exec_u_03_23_06 by wuyunqing



               Minutes of the Faculty Senate Executive Board Meeting
                                4:00 p.m. Thursday,
                                  March 23, 2006
                                    Fisher Room

In attendance: Alex Deufel, Ron Fischer, Robert Kibler, Linda Olson, Susan Podrygula,
Gary Rabe, Ron Royer, Michelle Sauer

Absent: None.

Meeting called to order at 4:01
      1. Approval of minutes. Ron Royer moved to approve minutes. Susan
          Podrygula called the second. Motion passed.
      2. Review of agenda. Curriculum business will be on the May Faculty Senzte
      3. Announcements. None.
      4. Review Old Business:
          o Sabbatical Committee was passed to Dr. Fuller. Sabbatical issues have
              been delayed as an agenda item until budget and funding issues are
              worked out.
                      Sabbatical Motion: A charge to explore ways to implement
                      sabbatical leaves should be made to the Budget and Salary
                      committee for next year. Ron Royer moved that the Vice President
                      puts this charge to the Budget and Salary Committee next year.
                      Michelle Sauer called the second. Motion passed.
          o Faculty Senate Vice President’s Faculty Satisfaction Survey. Alex Deufel
              sent this survey and will send again so that all faculty will receive it..
          o Constitutional Review Committee: A couple of Bylaw issues are still
              pending: Committee of 12, only probationary, not all promotional faculty.
              Special Review Committee (no need for this now)?
                      Recommendation: Under the committee of 12, the candidates
                      being reviewed should be identified as “faculty seeking promotion
                      from assistant to associate.”
         • Charge to Ad hoc Committee for Diversity, et.al. This committee will
            present its long-term plan involving critical thinking and service learning at
            the April 6th meeting.
         • Faculty and Staff Compensation Task Force Members: Working better?
            Compensation Task Force; Budget and Salary Committee. Purpose: To
            examine the financial needs of the University. To make recommendations
            to the President of the University for budget priorities and allocation of
            funds, including salary schedules. Any budgetary matter shall be germane
            to this committee's function. This committee submitted equity proposals
            and has received feedback on their recommendations.
         • Coordinator compensation policy. Effort will be made to promote
            coordinators to chairs. Charge to Budget and Salary committee.
         • Bylaw revisions: Description of Faculty Senate duties; language in the


            bylaws concerning annual evaluation including summaries of student
            evaluations needs to be left as is.
       5. New Business:
          o Yellow Paper Endorsement: This will be placed before the Senate for
                     “Before I move ahead on this vision, I would like to have the
                     formal support of Faculty Senate. That white paper is a
                     description of the three main components of the vision. Certainly,
                     not everyone is going to understand or agree with all that is said in
                     that paper, but what I’d ask for is an endorsement to proceed with
                     the Senate’s support. If okayed by the three senates and the
                     deans’ council, I am going to work with the Planning and
                     Budgeting Council to identify the key points of a new mission and
                     a set of core values and beliefs. Those too will be circulated and
                     discussed widely with the campus. But first I want to know if the
                     Senate is supportive of the concept of the vision.” Dr. Fuller0
          o Dr. Lee’s Initiative Presentation: Dr. Lee will present the College of Arts
              and Science initiatives to the senate.
          • Other new business. Some students and faculty will be protesting the
              Smoke Free campus.
       6. Adjourn: 6:36 p.m.

                       A “Yellowed” White Paper Follow up:
                    Some Theoretical and Practical Considerations
                                 February 10, 2006

Thanks to all who have offered your thoughts, comments, criticisms, and questions. The
discussions at the open forums, with the three senates, and at other meetings have
provided valuable perspectives on the three components of our proposed vision. Our
Planning and Budgeting Council met last night to review the comments and determine
how we revise and advance the new vision.

As far as we know, there is a strong consensus to endorse the first two parts of that
vision. And while there is a lot of support and excitement about building our
distinctiveness on a sense of place, there are still some questions and mild anxieties about
the implications for the university, particularly in our curriculum and practices. In
respect to the people who have posed those questions and/or who wish further
clarification, I thought it would be useful to reconsider how we describe this concept and
to explain more clearly some of the implications. Specific examples of these implications
are included to do just that. So, I ask for your patience and offer the following slightly
yellowed addendum to the white paper I distributed earlier.

Let me come about this sense-of-place notion from a different angle. It’s a nebulous
term, one nearing hackneyed language, which raises questions about its meaning, its
implications for our classrooms, our scholarly lives, and our professional careers. In


reality, this term is basically just a concept, or better yet a metaphor that suggests a form
of reality; it suggests in general ways that we should become more intentional and
cognizant of the context in which we and others live and operate. It is a grounding, to

Place is grounded in the practical, as opposed to theory, which is grounded in the
contemplative. The other day Rick Watson shared with me the Fall 1996 edition of the
North Dakota Quarterly, which included a collection of articles, stories, essays, and
poems dealing in various ways with the notion of the Buffalo Commons, a theory
advanced by the Poppers from Rutgers. Their theory, which is fostered by the reality of
the Great Plains’ declining demographics, anticipates a future where the government
purchases cheap land available through a predicted decline and a wholesale exodus from
the Plains.

