PRESENT: H. Allen, Andrist, Barbato, Bowen, Buckley, Chung, Crocker, DeGroot, Dieterich, Dillard-Mitchell, Doerder, Drake, Dunegan, Dural, Eyerdam, Falk, Flechtner, Govea, B. Green, Hartnagel, Hollinger, C. Jackson, Jeffres, Kamath, Keys, Konangi, Lindsey, MacCluskie, Mahmud, Mastboom, McCahon, J. McIntyre, McLoughlin, Meiksins, Misra, Moutafakis, Neuendorf, Nuru-Holm, Olson, Orendi, D. Phillips, Quigney, Sekayi, Spicer, Steinglass, Tewari, Thornton, Vallos, Van Ummersen, Wadhwa, Walsh, Webb, Wheatley, J. Wilson.ABSENT/EXCUSED: Blake, Gorla, Gross, Hemann, M. Jackson, S. Kaufman, Konstantinos, Nolan, Steckol, Sweet, Valencic, Waren.ALSO
PRESENT: M. Kaufman, Larson.
Senate President Donna Burns Phillips called the meeting to order at approximately 3:00 P.M. She welcomed everyone back. Dr. Phillips introduced two new administrative staff members: Dr. Jeffrey HongYu Chen, Director of Institutional Research and Analysis, and Shane Hollett, Director of University Relations and Development; for the benefit of new members, those present then introduced themselves.
I. Approval of the Agenda
Acceptance of the Agenda for September 15, 1999 was moved, seconded, and approved.
II. Approval of the Minutes of the May 5, 1999 Meeting
Acceptance of the Minutes of the May 5, 1999 meeting was moved, seconded, and the Minutes were approved.
III. Senate Nominating Committee
Professor Daniel Drake, Chair of the Senate Nominating Committee, announced that the Committee had nominated Professor Cynthia Dieterich (College of Education) and Professor Vijaya Konangi (College of Engineering), as candidates for the position of Vice President of the Faculty Senate. Professor Vijaya Konangi was elected as the new Senate Vice President for a two-year term.
IV. Election to Equal Opportunity Hearing Panel
Dr. Phillips asked for nomination of candidates to fill a three-year term on the Equal Opportunity Hearing Panel. Professor Sanza Clark was nominated and elected by acclamation.
V. Report on Technology Fee Money
This year the Board of Trustees supported an increase in the Technology Fee from $2.35 to $5.00 per credit hour. Dr. Fred Gage distributed a summary of Student Technology Fee expenditures by category from 1966 - 1999 plus those proposed for FY 2000.
Transfers to Academic Units to Support Student Computing: Dr. Gage reported that this represents funds given to the Colleges to support student laboratories. Salaries generally fall into a number of categories principally to keep the labs open and to provide salary support for students in the various laboratories. Also, there are some dollars that were carried forward from the previous year that may not have been used by the Colleges. Over the course of the years, there are also a number of smaller projects. In one case, nine computers for the Math Lab.
Network and Academic Support Structure: Dr. Gage stated that the five-year budget was put together for voice data and the video information structure for the campus. It began in May 1997 and essentially concluded construction in September 1998. The amount of $200,000 was set aside each year to support that central activity because everybody uses the network. It is the pipeline that holds everything together. There is also money in this year's budget to do at least one electronic classroom. That money should be under Technology Labs and Classrooms, but that is not where it happens to be.
Technology Labs and Classrooms: Dr. Gage noted that this includes the five open labs in MC 446 and 447, in the College of Engineering, in Rhodes Tower, and our most recent addition, the Adaptive Technology Lab, that just opened in the Library in room 226. The Adaptive Technology Lab consists of a few machines that were in the Fishbowl. Since it was extremely difficult for students to gain access to it, a coalition of people got together and created a new lab.
Software License Acquisition/Documentation: Dr. Gage reported that the proposed expenditure for this year is a much larger figure than it has been in previous years. In April 1998, he was asked to chair the Campus Information Technology Committee. At that point, as a group, the fifteen universities and medical schools in the State began a process to see if a contract could be negotiated with MicroSoft for a State-wide license for MicroSoft products. As a matter of fact, we have the contract. We will subsidize licenses for all of the students out of the Student Technology Fee. This really covers every student, faculty, and staff person at the University. Over the course of the next two to three weeks, we will be working on getting a price and distribution mechanism in place, because one of the more onerous parts of the contract, is that we have to track the software. We have been told that we do not have to worry about compliance and some other issues, but we need to know how many people are actually using it. The State-wide price we have for MicroSoft Office Professional, Front Page, Visual Probe, and several other pieces of that software package is $9.28.
DISCOVER Program Support: Dr. Gage noted that no money was funded this year. This was a software program put together for Career Services that allowed students to be able to find information on careers. Apparently a lot of that function has been subsumed in the PeopleSoft software.
Professor James Wilson noted that last year it was extremely difficult for students and faculty to get into Email from their homes. This is supposed to be an electronic university, etc. He noted that he actually sends work home. It would be good to have a second phone number like AOL does so that people could have access to the Internet. It is not appropriate for schools not to have easy access to the Internet. He wanted to know about how much it would cost and if this can be done quickly.
