minnesota.
1) The December 12, 1995, resolution by the University of Minnesota Board of
Regents "directs THE ADMINISTRATION to develop policy recommendations" for review
of tenure, NOT THE FACULTY and administration, as stated in the above letter.
2) The tenure review process began much earlier and was initiated by the Board of
Regents at their October meeting. At the October 19, 1995, meeting of FCC, Professor Carl
Adams informed FCC that he had "signed a joint charge letter that sets up a coordinating
task group, with Professor John Adams as chair . . . to lead and guide the tenure discussion."
This is the joint faculty/administration Tenure Working Group.
3) Information in the first paragraph of the WASHINGTON POST editorial is a fair
summary of points made in President Hasselmo's November 20th letter to Thomas Reagan,
Chairman of the Board of Regents.
It is important, she concluded, to have this on the record to help restore the credibility of faculty
What is the significance of the third item, asked one Committee member? The first two points are
quite clear, helpful, and non-controversial. It is not clear what the Hasselmo/Adams letter was trying to
do, it was said in response; it did not DENY what was in the POST editorial but was more a redirection.
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March 21, 1996
But the letter could be construed as a denial that FCC should clarify. The Committee should be certain
that the third point makes a correct claim, it was said.
On another issue, one Committee member noted that the Committee had been provided a draft
copy of the statement on the biweekly payroll before it was released; "input" was sought from Committee
members. No such participation was sought in the case of the letter from the President and Professor
Adams. Professor Adams was firmly requested to review with the Committee what he signs as chair
before he speaks for the Committee. There was no rush, in this case, as there was in the case of the press
conference about Dr. Najarian.
Professor Adams acknowledged the request and noted that a similar comment had been made at
the earlier meeting.
Committee members continued to debate the merits of point number (3) in Professor Humphrey's
motion; concern was expressed that the POST editorial position about layoffs would be seen as that of
the President. It would be unhelpful to solve this problem of perception, only to create a new one.
This is an attempt to set the record straight in the mind of the faculty, it was said. There is concern
about the order of events; many faculty refuse to believe the tenure issue is faculty-led. In all of the
minutes of this Committee since last September, nowhere is there a motion to initiate a review of the
tenure code. A lot are questioning if this is faculty-led. This is an attempt to let the faculty see a
governance committee taking a stand. It may be that quoting the President's letter would be helpful.
It is still not clear what the point is, said another Committee member. Some interpret the term
"faculty led" to mean that the faculty initiated the effort and inspired the action. In the last 18 months, a
lot has come up; there have been conversations on the topic in all the records of the Committee. If
someone wants to say they led to something, which in turn were followed by other activities that created
a conversation between the President and Board of Regents, that is fine. It is not clear who asked whom
to write the letter, nor does it matter. In light of all that happened, this Committee was asked, as part of
the Professor Adams' conversations with the President and the President's conversations with the Board
of Regents, to look at the tenure code. As part of the rules, that activity is faculty-run. The rule is that no
matter where the discussion originates, any proposals must go to the Tenure Subcommittee. If one wants
to argue where these ideas come from, it is the condition of higher education for the last five years, the
reduction in legislative support for the University in this state, a fast-changing environment in health care
and the Academic Health Center, among other things.
On the specific point that Professor Humphreys' motion is to address, about who is in charge, there
are two answers, it was said. The larger environment is in charge--the legislature, the higher education
community, etc. On the specific question of changes to the tenure code, that is spelled out in the
constitution: language goes to the Tenure Subcommittee, the Committee on Faculty Affairs, this
Committee, and then the Faculty Senate. If the Faculty Senate approves recommendations, they are
handed to the President and Board of Regents.
The President could ask the Faculty Senate to reconsider issues. The Board of Regents can either
accept or reject the amendments; if they reject all or part of them, they send them back to the Faculty
Senate for reconsideration. Before anything goes to the Board of Regents, it is handled by committees
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March 21, 1996
that are faculty-led and faculty-run. It may be appropriate to change the record to acknowledge what the
faculty has done, but that is less important than the changes that will be coming forward.
