Present: V. Aceto, J. Bartow, C. Bischoff, S. Coon, J. Delano, C. D'Elia, R. Farrell, F. Hauser, R. Highfield, K. Hitchcock, S. B. Kim, J. Logan, M. Masson, D. McCaffrey, R. McFarland, J. Pipkin, M. Range, C. Santiago, S. Sherman, E. Wulfert
The meeting convened at 9 a.m.
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss EPC's role in the resource allocation and planning process on campus. The Faculty By-Laws indicate that EPC should participate actively in academic planning and resource allocation. At its meeting of November 9, the Council passed a resolution expressing concern that it was not fulfilling its charge to "give advice" in the various stages of the budgetary process and requesting a meeting with the President and Provost to discuss the issue. President Hitchcock and Provost Santiago thus scheduled this meeting.
President Hitchcock noted that she supported an active role for governance in the review of the budgetary process. One situation that needs attention, however, is that the Faculty By-Laws were written at a time when the budgetary system and the University's fiscal profile in general differed substantially from the situation today. For example, the By-Laws note that "The council shall review and give its advice on the budget prior to its submission to the state-wide university administration," but the campus has not submitted a budget to the "state-wide university administration" in this way for several years.
President Hitchcock pointed out that the University Resources and Priorities Advisory Committee (URPAC), which did not exist at the time the By-Laws were written, was established to advise the Provost and ultimately the President on the budgetary process. Its members, who serve a three-year term, include the following:
One member from the Senate Executive Committee (Teaching Faculty)
One member from the Educational Policy Council (Teaching Faculty)
Three members elected from the Teaching Faculty at Large
One member elected from the non-teaching faculty at large
Three members appointed by the President
One undergraduate student
One graduate student
A Finance and Budget Officer
The Provost (convenor, ex officio)
The President noted that she had organized URPAC to replace the earlier "Budget Panel" developed and utilized by President Swygert for two main reasons. First, it is more representative of all campus constituencies and it includes elected representatives as well as presidential appointees. Second, members formally commit to multi-year terms on URPAC, and thus the Committee has a more thorough understanding of all aspects of the budget. Also, Dr. Farrell noted that URPAC emerged at a point when there was concern about representatives of faculty governance being involved directly in faculty retrenchment decisions.
David McCaffrey said that, while the structure of URPAC might well lend itself to meaningful review of the budget process by governance, the Committee had met only once in the current academic year, on September 6, and the Committee reportedly had met very infrequently during 2000-2001. Provost Santiago indicated that this apparent inactivity seemed to be the main source of the concern. He said that it would not have been productive to schedule meetings of URPAC earlier during the Fall of 2001 because of the uncertainty around the State budget, and that he had received only in the previous week a good sense of the resources available to the campus. He was scheduling two meetings of URPAC in December and expected it to meet on a regular basis during the balance of the 2001-2002 academic year and in the future.
John Logan noted that the President oversaw URPAC directly. In contract, the Educational Policy Council acted as a representative of faculty governance. While the Budget Panel structure in fact had been unwieldy, he suggested that there were advantages of constituting URPAC as a unit of governance through amendments to the Faculty By-Laws. President Hitchcock indicated that faculty representation on URPAC was substantial and that she would have major reservations about agreeing to formal changes in the By-Laws affecting URPAC that would bind future Presidents. Each President over the years has had the flexibility and responsibility to establish such budget/allocation advisory groups. Professor Logan responded that the value of formalizing a change in fact would be to assure continuity over time, so that the operation of the Committee did not depend heavily on the priorities of individual presidents. President Hitchcock reiterated that URPAC was an advisory group organized by the President, not a unit of governance; but that she would certainly support adding a second representative from EPC to the Committee.
Professor Kim said that the EPC resolution of November 12 reflected a deeper apprehension of the Council that the intermittent attendance at the EPC meetings by senior officers of the University during the year conveyed a lack of "respect" for the role of governance in the resource allocation process. President Hitchcock and Provost Santiago noted that they had not attended some earlier meetings because of scheduling disruptions caused by the September 11 incidents; for example, one meeting had overlapped with an event for the public following the University's Memorial Service related to the attacks. Professor Aceto suggested that the current administration had demonstrated, over time, that it did accord consultation with governance a high priority; the administration and faculty governance both needed to work together to assure that the current budgetary review process functioned fully as designed and intended.
Professor Delano and Professor Range asked about changes in the EPC minutes of October 12. Specifically, they noted that the final draft of the minutes did not record a question from Professor Delano, and the answer by Provost Santiago, regarding commitments to activities in nanotechnology and material sciences. It was noted by Professor McCaffrey that the final minutes of the October 12 meeting were still in draft form, and that this exchange would be clarified before the minutes were approved.
Professor Range and Professor Delano also stressed that it was imperative that the EPC representative to URPAC report back to the Council in a timely, complete way, and that these reports should be shared more widely within the Senate given URPAC's central role on campus. Professor McCaffrey indicated that he would report to EPC in this way when URPAC met in the future.
Professor McCaffrey suggested that the overall sense at the conclusion
of the meeting seemed to be the following. EPC could participate effectively
within the resource allocation process, through its representatives to
URPAC and its other activities, if it engages its responsibilities actively
and adheres closely to its procedures designed to keep faculty, staff,
and student informed of important developments, and if URPAC itself functions
as originally intended through meetings that are sufficiently frequent