SPECIAL CALLED MEETING of the FACULTY SENATE
January 30, 2002
CHAIR ROBERT WILCOX - I would like to call the meeting to order since the appointed time has come. The Provost and the President both are going to join us today. Their absence is not intentional. They were summoned over to discuss appropriations at the House or Senate this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and indicated they would be over just as quickly as they could. So I don't want you to think they are ignoring us. I anticipate their arrival as soon as they can get away from over there.
One announcement I was asked to make with regard to this process of discussing the SDI report comes from the USC Times, which is interested in publishing 500 to 600 word letters, essays, whatever you would like to call them, regarding the report. They are interested in publishing a number of these throughout the semester. You can get in touch with Larry Wood over at the USC Times if you are interested in communicating your thoughts that way -- just to let you know that is available. Also, as we mentioned at the last meeting, you can submit comments, if you have them, and you wish to elaborate on what you say at a meeting here. Or perhaps you'd rather do it in a different mode. If you submit them to me or to the Faculty Senate Office, we will incorporate your comments in the materials that we ultimately submit to the President and Trustees. Any faculty member can do that. So if someone is looking for a voice other than just in here, that is also available. We want to be sure all are aware of those opportunities.
This meeting has been called specifically for the purpose of considering the report of the committee on Strategic Directions and Initiatives. Let me give you a little background before we start our discussion and hopefully answer some of your questions that you may have, that I have been asked over the last several weeks. As you are aware, over the summer last year the President appointed the Strategic Directions and Initiatives, or SDI, committee with the direction to report back to the President -- not to this body but to the President -- with recommendations that would, in the words of the committee, and I quote: "Support emerging opportunities for academic excellence in the coming decade while nurturing those areas of the University where excellence already is manifest." That report has been submitted. Hopefully we have all read it. It offers 28 categories of recommendations for change with several of those categories having multiple recommendations. Those recommendations will be a major part of the agenda for the Board of Trustees retreat, which is scheduled for February 21 and 22. Some decisions already appear to be well along. Those of you who teach in foreign languages are keenly aware of that reality, but I think there is still an opportunity for our input to be heard on many of these proposals. In many cases we may not be the decision-making body as to whether to implement these proposals, but we can still be a very important part of the decision making process. I think we ought to be realistic as to where our practical influence begins and ends, but we should not underestimate the importance of our role as a faculty as advocates for quality and integrity in the university. We should be confident of our voice as we shape the future of this university. Whatever the goals of the institution are at the end of the day, I think it quite clear that whatever the legalities of who the decision makers are and the reality of who wants to listen to whom, the other reality is that, unless the Board and the President and the Faculty are on the same page, we will not see substantial progress in the mission of this university. So we are here to lend a part of our participation in that process. Our goal over the next couple of weeks is not to redo the work of the SDI committee. We will not attempt in a month to create our own strategic plan for the university. We will focus primarily on critiquing the SDI recommendations. We can fairly inquire as to the basis for the SDI Committee's conclusions. We can ask about the goals that they sought to achieve in their report. We can identify any potential unintended consequences of the actions they have proposed. And, most importantly, I believe, we can consider whether the proposals of their report are consistent with the qualities that this university should seek to nurture. As we move towards the end of our discussion in the middle of next month, hopefully, I anticipate that the leadership of the Senate will prepare a written summary of our discussions and that summary will be given to both the Board and the President along with a full transcript of these proceedings. My hope and my belief is that the comments from this body, the answers given to your questions, will provide important information that goes far beyond what the SDI report contains.
Before we discuss the 28 specific recommendations in the next couple of weeks. We will start today with a broader task of discussing "qualities" and "quality," hopefully articulating the important qualities of a university that determine the quality of its academic output -- the qualities that we value as a faculty at USC. These are the qualities that must be preserved and nurtured in any strategic vision of the University. The report that was submitted in early January by the SDI Committee begins by recommending that the mission statement of the university be (to use the words of the committee) "be re-written as a concise, focused statement that aligns more closely with the emerging roles of the contemporary University." If you have not read it, I suggest you pull down the full-page mission statement that is on the web site under the Trustees page of the web site. It was adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1997 and it summarizes our institutional mission as the education of the State's citizenry through teaching, research, creative activity and service. The SDI Committee did not attempt to redraft that mission statement, nor will we. But the SDI Committee did offer a vision of USC as being or becoming a comprehensive, flagship, nationally recognized research university. Well, this formulation raises two points for our initial discussion today.
First we have an important issue of vocabulary. If we are to talk of reaching for flagship, or research, or comprehensive university status; we must start by defining those terms in some clear and consistent manner so that there is some common understanding of where we are headed, and then asking whether that terminology is clear and meaningful to those who read it.
The second issue beyond the definitions of those terms is their adequacy. Does the committee's vision of the university as a comprehensive, flagship, research university adequately honor the qualities that we believe as faculty are critical to the long-term strength of the university's academic program.
I expect as we discuss the questions today, we are going to hear some very different perspectives. I hope we will also find a significant amount of agreement. Happily our goal at the end of the day is not to take a vote. It is not to rule that one set of qualities is superior to another. Our goal today is to gain a better understanding as faculty colleagues of what we value in this university. In order that we can, as we discuss the specific recommendations in the weeks to come, evaluate those recommendations in terms of their potential impact on the values we say are critical to the university. I am not going to go further and tell you what my views are. We are here today to hear yours. So let me put this question before the body to start us off and see where it takes us. We may move from the question as we go, but let's start with the question I sent to you all by e-mail: Does the SDI Committee's characterization of USC as a comprehensive, flagship, nationally research university offer a sufficiently clear, consistent, and appropriate long term vision of the university? That is the question I would ask the body to start with and we will go as we take it, but let's look at the big issue.
Would you all please introduce yourselves to the body and for our records as we go. We would appreciate it.
PROFESSOR CHARLES MACK (ART) - If the body will indulge me I have a few brief comments to make that might be seen as a preamble to this discussion.
CHAIR WILCOX - We will indulge you for a few minutes.
PROFESSOR MACK - Actually 4 minutes. And in order to make sure it is no longer than 4 minutes it is a prepared statement.
