University of North Florida
Board of Trustees
Educational Policy Committee

  • Meeting
February 25, 2004
University Center at 12:00 Noon

Minutes

Committee Members Present

Edythe Abdullah, Luther Coggin, Toni Crawford, Ann Hicks, Bruce Taylor, Jerry Watterson 

Committee Members Absent

None 

Other Trustees Present

Judith Solano 

 

Chair Hicks called the meeting to order. She commented on the wonderful experience she had at the inauguration last Friday then asked for a motion to approve the minutes. Trustee Coggin proffered the motion, it was seconded by Trustee Crawford, and passed unanimously.

Proposed Reorganization of Communication and Visual Arts

Provost Kline stated that Dean Workman had brought the idea of reorganizing the Department of Communication and Visual Arts to him about six months ago and asked Dr. Workman to discuss his reasons for the reorganization.

 

Dean Workman stated that the Department of Communication and Visual Arts was one of the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) amalgamated departments. The department had been amalgamated for the sake of administrative efficiency and it was partly due to the success of that efficiency that the department should be separated. He said the department was by far the largest in COAS and probably in the university. After the proposed division, there would still be two substantial departments – thus sheer size was one compelling reason for the division. There was currently one chair of the department, whose expertise was in communications. This presented a good reason for seeking autonomy in art and design as the chair was responsible for recruiting, mentoring, and evaluating faculty, reviewing candidates for tenure, advising students, overseeing curriculum development in the department, and scheduling courses. The more knowledge a chair had of a discipline, the more effectively he or she could perform the duties of chair. While the current chair had knowledge of art and design, it was not the same as having someone from that field. Additionally, accreditation of the communication program was contingent on autonomy; it must be a stand alone unit. Though this was not the case for art and design, autonomy was regarded as desirable for those programs as well. Reorganization would have the positive effect of creating greater visibility for the art history program, now a nascent program but one Dr. Workman was interested in developing. The cost of separation would be minimal, requiring only an extension of an existing salary to a twelve-month contract as an internal search would be conducted for a chair for art and design. Office space was available for the separation. Dr. Workman heartily recommended the reorganization.

 

Chair Hicks wondered why, if the preponderance of the department was communication, the discrepancy between the number of student hours in art and design and in communication was not that great. Provost Kline responded that this was due to general education courses, not all of the students were art and design majors.

 

Trustee Watterson asked how the reorganization would affect students. Dean Workman answered that communication would be accredited and possibly some art and design programs could become eligible for accreditation as well.

 

Trustee Abdullah asked about support staff. Dean Workman replied that currently there were two secretaries assigned to the department; one would go with each new unit. Both secretaries were amenable to this plan. Faculty themselves had voted for the reorganization, with only one exception: a faculty member eligible for tenure who opposed the reorganization as he felt his tenure would be best championed by the current chair. Overall, the department was very much in favor of the division. Trustee Abdullah asked why an internal search was recommended as opposed to an external one. Dr. Workman said that, on principle, it was preferable to seek to appoint chairs from within when such option existed as it was more economical and because faculty within a department understood the needs of the department better than someone from outside. He said that on occasion it was necessary to hire from outside the department, but only under specific circumstances such as a departmental need for someone with stronger expertise in a particular area or personnel problems within a department which might be best resolved by bringing in an outside chair.

 

Trustee Taylor wanted to know if the reorganization would change or impact existing graduate programs. He asked Dr. Workman for his opinion on how the division would affect future graduate studies. Dean Workman replied that neither program offered a graduate degree at this point, although graphic design faculty were eager to develop one and had prepared a substantial proposal some time ago. He said that, for the moment, staffing needs for the department were sufficiently great, given the number of majors both accommodated, to preclude graduate offerings in the immediate future. The first priority would be adequate staffing. Trustee Taylor said that it seemed that the division would help with graduate program offerings in the long run. Dr. Workman agreed.