Poppers’ theory or logic raises the prospect of the government turning the land into large
wildlife preserves. In this case, the metaphor of the Buffalo Commons paints a picture of
a great commons, or public land, populated by large herds of buffalo. Critics of this
theory, or “metaphor,” as the Poppers were want to refer to it, pointed to the lack of the
Poppers’ practical, or in this case, “common” sense. Life in New Jersey didn’t seem to
allow for a developed sense of place in the Plains, some would argue.

Walter Piehl told me recently that what makes our area or place in North Dakota and its
people and life distinctive is its “practicality.” People are practical, politics are
practical, life is practical up here because our place demands it. Walter didn’t say this,
but extending this notion further to suggest the converse might help one see that people
who are impractical couldn’t necessarily make it up here. Perhaps the old saying about
keeping the riff-raff out refers to impractical people and their impractical choices, I don’t
know. I do know that the extremes of our weather and our distances, for example,
demand a practical sense and subsequent good choices.

When applied to what we do in higher education, some obvious paradigms emerge. One
is that knowledge or the pursuit of it is our primary function. We seek the truth through
our pursuit of knowledge in its various manifestations and disciplines. Our students
acquire knowledge through our liberal arts and our majors, and the intended outcome is a
learned student. Our purposes are fulfilled by our academic freedom to pursue
knowledge and advance it, as our current mission explains. The other paradigm sees
educational purpose as the development of character through learning and through
application. This paradigm clouds the ivory tower metaphor by adding to our purpose of
pursuing knowledge a practical obligation for our own civic responsibility, our own
commitment to the common good, and various and subsequent reasonable actions and
practices. .In other words, in that notion, the theoretical and practical work in concert.
As J. Barnes explains in his introduction to a 1976 version of Aristotle’s The
Nicomachean Ethics: “the fulfilled person will be a lover of others and an admirer of
beauty as well as a contemplator of truth: ‘a friend and an aesthete as well as a thinker’
(1976).” In that notion, higher education connects the dots between the pursuit and
advancement of knowledge and the practical and good use of it.


So where am I going with all of this? Our portrait of the 2013 student depicts our future
graduates as students of character--confident, creative, learned and erudite, and dedicated
to the common good. I suggest that to get there will require not only knowledge for
knowledge sake, but it will require actions, experiences, activities, and other practical
ventures to help students connect and understand the powerful ways in which theory
merges with application. For me, the “sense of place” metaphor grounds us in our
practical place. It does not, however, discount or minimize our long-standing tradition to
knowledge. This place—literally our own campus life and the life and place of Minot,
the northwest portion of North Dakota, the Great Plains generally, and even more broadly
the earth itself-- provides us with a ready-made and wide-open classroom or laboratory,
with real-life problems to solve, hands-on learning experiences, opportunities for
stimulating emotion, passion, and sympathies, and wonderful connections between theory
and practice. It also helps us define useful strategies for contemplating supplemental
practice in liberal-arts classrooms. Connecting theory to practice provides all of us a
reason to explore in the traditional classroom the value of primary-source research, real-
life problem solving and research, field-based exercises and trips, study tours, and
intensive study of local, regional, national, and global topics, as well as other experiential
activities, such as service learning, internships, etc.

This paradigm describing the merger of theory and practice does not compromise
academic freedoms, specialized disciplines, or specialists not versed in this place; instead,
this paradigm suggests the opportunities for the connection, the prospect of engaged
learning and the development of various outlets for place-based experiences. It does
encourage and invite interdisciplinary studies and research, which open up many more
intriguing opportunities for learning and student engagement.

This does not, I want to emphasize, prescribe service learning, or field-based study, or
travel-study trips, or internships, or primary source research in all classes. One thing is
for sure, our work in higher education has shown us well that one size does not and
should not fit all. But many sizes offer students and faculty a diversity of experiences.

This type of thing doesn’t happen over night. Not all faculty are well versed in
providing experienced-based work in courses and curricula. Not all classes are well
suited for such overt connections of theory and practice, but most are ripe for various
combinations, and most faculty members, I would guess, might welcome conversations
and workshops dealing with these applications. And if we use this sense of place notion
as a guide and stimulus for merging theory with practice, for understanding the macro
and the micro of our disciplines and lives, and developing a rich diversity of learning
experiences, we can, I believe, come together through a philosophy of learning that will
enrich our campus, not delimit it.

Becoming stewards of place is one valuable outcome, but it is not the only one. If
students connect theory to the practical, see and appreciate those relationships, and
develop from their studies a sense of civic responsibility and a motivation to contribute to


the common good, then our students, our campus, and our greater society would be all the
better for it.

