Minutes of the AAUP Chapter Meeting

Kennesaw State University

November 16, 2005

 

Attending:  Liza Davis, Tom Doleys, Dot Graham, George Hess, Hugh Hunt, Tom Keene, Lee Ann Lands, Thierry Leger, Bob Paul, Ardith Peters, Susan Rouse, Chris Ziegler, Ulf Zimmerman

 

Dr. Keene called the meeting to order at 12:35 p.m.  After those attending had introduced themselves, the first order of business was to remind members to check the local chapter web page for current information, including activities planned for the spring semester:  the third Thursday receptions, the Georgia AAUP Conference meeting on March 10, 2006, and the next KSU chapter meeting on April 20, 2006.  Dr. Lands asked Dr. Keene to publish the list of local members on the website, and several complained that their national membership applications had not yet been processed.  Dr. Keene explained that this often took from six weeks to three months because of staffing issues at the national level.

 

The next item of discussion was the search for a new dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Dr. Ziegler, a member of the HSS Dean search committee, reported that the search was going well, in part because of successful airport interviews with the short list of candidates.  She said that two of these candidates had moved immediately to the top of the list, making it easier for the committee to choose who would be invited for a campus visit.  Dr. Ziegler also urged AAUP members in HSS to proved prompt e-mail feedback on the candidates after these visits, and Dr. Keene urged all members to use the AAUP network to monitor the search process.

 

A discussion of the presidential search followed.  Dr. Ziegler—a member, too, of the presidential search committee—explained that 50 applications had been submitted She also assured those present that although the firm hired to expedite the search was screening the candidates’ resumes, the search committee was also reviewing them.  The firm would provide a list of its top fifteen candidates, and the search committee would construct its own separate list of the top ten.  The two would be compared in what Dr. Ziegler described as a “fair and honest process.”  When the ten candidates both parties agreed on were interviewed, the search committee would narrow the list to five finalists, who would make their campus visits in January of 2006. 

 

Next on the agenda was the upcoming legislative session.  Having attended a state-wide AAUP meeting in October, Dr. Keene reported that Eric Johnson, a protégé of Jack Kingston, was prepared to revive the Academic Bill of Rights in the state legislature.  However, he had learned from AAUP lobbyist Steve Anthony that many moderate Republican legislators, including several in Cobb County, did not agree with the legislation Johnson was proposing, and would welcome the support of their constituents.  Dr. Keene urged AAUP members to let their representatives know of their opposition.

Dr. Keene also reported that salary issues would be a major issue at the next legislative session, especially since the current administration was “not eager” to increase wages for higher education.  Dr. Lands asked whether KSU’s AAUP chapter was affiliated with the National Education Association that lobbies so successfully for K-12 teachers in the legislature, and Dr. Keene offered to bring this issue up to Hugh Hudson during his January visit to campus. 

 

Dr. Rouse then took the floor to report on the persistent issue of salary compression at KSU.  She explained that the issue was prevalent statewide, and compounded itself each year as new faculty were hired at higher and higher salaries, without those already in place receiving comparable compensation.  She urged AAUP members to stay on top of this issue by checking faculty rankings and salaries within their individual departments and arguing for equity adjustment when there were major discrepancies.  After more discussion, Dr. Keene suggested that the chapter construct a clear proposal addressing several points of view on the issue.

Subsequently, Dr. Graham pointed out that KSU faculty had lost 1% of their summer salary two years ago—a move inconsistent with the actions of other state institutions.  Dr. Ziegler urged AAUP members to attend the Budget Committee meeting in early December to address both issues directly with Earle Holley.

 

This led to more discussion about the importance of AAUP members serving in high places within the university governance structure.  One member observed that the Board of Regents is not interested in hearing from faculty unless they are part of that structure.  Another suggested that a statewide web blog for AAUP members would also be a good way to begin addressing governance issues—an idea Dr. Keene promised to take to Hugh Hudson.

 

As the meeting began to draw to a close, three main topics emerged:  the creation of a new Administrative Faculty Council; the outcome of the AAUP survey; and the White Paper that would soon emerge from the Senate’s discussion of shared governance . 

 

Dr. Keene observed that Dr. Siegel’s recent announcement regarding the creation of an Administrative Faculty Council was inconvenient in light of AAUP’s interest in a thorough reconsideration of the entire faculty governance structure.  To address this apparent conflict, Dr. Ziegler had met with Bob Mattox and Randy Hinds in her role as the Chair of the University Senate.  She had learned that the new council was NOT looking for complete autonomy, but was created simply to give professional administrators a voice—and would move very slowly, in part because the Senate Executive Committee would be unable to look at the Council proposal during the fall semester.

 

Dr. Ziegler subsequently summarized the results of the AAUP survey, remarking that it has provided her with a stronger sense of faculty demographics.  She discussed the survey’s variables and noted that the answers to certain questions reflected significant differences in the attitudes of tenured and untenured faculty.  More specifically, brand-new, untenured faculty were much more likely to assume that President Siegel supported the concept of shared governance than their more seasoned colleagues. 

 

As the meeting came to a close, the discussion turned to the faculty representation on the Athletic Committee.  Dr. Keene observed that standing committees need to be revitalized, with more faculty involvement, especially when budget considerations are paramount.   He then addressed the larger (but related) issue of AAUP’s role in spearheading a change in the university governance structure and, after some discussion, agreed to make a list of discussion points for future meetings.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 1:55 p.m.