 

Trustee Abdullah addressed a question to President Delaney regarding the fiscal impact of splitting the department. President Delaney replied that the impact would be negligible. Trustee Solano added that the proposal had been through all the layers of faculty at the university, such as the department, COAS, and the faculty association, and been endorsed at all levels.

 

Trustee Coggin noted that when Dr. Lowenstein evaluated the program he had indicated that it was well along the way toward accreditation. He asked if the separation of the department would enhance the timeliness of accreditation and the addition of masters programs. Dr. Workman answered both parts of the question affirmatively, noting that unless a program was freestanding, it could not be accredited. Trustee Abdullah asked President Delaney if either of the new departments would be considered in the university’s new vision of identifying those areas that would be considered exemplary or high profile. President Delaney answered that all of the programs were under consideration for those qualities.

 

Trustee Watterson mentioned that he did not feel the department’s faculty members were sufficiently involved in student activities on campus, such as the campus radio station or news sources. Provost Kline noted that the department had been chronically understaffed. Dean Workman agreed, adding that the chair had been unable to assign faculty to support those activities due to the faculty shortage.

Chair Hicks asked for a motion. The motion to approve the division was proffered by Trustee Coggin and passed unanimously.

 

Chair Hicks said that the art department had an outstanding art exhibit on second floor of the fine arts building and encouraged the trustees to visit the exhibit if they had an opportunity. She noted that some of UNF’s graduates had gone on to become regional artists.

Demonstrations Rule

Ms. Karen Stone spoke to the demonstrations rule, reminding trustees of several rules discussed a few months previously as the university cleaned up existing rules and examined the use of outdoor space.

 

Two of the rules were passed at that time, but President Delaney made a decision to look at this rule a bit closer. She said the revised rule was very similar but a few adjustments had been made so that it would be clear that the campus was open to demonstrations so long as the demonstrations were orderly and did not disrupt education.

 

President Delaney noted that the way the rule was previously designed seemed to limit free speech, which was not the intent. UNF was a free speech zone and President Delaney wished to encourage that freedom. The purpose of the rule was to provide that encouragement while noting that demonstrations in some areas of the campus would disrupt education. The rule had been rewritten to be more permissive than restrictive of free speech. Trustee Coggin expressed his approval, stating that trustees were absolutely supportive of free speech unless such speech disrupted classes.

 

Ms. Clausen drew attention to the changed section, section 3, which now said that people could freely express opinions in outdoor areas of campus unless said area was committed to other use. The Robinson Student Life Center had been historically associated with free speech and was still an area where people were welcome to express their opinions, but such expression was not limited to that area. A positive statement had been added encouraging free speech on campus. The rule did state that if the demonstration required amplification, large areas, or large groups of people, then permission should be requested two weeks prior to the event. Trustee Taylor asked what the difference was between formal and informal use. Ms. Clausen answered that if a demonstration was not amplified, was in a small area, with a small group, it was considered informal. Ms. Stone added that though the university wanted notice for large groups, there was room for exercising judgment. The point was not to count heads but to look at the nature of the impact on the campus. President Delaney added that the idea was to give the university an opportunity to prepare for large events. Ms. Stone said the university was required by law to inform the general public. Trustee Coggin thought that would be good for public relations as well.

 

Chair Hicks called for a vote on the modified rule. The trustees approved it unanimously.

Adjournment

Trustee Abdullah complimented the President’s staff on the inauguration, stating that it was exquisitely done and she was very impressed with everyone’s presence and the support of the community. She said President Delaney’s speech was fabulous and requested a copy of it. She felt the speech was very much a reflection of the Board’s conversations and enthusiasm for UNF. Trustee Taylor expressed all of the trustees’ pride in being involved in such a significant event. President Delaney thanked the trustees for all of their help and support. Chair Hicks spoke of the musical performances at the inauguration, stating that she thought the group should be on tour they were so wonderful. President Delaney said he had friends from out of town who were stunned by the performances.