I find it ironic that, in the very year in which the bicentennial of this University was so gloriously celebrated, our administration initiated proposals that, if implemented, will radically alter the character of the institution. Make no mistake about it, the SDI proposals and the WAG recommendations which they echo are quite purposeful. The agenda they set forth will lead to the elimination of the balanced and comprehensive nature of our university and to the transformation of this campus into a "research" business with an emphatic emphasis upon the revenue-producing aspects of the sciences and technologies.
We should be clear as to how the SDI and WAG reports use the word "research." Their definition no longer refers to the discovery and production of knowledge but rather to the discovery and production of grant monies. In these proposals, the old concept of a university as a place where knowledge is preserved, where knowledge is created, and where knowledge is disseminated has been replaced by a revenue-producing objective.
The proposals in both reports, that of our SDI committee and that of the Board-sponsored Washington Advisory Group, would compel a decided change in focus from instruction to income-generating research. Since that income flows largely from such major sources as the NSF, NIH, and DOD, the favored programs will be in those areas-of-the-moment fields of science, engineering, and technology that attract such support.
That this was the intention of the administration from the start is made clear by the strong presence of WAG, whose members, without exception, come from the disciplines of science, technology, and business -- men who have little experience with the core disciplines of the humanities. The very composition of the SDI committee appointed by the administration also reinforces the conclusion that the proposals were predetermined. Perhaps, this academic coup will be successful and, perhaps, this indeed is the direction which our Board of Trustees, our legislature, and the citizens of the state wish us to pursue, but we should be honest about the objectives and the methods by which they will be achieved. We should confront the intended outcome.
It should be obvious that both the SDI and WAG reports are designed to promote AAU membership -- a symbolic goal which has become an obsession with our administration and which might seem a significant achieve to some but is quite irrelevant to others. If these proposals are implemented, we will become a money-driven institution increasingly separated from state support and the public mandate which created this university in the first place. We may, indeed, come closer to achieving AAU membership but we will have rejected our comprehensive mission and lost our role as the state's flagship university. I ask, "Does the state need another Clemson?" Divisiveness also will be an unfortunate consequence of the SDI and WAG proposals. The gap between the "have" and "have not" programs is certain to widen and resentments and turf wars will ensue. Some are resigned to this change in direction. Unfortunately, the Faculty Senate has been a weak body in the past with little inclination to assert itself but I urge you to consider the true implications of these proposals and the consequences that they will visit upon our university. Thank you. (Applause)
CHAIR WILCOX - Anyone want to comment on what their understanding of the term "comprehensive university" is and ought to be? Do we understand what that means? I'd be curious as to what your thoughts are.
PROFESSOR NANCY LANE (FREN) - I support a lot of what Randy said. I don't ascribe that much intentionality to this group of recommendations but I share many of his concerns. One of the things that the WAG report points out is that the terms "comprehensive university," "research university," "flagship university" are in many senses mutually exclusive terms, or at least terms that tend to contradict each other. So I think in general when we talk about comprehensive universities number one we are talking about state university systems and that is one thing glaringly lacking in this report. It appears to be solely about USC-Columbia which cannot operate in a void. So comprehensive universities teach everything or most things. Teach sciences, teach education, teach liberal arts, teach business, teach engineering to the citizens of the state citizens. And, in states that this report uses to compare its goals to, notice that the population of those states is much larger than this state, that those states all enjoy a very elaborate and well supported system of campuses that belong to the university. So my understanding of comprehensive university runs up against some of the other seeming directions that the report wants to take us in. And, that is one of the problems with the report; it doesn't really point to any single direction because it tends to contradict itself. It is an excellent group of very interesting ideas all of which appeared, at least to the committee, to be good ones. And, that is to be commended. They worked very hard but I would urge us, before we discuss any one of them in isolation, to ask first of all what is the vision, what is the goal that we want to move toward. Then to line up the recommendations with what they hoped to achieve. Rather than have the recommendations with little "this meets this one" and "this meets that one" appended. You need to have the objectives and have the recommendations flow out of the objectives. And, that is one of the problems as I see it with this report: there really is no coherent overarching vision or goal.
CHAIR WILCOX - Following up on that: Our reason today for starting here is exactly what Professor Lane suggests. To discuss these recommendations, we need to be able to relate them to a strategic purpose. We are trying to look at what those purposes are. Let me rephrase the question and keep going with that thought, but let me phrase it slightly differently - what qualities does a comprehensive university as you understand it, what qualities does that university have that we must preserve? Do we like it, dislike it, or whatever?
PROFESSOR MACK (ART) - Breadth.
CHAIR WILCOX - Breadth, okay. Breadth is a quality.
UNKNOWN INDIVIDUAL - Balance.
CHAIR WILCOX - Breadth and balance. Do you want to elaborate on these terms a little bit? When you talk about balance in what regard?
UNKNOWN INDIVIDUAL - Well a university that doesn't have balance is a university that is one sided in places mostly with resources in particular areas as opposed to other areas that normally are considered as constituting a comprehensive or well-rounded institution.
CHAIR WILCOX - Teaching and research we could balance - we could balance other things. What are we talking of balancing?
UNKNOWN INDIVIDUAL - Disciplines as well.
PROFESSOR KATHERINE REYNOLDS (EDUC) - I think to elaborate on breadth and balance for sure it does not mean a place where there are 4 or 5 star cornerstone programs or colleges and a bunch of have-nots sitting around on the periphery wishing they had the resources of the haves. That is not comprehensive, that is not breadth, that is not balance.
PROFESSOR SUSAN SCHRAMM (EDUC) - As a former art teacher I have had the experience of being on the fringe. Those of us in the arts, music, drama, foreign language, etc. are never going to generate the type of money that hard sciences, so to speak, generate. Because in this country we value math and science and those are the things that get rewarded more monetarily. So when you talk about comprehension you have to include the humanities, the so-called soft sciences with the so-called hard sciences and it is not an either or, it is a both and. It seems to me that those of us in those fields have to get over maybe a sort of inferiority complex. We are not going to generate those kinds of dollars. The College of Education is some what caught in the middle because although there are a lot of federal dollars that can be generated there is a lot of work that needs to be done that goes unrewarded monetarily. In terms of our college just adding a bachelor's degree is not comprehensive in terms of what this state needs in K-12 curriculum which of course extends to higher education curriculum, those of us at the university level. So it goes a lot deeper and in a lot of ways one need only follow the money to see where people's priorities lie.