Dr. Gage responded that it is under category two -- Network and Academic Support Infrastructure. We will be adding 184 56 modem lines. We are going to take out the 14-4s, but we are going to leave the 28-8s in place. Part of the problem is that it has taken such a long time for AT&T to literally build the infrastructure on the ground floor so that we could do two things: 1) increase the band width and the channel or roadway out to the Internet; 2) be able to increase the number of modems.
Professor Miron Kaufman asked if Science and Engineering labs and computing labs for instruction are included in this list or come from different funds. Provost Allen responded that those funds come out of HB 850 for this biennium and we are in the process of allocating those funds to the colleges. He has asked the colleges to prioritize replacements for obsolete equipment and purchases to keep the labs current. Professor Kaufman noted that for fifteen years, the Physics Department has not received any funds for labs. Provost Allen reported that it is a standard process every two years. There is a biennial budget that comes to us from the Board of Regents for computing and instructional equipment. He has put a request out to all of the college units asking them to identify their highest priorities every other year. We are just now in the process of doing it this year.
Dr. Gage noted that Professor Kaufman should also ask the Dean about student salaries for support because that is built into that amount.
Professor Peter Meiksins noted that, in the past, some things described here had been funded out of House Bill 90. Now they are being funded out of HB 850 and the money has not been increased. We are using only one-half of the money, not for computers, but for science labs and things like that. It seems that this has not increased the amount of money being spent on computers. The money has simply been moved from one place in the budget to another. What happened to the money we used to spend from the regular budget on licenses, on equipment, etc.? Have we actually increased the total amount of money being spent on these things?
Provost Allen responded that basically over the last four to five years, we have annually spent about $1 Million on PCs and computing and supporting equipment. The money comes from a variety of sources -- everything from salary savings to revenue that is generated in departments at the college level. Every other year we can access the biennial capital budget. The pattern of the expenditure of those monies this year is identical to what we did the last two years. This year a portion of those monies has been set aside to purchase PCs. This is the third year of a three-year plan to provide PCs for faculty and staff. About one-third of all of the money is going to the replacement of aged and obsolete instructional equipment. Some of the money is being set aside for classrooms, instruction, technology, etc. Actually, the expenditure for computing equipment overall has gone up quite a bit.
Professor Meiksins noted the perception is that the situation is still inadequate and students have been complaining about it. It might be a good thing to say loudly to people that the University is attempting to make this change. Provost Allen stressed that the demand and the need will continue to outstrip our ability to address it.
Professor Jane McIntyre reported that last year's list of faculty who were supposed to get upgraded computers just got rolled over to this year. So, those computers last year were never upgraded and we were now told that perhaps it would come out of this year's budget. Someplace along the line, faculty who were supposed to get upgraded computers out of last year's budget never got them. For example, there are three desks in the Philosophy Department that have totally non-functioning computers that cannot even be connected to the Internet. There is the perception that the money is sort of rolling over in a way that is not actually getting machines into the places where they were intended to go. Dr. Gage said that he would look into it.
Dr. McIntyre added that her College was told that they did not get the money last year. Provost Allen remarked that was absolutely incorrect.
Professor Thomas Flechtner asked if a representative of the Arts and Sciences Dean's office was present.
Dr. McIntyre asked Associate Dean Leon Hurwitz what had happened to the money that Arts and Sciences was supposed to get for computer upgrades. Dr. Barbara Green reported that Dr. Jeffrey Ford has a prioritized faculty list.
Dr. McIntyre stated that the money for last year was rolled over to this year. Associate Dean Hurwitz said that the priority list was sent to the Dean. He did not know what happened last year. Dr. Gage said that it would be taken care of this year.
Professor Tayyab Mahmud remarked that Dr. Gage's response does not answer the question. "We don't know" is not an adequate answer. We should then say we will find out and report to the Senate at its next meeting. So many questions get answered by, "We don't know." Somebody is supposed to know or somebody is supposed to find out.
Provost Allen said that an answer would include how many PCs were acquired the year before last, how many PCs were acquired last year, and what the total purchase is for this year. It is actually a three-year program.
Dr. Gage stated that although he knows what the total number was, he does not know how the PCs were distributed. He indicated that he would find out.
Professor Surendra Tewari stated that all departments had been asked to create a list of Y2K non-compliant hardware in the labs and research units. Is anything being done to take care of those PCs? Dr. Gage indicated that he would check and get back to the Senate. Money was set aside to do that, but he did not know where we are in that process.
Professor Tewari commented that Y2K non-compliant hardware was supposed to be replaced. Dr. Gage said that he was more worried about some of the other scientific equipment than the PCs. He again stated that he would follow up on that.
Dr. Flechtner commented that the distinction between laboratory equipment and computer laboratory equipment is less and less appropriate as time goes on. However, his real question is, when we deal with MicroSoft, does that mean we all have to convert to Word? Dr. Gage responded no, but the license is there if people want it. Some people will use WordPerfect from now on and we certainly will continue to support that.
Dr. Flechtner asked if they were considering working out a deal with Corel. Dr. Gage responded that he was not aware of any deal with Corel. He was not sure how wide the use is.
VI. Report on PeopleSoft
Dr. Gage stated that it might be helpful to talk about PeopleSoft. He noted that the handout he distributed earlier has dates for each of the packages. Certainly it has been a topic of discussion in the Plain Dealer. One of the most distressing aspects is that there really is a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the Plain Dealer.
