IFS Meeting 7/8 June 2002 LaGrande Oregon (EOU)

This information is typed from rough notes taken by IFS Senator Gilkey and is an attempt to give the flavor of the meeting. These notes are in no way official or normative.

EOU President Phil Creighton spoke first on the necessity to work for better solutions - there was a danger of lowering expectations given the recent cuts in our budget plus growth of student enrollment. We need to approach the legislators as members of a team talking about the needs of others. It is a complex message - what kind of Oregon do we want. The resources are inadequate to need the needs of the state - we are heading for a structural collapse. We lose the best and the brightest of the students to other states. We emphasized engineering and biotechnology and the bottom has dropped out of the market. We must be more responsive or we will always be in a catch-up mode. We have fragmented K-12, higher ed, community colleges - foolish. We need to work together - the council of Presidents needs to forge a common agenda.

James Earl (IF Senator UO): Unionization?

Answer: I don't believe the union is the answer - this is a lowering of expectations. Union opportunity limits change.

Elaine Deutschman (IFS President): Strategic planning?

Answer - we need to sit down as a system and work up a plan. The recent initiatives concerning engineering were responding without a plan - putting our fingers in a dike - being reactive. The new Chancellor is a strategic thinker. We can't tread water much longer.

Roger Bassett (State Board Member) We have to find a way to engage the system leadership - including the presidents. The work of the next 18 months is to stay with it. We need a better recognition of where we are with the cut and cap. It is hard to get reasonable with `no new taxes'. Do something large enough - both symbolically and realistically - to deal with cut and cap. The income tax surcharges will allow a more serious debate. There are discussions to have a special session. There is a delay in calling it - could be July or never. The pace is very intense. There is the obvious value of getting a basic agreement before a public process. The voters don't want a short term fix. Still optimistic. Once on the ballot - the rule of 30. There are 30% automatic no on anything like this. There is a smaller 20-25% automatic yes. The middle is where the battle will be won.

With regard to the new chancellor. Jarvis will be very successful - he enters when everything is in flux. The role of the board should be to develop a readership role. The proof will be as we look at changing the system - we need the role of the chancellor to become enabling the campuses rather than controlling them centrally - we all need to understand what it is to stand in each others shoes. An enabling role. I am pleased with the choice. The Board needs to consider in advance what it wants from a candidate. I am encouraged by Jarvis - the process worked well. Did not hire a chancellor with an agenda but rather got a man with the proper skill set.

The board has a strategic planning committee. The board is interested in a climate of change:

  1. Access - specialization - think more widely
  2. Governance and decentralization
  3. Quality and budget models
With regard to governance and decentralization - there is almost not enough resistance. It is possible the board could enable this in a careless fashion. Even allow some to leave. But everyone is thinking about decentralization.

The budget model is sustainable. Each institution does have a unique identity - the role of the board is to do some protecting of one from another but mostly to be enabling. The Board's role is to create the mission/identity.

Lee Lindsey - Budget Director EUO presented the EOU budget issues in hard copy. This 8 page document is available upon request from P. Gilkey.

EOU Interim Provost Burr Betts We are now in the process of decentralizing. Our primary goal is to protect the core undergraduate programs. They are the last things to cut. We have reduced administrative costs and reduced community service. Past policies had resulted in increased fund balances (i.e. savings) so we have some discretionary revenue. This year have over spent by 300,000 and will do the same next year. We will fund a 4% salary increase next year. Next year is a transition year - stop gap. Hope for some relief and for tuition freedom in 2003/4. We do not want to damage the core programs. We will not get to program cuts. Our salaries are the lowest of the OUS institutions.

Question: Faculty Morale?

Answer. Low salaries are driving a desire to unionize. Huge salary issue. Some faculty flight - among the younger faculty. It is hard for the senior ranks to move. The faculty are pretty stressed and up tight. A cranky campus. Continual worry about salary. Especially for people without mobility. Largest issue is salary compared to peers. We are over spending by 300,000 next year and hope for better in 2003.

EOU Students Adam Gunther (State Affairs Coordinator) and EOU Student Body President Blake Robinson. We have restructured the student body organization. Relationship with OSA - youth vote campaign registered 300 students. Good relations with the OSA - Joelle really helpful. Organize the student voice at Eastern. We will face a tuition increase. Want to be sure it doesn't increase at double digits. Everyone has to compromise. Don't know how OSA wants to go about it. Crucial how much tuition goes up. Oregon Opportunity - student childcare. Keep higher Ed affordable. Not just short term solutions. OSA wants long term solutions. Keep things affordable and accessible.