PROFESSOR PHILIP ROLLINSON (ENGL) - I do not have anything to say about the administration. Comprehensive, obviously as these two people said, means all kinds of different directions of including all kinds of different programs. And, inclusive breadth which would include undergraduate and graduate studies, it would include the Law School for God's sake, which we have things like that. We already have it, I assume we already have it. This is a comprehensive university I believe right now.
PROFESSOR CHARLES ALBER (GERM) - It is not a comprehensive university. I would like to preface this by saying that I don't see any value centeredness in this value centered management system. To me it is a cost accounting system. It is set up to count bodies and classrooms and resources that departments are going to use. It does not say anything about the values about how they will be distributed. Now I will say something about the administration, presumably they are the ones who are making the decision on the basis of these accounting facts. This university from day one if I remember correctly has been a body counting institution. It relies on FTE's but in a way that is behind the scenes not really up front. The faculty don't really know how the FTE system is implemented. But I can tell you that as of this very moment the Dean of Liberal Arts has turned over to the Business School the funding of the summer language program. That means that we very possible will not offer Japanese because it doesn't get the body count. It may also mean that Chinese is not offered because they confuse Chinese with Japanese. It will certainly mean that we will not offer Russian because Russian has never been offered. And, yet we preach to the world that we want to be a comprehensive university and yet we are not willing to pay for programs that cannot yet pay for themselves even though they are at the very top of our objectives. They are the kinds of programs that define our prestige certainly in the south where no such equals exist. So I would say from the beginning we are not a comprehensive university. I wish we were a comprehensive university. That we would promote Slavic studies and that we would promote Asian studies to the same extent that we promote Women's Studies and Black Studies.
PROFESSOR CAROLINE EASTMAN (CSCE) - You asked us to comment on what we think it means to be comprehensive; and I would say one thing is that we should be responsive to the educational needs of the state both as we perceive them and as our fellow citizens who are not at the university perceive them. And, these are not always the same thing. Comprehensive also implies to me that the different parts of the university should be integrated and cooperating with each other. We haven't always done that as much as we might have; and I am concerned that some of the recommendations in this report might lead us even further to insularity, which I think would move us away from being comprehensive.
CHAIR WILCOX - One of the comments made was challenging what I see as a basic principle of the vision that has been stated the last few years and that is this cornerstone concept. And, the question was raised: Is that consistent with being a comprehensive university? Does anyone want to comment? Is it desirable to be a comprehensive university? Or should we take limited resources and put them where we can best use them? As we talk about our qualities, what we value, is there another side to the picture that anybody has?
PROFESSOR ELDON WEDLOCK (LAW) - I have some problems with all these terms: comprehensive, flagship, research institution, but I think that (despite agreeing with the next to the last speaker) comprehensive would seem to me to be the easiest thing we could do. That would be the one of the 3 that we could accomplish. If I understand my Latin correctly comprehensive means to grasp at everything. To bring it all in, to hold onto everything that is out there. That includes math, science, the performing arts, literature, language, all the rich range of human endeavors to be comprehended within one institution or at least touched by one institution. My fear in this particular proposal we are going to lose that non-focus, that general approach to learning which I think is the foundation of a liberally educated person (not in a political sense). And, that speaks to what Caroline Eastman was saying about the educational needs of the citizenry of this state, whether they know what they are or not. I say comprehensive is probably the easiest thing to do for this institution because we have already a wide variety of talents on this campus. And, instead of concentrating them as this report seemingly does into the cornerstones or cathedrals or the empires of specific areas of interest, it would seem to me to be easier to disperse them. Whether we could concentrate them to good effect and become an internationally renown and research institution in certain areas is a hard thing to do on our departments' budgets. Just hiring the people that need to be hired in order to do that would be difficult. It seems to me that if we have to pick one of the three it would seem comprehensive is the one that would be most easily within grasp.
CHAIR WILCOX - You are all good teachers. Would someone make the case to the people of South Carolina why is it desirable that people who come here for an education are exposed to a comprehensive university? What do they leave with that others would not leave with?
PROFESSOR HARRY HANSEN (ART) - I think one of the things about what a good undergraduate education is - is that you are exposed to multiple points of view. As a visual artist I recognize for instance that human knowledge is based on perception. People don't like to think about that but if you look at the Newtonian view of the universe the Einstienian view of the universe they have changed because perception has changed. And, the views will continue to change as perception changes. My specialty is foundations courses in the visual arts and one of the things that I think any comprehensive university has to have is a commitment to an undergraduate education. Which in my view is the foundation of any great university and everything else is built on top of that. We have to be careful that we don't sacrifice that for other more exotic and expensive things.
PROFESSOR ERNIE WIGGINS (JOUR) - If I were to make the argument to the parents of potential students coming to us, I think that I would say "Send your students to us and they will find out how the real world works." That is if you come and you pay your way or you bring even more to the classroom you may get more attention from me as a faculty member or as an administrator than those who don't pay their way or who have to have some kind of assistance. Because that is the model that is being established by our administration. If you don't pay your way, you don't get the same consideration as those who seem to pay their way.
PROFESSOR LANE (FREN) - To go back to the idea of comprehensive I think that the timing of the production of the report is not coincidental. That it coincided with a very real budgetary crisis is not insignificant. As a university in a time of real stress, I commend the committee for coming up with a vision and this is sort of my idea of what the vision is, whether that was the intention or not: It is a blueprint for privatizing the university and doing a corporate downsizing; thereby renouncing this ideal of being the primary institution of higher learning for the citizens of this state in favor of finding some other students, perhaps somewhere else, who would be better than our students so that they can drive our aspirations to better quality. And as far as the budgetary mechanisms proposed, if they were implemented I see the result being a downsizing of the university without the administration or the Board really having the courage to say, "No we cannot be a comprehensive university. We are going to do this, and this and this and we are relying on the technical schools, the other campuses of our system to pick up those other pieces that we cannot provide, given the limited resources of the state."
CHAIR WILCOX - I want to push us back just a little bit, our goal today is to not focus just on what we see the report doing at this point, though obviously that is going to form a lot of our conversations, but really looking today at what we want it to be. And, I guess the question ultimately becomes: What are we going to lose if we are not a comprehensive university. In other words, articulating the reasons, because I think many of us are persuaded of the point. I am looking now to be able to persuade others. I am looking for the arguments we will give to others as well. So if we can keep that in mind. I know we are going to talk about the report, some but keep that in mind.