Dr. Gage reported that until the decision was made to purchase PeopleSoft, we operated in a Legacy environment or mainframe environment using our IMB 511 which was owned, operated, and controlled by IS&T. There was a central repository for computing expertise, printing, programming, and all those kinds of functions. But, what we had in that environment, essentially, was six different and disparate software packages. Five of those packages had been built internally so they were customized and built to suite whatever the business practices were at that time. The cost associated with that was never a public issue. It was always hidden within the budget in IS&T. The PPS package is one that we did purchase approximately ten plus years ago and Jim Steiner was one of the lead individuals as well as Suzanne Kuhn and many others. The problem is that these systems do not talk to each other. If you wanted to query PPS, you could query that specific package, but if you wanted to link that to anything else, then you would have to send a query to one of the other packages or one of the other applications in that area. Then, other groups would take all these disparate pieces of information, pull them together, and put together the institutional data for reporting. In part, the reason for moving away from this, is the fact that PPS was the youngest of the packages that were on the system and it was over ten years old. In addition, none of these packages were Y2K compliant. Some time ago, the decision was made to move to an integrated data-base where all of these different packages were talking to each other. The system reinforced the business practices so it was almost impossible to try to change business practices. Yes, the Legacy system was easier to use than PeopleSoft, but the data was still lousy. We have problems within PeopleSoft and we had problems in the Legacy environment. Unfortunately, we also took a lot of the problems we had in the Legacy data and just moved them over to PeopleSoft. Now, we have thoroughly modern integrated problems that just kind of metastasized throughout the whole system.
Referring to hidden costs, Professor Wilson asked how much did the old system cost? Ms. Susan Lindsey replied that she did not remember doing a cost analysis. It took about eight years to implement PPS. The costs associated with those old applications were in the salaries of the programmers who wrote the programs. Some of the other problems were financial aid upgrades for an old system. It would take approximately four to six programmers. There was constant tinkering with those old systems and still we could not get information to integrate and to get a good body of information. Everything was defined differently within the systems. It was very difficult for our students because they would go to one office and then to another and nobody could find their records.
Professor Mahmud observed that Ms. Lindsey did not answer the question. What did the old system cost? The whole amount divided by the years would give a number which would answer this question. Ms. Lindsey responded that we could take an approximation -- it took four programmers on the registration system at three years of their time. Dr. Gage said that he would sit down and figure out the cost. Professor Mahmud stated that it would be very useful information. Dr. Gage noted that he did not know what that information would be useful for. It would be an exercise in futility to try to go back to reconstruct those costs. That system is gone -- literally.
Dr. McIntyre noted that people are picking up on the costs that Dr. Gage had said were hidden. So, it seems natural to ask what were the costs? People are probably willing to move on to another topic. Dr. Gage replied that the cost of the Legacy system is a matter of public record. He pointed out that we are now talking about an integrated system with a series of 26 modules that will be purchased as part of the PeopleSoft system.
Dr. Gage reported that the Human Resources and Payroll system consists of five major modules. It is anticipated that all of these things will go into production on September 27, 1999. This represents a huge effort on the part of the institution. The Student Administration system, which has been functioning for over a year now, shares a common data-base with Human Resources. They do not reside in separate data-bases. They represent an integration and reside in the same data-base with a system of about 8,000 tables sharing all data. In the separate world we lived in with Legacy, the data-base became extremely complex. Financial Aid was the first system that came up in April 1998. Campus Community came up at about the same time as Financial Aid. Then the others followed over a period of two or three months. Financial Accounting General Ledger has been up since July of 1998. Asset Management came up in January 1999. It is anticipated that Accounts Payable and Purchasing will be up sometime in mid-October. The core of the PeopleSoft implementation will be fully installed, not necessarily fully operational, by the end of October 1999. It is fully Y2K compliant, it is fully integrated, and it does support changes in the business process. We have had very few problems with either of these two modules. We had a problem with Human Resources which we were able to resolve because of the integrated data-base. It was very difficult to find any time for us to run Payroll because the two are integrated. If you took a lot of time to run Payroll, then nobody in Student Administration would be able to access that data-base. A technical solution was found for that problem.
Dr. Gage stated that because of the complexity of the PeopleSoft system, the woman who is now the Vice President for Learning Solutions for the Higher Education or Government market, was invited to campus on April 29, 1999. As a result of her visit, she went back to PeopleSoft and they have added 60 people to her headcount to deal with some of the problems. By the end of next year, PeopleSoft will physically separate Human Resources & Payroll and Student Administration so that we do not have to deal with complexity. It is not impossible to keep this integrated data base together. This is true at Clemson and at Louisville. So we are in the process of making the transition of a completely integrated data base to a logically connected but physically separated data base. That will help with the maintenance of the ongoing operation of the system.
Dr. Gage reported that in the Legacy environment, there were people we could call who either ran reports, created software, or provided information. But, it was not dependent upon the individual user. The problem with the PeopleSoft system is that there are a lot of people with access to it and it is very easy to make a mistake and to enter incorrect data. It is very easy to create duplicate IDs and many of our problems have derived from that process. If we have someone in Admissions who makes a mistake in entering data and makes a duplicate ID, it promulgates itself throughout this whole data base. It is not simply a question of touching Financial Aid to correct it. Although Financial Aid generally receives the information, we have to go back and touch the record and the table, wherever it is in the data base. So, something we think would take a few minutes to correct, can, in fact, take hours because we have to go back step by step to find out where each of these tables and charts may have been touched by this individual student. We have auditing methods in place now. Ms. Lindsey is spending an enormous amount of time going back each day to find out if there are duplicates in the system, who made the duplicates, what is their training here, and is it a supervisory issue. We are trying to increase the quality of the data input. Most of the problems we are having now really have to do with either duplicate IDs, bad data put into the system, or data that we have created ourselves.
