Humboldt State University

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HSU General Faculty

From: Merry Schellinger [mbs7001@humboldt.edu]

Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 12:28 PM

To: Colleges&Departments

Subject: FW: First General Faculty letter

Attachments: Resolution09-06-07-EXFINAL.doc; Resolution06-06-07-EXFINAL.doc; Resolution07-06-07-EXFINAL.doc; ATT00091.txt

Please forward the following letter from General Faculty President Lou Ann Wieand to all faculty in your areas ~thank you.

Merry Schellinger

Academic Senate Office


From: LouAnn Wieand [mailto:law3@humboldt.edu]

Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 11:48 AM

To: mbs7001@axe.humboldt.edu

Subject: First Faculty letter

September 30, 2006

Dear Faculty:

I begin this letter with two very personal incidents in my life that may speak to you as a member of the HSU faculty in 2006-7.

First: The other day I was listening to an old 70s CD of Styx that screamed out to me: "Show me the way." We have lost, very suddenly, faculty visionaries on our campus in the personages of Eric and Fred, and Jim Knight in my department (Psychology). When we look around for someone to take over in their footsteps, we discover that the legacy which they left was one that urges US to stand up ourselves and be counted. In fact, each of them in their own way would want us to represent, as they did, the ideals of an open climate of university collegiality, discussion, and debate.

Second: A senior student was in my office last week, lamenting that the campus "just wasn't like it used to be," when she decided to come here. She stated that faculty were busier, classes were larger, things were more formal, no one had much time for informal discourse, and "then, of course, there are those gates," she said.

It is difficult to produce an upbeat newsletter, when even our students feel the pinch of differences in direction and discourse on this campus. However, a number of our faculty are taking up the task of being real leaders.

Take, for instance, the Academic Senate and the Senate Executive committee:

In President Richmond's budget presentation to the Academic Senate on September 12, we were all confronted with difficult news. The full time equivalent student ratio (FTES) for Fall, 2006 had decreased by 149 to 7,240, despite news media conveying to the general public the increase in freshmen and transfer students on campus. The loss of students is reflected in those who fail to return, as well as in students taking slightly fewer units than in prior semesters. This decrease in students will be directly felt by a decrease in the current budget in Academic Affairs of over $425,000 in allocations for this Spring Semester. We were dismayed further by Slide 12 in the presentation, which clearly demonstrated that it was Office of Academic Affairs which would take the brunt of the budget cuts. You can see the full report at this URL: http://www.humboldt.edu/%7Ebudget/Pages/News.htm

As a result of the reduction in funding, I am sure that all of you are struggling in your respective departments as you schedule classes for Spring semester, trying not to compromise your major, trying not to lose more students, safeguarding students' abilities to graduate in a timely manner, while hanging on to the curricular integrity of your courses. We hear of new terms like mega classes, and the use of the JVD theatre as a classroom and hope that this is not setting a precedent for future semesters, especially when students, themselves, seem to select this campus for its small classes and informal dialogue (and when we advertise it this way.)

As a direct response to the budgetary decisions noted above, the Senate Executive committee drafted and presented 4 emergency resolutions to the Academic Senate last week. The Senate, in turn, voted to amend and then approve three of the four, which can be found as attachments to this letter.

  1. Resolution #09 'revisits our belief in shared governance,' a belief that the management of universities and university budgets is a joint responsibility of faculty and administrators. It reaffirms a statement on collegiality, as opposed to top down management models in corporate America, and suggests that the current budget decisions failed to be made in shared discourse with the University Budget committee.
  2. Resolution #06, directly rejects the budget shortfall taken by Academic Affairs, by affirming that the primary mission of the University, that of instructional effectiveness, is undermined by the current decision.
  3. Resolution #07 reaffirms the unique role of faculty in curricular matters, particularly when and if classes are being restructured in order to accommodate larger class sizes without consultation with the appropriate curricular bodies. The Senate also proceeded to postpone Resolution #8 to next weeks meeting and affirmed to Provost Vrem a vote of confidence in his skill and initiative in resolving this budget crisis.

We need faculty leadership more than ever when we are confronted by reduction of economic resources on our campus. Solutions won't come easily or without disagreement. However, the good news is that we do have a President who is willing to be forthcoming and open with the budget process, even if we dont always like what we see. In my opinion, the last thing we really want is to go back to never quite knowing what is going on with the administration. Please join with your faculty representatives in active dialogue with the administration to guide us through these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Lou Ann Wieand, Professor of Psychology, General Faculty President

Academic Senate • Gist Hall 101 • 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA 95521
Phone 707.826.3657 • Fax 707.826.3651 • Contact Us.