The motion is an attempt to restore the credibility of faculty governance, it was said again, by
getting the facts right. One can argue about the POST editorial; all faculty have a copy of the President's
letter and the Committee need not take a stand on it.
At this point Professor Erwin Marquit told the Committee that since he was quoted as the source
for the WASHINGTON POST, and that since he is being accused of distorting the issues and the
President's letter--which this discussion has made clear he did not, he said--and that since the
Hasselmo/Adams letter has gone all over the country, the record needs to be corrected.
It was agreed that the motion should cite the text of the President's letter, rather than reach
conclusions about it.
History is one point; how things proceeded is another, observed one Committee member. The
evidence suggests that the Board of Regents and administration initiated the discussion of tenure, but the
evidence also suggests that the discussion is a faculty-led effort. Professor Adams and the tenure working
group was asked to coordinate the discussion, but the changes are being handled by the committees.
Asked what the distribution of the motion should be, it was said that since the Hasselmo/Adams
letter was distributed to all faculty, this motion should be similarly distributed.
With a new point number (3), the motion was then unanimously approved.
(3) Information in the first paragraph of the WASHINGTON POST editorial should
be compared with the following points from President Hasselmo's November 20th letter to
Thomas Reagan, Chairman of the Board of Regents:
"Within this posture, there are some specific ISSUES which we believe should be
"--Tenure imposes rigidities and lack of flexibility. Therefore, it is important to establish
GOALS as to the PROPORTION of FACULTY in departments that are to be
"--It is assumed that the proportion of faculty who are tenured must decrease. Thus it is
important to consider the revitalization and perhaps the CREATION OF `NONTENURE' TRACKS for faculty, and their use in certain areas of the University.
Perhaps tenure should be available only under exceptional circumstances in certain
areas. Certain types of instruction and scholarship (or clinical activities) should
involve faculty designation supported by term contracts that do not involve tenure.
"--A more flexible arrangement than the present one is needed regarding compensation of
tenured faculty to provide appropriate flexibility and a more responsible reward
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March 21, 1996
should be examined (base salary plus; possibility of decrease in salary).
"--At the University of Minnesota tenure is held within the institution. At some other
universities tenure is held at the department level--a more flexible arrangement.
The LOCATION OF TENURE should be re-examined.
"--The LENGTH OF THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD is seven years, except in the clinical
fields of the Medical School. The length of the probationary period should be
reexamined. Should it be a uniform period for the entire University, or a variety of
lengths, specific to each college or unit?"
Professor Adams then turned to the current status of the review of the tenure code. He noted that
the Tenure Subcommittee now has before it draft language proposing changes to the tenure code. He
said he wanted everyone to be clearly aware of the process.
Professor Dempsey joined the Committee and reported that the proposed language of amendments
and interpretations of the code had been sent to all faculty, along with a cover letter from her. The letter
clearly states what the Tenure Subcommittee is doing, that the amendments have not been acted on, that
there will probably be amendments to the proposals, and that some of the proposals may be approved
while others may not be. One should expect there will be major changes in the proposals, she told the
Committee, and the Tenure Subcommittee and the Committee on Faculty Affairs discussions have
already made that clear. They will proceed through the proposals as deliberately as they can; she
expressed the hope the process will not take too long.
Professor Adams suggested that FCC should see a letter from Senior Vice President Infante about
sharing the proposals with the Board of Regents. The letter identifies additional items not included in the
drafts, that may be interest to some, and it acknowledges "input" from the Board of Regents on areas they
would like to have looked at and that they do not want people misled about their interests.
Professor Morrison reported that he has been involved in drafting language of changes; there have
been a lot of comments that the devil will be in the details and that people want to see the language. Now
there is specific text and specific issues. He said that much of the language is his, but that he and the
drafting group are very open to amendments. Any proposals should be put in text form so they can be
discussed in committees and ultimately by the Faculty Senate; vague ideas will remain vague ideas.