PROFESSOR JEREL ROSATI (GINT) - My apologies for being late I just got out of a graduate seminar.
CHAIR WILCOX - You are welcome to teach before you come.
PROFESSOR ROSATI - Thank you. I think the point that was just made before me about timing was really critical. It is important that we spend time talking about what it is that we want to accomplish and what is it that we want to be at this university but again the timing is really important. I mean not only has it occurred during a budget crunch but there is a parallel track that is going on at the same time when this university is searching for a new president. I am very interested in getting behind the purpose of this particular report and I would like to raise a couple of questions. 1. Is the purpose of this report to be advisory to our new president at this university? 2. Or is the purpose of this report to basically come up with a game plan and to force our new president pretty much to conform within the perimeters of this plan? To make an analogy even though I am a student of politics in US foreign policy, it is almost like the 1930's in some ways. It reminds me where the Senate and the House passed neutrality legislation when a war was coming on. This tied FDR's hands completely and required Pearl Harbor to get the U.S. involved in the war. Here we are in the midst of a budget crisis, we are not sure which direction we ought to move, both financially as well as intellectually and in terms of higher education, and yet it appears that this administration is moving very rapidly with a plan that is going to tie the hands of a new president - who ought to have the opportunity to look this plan over, exercise some initiative on his or her own and act with some degree of leadership. My own personal sense, if anybody is interested, to be perfectly honest is that my other concern is this faculty historically has been a weak faculty. And, a very passive faculty which has pretty much allowed the administration to do pretty much what it wants to do and maybe we don't have much choice in the matter. But I honestly think that we ought to seriously consider a motion that this should be no more than an advisory plan that should be waiting for the new president of the University of South Carolina.
CHAIR WILCOX - I would like us today to focus on the subject primarily of these goals, these qualities, these standards......we are going to talk about the report in much more detail as specifics in the next couple weeks. Let's see if we can today keep on this idea.
PROFESSOR PEYTON ROWE (ART) - You were talking about what students or what we would lose if we were not a comprehensive university. To me I teach graphic design specifically which is always walking the balance between a "fine art" and "professional art" and I think that if we were not a comprehensive university I think students would potentially lose the ability to learn how to think. Not simply reciting formulas, memorizing dates, or being trained for vocational purposes. This is a major issue when I talk to professionals in my field and I can't believe with relative economic developments dot coms dying left and right that that can't be applied to all sorts of professions. The reason I chose to come to a university with a college of liberal arts and not a school of the arts or a place like that was to help students learn how to think. How to think on their feet, how to put ideas together in an interesting and diverse way. I think the best place to do that is in a comprehensive university not something that becomes very specific in any one particular or 5 particular cornerstones. And, that is what I think they would loose.
PROFESSOR DAVID BERUBE (THSP) - The first thing I want to say is that I am also on the budget committee. And, I have read a lot about value centered management (VCM). I think the reason that it is so critical for us to define who we are is because the variables that are used to decide how efficient units are under the system are really not defined well at all. This is a real opportunity for us to start figuring out what variables should be in terms of setting up VCM and assessing VCM. So when we try to define who we are, we are really setting up a bunch of variables that might be used by whoever is in charge of the model. To not only establish it and insert it within our lives here but also in assessing it. When I looked up comprehensive universities on the Internet, I did a little search and put the brackets around it and tried to figure out what was going on, generally what keeps coming up is that they serve 3 distinct populations. A comprehensive university serves the population through continuing education, evening and out reach programs of all sorts. The second one you find is a comprehensive university actually educates students who plan on getting a baccalaureate degree and then going on with the rest of their lives. The third characteristic was it also deals with those students who are getting the baccalaureate degree and then plan to move on to a professional life and have other educational interests beyond just getting the baccalaureate degree. I think one of the ways to look at it is to look at the populations that are being served. Because that really defines a comprehensive university more than some of the more philosophical and ethical questions we have. Any reasonably well-read person knows it is a good idea to humanize a scientist and it is probably a really good idea to scientiate (which I found out is a word) a philosopher. They are both good things and I think we all agree on that. I think we need to come up with some variables that are important when the university decides not only what academic programs we should have should, all of a sudden, money appear. Which was a category of material in this report. And, also what variables to use when value centered management looks us in the face and we actually try to implement and assess it.
CHAIR WILCOX - But you are saying comprehensive -- not just in terms of the range of programs but the range of students served as well?
PROFESSOR BERUBE - Yes.
PROFESSOR JERALD WALLULIS (PHIL) - Building on what David said but adding, I don't see the challenge to scientifize or whatever a philosopher but to "businate" all of us. Because that is what VCM may indeed require of us. For your general question, we might look at it not just for any individual student but that we are taking a commitment to take on 3,000 undergraduate students each year in an entering class. The comprehensive university then would mean that they would get good basic education in their first two years in the general education program. That they would have many good choices of good competitive interesting programs to choose from that would also be well taught. That in some of the cases in the program we would understand that teaching may well have to be more intense - let's say in a music or in an art course - than it might be in a more general information course. And, that they would have the sense that this education would put them in a good situation either to commit in the job market or to become an advanced student. A comprehensive education for graduate students would involve, among other things, the prospect of joining a competitive program that would put them in a very competitive situation at the end of their education. And, it would involve the chance at least to compete for adequate funding and for good research opportunities if that is what is required in their program to succeed afterwards. As for the evening class, I assume that we are talking about considerations about breath and convenience of classes and again a quality education.
PROESSOR EASTMAN (CSCE) - I would like to go back to the question that Rob asked us to address, namely what arguments would we use outside this body as to why a student might want to go to a comprehensive university and get a somewhat broader education. As the current undergraduate director in Computer Science and Engineering I get forms of this question fairly frequently. I have people say, "Gee should my son go here, should I go here and spend four years getting a degree? Should I perhaps just go to Midlands Tech and spend two years getting an AA degree?" I try to get some sense of what the person is interested in and what their long term goals are. Some times I end up telling them you probably should just go to Midlands Tech and get a degree in a shorter period of time. But what I see them getting here that they don't get in that kind of AA program is much more breadth of exposure to a lot of different ways of looking at the world and thinking about the world. A lot more diversity shows up in a lot of ways. Flexibility so that they can adapt to changing circumstances. The skills I learned in computing when I was in school are pretty much obsolete. I used to teach people how to program card punches. How many people have seen a card punch in the last 10, 15 years? The programming languages I learned are obsolete. A program of training will teach you today's skills, but it doesn't necessarily give you a very good basis to adapt.
