Faculty Comments by Question on the 2012-13 Senate Evaluation

4. The Senate has been effective in development of shared governance policies and procedures listed below.

The senate has gone overboard in shared governance and that has been detrimental to the university, to its mission, to the faculty, and most importantly to the students. The senate needs to back off.

You wanted me to provide data, but I am actually very ignorant about what the senate does. My answers are based more on my beliefs concerning the particular topics, i.e., I don't think we have much shared governance on university administrators, so I assume the Senate is not effective in this area.

I don't have enough experience to comment.

I admit I always feel so busy that I do not closely follow what the Senate does, but I do have the sense that the Senators work very hard, and within the constraints try to do a good job.

Please give options for "don't know" in future surveys. Those if us who have recently arrived have no basis for judgment.

The senate is inefficiency at its best. Lost of talk and bureaucracy, little tangible, useful outputs.

I am new. i do not know much about senate

I think the Senate has been as effective as the administration allows it to be.

primarily seems the senate rubber stamps administration

Meaningful input on benefits policies has been lacking

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

Holding university administrators responsible for fair practices (including rising to external standards)

Senate has taken a significant role in making policy that would protect the IP rights of professors involved in developing electronic course materials.

Need standard policies for TPR university-wide. The appeal process is ineffective.

The senate has adopted and amended policies for the above based on policies developed by faculty for individual departments. In general, the senate has be reactive rather than proactive in these policies.

The administration seems to see the Senate as at best a rubber stamp or nuisance. Even the capacity of room where meetings are held says a lot about openness to extensive participation of faculty and staff in governance. As long as the Senate does not have much teeth, the sham that parades as shared governance will continue. It was a breathe of fresh air to see the Senate take up faculty concerns about General Education reform--the curriculum is in fact a faculty responsibility!

It is worse than a rubber stamp.

Anything on Senate's B list the Senate has not been effective at all.

benefits and compensation

I look at the Senate the same way I look at the Staff Council, committees that really believe their doing something, but in fact, have no power.

The Senate mettles in affairs that should be within the purview of our highly-compensated administration and executive team. The executive team uses the Senate for cover when difficult or unpopular decisions are made. The Senate is far too concerned with the comfort of the faculty than they are the education of the students.

The smoking policy is a bust. There is no enforcement and it is far worse than it was before. Smokers are in front of door and in people's faces. This is unacceptable. It was better when there were signs stating 50 feet from doors. This totally is not working. What are other campuses who have same policy doing? This is absolutely ridiculous. Either put some teeth in it or change it back to the way it was.

The learning goals and assessment work has been dictated to the faculty.... no evidence of "shared governance" that I can see.

Has not been as effective in promoting shared governance--though trends this Fall have suggested it could be a more active partner. Part of this is because the decisions get made in the summer and are suddenly presented as a done deal. In effect, the university runs 12 months a year, but the Senate only from around October to the end of April. It's a problem. Too little input into what student affairs does--and it is affecting (often good, sometimes not) academics.

 

5. The Senate has been effective in reflecting your concerns regarding the use of university resources.

The senate does not reflect my concerns on much of anything.

I don't have enough experience to comment.

One area where I think the Senate has not been effective at is in reducing the needless waste of faculty time which is a resource too. Two specific areas are: 1) Faculty spend huge amounts of time after writing a proposal dealing with university paper work, and then after our MTU budget is prepared we have to spend even more huge amounts of time translating the MTU budget into the NSF budget framework which is a complete mismatch of categories so it is a lot of work, and can take a whole day. This is ridiculous when the people at Research services could train even a student to do this for us all the time. Or they could have some software automatically convert the MTU budget into an NSF budget and load that up automatically. Why is faculty time so undervalued? 2) I suspect may policies are made that waste faculty time because of issues caused by a few people that should be handled by the department chair instead of becoming a policy that wastes our time. The one specific issue I am aware of each semester is the Senate policy on Syllabi. Now each time I do a new syllabus I need to find the web page for syllabi policies and a Templates just to make sure I have everything, and I think before that most people's syllabi were just fine. I do not dismiss the importance of a syllabus even though from personal experience I am betting each year every faculty member gets dozens or even hundreds (if they teach enough large classes) of questions from students showing that the students do not read the syllabus, or remember what it says if we go over it in class....my point is now I need to waste time pecking around on the web trying to find this (and other things) that become formal (time-consuming) policies for us to conform to, that are probably in response to a few offenders who should have been dealt with as individuals.

