February 7, 2001

PRESENT:  Young, Morrill, Sherwood, McDermott, Kommers, Linker, Leech,
          Benham, Howard, Stewart, Larsen, Harkin, Nehrir, Mooney,
          Weaver, Locke, Lansverk, Levy, Bogar, Bond, Jelinski,
          Francis, Lynch, Prawdzienski.

ABSENT:   Hatfield, White, Anderson, Peed, Jost, Lefcort, McClure,
          McKinsey, Fisher, Butterfield, Scott, Griffith, Carlstrom.

The meeting was called to order by Chair Ron Larsen at 4:10 PM.  A
quorum was present.  The minutes of the January 31, 2001, meeting were
approved as distributed.

Strategic Planning and Budget Committee report - Peter Kommers and Tim
     - The committee met February 1.  Today's meeting was canceled
     because the President and Provost are at the Legislature.
     - There was good discussion at last week's meeting regarding how
     SPBC might define the scope of budget problems for FY02 and FY03.
     - According to the Provost, President Gamble has had an
     opportunity to look closely at administration and has concluded
     that this area cannot sustain further budgetary reductions.
     Peter understood 'administration' in this context to mean areas
     grouped under the Vice President for Administration and Finance.
     - Instruction or Academic Affairs, with 50%+ of MSU spending,
     would be the 'point' area for substantial reductions and
     reallocations, if they are necessary.
     - Reductions, if made, would be selective in nature rather than
     - The Vice President for Student Affairs is to be invited to SPBC
     to comment on resources in that area, particularly in
     intercollegiate athletics.
     - Peter expressed the opinion that if budget reductions must be
     made, all budget entities must be on the table to preserve
     credibility in the process.
     - It appears that increases in tuition and legislative funding
     won't be enough to sustain what currently is in place at MSU.
     We'll probably continue to have the present state government for
     a period of time, and huge increases in tuition probably can't be
     sustained.  There needs to be a new paradigm for funding the
     university system that doesn't rely on raising taxes.

Discussion - Budget Issues.
     - Faculty Council should be proactive and inventive in
     recommending ways to balance the budget, and any mechanism needs
     to be put into place within the next year or two.
     - It appears President Gamble is putting a lot of confidence into
     student recruitment and retention.
          - Concern was expressed that budget implications to
          increased recruitment and retention are not being
          - Based on his studies of retention issues, Rich Howard
          stated that to increase retention, MSU needs to do one of
          three things, because successful retention strategies in
          lower division courses will result in more students in upper
          division courses.  The three possibilities are:
               - Change how upper- division courses are taught to be
               more like lower-division courses (larger lectures, use
               more graduate assistants or other aids, require less
               lab time and individual-study courses); or
               - Increase faculty and facilities; or
               - Reduce the number of students admitted and focus on
               getting those that do enroll to graduation.
          - A survey of departments on campus is being conducted to
          determine how much departments can expand enrollment with no
          new resources.
     - What innovative ways do other states use to fund higher
     - Tim McDermott plans to contact faculty in Economics, Business,
     and other areas of campus to come up with some ideas for funding.
     - The university system can either find additional funding,
     increase productivity, or stop doing some of the things it now
     does.  It seems that automation and reorganization should cut
     - There is concern that program review seems to refer to academic
     programming, only.
     - Suggestions to save money in the immediate future include
     canceling the search for Provost, making tuition three tier
     (in-state, out-of-state, and out-of-state but in counties
     adjacent to Montana); encouraging ASMSU to consider class-action
     lawsuits in areas where guarantees have been made and perhaps not
     delivered; or giving out-of-state students, who pay the most,
     first choice of classes.
     - The decline in out-of-state students and decline in average
     number of credit hours per student each semester makes it appear
     tuition increases must be considered carefully.
     - Faculty Council representatives should ask their faculty for
     - Past blue ribbon commissions have come to the conclusion that
     Montana is supporting too large a higher education system for the
     tax base in the state.  The university system is doing as much as
     it possibly can, given the resources.  However, it appears the
     basic problem will not be addressed because of politics.  The
     legislature bears some responsibility for chronic underfunding
     because it has not followed through on recommendations of the
     - An argument is made that MSU is an economic engine.  Is MSU's
     mission economic development or higher education?

Review of Administrators.
     - Information about the review will be sent to faculty soon.

Faculty Affairs Committee report - Marvin Lansverk.
     - The committee is forwarding a resolution to Steering Committee
     that proposes putting FY01 salary increases into the salary base,
     at least for the last month of the academic year.
     - Post-tenure review will be reconsidered when there appears to
     be more momentum to do so.
     - A minor change regarding the "designated respondent" in faculty
     grievance procedures has been suggested by MSU Legal Counsel.
     The committee will discuss it.

Topics for University Governance Council Steering
Committee/President's Executive Committee retreat.
     - Send any suggestions for retreat topics to the Faculty Council

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.

Joann Amend, Secretary                                Ron Larsen,