The University of Iowa
January 28, 2003
PM – 5:15 PM
State Room, 337 Iowa Memorial Union
Present: Judith Aikin, Edwin Dove, Ronald Herman, Richard
LeBlond, Patrick Lloyd, Chuck Lynch, Teresa Mangum, Kim Marra, Katherine Tachau,
Paul Weller, John Westefeld, Jerold Woodhead
Absent: Rebecca Hegeman, Mazen Maktabi, Sue Moorhead, Shelton
Excused: Craig Porter
Senate Officers in Attendance:
Jeffrey Cox, President; Margaret Raymond, Vice President; Amitava
Bhattacharjee, Past President
Guests: Tom Walsh (Gazette),
Lea Fitzgerald (Daily Iowan), Charlie
Drum (University Relations), Jim Andrews (Emeritus Faculty Council), Raul Curto
(Liberal Arts & Sciences), Kathryn Wynes (Office of the Provost), Heather
Woodward (Press-Citizen), Lee Anna
Clark (Office of the Provost), Paul Muhly (Budget Committee), Buzz Orr (Gazette),
Jon Whitmore (Office of the Provost), Shelly Kurtz (FRIC Committee), Julie
Thatcher (Faculty Senate Office)
Call to Order
Cox called the meeting to order at 3:34 p.m.
agenda, the minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of Dec. 10, 2002, and the
proposed agenda for the Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday, February 11, 2003 were
approved by acclamation, no objections, changes or additions being raised from
the floor. President Cox announced
that President-elect Skorton will address the Senate at its March 4, 2003
FRIC Committee, Shelly Kurtz
Prof. Sheldon Kurtz attended the meeting on behalf of the FRIC committee
to discuss how the University should deal with escalating health care costs and
decreasing contributions of the University towards those health care costs for
faculty and P&S staff. Materials
were distributed to the Council demonstrating the cost of various categories of
health care benefits, the existing flex credits that are available to pay for
the benefits, and how the University compares with other Big Ten institutions,
with the other Regents institutions, and with the state.
FRIC is of the view that the University should pay for 100% of a CHIP III
single person’s policy, and 75% of a CHIP III family policy, in health care
flex credits. Such a proposal would
cost approximately $27 million. Prof.
Kurtz stated that FRIC believed that this was important and in addition would
help the University compete in hiring.
FRIC made this proposal to the Administration, which
did not adopt it. For calendar year
2003 (health care benefits operate on a calendar, not academic year, basis), the
University maintained the percentage that it had contributed to health insurance
in the prior year, and will consider proposals to increase the university’s
percentage of the cost of health insurance.
Prof. Kurtz noted that this is an ongoing problem,
since health care costs will continue to increase. While FRIC and the Budget Committee both believe this to be
important, those views are not universally held. He noted that at a meeting of the deans, there were a variety
of opinions about the desirability of increasing the percentage of health care
costs covered by the university, since such costs would compete with other needs
Prof. Kurtz further noted that merit employees have
100% of their health care insurance plans paid for as an employee benefit, and
that it was an odd feature of the University that faculty and P&S staff have
a smaller percentage paid for than merit employees do.
He also noted that FRIC is working to decrease the cost of health care
through plan design.
Several council members asked informational questions about the function
of the plans, the ways in which health care flex credits are determined, and how
to evaluate the comparative data provided.
Prof. Kurtz pointed out that the legislature rarely
provides additional dollars to support benefits costs, so that any funds for
benefits must come from the salary pool. Pres.
Coleman rejected the idea of maintaining the percentage of health care benefits
paid by the University, preferring to put dollars into salaries.
He also noted that health care costs disproportionately affect
lower-earning employees because the cost is a higher percentage of their salary.
In some departments, a faculty member who receives a raise does not
receive a sufficient increase in salary to offset the increase in health care
cost. He noted that economic
disparity between colleges may affect the discussion.
Pres. Cox agreed with this concern, noting that increasing health care
costs created a significant morale problem for lower-paid faculty, and that pay
levels of faculty members tended to reflect their area of expertise and their
seniority rather than their importance. That
faculty members are lower-paid doesn’t mean they aren’t talented or being
recruited by other institutions.
Prof. Kurtz ended by making clear that this a
national problem, and one that will continue, and by urging the Council to
continue to consider this issue.
Elections Committee, Julie Thatcher
Pres. Cox announced that a search has been conducted for a permanent
administrative assistant for the Senate and that Julie Thatcher has been hired
to fill the permanent position. He
invited her to address the Council about new election procedures.
Julie Thatcher described the new voting system, which has been developed
through her work along with Connie Berman, chair of the Elections Committee, and
with the help of ITS. Under the new
three-stage system, lists of faculty eligible for election to the Senate are
posted on-line and the faculty is invited to review and correct the lists for
their colleges. Once the Senate
approves the up-to-date list, an on-line nominations process will begin. Faculty will be able to log on using their HawkID and
nominate faculty for the Senate. The
nominations process is tentatively scheduled for February 14-21. There will then be a similar process for voting for Senate.