This is still rather abstract and theoretical, so let me share with you a potential picture of
what a campus that embraces this concept or vision. Here are a few “brainstormed”
characteristics of a campus focused on engagement and attention to place (you will note
that we do much of this already):
             • Programs of study (not each course) that incorporate relevant and selected
                 practical and place-based experiences, such as a service learning project,
                 internships, field-based studies, capstone experiences, and other hands-on
             • Courses taught by highly trained and educated faculty, who are devoted to
                 student learning and success, who understand the educational rewards of
                 combining theory and practice, who work within an atmosphere of
                 academic and intellectual freedoms.
             • Teaching and learning on campus is engaging, diverse, dedicated to the
                 pursuit of truth, focused on current information, rigorous, informed by the
                 results of an effective assessment program, and guided by high
                 expectations for student performance and achievement.
             • The campus will include programs and centers that provide support to
                 faculty, staff, and students, such as an office for experience-based studies,
                 an expanded Career Services office to coordinate internships,
                 cooperatives, and other similar configurations supporting these initiatives.
             • The existing Rural Crime and Justice Center (RCJC), the North Dakota
                 Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) , the Prairie Community
                 Development Center (PCDC) will continue to provide research-based
                 programs that connect the university with the greater community. Other
                 place-based centers or projects focused on research and community
                 engagement could be added.
             • New programs or offices might include: Office for the Studies of the
                 Great Plains, Local History Center, Office of Rural Studies, and other
                 place-based programs.
             • Grant programs focused on new approaches to engaged learning and
             • An enhanced Native American Studies program, celebrating and honoring
                 our study and connections to Native American cultures.
             • Partnerships with Native American colleges.
             • The designation of a field-based campus and retreat center; the area could
                 be devoted to a variety of research and campus functions
             • Artspace and the collaboration of Native American, international, and
                 campus art faculty.
             • Enhanced and dedicated library holdings of North Dakota and Great
                 Plains’ authors and subjects.
             • Signage and walking trails on campus highlighting our own local history
                 and background.


             •   Endowed faculty positions with specialized training in place-based
                 disciplines and research.
             •   A selection of specialized courses focused on North Dakota and/or Great
                 Plains’ subjects and topics.
             •   An exposure to place in general education.
             •   New majors focused on rural studies.
             •   International travel and study programs that recognize and engage our
                 students in global studies and place.
             •   An honor’s program designed or focused on a local or regional theme or
                 subject, such as Lewis and Clark.
             •   Marketing materials showing the diversity of experiences, explaining the
                 values of theory and practice, revealing our university’s commitment to
                 high standards, specific outcomes for student learning and character, and
                 our pledge as a campus to our pervasive belief that all students can
                 succeed. Materials highlighting engagement through involvement in
                 place and community.
             •   Supportive recruitment and evaluation processes recognizing components
                 of the university’s distinctive and special vision.
             •   Special interdisciplinary teams focused on problem solving in the local
             •   Coordinated and expanded May term study tours
             •   Enhanced international program office and support for study tours and
                 student and faculty exchanges.
             •   A fully functioning American Democracy Project that supports activities
                 and experiences for our students’ civic engagement.
             •   A service learning program supporting faculty initiatives.
             •   Initiatives to promote and support volunteerism.
             •   A first-year program focused on engagement, service learning, civic
                 engagement, and campus involvement.

These are some possibilities. Some, if not all of this, is happening fully or partially on
our campus. These possibilities are only a short list of possible “place” and engagement
initiatives. This is not just a service-learning initiative; this is a full-scale program to
engage our students in meaningful ways in this place and community. In the end, if the
curriculum succeeds in merging theory and practice, allowing explorations in place-based
topics and issues, promoting the value of character building and interest in social justice
and character, then I believe that our students would be farther down the road to matching
that portrait we have painted for our 2013 graduate.

The sense of place notion is admittedly confusing and vague as a model for learning.
Sense of place as an outcome, reaching an understanding of one’s identity through the
knowledge of one’s place, developing a student who is a “fulfilled person,” who is a
lover of others and an admirer of beauty as well as a contemplator of truth, in Barnes’
words, isn’t a bad goal to seek for our students. I suggest that we can get there by taking
a look at a metaphor of place, or the model of merging theory and practice, or more


simply and clearly as an institution focused on intellectual and practical engagement.
Engagement may indeed be a better term to reflect this notion than place.

The pressures on us to contribute to economic development projects will not cease.
There is a growing expectation on the part of many law makers and other members of the
public that higher education must contribute to the life and welfare of the community and
state. I believe that an intentional and collective effort to adopt this concept of place or
the notion of engagement will move us in a dramatic and powerful way to a meaningful
and effective contribution to the common good and to our own responsibility to seek truth
and advance knowledge. Both of those aims are embedded in this vision for raising
expectations for student learning, developing a campus culture focused on and committed
to student success, and promoting a philosophy of learning that ensures engagement,
commitment, character, knowledge, and an interest in promoting the common good.

                                                                     David Fuller
                                                                     February 10, 2006


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