PROFESSOR WEDLOCK (LAW) - I want to take a crack at answering the question about what we should say to parents as to why they ought to send their kids here. I think the first thing I would say is you have a very bright kid. You have done a wonderful job but even you don't know what his interests are and probably she doesn't know what her interests are when she gets here. We have got a place where you can send your child, where she'll be in a safe environment and be able to explore those interests. She will be able to follow up on those interests with people who have made those interests their life's work. She will be able to choose between a wide variety of those kinds of choices that are not available anywhere else but in a comprehensive university. Moreover she will learn the kinds of lay skills that will enable her to adjust to any perturbation in the world as we know it. If one skill goes out fashion other skills will be needed and your child will learn how to adjust to those. Whether they'll accept that learning or not is another question but at least they will be exposed to modes of thought. There is still a long way to go in her life and she is going to need to know a lot more about the processes of how the world really works than any one particular thing.
PROFESSOR JIM O'CONNOR (THSP) - Just two, I believe, small points. In your first question defining what is a comprehensive university - in my mind at least it is a celebration of the past. Past human pursuits and an attempt to assist in future human pursuits. Now that can go across the board in multiply areas but its the human being we are the only set of creatures who have invented this wonderful thing and I think it should celebrate our past and help us pursue the future. In terms of your question, how do we justify this to the citizenry of this state - I think we can talk about what we do comprehensively over a 24-hour period. We teach students to get jobs that will change out from under them but we have taught them how to think in a way that they can stay onto of that job and that job market. Hopefully we have also helped them to learn to dream the biggest possible dreams, maybe when they are asleep at night for that 8 hours. And, we have also taught them how to think and do all kinds of amazing things in the 8 hours they aren't working and aren't sleeping with their husbands, wives, companions and children. I think that is comprehensive - the 24-hour period we are dealing with not the 8 hours of work.
CHAIR WILCOX - Randy, I'll let you speak and then I'll move to a different question.
PROFESSOR MACK (ART) - Well, I may be moving with you because I am wondering about the word flagship in relationship to comprehensive.
CHAIR WILCOX - I was going there third but let's go there second. Tell me what flagship means.
PROFESSOR MACK - Well - flagship nautically - do we have anybody naval here? But it is a leadership position within educational institutions of the state.
CHAIR WILCOX - Leadership played out how?
PROFESSOR MACK - And, what I am wondering is can you pretend to play that leadership role? Are you the institution that everyone salutes if you are not comprehensive? I think that those two terms are intertwined.
PROFESSOR LANE (FREN) - It seems to me that the term flagship university is outside the scope any particular institution to assume. That it is the state as a whole. The state legislature in the case of a public university that determines which if any of the institutions of higher education in the state is going to be the privileged one - the leader. So this sort of aspiration is an aspiration but it can't be part of a strategic plan or recommendation that can stay within the university. It is not up to us to decide that we are the flagship. We can aspire to it.
PROFESSOR KIRSTIN DOW (GEOG) - I am also the director of Environmental Studies Minor in the School of the Environment. It is from both of those positions that I would like to comment on what it means to be both comprehensive and to be in a flagship role. I see one of the values of a comprehensive university as creating an environment where it is possible to be successful at teaching rich interdisciplinary types of topics such as environment studies. The SDI report says that the School of the Environment should be reviewed Environmental Sciencists. But it is actually an environmental studies program that depends on the strengths of the sciences of engineering and the humanities and social sciences to allow students an opportunity to integrate the facets of the questions that are very much a part of their lives; and, then to develop a rich view of what many people are talking about as major contemporary issue. What does it mean to have sustainable development in our world? I think in terms of being a flagship this is a place where our comprehensive nature and our ability to conduct interdisciplinary work allows us to play a leadership role in this debate. Building these strengths should be part of leadership and innovation.
CHAIR WILCOX - Does flagship reflect some quality then? The question was raised whether this is something we can bring upon ourselves. Does it reflect a quality as such?
PROFESSOR THORNE COMPTON (THSP) - It seems like to me that if you are the flagship institution it implies that you are willing to take on leadership in this state. That means that you have an investment in this state. That you believe that whether or not the K-12 schools here are good or not is partly your responsibility. That the rate of aids infection in South Carolina is part of your responsibility and this institution has a responsibility to do things about that. If you are the flagship institution you have a responsibility to bring about social and political and cultural change. When we desegregated this institution, the same year Clemson did, we did so only with a gun to our head. We finally moved to a point where it became a point of pride for us that we had a strong and diverse community. We really took leadership in that. If we are a flagship institution we have to have a continuing commitment the fortunes of this particular place where we are. Whether we are a national leader in 10 or 15 years we are still going to be here in South Carolina. And, if we are a flagship institution we have to be willing to take leadership in those issues that are important to this state.
PROFESSOR JON MICHAEL SPENCER (RELG) - I am aware that a few years ago a distinguished professor of Emory University joined the faculty, now in the history department. And, another in the history department joined the faculty from the University of Illinois at Champaign. It could be that if the university moves away from the quality of being comprehensive and flagship that professors of such nature will not be leaving Emory University, University of Illinois-Champaign, Duke University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and so forth to join the University of South Carolina. If that happens and others who the university are trying hirer to do not see such recognizable names with which they would like to be colleagues, there could be a snowball effect in terms of the kinds of professors that are attracted here.
CHAIR WILCOX - I am hearing, and tell me if I am hearing wrong, at least from those who have spoken, a lot of positive feelings about the concept of being a comprehensive university. That a comprehensive university reflects these various values that we have seen, and I think I am hearing from the flagship side a little bit that perhaps that is something more that is thrust on you. But Thorne's comments, being slightly different, that there actually are some things that you do to assume that role.