James Earl- Question - tuition increases?

Answer No one in OSA questions the need for an increase. Keep it under 10% - concentrate on the Oregon Block grants to maintain access to lower income enrollments. Stay connected and rebuild connection - speak with a unified voice. Have to compromise on tuition increase. Could afford 9-10%. We need program diversity. I will end up transferring to OSU. I took 2 distance ed courses but I want a classroom experience. Need faculty to hire diverse faculty - it is difficulty to attract diverse faculty.

Faculty Union Organizer Kathleen Dahl We have filed petitions. During the past year the group started talking about the AFT at Western and Southern and for the part time faculty at PSU. There is a huge amount of support among the teaching faculty but the administrative faculty are not as support. That category is a but funny and the support is not there. Teaching faculty and librarians. We got 72% signed cards from the teaching faculty. There is a total of 115-119 faculty who teach 1 class or more - does not include those who only do distance ed. We have submitted a letter asking for voluntary recognition. That doesn't often happen. The President said he has to ask the chancellor. There is less support for the union in education and business. We have filed the paperwork with the Employee Relation Board asking for an election.

There is a declining value which is placed on higher education - there is a lot of insecurity - precarious - budget decline. We are not thinking we will have a huge raise. We want a voice in the cuts and the reorganization. Unfortunately our leadership takes it personally. The faculty are the core group. The stability of our administration is in question - not permanent. Our president has said he wants to move on and has applied for jobs elsewhere. We do not hold this against him.

A discussion followed around the table of the benefits of unionization. There was worry about the role of fixed term faculty. The union deals with individual grievances by the fixed term and adjuncts. Degree of safeguarding individual faculty rights. Not much the bargaining unit can do with systemic issues. Salary, benefits. Doesn't end up with higher salaries - more onerous conditions on campus more likely to have unions.

Kathleen - we are forming the committees the bargaining unit will have. It is slow over the summer. The ERD takes the list, looks at the cards, procedures, hearings, argue about the bargaining unit - our president will request a delay - he has scheduled forums and brown bag lunches. Temporary solutions could come - that that is this administration this year. We want to look to the future. There are lots of new people - the administration could solve some stresses now - some of us are just pro union - we believe in a unionized work place. We don't have a major morale problem to point crisis. Have had problem hiring people at our salaries - many turndowns. The administration has said they will try to bring salaries up to 50% level but have failed.

PSU: At least with a union we have the order of retrenchment spelled out in the contract - this helps deal with the issue of budgetary insecurities - it does not necessarily involve adversarial conduct.

OSU: We have studied the problem of fixed term faculty and multi term contracts. The fact there are other union campuses is used as a leverage with our administration as we can raise the threat of unionization.

Kathleen - we are in the initial paperwork session. Phil will request a delay. The AFT rep doesn't know. We hope for an end of October election. There are protections which kick in when you start to talk about unionization - there is no sign of any problems that way. The official University Web Page has links to Phil's counter arguments.

The formal meeting ended.

The President of EOU then returned and the IFS sat around informally talking with him at the reception that followed. Many issues were discussed. It seemed that the decision had already been made by the Presidents of the OUS institutions to proceed with changing to a semester system - some skepticism was expressed by a faculty member from the UO and from OSU concerning this. Unionization was not discussed.

There was further discussion of unionization at the IFS meeting on Saturday. We learned that 80 cards had been turned in expressing interest out of 119 faculty members. The adjuncts are included. There was a letter to the President which was `mean' signed by 46 faculty members. The adjuncts teach 1 class count. They are driving this - often here 3 or more years. Try not to hire for less than half time - often supplement with offering them `distance' ed classes. Lots of half times are spouses.

There was also discussion of the OSA request for faculty help in contacting candidates for the state legislature this summer. The IFS expressed enthusiasm and IFS Senator Gilkey was authorized to contact the OSA in this regard.

Web page spun on 9 June 2002 by Peter B Gilkey 202 Deady Hall, Department of Mathematics at the University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1222, U.S.A. Phone 1-541-346-4717 Email:peter.gilkey.cc.67@aya.yale.edu of Deady Spider Enterprises