Professor Adams agreed, and said that a letter would be sent to the deans, directors, and
department heads transmitting a draft of the changes and asking them to share the drafts with the faculty.
They will also be asked to submit any proposals to the committees for consideration.
The issue of base salaries seemed to be a point of contention in the tenure forum held in Mayo
Auditorium, said one Committee member. One is easy, the issue of the professorial salary separate from
the provostal salary when a faculty member is appointed as provost, for example. The other has to do
with clinical work; it is clear that clinical salaries must be separated from tenure. The problem is for
faculty with variable funding in their salaries, such as research and training grants, contracts, and so on-if they lose the grant, the base salary goes down.
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March 21, 1996
His understanding, Professor Morrison said, is that proponents want a system with a substantial
base salary plus variable incentives that change over time. The proposed draft (which would be
University-wide) says the current salary (1995-96 plus whatever increase is awarded for 1996-97) would
be the base salary, and there would then be institutionalized financial incentives to reward superior
performance above the base salary level. If there is a peculiar issue in the Medical School about clinical
faculty with regard to identifying their base salaries, that has not been agreed on by the drafting group.
This proposal would discourage faculty from getting grants, said one Committee member.
Another Committee member pointed out that this change would be a clarification of what is
already going on in some parts of the University, and would not be seen as a change in the tenure code.
The people most vocal in proposing it think of a 3 X 3 matrix. The defined base salary could be
supported by various sources of funds.
One Committee member said that there are clarifications needed on what is meant by base salary.
Would it be the 1996-97 salary held constant? No, it could be increased, Professor Morrison responded,
in the same manner that salaries are now increased. There could be an increase to the base, or temporary
increases based on performance. The base salary could be increased or maintained, but could not be
decreased, he said.
If a faculty member, over ten years, brought in a lot of grant money, and the chair rewards the
individual with bonuses or temporary increases, and then the grants are lost, would the individual revert
to the base of ten years previous? Unless the base were increased during that period, Professor Morrison
affirmed, that is what would occur. The faculty will have to discuss with the administration the extent to
which increases are bonuses and are increases to the base. This needs to be spelled out, he said. The
implications for academic freedom are worrisome, it was said.
This is not a change in the system as it presently operates in some units, one Committee member
emphasized again.
With respect to the Academic Health Center, one Committee member said, there is a need to
simultaneously modify the University's financial exposure to a changing economy and allow faculty to do
what they need to do to support the mission of their school. It would be valuable to hear how this will
play out in the various college of the AHC. It may be advisable to devise different compensation
schemes in each college to improve the payoffs to faculty and reduce institutional exposure.
One of those attending the meeting inquired if any thought had been given to how these proposals
would affect the ability of a department to recruit faculty? Professor Adams responded that the proposal
has been brought forward; presumably if it is without merit, it will not survive debate, and that people
will embrace it if it has merit.
Discussion with Provost Brody
Professor Adams then welcomed Provost Brody to the meeting, and noted that these are periodic
discussions held between the Committee and the provosts. All have heard that Provost Brody is being
considered for the presidency of Johns Hopkins University, he said, a high honor for Dr. Brody. As for
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March 21, 1996
the issues of the day, he told the Committee he had suggested tenure and the reorganization of the
biological sciences as possible topics.
Provost Brody thanked the Committee for meeting with him. His presence, he said, caps three
months of effort in work with the legislature to obtain a supplemental request for the Academic Health
Center (AHC). He comes away from the experience both tired and discouraged as well as encouraged.
He said the University has a more difficult funding problem than he realized, and his own issue was
complicated by the Fairview transaction and the steam plant. The University has a long way to go in
developing legislative trust for itself, and he is not optimistic it can be accomplished in the short-term. If
ever there was a unit in trouble and that had grass roots support, it was the Medical School and Hospital-and the University had difficulty translating that support into funding.