PROFESSOR ALBER (GERM) - It is hard to think that we would be a flagship university as Thorne said and be completely unconcerned about the problems of the state. And, one of the chief problems of the state it seems to me is in the field of criminal justice. Now if we follow the SDI program it will become part of the department of sociology. Can anybody think that we are enhancing criminal justice by making it part of the sociology department?
CHAIR WILCOX - Let's not answer that today. But that is the question that needs to be raised when we take that up, which is, if our goal is to have these values of a comprehensive university, then are those values preserved if Criminal Justice moves? That is the kind of question we do need to ask when we get to that subject.
PROFESSOR ROLLINSON (ENGL) - I think the missing thing that has not been mentioned here is research which I see as crucial to a comprehensive university.
CHAIR WILCOX - That is where we are headed.
PROFESSOR ROLLINSON - Well someone mentioned earlier a balance between teaching and research. The pivot of being a flagship and the key of being a good teaching school and having a huge commitment to research. I think it is often forgotten by our students, by our alumni, by members of our state. I always tell my students opening day that there is a real virtue to taking an undergraduate class at the University of South Carolina because in my department and in all the departments I know about you get people who are doing original research in the fields. So in effect you are getting your subject from the horses mouth. And, I tell them it may be great to go to Davidson but I write the articles in books that my Davidson colleagues read to teach their students. That is kind of snotty but there is real point that is very true. I teach Milton. I've published articles on Milton. Our history colleagues that you mentioned these people have come in. We had some distinguished historians and that is a real plus and a real difference. And, in my mind what characterizes a real comprehensive university is a real commitment to teaching and research because they really go together.
PROFESSOR MACK - Here we hit a problem and that is a problem of definition. What do we mean by research?
CHAIR WILCOX - Okay, let me ask this question and see if you want to respond. What does being a "research" university change, if anything, from being a "comprehensive" university?
PROFESSOR MACK - That wasn't actually my issue. I agree with Phil that research as defined by Webster is essential for any true comprehensive university that wants to put itself in the position of flagship. Now there is a difference between Webster's definition of research - production of knowledge - and the way in which research is used in most cases but not all in the report that is in front of us. And, whether, intentionally or not, the way in which research seems to be used in this report - the way in which at least I interpret it from several readings - is productive research means producing not so much knowledge but the money that comes along with the knowledge into the institution. Now I may be reading it wrong but that is the way I am reading it.
CHAIR WILCOX - As we talk about a research university, what do you understand that term to mean? If we say we want to be a research university, the first question is what does it mean and second is how is that different if at all from being a comprehensive university.
PROFESSOR REYNOLDS (EDUC) - According to the old Carnegie classification of colleges and universities a comprehensive university really didn't have to have a lot of doctoral degrees a lot of scholarly research production. Either via students who would do that research or faculty. You could be a comprehensive university without much in the way of graduate school. Whereas a research university ought to be emphasizing in its teaching of research degrees and in its productivity of research projects by faculty moving knowledge forward. If that means that we in the College of Education move knowledge forward so the people who teach BS level teachers at Winthrop can use it then that is a research university. That is a research effort. If we only teach BS level folks then that is a comprehensive university effort. Both are worthy but we may or may not want to do both.
PROFESSOR MACK - Response. I do not think we necessarily have to follow a definition imposed upon us by Carnegie or anybody else. I think what we need to do is think what we mean by a comprehensive university and what the state assumes is a comprehensive university. I think in a state this size, with this institution as large as it is, a comprehensive university should attempt to be what Phil was talking about and that is not only an institution that stores knowledge and disseminates knowledge but also one that produces knowledge. The production of knowledge is that research component and that is where you get the intellectual leadership that a truly comprehensive flagship has to deal with.
PROFESSOR JOSH GOLD (EDUC) - If I am talking to parents the guarantee that I want to give them is if that they send their children here the faculty who are attracting them here will be the same ones that they will be able to meet and work with in the classroom and in the laboratory. And, that the students will not be discriminated against based on their choice of major or school. That if they choose public health or they choose engineering or they chose performing arts they will be guaranteed the best education that this state can provide them. I think that if we do that the students will go out of the university suggesting this is a worthy institution to attend.
PROFESSOR O'CONNOR (THSP) - Obviously I am speaking from the paranoia of the artist but I think when we look at the word research and I write virtually everybody in the university who puts out a document that says the word research without hooking creative endeavor or artist pursuits and they have been very cooperative. And, I am assuming that will go into the future. So when I being a relatively positive person have to believe that research is when we examine a play in a contemporary context we are in fact doing research. We are doing an antiquity that has something to do with video cameras and the mid-east. We now looking at how does this power relationship go through time. I believe that is significant research. It is also creative endeavor. And, I hope and I believe this document is referring to that as well as science.
PROFESSOR WEDLOCK (LAW) - I would like to speak to the issue of research not so much as the way people have been talking about it as a wonderful thing that informs everything else we do, but rather, address the term "research institution" or "research university." There are some universities, and a couple come to mind - the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University - which essentially downplay the undergraduate experience and emphasize research institutes, research fellowships, research professorships with some teaching involved. But most of the time is spent investigating the greater questions and adding to the corpus of knowledge that we all take with us. That is the image of the research institution that I don't think the State of South Carolina is quite ready for. And, I am not sure whether the SDI is pointing us in that direction or not.
PROFESSOR RICHARD CONANT (MUSC) - I agree with Eldon. That in this state I suspect if you ask the legislature and the governor overall they want a comprehensive university where their students, their cousins, their nephews and nieces are taught well even while realizing research is important. To go back to Phil Rollinson and Chuck Alber earlier I kind of agree in the middle of them that we are comprehensive now if not fully ideally in that direction. We are a lot closer to that than being a research university. I think the comprehensive one is much more practical in this state with its budgetary concerns.
CHAIR WILCOX - Is it desirable too?
PROFESSOR CONANT - Comprehensive?
CHAIR WILCOX - Well the focusing on the comprehensive more than on the term research, given Don's sort of interpretation.
PROFESSOR CONANT - Yes, of course also being in the arts and music, yes I think so.