The Senate has been largely ineffectual in addressing, questioning, and challenging the consolidation of IT and the impact of IT policies and activities on our departments and ability to teach and conduct research. That is not to say that IT should have been consolidated, but the broad mandate granted to IT needs to be viewed with skepticism and questioned or challenged when appropriate.

Smoking ban - yes, smoking is bad for you. No, I am not a smoker. However the way the smoking ban was put into place THEN faculty/staff were asked to comment seemed backwards. Putting a "ban" on anything on campus is an erosion on personal freedoms and personal choice and individual decision making. Now that a no-tobacco mandate is in place, what other blanket policies that will wear down personal freedoms and personal privacy will be put into place? Dress code? Curfew? No coffee? Rather than working to implement policies that continue to take away what little freedoms are available to the academic community, why not work to create policies that will grant and protect rights/benefits/freedoms/privacy (privacy being defined as non-intrusion, non-interference on decision making and control over personal information) for the staff/faculty/students. It is so disheartening and defeating to to constantly hear about about rights/benefits/freedoms/privacy being reduced or taken away.

The "other" involves the recruitment, admission, and retention of international students. I'm delighted that we have such a diverse population here, but the International Programs office is not always in synch with academic programs.

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

university administrators policies

Senate has worked to establish a fair evaluation and transparent reward mechanism for professional staff.

I do not think Senate is doing a good job on keeping administration and IT in check. The changes they are making are bringing down the morale of people.

The Senate reps on the BLG work hard to do the right things. The people in the Fringe Benefits office try to be fair and helpful. The administration has decided unilaterally to reduce the cost to MTU of providing health care and has reduced the MTU contribution to retirement from 12.55%, 10.55 percent of which did not need to be matched by the employee, to 7.5%, every dime of which needs to be matched by the employee.

Again, the senate is primarily reactive to these issues.

The Senate has no say so in the hiring or promotion of professional staff. Yet the decisions such staff make have huge consequences for the academic mission of the institution. This is therefore in fact a governance issue.

We should dismiss the senate if it is merely a rubber stamp.

Senate has no control over the use of University spaces.

recruiting and retention

 

6. The Senate has been effective in communicating issues that impact you.

I am going on how my senator relates thing to our unit. This person seems anti-establishment and in reports to the unit puts most things in terms of "it's us against them" (i.e., faculty against administrators), which is destructive and promotes a low morale. Since this person was not so negative until they had been working on the senate for a while, I wonder if this is the perspective promoted by the senate. It surely seems so from the reports that I read from this senator.

Agreed, though it seems like the GenEd reforms are going on without Senate involvement/control.

I really don't know much about the senate functions. I don't feel very qualified to answer most of these questions.

I am not aware of this but I often operate in a bit of a "bubble".

The problem is actually information overload. So many changes and implementations in a short period of time, and it's impossible to keep up with it all.

How individual senators handle this is an issue.

I agree largely because one of my colleagues who is on the Senate has made extraordinary efforts to keep us informed.

My Dept Senator has been very good, I don’t get other communications so I put neutral here.

The Senate has been effective in communicating issues that it deals with. It can't effectively communicate about issues it does not deal with.

I rarely, if ever, hear anything from the Senate.

This is very dependent upon the department representative. Our current representative is doing an outstanding job. When I served in that position I was not as diligent.

Almost everything I hear about the Senate comes to us second-hand by way of our departmental Senate representatives, and not clearly and concisely stated by the Senate.

It could be improved by having department senators communicate more and not on issues that effect them. I look at the agenda in Tech Today.

No discussion of faculty turnover.... I lost 10 colleagues this past May (not a single one to retirement). When will the Senate "request" a serious exit interview policy from the Provost's office to try to figure out the cause(s) of the turnover?

I do not know what impact the Senate has.

Depends on our Senator. Mostly very good.

I hear the senate say things that are usually of import to me.

 

7. The Senate has provided appropriate input to your unit and/or department in the development of proposals submitted to it.

What is this question asking? My unit has not had any proposals submitted to it from the senate, and the senate has not provided input to my unit on proposals that have been submitted to the senate.

Nothing directly affecting me these last few years, but our senator is very open to asking for input.