This process will mirror that currently being used in the College of
Liberal Arts to elect members of the Faculty Assembly.
It is hoped that this process will increase participation in the election
process, currently at about 20%, and will significantly decrease wasted paper.
Ms. Thatcher urged Councilors to encourage their colleagues to
participate in the nomination and election processes. Pres. Cox thanked Ms. Thatcher for her extensive work on this
project and noted his expectation that in the future the process of committee
volunteering will also move on-line.
Budget Committee, Paul Muhly
Pres. Cox invited Prof. Paul Muhly, chair of the
Faculty Senate Budget Planning Committee, to update the Council on the current
budget situation. Prof. Muhly
informed the Council that the good news is that unless the situation changes,
there is unlikely to be a midyear reversion this fiscal year. For the next fiscal year, however, the state is facing a
“$450 million problem”-- that is the difference between what the state needs
to spend and what it anticipates will come in.
Last year $250 million of that amount was paid in non-recurring funds,
and there is no place else to get that money in 2004.
Prof. Muhly explained the several components that
make up the university’s general fund. The
state contributes approximately 52% of that fund and makes additional
contributions to capital expenditures, which come from other funds rather than
tax revenue. Tuition makes up
38-39% of the general education fund, and indirect costs account for 8.8% of the
general education fund.
There are also some existing commitments, including
an increase in fringe benefits. Prof.
Muhly also noted that salaries are unknown, though a few collective bargaining
units have settled for 2% increases. The
good news, Prof. Muhly noted, is that it isn’t zero.
Prof. Muhly emphasized the importance of pointing out the effects that
the budget situation is having on the University, recognizing at the same time
the need to sustain services to students in order to protect tuition income.
Provost Whitmore added that the Governor’s budget
was scheduled to come out on Friday, January 31.
Faculty Senate President, Jeff Cox
Pres. Cox announced that he had attended a meeting of
BiCOA in December. There is a
perception that the faculty is “picking on” athletics.
His discussion there was productive.
The Faculty Senate has set aside $5000 from its budget to support
outreach efforts. Pres. Cox
attended the annual banquet of the Iowa Federation of Labor, where he won the
Pres. Cox announced that the Senate is co-sponsoring, with the
Governmental Relations Committee, a forum with local legislators on Saturday,
February 22, at 9:30 a.m. at the Iowa City Civic Center.
These forums are a regular event and this particular one will be
co-sponsored by the Governmental Relations Committee and the League of Women
Voters. He encouraged Council
members to attend and let legislators hear from them, particularly since faculty
participation in similar legislative forums has historically been weak.
He also noted that the Chamber of Commerce has included general support
for the University of Iowa in its legislative agenda.
Pres. Cox urged all councilors to vote in the local bond issue election.
Pres. Cox also announced that several committees were
in process. The review of the
Office of the President was underway when the new president was appointed.
Pres. Cox reported that Pres.-elect Skorton would like the committee to
continue its work and will consult with the committee.
Two additional ad hoc committees are being formed, one to review policies
on decanal reviews, and one to conduct a review of the new promotion and tenure
guidelines, now in their fourth year of operation. The latter committee will be
chaired by Prof. Betsy Altmaier. He
also announced that the review of the Office of the Provost would be available
Athletic resolutions currently under consideration by the Faculty Senate
This item was a series of resolutions, all tabled, that had come before
the Faculty Senate at its Dec. 3 meeting. The
resolutions proposed public statements on behalf of the Senate with regard to
the Pierre Pierce matter. Prof. Cox
solicited the Council’s views as to how the Senate might best proceed as a
faculty governance body on this issue. Prof. LeBlond’s view was that it would be best to take the
resolutions off the table and await the reports of the various committees
considering the matter. Prof. Lynch
suggested that comments on such reports, once they are released, would be
appropriate. Prof. Mangum commented
that she regretted that the Senate did not take an earlier position but is of
the view that these motions are now belated and should not be acted upon.
Prof. Dove wondered whether the reports of the various committees would
be available to the Senate. Prof.
Lynch said that any report delivered at a meeting of BiCOA would be public.
There was a consensus that such reports should be public, and should be
made available to, and reviewed and considered by, the Senate.
It was moved by Prof. LeBlond and seconded by
Prof. Mangum that the Council respectfully request that, at a minimum, officers
of the Faculty Senate be involved in addressing these committee reports and that
to the extent possible, recognizing issues of privacy, such committee reports be
made available for faculty discussion.
The motion passed, with one abstention.
were encouraged to volunteer for committee service and to encourage their
colleagues to do so; to reserve May 29, 2003, the date of the annual faculty and
administrative retreat; and to propose nominations for the Brody award.
meeting adjourned at 4:56 p.m.
Pro Tem (in absence of Craig Porter)