Professor Santosh Misra asked if Dr. Gage was suggesting that there is limitation in PeopleSoft that can be created to get IDs. Because once we think of ID, technically there is an environment, and technically you cannot create a duplicate ID. Ms. Lindsey said that maybe it is the terminology that is difficult. It is not a duplicate ID, but one person with two IDs.
Professor Misra wondered if training is the difficulty. Dr. Gage responded that it is more of a training issue because we have so many people who can touch the system and enter data. We are trying to set up parameters. The system also bogs down when we have incomplete information. In many instances, we only have a name, or we may have a name and a social security number, but nothing else.
Professor Misra wondered if a technical analysis was done on the outflow before this system was adopted. What kind of outflow does it deliver compared to the kind of outflow in practice? Reorganization goes through massive modifications. How much projection was done? Dr. Gage responded that an analysis was done but he was uncertain how extensive it was.
Professor Cynthia Dieterich raised a point of clarification. Dr. Gage had mentioned a non-integrated system, and an integrated system, but due to some of the overabundance, we are now going to a non-integrated system. Dr. Gage responded that the system will still be logically integrated. We are just physically separating two packages.
Professor John Walsh raised a question about the integrated data-base that Dr. Gage had referred to. As he looks at the other chart, it does not seem as though our data base is particularly large with respect to some of the other comparisons. Are these other institutions also experiencing the same problems? Would we not have had some information which would have allowed us to anticipate these problems? Dr. Gage responded that everybody is essentially in the same boat. We all have problems with duplicate IDs -- we all have remarkably similar problems.
Professor Walsh said that he was talking about the data base becoming so large that, for example, as he understood it, we could not run Payroll because we were running something else or we could not run something else because we were running Payroll. Dr. Gage responded that this is a question of sharing the data base. That is certainly true at the University. A lot of time has been spent talking with the University of Utah which is probably the Institution that most closely mirrors CSU for several reasons. One, they have an integrated data base with Human Resources and Student Administration and they also converted from quarters to semesters. They are the group that most looks like us, and, yes, we have spent a lot of time talking to them.
Professor Walsh wondered if that was prior to our experiencing problems or after experiencing problems. Dr. Gage responded that it was both. CSU communicates with Utah on a constant basis. Dr. Walsh stated that it seems it had been anticipated that the system would cause a problem when integrated. Dr. Gage responded that this was not what he was saying.
President Claire Van Ummersen stated that the point Dr. Gage is making is that we were all part of the charter group. We were all in this together and we all started at the same time. The Student System in PeopleSoft is a totally new system. They do not have any experience. We are learning from each other in the process. Dr. Gage added that it is not as if there was a product out there for a long time. Two hundred and fifteen other institutions are licensed for Student Administration. We are all at just about the same place. The only difference between CSU and Utah is that Utah does not have Student Financial Aid up and running. We match pretty well on every other dimension.
Dr. McIntyre referred to the Advantages sheet that states: "Supports institution-wide business process redesign." She noted that it seems there is a serious question of whether PeopleSoft is supporting or dictating changes in University practices. There are many things departments and colleges have to deal with on a day to day basis that are done in a way that seems not to be motivated by what we provide as services to our students, or what is the best way to do them. It is whatever way they can actually be done in the PeopleSoft system that we cannot change. The question is, are we going to be able to drive this system or are we just going to have to live with some particular way in which we have to do our business? Those who are using it say it is the latter. It does not seem to be very desirable -- not that the Legacy system was so much better. The changes we are now having to make are not dictated by anything but the fact that the PeopleSoft system has to be that way.
Dr. Gage responded that the particular Student Administrative system was designed by a group a little ahead of us. They were all residential and predominately large universities. Most of them operated from an environment in which we do not operate. A short time ago, we went down to visit Ernest & Young. The people from Ernest & Young, who have been working at Michigan pretty extensively, suggested to us that we could solve these problems by just imposing a deadline. If we just set our Financial Aid deadline for August 1, we would not have to deal with these other kinds of problems. It is true that this seems to be the issue now. But it was not essentially designed for an urban institution such as we are. We are in the process of changing that and, when you see the list of all the things in the paper that are unresolved, many of those are enhancements where we have asked to have the software changed to reflect how we do business and how we can improve that business. It is a push/pull process. PeopleSoft is more responsive now than they have been in the past and they are putting resources into that as more urban institutions come on board.
Professor Robert Charlick noted that there is the perception in the community that things are not going well and students are not being well served. While there are many reasons for that, and it may not be as bad as the Plain Dealer suggests, we are being hurt by it. We need a strategy beyond simply trying to explain the technical difficulties in the PeopleSoft program. There is an issue of accountability and responsibility and what we are going to do next. We need to apologize. Dr. Gage and his team are trying to make PeopleSoft work so that it functions well, but what are we going to do about the public perception that we are not a friendly place for students and we are not serving them well? The public opinion leaders of this community, who are represented to some degree by our only newspaper, are creating stories that suggest that this is a major catastrophe.