On the issue of academic freedom, he told the Committee, assaults will come in many forms,
including against individuals, but more from funding mechanisms. At the eleventh hour of the legislative
process, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) wanted in legislation that all medical students
will be excused from training in abortion procedures. The Medical School HAS such a policy, he noted;
no student or faculty member is compelled to do what runs contrary to their moral or ethical beliefs. He
felt this was a fundamental assault on academic freedom; even though the Medical School has a policy,
the MCCL wanted it in statute. What about those who would advocate mandatory training in euthanasia?
There was a moment of truth in the process; he said he told the legislature the University would not
accept the money for the AHC if that amendment were included in the appropriation. The University's
position prevailed in committee; he said he feels very strongly about this position and will stand up for it
in the future. The University can increasingly come to expect legislative requirements and should be
alert for them.
Recent news reports about the financial status of the Medical School were not accurate. If the
revenue streams remain intact, the problems will be solved; the big issue is the $30-50 million that comes
from the clinical practice plans to the University. That money is in jeopardy, and the question is only
how fast it will fall. The Hospital is facing deficits, and will examine how much it will continue to
provide to the Medical School. Some money is for services, some is pass-through, but some is support.
There is a better chance the money will be preserved if the transaction with Fairview goes through.
Other colleges may believe that this is a Medical School and Hospital problem, but the individual
AHC colleges have significant structural budget problems, with the exception of the School of Public
With respect to the biological sciences, Dr. Brody said he sees the effort to change as a major
opportunity and is pleased that the discussions have moved as rapidly as they have. He expressed hope
that momentum would not be lost; the three provosts see this as an opportunity to put the University in a
stronger position in the biological sciences. Asked about what will be proposed, Dr. Brody said he did
not have the specifics. Professor Adams noted that Dean Elde is leading the discussions across
provostries and will come up with proposals for reorganization and restructuring.
In interactions with the legislature and its committees, he came to the conclusion public trust for
the University is at a low ebb, but individual programs have support. At the all-University level there is
an odd questioning of what the institution is doing. What is his interpretation of this, one Committee
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March 21, 1996
member asked Dr. Brody? One would think that what is true for the details would at least not be opposed
at the aggregate.
It seems to be part of the politics of divisiveness and tribalism that can be seen at both the local
and national level, Dr. Brody said. At both levels individuals who represent minority views nonetheless
receive support and attention. There is also a distrust of large organizations.
There are things the University could do at large, he told the Committee. There is no question that
recent publicity has not served it well. The University has not done a good job of organizing its 300,000
living alumni, for example, and that is a question of grass roots politics. In the case of the MCCL
proposal, by contrast, it was proposed at noon, and by 5:00 every legislator had a number of calls urging
support for it. The University does not have that kind of organization.
With regard to building trust, said one Committee member, there is another area where the
University has a problem, and that is the dichotomy between the faculty and the administration. One
likes to talk about the faculty and administration working together, and the provostal governance
structures, and the administration working with faculty on tenure revisions.
Dr. Brody noted he has supported the establishment of the provostal faculty consultative
committee, and that he has had an informal group to work with, one that was not duly constituted. The
re-engineering process involved faculty in increasing numbers. He said he believes in making
substantive decisions in parallel with consultation with the faculty.
There are a number of issues before the University that will remain whether or not he stays at the
University, Dr. Brody observed; there are questions about the workforce that cannot be denied. HOW
those that concern faculty are addressed is important. There is no question about the distrust faculty have
for the administration, and that will take a long time to repair. If it is not repaired, the institution will
have extra problems. The faculty and administration must all be in this together to solve the problems,
but there is a chasm.
Generally, said one Committee member, the relationship between faculty and the administration
have deteriorated in the past few years. Another Committee member concurred, and said that does the
University no good. One example, said another, is administrative reviews: faculty are evaluated
rigorously on a regular basis; the question is whether administrators face the same review, and if the
faculty receive feedback on the reviews. Dr. Brody said he had nothing to say about the last point; he
said he knows the issue has been raised and that there are administrators in his units who are to be
reviewed, but they have not yet been reviewed.
-- Gary Engstrand
University of Minnesota