I really don't know much about the senate functions. I don't feel very qualified to answer most of these questions.

I am not aware of this but I often operate in a bit of a "bubble".

We get emails from our representative, updating us on the actions and issues.

i do not know

I don't know what this question is asking?

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

Not clear about input that we get.

Our group has not submitted any.

I do not understand the question. Does the senate provide input to departmental proposals?

Again - this is representative dependent.

My Senator has been a real advocate for my department and colleagues.

When I was involved in re-writing our departmental charter two years ago, the documents explaining what needed to be in the charter were constantly changing and not very clearly presented.

I didn't understand this question at all.

 

8. The Senate has acted in a timely manner on proposals submitted by your group.

Seems like the docket is usually full for a few weeks before you can get on it.

I don't have enough experience to comment.

I really don't know much about the senate functions. I don't feel very qualified to answer most of these questions.

Not relevant to me.

No complaints.

I am not sure about this one.

No data to comment on this

I don't know what senate do!

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

Our group has not submitted any.

Again I don't understand the question. Who is my group? My colleagues in the unit? The unit itself?

None submitted by our group.

 

9. Your senator keeps you informed about issues being considered by the Senate.

This is true, and the senator presents things in a confrontational "us versus them" manner.

There he is doing an excellent job.

Could be better

I am not aware of this but I often operate in a bit of a "bubble".

Previous senators in my current department have done a good job forwarding information. Our current senator is very proactive not only in providing/forwarding information, but in helping us understand it.

Our senator is diligent and thorough in his messages to us on Senate business.

Yes, does an excellent job!

Current senator, yes. Past senators, not so much.

While our Senator sometimes mentions what is going on in the Senate, his statements are piecemeal and unclear.

 

10. The Senate should have an independent budget to facilitate contracting with independent experts to aid in decision making.

Absolutely not.

The problem doesn't seem to be the senate making decisions, but rather that the senate doesn't have any authority to enact their decisions.

The central administration is getting far too controlling and top-heavy for my tastes

I don't understand what this even means - what decision making??

To have an opinion I would need to here pros and cons for this.

I don't understand why this is necessary. Throwing more money (that we don't currently have) at decision making will not be effective, in my opinion. The likelihood of waste and abuse would out weigh any anticipated benefits.

maybe. I can see benefit to this but at the sometime increasing administrative costs is not high on my list.

Not sure what areas would be considered. Without that information I cannot comment.

Maybe... I'd like to hear more about this.

I fully support this

It should be independent period. It is too much a pawn of the administration delivering polices the administration wants that are not in the interest of faculty and departments.

The Senate should have a budget if we want people to commit to the Senate and if we want the Senate to be able to be on par with administrators in decision-making ability.

This is important, particularly given concerns about potential administrative corruption and needed oversight.

The issue of IP rights is a great example of why we need a consultant here. Same with some of the Assessment issues. We dont have an "expert" on faculty side - its just admin.

Various outside contractors are brought in by the administration to provide the answers they want. Often they are paid significant amounts of money to do trivial work. The report produced by the consultant brought into to consider the parking problem was one such instance.

This is a good idea in concept, but I suspect that dedicated but very biased senators would pick the wrong things to push. A person with a persistent personality and a narrow agenda can generally get the Senate to agree.

Or at least have equal or more than 50% say in what experts to involve (could be from on-campus)

It cannot be an effective body till it gets an independent budget.

Sounds like a way to duplicate efforts at extra cost.

The use of outside consultants has not proven to be cost effective for a variety of issues - parking, health care, etc. This approach is the least creative method for making decisions. I strongly oppose any independent budget line for paying consultants.

We need legal counsel regarding issues like the IP related to the online curriculum issues.

I don't understand Tech's fascination with paying outside experts to find decisions or options that we can very well make ourselves.

That is what a union does. If we want that, we should form a union.

 

11. The Senate is an effective body in representing staff.

Though I cannot speak for staff (I am faculty), this does not seem to be the case from my perspective.

They can voice opinion but have no authority.

Here you are doing a better job (I think) than for faculty

N/A

I find that the staff are poorly represented in our discussions and if I were a staff member I would be frustrated. Also, I am not sure why Union staff should not be on the Senate as it should be comprised of all people working at the University.

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

I don't really know.