Dr. Gage responded that he is really focused more on the technical issues, but it seems that if we cover up the "Soft", we have a "people" problem in the way we treat students. It is very easy to point to the system and say, the system is not working when, in fact, we know in many documented cases that it is people who have been rude and just have treated our students badly. Dr. Charlick stated that if all of the technical problems are fixed, some of that will go away, but we still have to tell our users and our public opinion leaders what we are committed to do -- not that Michigan has paid more than we did or what Ohio State paid. That is not an answer for anybody in the media.
Professor Tewari asked how much money has been spent, how much money is available, and where did the data errors originate. Dr. Gage replied that he sees improvements with each release. We also have just gone through a major re-write of all the Federal regulations for Financial Aid. The next major release, which is the one that will give us the most functionality, comes in the fourth quarter of the year 2000 -- a twelve to fifteen month period here during which we will be making changes, patches, etc. He said that he did not think we are going to run into problems with Human Resources & Payroll or the Financial Accounting, but we still have problems with Student Administration. Many of these problems are attributed to the fact that we have not loaded all of our academic history.
Professor Dieterich remarked that Student Administration is what it is all about. If the students are not happy, it does not matter if the budget balances. We need to get out there and say, look this is a difficult process, we screwed up, we admit it, we need to work through this, we need your patience. Dr. McIntyre noted that it is not being represented to the students. Who, she asked, is saying that to the students?
Professor Mahmud noted that others are having the same problems. It is hard to believe that institutions like Michigan, or Utah, or Ohio State could afford to have this problem. In the Law School, students are interviewing locally, regionally, and nationally. Inaccurate transcripts are a serious problem not only for the students themselves, but also for the reputation of this school. In addition, the staff of this university has had to work really long hours not only trying to make the system fit PeopleSoft, but sometimes trying to work around PeopleSoft to be able to serve their clients. The Press did its job, which was to bring the dirty laundry here. Somebody has to wash it. He wishes that CSU would address the serious questions that have been raised. Communications that came from the President's Office and the Board do not address those serious questions. We need some responsibility, we need some accountability, and we need some answers. That can start by acknowledging that there is a serious problem. The failure to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem may come back to haunt the University if the issue goes to litigation.
Professor Meiksins reported that people in the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office tell him that their ability to advise students has deteriorated. The problems the PeopleSoft system is supposed to solve, such as being able to find out how many transfer credits a student has several months after he/she has been admitted to CSU and has attended classes, still remain. That may be a legacy of the Legacy system. The problem is not just Financial Aid. Quarreling about how many financial aid cases are the students' fault does not really deal with the problem. We need to collectively acknowledge that the Student Administration system is not working properly and it is having serious consequences for related functions at the University. He has not heard that said.
Dr. Gage responded that it is certainly recognized. Information was added to correct problem transcripts. That all has to be changed and brought into the academic history. The highest priority at this point is to get that academic history loaded in a format that is useful in PeopleSoft, because it is impeding everything else in that area. That has been recognized. We had a consultant for a short period of time and we have scheduled him to return. We have an RFP to get some additional help to try to address that problem. It is probably the biggest single thing that is holding us back at this point.
Professor Cheryl McCahon agreed with Professor Meiksins. The Nursing program is having trouble with transcripts of students who are being identified as freshmen because they have just come in and have not taken courses yet. Their class standing has not yet been identified. We need an agenda with the PR component that says who we are, where we are going, and tells the students what has happened and what will occur in a very positive way.
Dr. Green asked to get back to the specific problems. She does not know whether it is only PeopleSoft or whether the old system had the problems as well, but students get in a position where they cannot enroll for a course because they are listed as freshmen. They do not get their financial aid, whatever the reason is, or they get the tuition, but they do not get money for their other expenses and they cannot come to school so they keep their jobs, drop out of the class, and then they flunk out of the University. To say that this will be fixed in one or two years does not help the students. If it is going to take hiring more people for a short period of time, we should use some of last year's year-end money.
Professor Walsh referred to the issue of organizational structure. It is difficult for him to believe that our inability to bring PeopleSoft on line with reasonable success is totally tied to things out of our control.
Professor Kaufman noted that the system just cannot cope with students who have a double major.
Professor Rodger Govea asked whether the software can be customized to our own needs. Will we actually be in control of the software?
Dr. Gage reported that this software has hardly been modified at all. Although many institutions have heavily modified this software, we have tried a vanilla implementation. Each time the software changes, every modification has to be tracked. We simply have found it impossible to do that. In short, that is a disadvantage. In the long run, we will be able to modify it. Once we have a stable-based system, then we can modify it to do almost whatever we want.
Professor Leo Jeffres said that someone somewhere should be the final stop. Wherever it is -- one place.
Professor McIntyre commented that as a Department Chair, she spent the whole first two weeks of Fall semester dealing with student problems every day. She picked up the phone and called the Registrar's Office, but she was unable to get them on the phone or leave a message on their phone mail.
Dr. Donna Phillips stated that it is important to know that "I'm sorry" has been said a number of times to students. "A number of us came back early from vacation to sit at the Help Desk, and we saw to it that the students who came to us had their problems solved even if it meant that we went over and stood in the Financial Aid line." She added that the students have been very gracious about it, and the Help Desk staff did manage to solve a few problems.
