February 2010

UGC Proposal that the Faculty Senate President and Provost appoint the Task Force to revisit the Undergraduate Curriculum

Senator Nick Jovanovic raised some questions earlier today via an email to senators about the UGC motion on the Faculty Senate agenda proposing that the Faculty Senate President and Provost appoint the membership of the task force to revisit the undergraduate curriculum. Please feel free to do as you see fit with that motion. FS President Ford and I were simply trying to facilitate moving forward on the topic of revisiting the undergraduate curriculum, and a body needs to be formed to take ownership of this initiative. The UGC already has a consistently full agenda with the regular undergraduate curricular proposals. In the 1980’s, then Chancellor Jim Young appointed the Blue Ribbon group which addressed the core curriculum; Ford and I saw the proposal from the UGC as a means to involve faculty in the process of putting the task force together. And the proposal mirrors the process which former Faculty Senate President Fred Williams and I used to appoint the Faculty Roles and Rewards Task Force in late 2005, a process which, because it worked so well in that case, seemed to be appropriate for this endeavor as well. I do think there is a great deal of merit in appointing this task force to ensure that the group has appropriate breadth – both senior and junior faculty, faculty with differing points of view, etc.

Follow-Up on Senator Jim Nickels’ Remarks regarding Implementation of ACT 182

Senator Jim Nickels, who serves as a representative in the General Assembly, shared with the Faculty Senate that there is draft legislation which, if adopted, would modify the processes associated with implementing ACT 182, the transfer act. The current process with such legislation is that the Arkansas Department of Higher Education puts an implementation process in place and UALR, like all institutions of higher education, then works in collaboration with ADHE to comply. The draft legislation, if adopted, would require consultation on institutional compliance plans with a legislative committee.

Budget

I will initiate during the week of February 22 a budget planning exercise to engage deans in the process of grappling with potential budget cuts. The purpose of the exercise is not to nail down the cuts we will make; rather, the purpose is to grapple with the potential challenges which cuts would pose for us; to study how, for example, we would make significant cuts to our budgets without impacting enrollment which accounts for a large majority of UALR’s revenue; and to explore creative strategies we might pursue. The budget picture continues to be unclear, and it will not likely clear until mid-spring. The goal of this exercise will be to be prepared.

Sincerely yours,

David Belcher

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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