The Senate, especially in its committees, provide an forum for staff issues to be heard and discussed. After that, it takes a committed tenured faculty champion to keep the issue on the agenda. Professional staff often must stand silent while really bad things are done, and the Senate is the only viable forum to address these issues.

I am not convinced that adding Staff to the Senate was a wise decision.

From my experience, the senate does not really consider staff when making decisions. Staff consideration comes up regularly during complaints given during senate meetings, but the complaints do not carry forward to decisions.

I am faculty.

Don't have enough information. Probably not.

Not staff.

 

12. The Senate is an effective body in representing faculty

The senate seems to enable disgruntled people and to disengage reasonable people from the process.

They can voice opinion but have no authority.

It's not that you don't try. It's that they don't listen.

I think you did a great job on the medical benefits but mostly I am so busy I don't follow things going on outside my office.

To address curricular issues, we need a separate body for faculty. Staff members should not be voting on some proposals.

we need a union.

The administration basically does as it pleases, and thinks it is the epitome of democracy and shared governance. The administration is basically 19th Century, autocratic, imperialistic and answers only to itself.

I do not think it is very effective. The administration seems to do what it wants with little regard to faculty concerns when they differ from their own.

Unfortunately, there are many decisions made by the administration of this university that don't take into consideration the Senate input at all. Therefore, it is important to change policies as far as share governance is concerned. At this point, I don't believe the Senate is an effective body in representing faculty or staff, not because of the Senators (who actually try) but because of the lack of input from the Senate to university decisions.

We have had independent, strong Senate Presidents as well as administration toadies. The Senate is only as good as its President.

I have not been at MTU long enough to have a solid sense of how the Senate has performed on these issues.

It is unlikely that the Senate can appropriately represent the interests of both Staff and Faculty effectively.

As it is currently operating within the larger University community, the Senate is largely ineffective.

The Senate has little power in the current administrative setup.

The senate is NOT effective for representing faculty. The IT decisions, parking decisions, and so on are examples where the senate lodges verbal complaints after the fact. Again, the senate is a reactive body that does very little in terms of strategic planning and policy development.

The Senate should be a faculty only Senate.

My selection has more to do with how administration approaches the issues than how the Senate is representing faculty. The administration simply ignores Senate decisions. The best example is the tobacco issue. The Senate was asked by the administration to take action. The Senate conducted a referendum and the administration simply disregarded the referendum result. That means whatever the Senate does is irrelevant in this University. Another example is the benefits. Every year the administration has shaved off more of it. Actions of the Senate in this matter has been ignored by the administration and remains irrelevant as well.

You are doing the best you can do. There are limits as shared governance does not really exist at this university. Let's bring on a union.

As indicated earlier, I would have said in past years that it was out of the loop for anything really consequential. Glad the Senate spoke up on health benefit decisions rather than playing along. But, it is still the case that the Senate has too little impact on the astonishing proliferation of rules and duties for faculty coming from outside the Senate.

We need a union!!

The senate has no impact on the administration when it comes to disagreements with faculty. The admin team does what they want, when they want and the senate stands idly by. It seems that the senate has no teeth. This is because the faculty have allowed it to be that way.

 

13. What can the Senate do to get the information to you more effectively from the list below?

e-mail works well. Forums give voice to those who like to be in the spotlight and who speak the loudest, and thus they (forums) seem to be a waist of my time. Blogs are not an effective communication venue for me.

through our senators

If email is sent reduce to important action items or needs not pages of material

I probably wouldn't follow a blog- too busy

I think a simple blog with links to policies might be nice, with email for most important issues would be good. I think maybe twice a year having delegates come to department faculty meetings to discuss what is going on and why would also be useful, and at those meetings the blogs could also be mentioned to remind people of the location and where they can find more if needed. But, do not use Facebook or things like that....I don’t like to make accounts.

Personal communication. Everything is impersonal.

I like the blog idea. Forums are excellent for certain big issues but should not be overused.

Any blog post needs a limited number of characters - like a tweet. Senate communications are verbose and cryptic. It takes too much time to decipher them.

open meetings and posters

If forums were scheduled for times that do not conflict with class sessions (e.g., recent forums on learning goals and assessment from 3:00 to 5:00 on Thursday afternoons), then I would more readily endorse them.

regular emails would help. Some of the recent forums and lunch n learns have been very helpful

Facebook/Twitter feed.