Professor Joyce Mastboom noted that it seems people have aired their opinions. She asked what the follow-up is to be. Dr. Phillips reported that Dr. Gage has already been scheduled to come back to Senate to follow-up at the meeting in October.
Professor Mahmud noted that a lot of these questions go beyond Dr. Gage's purview.
Professor Tewari asked when will the problem be solved. Is it going to take two years? Is it going to take three years?
Dr. Green said that such a time frame is not good enough for the students. The students are here. Financial Aid is the first problem that we have to resolve. We must do something about that very quickly, even if it is a temporary solution.
Professor Paul Doerder agreed that the Financial Aid problem is probably the most immediate. Over one half of his students in a 300 level course had financial aid problems. They agreed that Financial Aid has been working with them and they have no complaints about the people in Financial Aid. He reported that he has heard some students complain, but most said that the people in Financial Aid were gracious and helpful, but they still do not have their money. We need a plan to get students their money now or next week in order to get their bills paid. Many of them are being charged a budget payment fee while they are waiting for their financial aid. It seems that the fee ought to be waived. He would like to have a plan so the students who are having financial aid problems this semester get money.
Vice President Christine Jackson responded that the financial aid budget payment fee has been waived. Professor Doerder stated that the students do not know that; his daughter does not know that.
Ms. Staci Vallos, student representative, said that half of the students do not know that the fee has been waived. Her father is attending CSU, and he did not know. He was told that he could not use the waiver form included in the Financial Aid package. She never received a Financial Aid package. Students want to work with the university. They want to be here, but the administration should know that what they think the students know, they do not know. They get conflicting memos. It is not that they do not read -- they try to read everything they get. It is not just the students, it is not just the computer system, and it is not just the people. The best answer the students have is that it is the organization. Dr. Phillips stated that some way will be figured out to make sure that notification of the fee waiver comes forth. In addition, each question that has been raised today will be excerpted from the Minutes. A list and a timetable will be made to see to it that these questions are answered on the Senate floor by the person who presumably effects those changes.
VII. University President's Report
President Claire Van Ummersen thanked the faculty and staff who had worked at the Help Desk. Problems were solved for a number of students who came to the Help Desk. It was really the tenaciousness of those individuals who followed through with Financial Aid, the Registrar, the Bursar, etc. At least for those students, financial aid problems were solved. Individuals working at the Help Desk stayed in touch with the students, made sure that they had answers, and she is really grateful for that. We did learn from that process that we need to have these things in place earlier, and we need to have alternative plans for handling the issues that come up. If the system is not working, then the backup plan needs to be pen and paper. She believes those things can be compatible because once the students are taken care of, then we can go back and figure out what the problem is and how to get that information in the system. People who are more technical than she is may say that it cannot be done that way but she shares some of the concerns that were expressed. She takes full responsibility for the fact that it did not work. She tried very hard in July and August to make sure that CSU had alternative plans in place. It is obvious to her today that they were not sufficient to solve the problems we are facing. She did not have an answer today. She noted that they will start debriefing over the next couple of weeks to find out what can be done better in order to serve the students. She had one goal in mind, when a plan was put together, and that was to get rid of the CSU shuffle. She noted that Dr. Jeffres had made a very important point. We have never served our students well in Financial Aid as well as other areas. We need to do a better job. Some of it comes from the lateness with which our students do things.
The President commented that as Dr. Gage had mentioned earlier, we might learn something from the discussion we had with Ernest and Young. They are the partner at Michigan, and they have very simple rules at Michigan. They simply have cutoffs and they do not deal with students who come after a certain deadline. We do, and we cause enormous difficulty for ourselves when we try the day before classes to register 650 students. It creates a buckle that we are not able to take care of in a very easy fashion. Yes, we have PeopleSoft problems, we have people problems, and we have longstanding problems at this University which, as Dr. Gage mentioned, we carried over into PeopleSoft. We did not clean up the problem and then move to a new way of doing business. President Van Ummersen stated that the buck stops here because she was the one who decided that CSU needed to serve students better and we needed to find ways to do that. We have very good people who worked very hard looking at the systems that we would put in place at CSU. The decision of that group was to use PeopleSoft. The President at Ohio State had a whole separate series of consultants come in to advise him about whether to scrap the PeopleSoft system. The bad news his consultants brought him was that there is not another product out there for higher education. It is not as if we have five choices and could move to another system. It is either PeopleSoft or go back to where we were. Neither of those is particularly helpful.
President Van Ummersen reported that Fall enrollment appears to be healthy. We are up about two percent in headcount and about one percent in credit hours. We have had an increase in freshmen and a decrease in transfers which is not unusual. The high school population graduating is increasing. At the transfer level, the community colleges were down fairly substantially over the last several years and that group is now moving through the transfer population. We draw very heavily on Cuyahoga Community College and they had one of the largest drops in enrollment.
President Van Ummersen commented on two problems that are being worked on by the Inter-University Council. First, we are continuing to try to get some funding out of the tobacco task force. They have put aside a trust fund for education. Most of that money was earmarked for K-12 and certainly the first years of the dollars were to go to K-12 and in later years, it would be available for higher education. Everyone is expressing the need for technology, whether it is computing or new equipment. Yesterday, the Presidents decided to go back to the task force once more to see if they can influence the timing of those dollars.
