USU provost meets with faculty

Faculty continue to probe for answers
Posted Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 11:54pm

In a meeting with College of Eastern Utah faculty on Oct. 1, Utah State University's Provost, Ray Coward confirmed that the CEU budget will remain a line item just as it is the case with the budgets for USU's regional campuses in Tooele, Brigham City and Uintah Basin Center. "We [USU] will not take your budget and meld it into ours."

Coward and the other members of the Faculty and Academic Affairs Group of the CEU/USU Merger Task Force met to discuss key areas of concern to the CEU faculty. Coward was joined by Bryon Burnham, USU Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, and [can't remember her name, but Betty or Greg would know]. CEU is represented on the group by Vice President for Academic Affairs, Greg Benson, and president of the CEU Faculty Senate, Betty Hassell.

Troy Hunt, last year's faculty senate president, raised the issue of shared governance, which is a right held by faculty under CEU's academic freedom and professional responsibilities policy. Troy felt CEU faculty should have full representation on USU's Faculty Senate, which oversees the university's curriculum and faculty employment issues. Susan Neel, chair of the CEU College Senate, echoed Hunt's comments, "It is critically important to have CEU faculty represented as a unit. We hope to have a faculty forum in Price to engage in discussions as well as CEU representation on key USU faculty committees."

Coward suggested that representatives of the USU Faculty Senate should begin discussions with the CEU faculty so that arrangements for their participation can be in place by July 1, 2010.

For most of the meeting, the group discussed USU's rank and tenure system. CEU, like many two-year colleges, does not rank it's faculty as assistant, associate, or full professors, but ranks will have to be determined as they become USU employees next year. Neel said CEU faculty should move into the USU system as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. She proposed that USU accept CEU tenured faculty at the associate professor level and tenure-track faculty in probationary status as assistant professors.

Determining appropriate rank will be a particular challenge for CEU's Career and Technical Education faculty because USU currently has few employees in these areas.

Dean Collard asked how CEU's CTE faculty would be integrated within USU. Coward responded that USU President Stan L. Albrecht had proposed creating a new academic unit at USU dedicated to bringing all technical programs together. In his "State of the University Address" given on Sept. 5, Albrecht recommended "the creation of a school, within one of the existing colleges, which would bring together the career technical and vocational education programs that are currently throughout the university. The establishment of such an academic unit might also facilitate the integration of the career vocational programs that currently exist as the College of Eastern Utah into the USU academic structure, assuming that the USU/CEU merger is approved by the legislature."

Grady McEvoy said that all CEU faculty, not just those in the career and technical divison, were concerned about how they would be integrated into USU. "How will we integrate with faculty and departments at USU. Are we going to stand separately or integrate? Do I report to the department chair at USU and if I report to that chair, is the evaluation system through that department chair at USU?"

Anne Mackiewicz noted that the needs of CEU students often times are different than the needs of USU students. She suggested that faculty in Price and Blanding should have the ability to respond to student needs without too much control from the Logan campus.

CEU Vice President Greg Benson told McEvoy there is no quick answer to concerns about a new academic structure, but he reassured the group these issues would be addressed as the merger developed.

Salaries were another topic discussed. CEU bases its salary scale on experience and education. USU faculty salary is driven by rank and differs among disciplines. Raises are determined by peer evaluation of merit although Coward added that the legislature sometimes mandates cost of living raises for all USU employees. With the current economic crisis resulting in reduced budgets at all Utah schools, no one anticipates faculty raises at this time, but in future CEU employees will have their salaries based on a system different from the one used before the merger.

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