CHAIR WILCOX - Let me suggest a couple of things. We may be getting a little long in hour here and I don't want to shut us off, but let me come at it from a little different direction. Some things I've heard. I've heard that the quality we value is a breadth of student. That we teach all different forms and manners of students. That we should teach all forms and manner of degrees - undergraduate, graduate, continuing education issues - all sorts of academic programs. We value a breadth of discipline from one range of the spectrum to another to the humanities and the sciences. That we value the creation and preservation and dissemination of knowledge as a way of defining research. What else do we put on that list? Things that this university, if it is going to be a great university 10 years from now, should do well.
PROFESSOR O'CONNOR (THSP) - Arts. The Arts. I am adding to your term research, humanities, sciences, arts.
CHAIR WILCOX - What other disciplines, especially including the arts, he says.
PROFESSOR WIGGINS (JOUR) - Rob can I ask you a question first? When you said a breath of students could you define what you mean? Are you talking in terms of their abilities, their interests, their ethnicity - what are you saying?
CHAIR WILCOX - I am not sure. This is what I am hearing from you guys. I think it is probably a number of different things. But I think I am hearing it more in terms of interests necessarily, but it could well be in terms of ethnicity. Now I haven't heard that specifically this afternoon so much.
PROFESSOR ROLLINSON (ENG) - How about abilities?
PROFESSOR WANZER DRANE (HEAL) - When we speak of breadth of students we speak of international student body as well as a mixture of the ethnicity and colors of the United States.
CHAIR WILCOX - We're talking about the range of abilities. We've heard the term "elites." Not looking at the specific recommendations, but where do we fall as a faculty? Should some students go to other colleges and not the University of South Carolina, or should we be open to taking a much wider range top to bottom? It's a dangerous question to ask, but let me ask it.
PROFESSOR HANSEN (ART) - I want to go back to research a little bit. I think one of the things...
CHAIR WILCOX - ...Thus bailing me out of my politically sensitive question.
I'm going to come back to it though.
PROFESSOR HANSEN - It seems to me that the university promotes research. There are clearly faculty who come to this university primarily for the research that they do. But there are others of us who are primarily engaged in teaching that find themselves with a research problem that I encountered in the 70's that I had to go and solve because there was no one to go and talk to about it. So I found the university to be a very rich resource for doing research when I needed some help with chemistry I went to someone in the chemistry department. When I needed help with other things I went to the engineering department and I got some very good help. The result of that is now I'm an expert on encaustic painting. That is something that happens in a research oriented university as opposed to a university where teaching is the major development. So research pervades the whole system and I think that is something that should be sold to all people. That there is all manor of research. There are some people that do it primarily and there are others that do it secondarily like me and all of it is valuable.
PROFESSOR ROSATI (GINT) - I will try to answer your question that you said that you thought was dangerous as well as to respond to some of your summaries. It seems to me what I heard a lot of people say are things (and again it may have been included in your summary) about the quality of the student body, quality of education, quality of teaching, and quality of learning. As to the University of South Carolina becoming elitist, I think we have quite a few years to go before we really have to worry about that. I don't say that to be mean but the fact of the matter is it is not difficult to get into the University of South Carolina. There may be some folks who live in this state who think that the standards of the university may be rising too high, too quickly, but I personaly think they should continue to rise and the quicker the better. As an undergraduate I went to UCLA, and I'll just use my own little personal anecdote. The caliber of the student body at UCLA across the board is probably comparable to the caliber of the Honor's College here at USC. To me what makes a great university, and I think it was said by a couple of people too, if you can get a really first rate or really high quality student body I think it is easy to build on top of that. How do you go about increasing the quality of your student body is the $20 million question.
CHAIR WILCOX - Other follow ups on that?
PROFESSOR COMPTON (THSP) - One of the difficulties (and I think this came out in the story that was in the papers the other day) in comparing our situation with the University of North Carolina - the question was why do they love the University of North Carolina and they don't love us. There are probably a lot of reasons for that. One of the things that happened in North Carolina was that they built a system of really good secondary institutions. UNC-Greensboro has for a long time had one of the best art and theatre programs in the country for teaching undergraduates in the arts. We don't have anything like that in South Carolina. If we are telling people that we are going to raise our standards and their kids may be bright but they are not at this level yet there is not really a place in South Carolina for them to go. They can't go to Salkehatchie and stay and live at Salkehatchie and get a strong comprehensive education there. The state hasn't provided that level yet and until they do that we are always going to be caught in the situation where there are bright good students that don't quite get in here and they don't really have any other place in South Carolina that they can go and get the kind of education that the state owes to them. I think that always causes us a problem. Second thing that we need to think about is what is that we mean by quality in these students. There are a variety of markers that we use. Partly it has to do with where the students come from and where they went to high school. A lot of it has to do with what is it they are going to study. There are students who are very talented in music who really have a difficulty in some of the other areas of the university. The same is true in theatre I hate to say but occasionally it is. That is true in other areas as well. When I was associate dean of the college I saw a lot of people who were brilliant in one or two fields who had great difficulty getting through in other areas. We've always had that happen here. We need to look at multiple ways that we look at the talents of the students that we have.
PROFESSOR WALLULIS (PHIL) - This is moving back to the earlier question about the desirability of being a research university and perhaps it is reading too much into the phrase you gave us at the beginning but you said a "comprehensive, flagship, nationally recognized search university." Now if you read way to much into this you might say that it is especially the research university part that's important for the national recognition part. That maybe at least something for us in broad in consider and then shifting the question from the research part we can also ask the question, "Why is national recognition important?" And, it may well be important for its own sake. But I also believe from our own perceptions and from the perception of newspaper and everywhere that it is important perhaps, at least we believe, with regards to getting state funding, with regards to fund raising, with regards to being competitive for grants, and with regards to attracting high quality faculty and students. So it may be reading too much but it is interesting that the research university is associated with the adjectives "national recognized." We can ask whether comprehensive is also a way of achieving national recognition or not but in any case I think this is a very important part of the phrase "national recognized research university."
PROFESSOR MACK (ART) - We still, and this we probably can't do this afternoon, but we still haven't really gotten to the heart of the meaning and the use of that word "research." Whether or not we agree with the way in which it seems to be used in the report.