Second, President Van Ummersen reported that the DAS has been attempting to make the case that they should be involved in the hiring of professional staff -- in other words, there should be state-wide policies by which we would hire people into our professional staff the same way that we do our classified staff. There are State Civil Service Rules that apply and they have been attempting to force higher education into that same mold for the professional staff. The Legal Counsels of various universities have been meeting for several months trying to work with the Attorney General who is about to issue an opinion that says that DAS is correct and that we should, in fact, be doing our hiring in that fashion. The Legal Counsels have drafted language that might be introduced in the Legislature, and Senator Ray is being asked to introduce the legislation that would exempt us from the State Rules in this area. No university wants to get involved in having our professional staff hired through some sort of State system of personnel policies. They are working on that to try to foreclose it. The Attorney General has agreed to hold off on issuing her opinion until we can at least see if we can get this introduced into the Legislature.
Lastly, President Van Ummersen thanked Barbara Smith from the Development Office and Wayne Turney from Dramatic Arts for their help in the Convocation -- putting it all together, keeping everyone on time, and getting it done in good fashion.
Professor Wilson asked specifically what is going to be done about the student transcripts and how long will it be before that issue will be resolved.
President Van Ummersen said that she could not answer that question directly, but she does know that there are at least two levels of problems in that area and there may be more. Some of it is a people problem and some of it is a PeopleSoft problem. One of the issues the campuses are really attempting to address is the training, on-going training, continuous training, and retraining of the people who are using PeopleSoft. As they become more familiar with the software itself, they need additional training, and hopefully, some of the issues that are problems at the moment will be ameliorated by the additional training. There are other issues in addition to those that are PeopleSoft issues, and we are going to try to get some straight answers specifically on the question that Professor Tewari asked. She reported that she asks the same questions often. She calls it the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are all stressed by the implementation. This is the third and worst implementation that she has lived through. It has to do with the fact that PeopleSoft, although they have changed their tune, took a product that was developed for industry, made some assumptions that higher education in its administrative areas was very much like industry and has now found that this is not the case. They have made the changes that needed to be made in the Human Resources system and the Financial Aid system. The Student system is a brand new system. They changed the architecture of the system and they continue to change the functionality of the system as they learn from us, from Utah, from Michigan, and from Wisconsin. By the way, Wisconsin is having the same trouble with grades and transcripts that we are. We try to talk to each other and to learn from each other, but it is very much a system that is in progress. Our Board Chair described upgrades very aptly and the fact that we have an immature system and upgrades happened to be a bunch of mistakes. He has lived through SAP and they had the same problems in industry with that implementation that we are having with PeopleSoft. SAP is now making noises like it is going to join PeopleSoft in higher education. She imagines that it will not be any easier for those that put that system up because they do not have a Student system either.
Professor Wilson asked what he should tell a student with a transcript problem who has an interview in a week. President Van Ummersen responded that the student should be told to see the appropriate person.
Professor Jeffres reported that there is going to be an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education and asked how CSU figures in that. Provost Harold Allen reported that CSU was interviewed for it. Florence Olson, who interviewed us, has interviewed 14 schools out of 420. He has a sense that the article will help us. It will make it clear that the problems are not unique to CSU. Professor Wilson asked Provost Allen how that well help CSU. Provost Allen responded that it will help us put pressure on PeopleSoft.
Professor Mahmud asked if CSU had considered going after PeopleSoft for misrepresentation. President Van Ummersen responded that we have looked into that. She was not at liberty to say what might be done, but that has been an option the Trustees have considered. It is one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't."
Professor Mahmud said that he thought it would help CSU. President Van Ummersen reported that CSU has been considering whether it may be worse if we sue them and they stop helping. We have tried to get assistance from PeopleSoft and they have responded. We have had support from PeopleSoft and from their consultants in some of these specific areas, particularly in Financial Aid and in some of the Student systems. The President added that we are probably not the only ones who have considered lawsuits. Some of our other institutional colleagues are looking at the same kind of thing. Also, PeopleSoft is beginning to understand that in higher education, we are a very small inbred group; we all talk to each other, and if they are going to continue to sell it, then they have to solve our problems.
Professor Mahmud wondered then if we can get an answer from PeopleSoft on these problems so we can then tell the students. President Van Ummersen commented that if the Senate thinks the administration has been evasive here today, PeopleSoft is even more difficult to get those answers from. Now that Liz Dietz has another 60 people working for her on design issues and programming issues, we may get answers faster than we have in the past. The Company has become aware of the problem at the top and either created this whole new unit or expanded it significantly. That has just happened within the last few weeks.
Professor Misra asked if it would be possible to get some live persons at a telephone number or center to handle the problems and walk us through. If so, we could advertise this information.
President Van Ummersen asked Provost Allen if there is a number that could be given out. Provost Allen responded that CSU could try to do something. The structural system and organizational system needs to be responsive.
Professor Wilson suggested that we might want to hire some temporary ombudspersons who are specifically designated to represent the students.
Professor Thomas Buckley wondered if CSU was considering spending more money -- not just for four people -- but whatever it takes on a temporary basis. President Van Ummersen replied that it comes to needing a person in the Financial Aid office. If it is a loan, then it has to be someone who understands the whole loan process. If it is a piece of a grant, it has to be someone who understands grants. We just cannot go out on the street and hire these people. We hired people who could be a kind of customer service, but they are not the problem solvers. We will always have this problem, but it seems to be worse lately than it was when she came to CSU several years ago. On the positive side, our enrollment is going up. We are sitting at 16,680 headcount which is way ahead of where we were when she arrived at CSU in 1993.