Forums are critical for discussion of big issues affecting people across campus, such as the gen ed reform and benefit changes. These should be held for all employees affected by the changes.

Blog could be used for development of the proposals. Constituents could comment on the blog. The blog could be moderated by the Senate Committee responsible for the proposal.

1. personal visits by representatives 2. discussions at department meetings

print in Tech Today

E-mails are fine, but they *must be concise*. Emails longer than a couple of paragraphs take time that I do not have to plow through. Forums are practically useless to me, as they are almost always scheduled at times that I do not have available. A blog would be nice, as it would give a convenient way to check on Senate activities from some time ago. But again, the postings *must be concise*.

Get my info from Senator. Might got to a forum if the topic was of interest. Not really much interested in the Senate, but have been more interested this year.

What did you want with this question? Information should flow through our senators and be made available on a website. Forums are just for burning issues and the occasional (once per year open forum). The senate is itself a forum and its meetings are open.

 

14. What kind of proposals should the Senate spend more time on?

My responses mean that these are items that the senate should spend little time on.

I don't think the senate is effective or will be effective on shared governance and university resources. Therefore, not worth talking about. I think the senate can help foster P&T policy, so this is a reasonable use of its time.

Again, I cannot answer these questions. Mainly, I hear about high levels of frustration and inability to get things accomplished. Although, I don't know what they're trying to accomplish. It would be helpful to hear about what is working, proposed, etc, and less/no time talking about how things don't work.

Work on policies that will protect and promote and increase rights/benefits/freedoms/privacy for faculty/staff/students.

The Senate needs to strongly oppose the over-reaching actions of the Provost's office. Faculty ;need to insist on academic freedom, and stop giving ground on our fundamental right to teach our courses. Stand firm, and represent constituents on this abuse of power. Likewise, the assurance of learning mandates from that office are too time-consuming and dictatorial. And, finally, the Senate should be involved in the centralization of IT resources. The actions, and especially the timing of actions, ignores the constituents on campus. Maybe the Senate should intervene. IT needs to change its perspective, and respond to faculty, staff, and students as customers. The attitude of disdain for the users should be eliminated, and the IT staff should be retrained. I would like the Senate to insist on oversight of these programs..

The administrations management of university resources has been very questionable and often presented in ways that avoid actual issues (particularly issues of mismanagement or goal setting). The yearly attacks on benefits that were based on very questionable premises, the massive increases in tuition that resulted in cuts to departments and shortfalls in university budgets and hiding where they money was going, the administrations continued avoidance of addressing increases in administrative costs, the massive raises for mediocre administrators while faculty have gotten very little, the reality of research funding (external dollars vs internal), and a general value system of administrators are always right and faculty have to deal with it.

Having some shared governance would be good.

I also would urge the Senate to take a look on how department Chairs, program Chairs, and Deans are evaluated (or not). What are the policies to replace a program chair (School of Technology)? Are these lifetime appointments? Should we consider a rotation or specific amount of time to serve on these positions? Instructors are evaluated every semester by students and every year by their Chairs and Deans, so when are those other folks evaluated? Some of these folks are doing excellent job and should be recognized others should give somebody else the opportunity to serve.

If time was spent on ways the Senate could effectively--and possibly successfully--intervene in (b) and (c), then yes.

Fringe benefits

I don't understand why shared governance is listed along with the other two. Is not input on the use of resources/policies for appointment shared governance? Personally, I feel that the administration essentially does what they want to do. The Senate only has the power that the administration decides to confer which results in it being relatively marginal.

Clearly the Senate is the best we've got for a faculty voice in governance. They should be empowered to fulfill this role as much as possible.

Shared governance and TPR are the core of faculty responsibility in shared governance. The Senate has only an advisory voice on how the administration chooses to spend money poorly (waste).

Until there is a definition and philosophy of shared governance, the term remains inflammatory and meaningless (quite a dichotomy).

all of these are equally important for the functionality of the university

How can the Senate stay a meaningful part of decision-making between its last spring meeting and the more substantive capacity it has starting in late Sept or early October.

No use spending any more time on them. The administration will always act in their best unrest, no support for the items above so don't waste your voice

T&P issues seem relatively stable (unless some post tenure review is coming up). There is a lack of shared governance and it seems that the University budget is terribly skewed away from education. Please focus there.