February 26, 2001

Senate decides to renumber all UMSL courses

by Josh Renaud
senior editor

The Faculty Senate voted last Tuesday to approve a plan to renumber all courses offered at UMSL. The plan passed with a few dissents.

The proposal was developed by the Senate Curriculum and Instruction Committee and was first presented to the Senate at its February meeting by committee chair David Ganz.

Under the new system, each tier of 100 course numbers would meet particular criteria. Every campus department would renumber their courses so that they conform to that criteria.

The new system is supposed to be more logical and might help students who are transferring from community colleges to UMSL.

"We've been told...that some schools have trouble understanding our [present] numbering system," said Ganz. "This would send a clearer message, especially to community colleges."

Faculty offered a wide range of opinions during discussion. Some were admantly opposed to the idea, saying it would "replace a small headache with a big headache." Others expressed concern about implementation of the proposal, saying it would confuse any students who were enrolled for many years or who took classes at UMSL before the change and then came back to take more classes afterward. Still others praised the course renumbering plan, saying it was a good idea that should have been enacted 15 years ago.

Another issue that generated discussion at the meeting was UMSL's budgetary situation.

In his report, Senate chair Lawrence Barton said he brought up that issue at the last Inter-Faculty Council meeting and received little sympathy from UM System President Manuel Pacheco.

Barton said he made three points: UMSL's unique problem of having to reallocate money to fund salary increases and other initiatives; the unfairness of treating UMSL the same as the other 3 campuses when it comes to reallocation, but not when it comes to funding; and that according to Chancellor Blanche Touhill's book "The Emerging University," most of UMSL's early chancellors left after the frustration of dealing with the UM System president and central administration on budget issues and new program issues.

"President Pacheco was not very sympathetic and he correctly pointed out that he'd agreed to support a proposal for a joint doctoral degree in...urban affairs," Barton said. "He noted that the program is languishing here and he's a bit concerned that we complain about a lack of programs, but don't establish them when he lets us do that."

One senator said he objected to Pacheco's comment.

" you call to [Pacheco's] attention how disingenuous it was to deny the requests for programs that we want, that are needed, that would be high-quality with our refusal to take a program that is not needed, not wanted, and not funded?" he asked.

"Not in so many words," Barton responded, eliciting hearty laughter from those present.

Barton then displayed data he assembled with the help of two other colleagues that depicts UMSL's budgetary plight. The data compared different public universities in Missouri. In each set of data he presented, UMSL was clearly near the bottom in terms of funding, while being near the top in the number of degrees, credit hours, and students. Barton said he had sent this information along with a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in hopes it would be run as an op-ed piece.

In other business:

  • Barton said at the next meeting of the University Assembly and Faculty Senate, the Assembly would meet first to encourage better attendance. On previous dates, the reverse had been done.
  • In her report to the Senate, Touhill said a Strategic Plan is being developed for the campus and it will probably be presented to the Board of Curaors in the fall.
  • Joe Martinich, representative to the IFC, said the IFC discussed state funding. Their conclusion was that it will be difficult to get a 4 percent salary increase since the state won't be increasing funding.
  • Touhill said the Budget and Planning Committee had suggested a smaller 3 percent salary increase to Pacheco, but that he was firm it had to be 4 percent.
  • The Senate voted to approve a proposed calendar for 2002-2003. The academic year would begin on a Wednesday. Also, UMSL will have six different summer sessions in 2003, which should allow campus departments more flexibility in course offerings.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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