Dr. Green reported that there had been a proposal a number of years ago to double-train some people. President Van Ummersen responded that Doug Hartnagel has been doing cross-training. However, one of the problems is that if you do not apparently use this stuff all of the time, it does not seem to stick. So we need to go back and do more cross-training. We have done that and we do move people around. But, when we are registering students and dealing with financial aid and admissions, we are doing it all at the same time. We cannot take people out of the Registrar's Office and put them in Financial Aid.
Professor Mastboom referred to the increase in enrollment of freshmen, which is good news. She noted that she sees many of those freshmen (about 90) in her history class. Tri-C used to do an excellent job of training students before they came here. Now, when students come into her class, she has to do the training, and that is fine because that is part of her job. But many fail. The History Department probably has six or eight classes of 100 students, many of whom will fail. We must very quickly start thinking in terms of what might we do for those freshmen who are not qualified to be here.
VIII. Senate President's Report
Senate President Donna Phillips reported on issues on this year's Agenda of the Ohio Faculty Council, which she chairs. The OFC is composed of all of the Presidents of the various Faculty Senates of the four-year public schools in Ohio. She and another representative of CSU [Philip Allen] meet with the other members once a month in Columbus.
Dr. Phillips reported that at the October 1999 meeting of the Ohio Faculty Council, they are expecting to get at least preliminary results of the Faculty Survey -- the instrument that is supposed to replace the FAAR reports, the instrument that presumably the Chancellor's Office will use to provide whatever reports to the Legislature and the Regents are necessary. We have never been able to get a precise explanation of how this is going to be used. The survey was sent to the faculty; OBOR received a 56 percent response, which delighted them. Dr. Phillips said that a 56 percent response of what was already an attenuated group of people does not, perhaps, necessarily reflect what faculty actually do. She noted that we need to keep an eye on that. Stephanie McCann (Regents' Office) is supposed to show the Ohio Faculty Council a template for the survey of part-time faculty, which will be put into use this coming year.
Dr. Phillips reported that in addition, with no discussion with anyone, the Chancellor's staff is working on a plan for new ways of reporting professional leave to the Regents and to the Legislature. Dr. Phillips noted that she had seen the Chancellor's report to the head of the Committee that reports yearly on faculty professional leaves. She is distressed about the report, because the tone of it is, "Oh, look, not very many people took professional leave. It did not cost us much, so good. See how well we are doing." She said that she expected something different from the Chancellor. She did not think this was the right attitude. She understands it is politics, but from her point of view, the Chancellor's job is to represent higher education and part of that is to encourage people to take professional leave. We need to take a very careful look at the new reporting template. CSU had nine percent of its faculty taking professional leave. According to the Chancellor's tables, we are at the high end of percent of faculty taking professional leave.
Dr. Phillips noted that faculty are eligible every six years; thus, nine percent of the faculty's being on professional leave does not seem too high if we really value professional leave. If we really believe that faculty ought to be taking professional leaves because of their scholarship and their teaching, then to say, "Oh goody, only three percent took leave," is the wrong attitude -- it sends the wrong message.
Professor Jeffres remarked that it sounds like a perk. Dr. Phillips agreed noting that faculty need to watch this very carefully because some members of our own Board of Trustees, consider this a paid vacation. President Van Ummersen, Provost Allen, Joyce Mastboom, and she have to struggle at these meetings trying to go over one more time the fact that it is not. That distressed her, but the Chancellor seems to have the same kind of attitude.
Dr. Phillips stated that at the next Senate meeting, she would like to have a discussion about the topic of benefits for domestic partners. The Ohio Faculty Council has decided that it wants to take up this matter this year. The prevailing perception of what is happening in this State is don't ask, don't tell. The first time this matter came up, it was such a political mine field that no institution wants to be the first to say, "We believe this ought to be included among our benefits." Ohio University has just instituted, through its Senate and administration, a policy whereby an employee may use sick leave to care for a domestic partner in the same way that he or she may use it to care for a spouse or a child. Bereavement leave will also be granted. It is a small step, but it is a step, and Ohio University was able to determine that it would not cost the University a great deal. The agreement of the Ohio Faculty Council was to take this to our respective Senates and be certain, before we begin truly arguing, that faculty at our institutions do share our opinion that it is important that we extend at least some benefits to domestic partners. If the Academic Steering Committee agrees, this issue will be put on the Agenda for the October meeting.
IX. New Business
A. Professor Bhushan Wadhwa read a motion by Thomas Flechtner. "On behalf of the Arts and Sciences Caucus, I make the following motion: That the Faculty Senate ask the Provost to report to the Senate at its next meeting on the general results of the decanal evaluations conducted during the last academic year."
Provost Allen stated that he would report whatever is allowed by the current policies.
B. Dr. Jane McIntyre reported that last March the Senate had discussion and a subsequent report from Provost Allen on the reorganization concerning the Center for Teaching and Learning and the new Center for Academic Technology Services. As a follow up to the discussion we had last year, she would like the Senate to request that Bob Wheeler come and report to Senate on how that reorganization has affected the Center for Teaching and Learning.
There being no further business, Senate President Phillips asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. It was moved, seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 5:00 P.M.
Pamela J. Eyerdam Senate Secretary