CHAIR WILCOX - And, we will come back to that. What I hope we will take out of here today is this idea that you are defining it desirably in one way, you may perceive it to be used in another way. And as we discuss the specific recommendations it will be a fair question to ask at that point. A lot of what we are doing is setting up where we are going. We've got all the report still to talk about. But what I am looking for you to be able to next time, when this comes up, is to say that this goes back to that discussion we had last time. Is this defining research in the wrong way? That is why I wanted today to get some sense as to what is the comfort level. What are the differing views? We are hearing a lot from the arts and humanities. I haven't heard a whole lot from the sciences. A little bit. Are there any perspectives from the sciences that we need that we haven't gotten?
PROFESSOR CONANT - They are sitting in their cathedrals of excellence.
PROFESSOR CLARKE MILLETTE (MEDC) - I will accept the challenge. First of all, since I am at the School of Medicine, I do not teach undergraduates. However, we do take our teaching very seriously and hopefully we do a good job. I would like to address the issue about the overall quality of the student body. Is it desirable, necessary, and possible to increase the caliber of the student body by academic criteria that have to be relatively subjective? I say in collaboration or agreement with (earlier speaker from, I think, Political Science) that it is imperative that we do so if this university has any aspirations to anything worthwhile. That means we must improve. If you do not want to improve, you stagnate, and none of us obviously would agree to that kind of position. It is possible to increase the quality of the student body in this state, in my opinion without: 1) alienating the population, and 2) without being able to provide the type of education valuable, in all aspects of that term, to students who don't for whatever reason make the bar for acceptance at USC-Columbia. The bar needs to be raised here. It does not need to be raised necessarily immediately or ever to the level of Johns Hopkins, my alma mater. I went there, by the way, because they have a superb history department. Although I chose finally to go into biomedical research, I was there because it was a comprehensive research university in the sense of both terms. It can be done. If the University of South Carolina does not want to factor that into the equation (at the level of a Johns Hopkins) perhaps ever, certainly not now, we might be lacking in vision. But that is not the issue at hand. You asked for responses from the sciences. I am talking as someone who does bring in NIH dollars, so I am involved in revenue raising research. That is one of the reasons I came to this university, because the School of Medicine afforded me an opportunity to continue research. Also, as a senior member in a young developing medical school, I felt that I would have the opportunity to take a leadership role in education as well. It can be done and it is not mutually exclusive. So, there are those of us, and I know I speak for many of my colleagues not just at the School of Medicine, who are considered hard scientists, and who may be considered outside the pale of liberal arts. I would suggest that some of the opinions expressed today are certainly well considered, but not necessarily totally accurate.
PROFESSOR LUCIA PIRISI-CREEK (MEDC) - There is an issue we need to consider here: For many of us who are in the sciences, funding equals to opportunity to do research. The research that we do costs a lot of money, and without grant funding we can't do our research. This is probably why we look at money in a way that may seem sort of greedy. It is not revenue generating research that we are concerned about, it is really our survival. We want to be competitive in the national arena in order to be able to obtain the funds necessary to do our research. This university needs more recognition as a research university, because that is what allows us to compete. Otherwise we have absolutely no chance and we simply cannot do our work. This must be kept in mind because we are putting things in totally different pots here. Now I happen to be a scientist, I am also a lover of the arts, I play the piano, I dance, I do all kinds of other things. I relate completely and perfectly to the people in the arts department and in the humanities, and I fully agree this should be a comprehensive university. However, the focus on research must be there. And, unfortunately the focus on funding for certain areas of research must be there, or we simply don't do scientific research. It is just as simple as that. So we have to find a way to merge these two concepts and serve both interests. In my mind they are actually not contradictory to one another.
PROFESSOR BERUBE (THSP) - I think everyone in this body would agree that some research, if not a lot of research, or most of the research in fields like the sciences which are profitable is good research. It is incredibly good research and it serves a lot of purposes at a university. I think the concern is that the SDI report as a general report seems to undervalue the research that is not very profitable. That provides a corpus of knowledge that you really can't solicit significant grants for. My department chair, Jim O'Connor, was just talking to you about theatre. It is really tough in the arts right now to get any type of grant support. My observation is: if we want to become a comprehensive research institution, that is incredibly wonderful and it would be a wonderful thing to do but it is so far beyond our means which makes it whimsical at this point. In order to merge the two, my concern is that in order to become that research institution we are going to redefine what it means to be comprehensive. Right? And, I think that that is something that we find throughout the report. One of the ways to have a comprehensive research institution is to just define comprehensive differently. I think that sacrifices a lot of the programs and a lot of the opportunities that our students have that some of us find unacceptable.
CHAIR WILCOX - I am willing to call it a day at this point. I don't see that we need to wrap it all up, but let me tell you where we are headed. There is a one-page two-sided handout. Be sure you pick it up. We are going to start, I've tried to put these various recommendations and sub-recommendations into some order. They are the Wilcox version of order, they may be right or wrong. We may end of having to change some of them as we go but to talk in terms of sort of a clump of recommendations at a time we will begin with one and work on through. But we are not going to stay here more than 1-1/2 to 2 hours at a shot. But count on being here at least the next 2 maybe 3 Wednesdays in a row. We have one more question before we go.
PROFESSOR LANE (FREN) - My question goes to the structuring of our discussion going back to the point I made at the beginning. 1. Is there any sentiment at all that it might be possible to restructure the discussion in terms of goals and objectives rather than in terms of these specific recommendations? 2. Is it possible to streamline our discussion so that it can be devoted to recommendations that would lie within the scope of this institution? (Not all of them do.)
CHAIR WILCOX - I think, for example, next week we will have 10 or 12 recommendations in the first group. There may be some that don't get discussed much and some that do because of that aspect. One of the practical reasons for doing it recommendation by recommendation rather than a little differently is that I perceive we will have a lot of questions of the committee members. Why did you do this, what were you thinking, what is the intent of this? And, to some extent it allows us to have some committee people here, without having the whole committee here, who are prepared to address specific recommendations. So, to the extent that we can, say these are really the ones we want to talk about. For example, if we take up growing the honors college as a recommendation, I think what we need to do is look at that in terms of what do we gain or lose by this, and ask our questions in that sense, and make our comments in that regard.
PROFESSOR LANE - I would like to see the question of goals addressed, too.
CHAIR WILCOX - That is what I am saying. In essence what was the goals that the committee saw this pursuing? Why did they believe those goals were consist with this long term mission at the university? And, did they consider this and this in doing that. Okay? Are we at a stopping point. I will see you next Wednesday right here at 3:00 p.m.
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