After our meeting on Friday, Harry Bruder and I stopped by the BOR office to inquire about the most up-to-date version of the proposal. Dr. Kim Hunter Reed told us that a big meeting of reps from the four systems under BOR would occur this coming Weds. She also said that a revised version wasn't available and wouldn't be until sometime after that Weds. meeting. Harry and I agreed to give her a copy of our resolution, with the emphasis on DRAFT since we were working from a Nov. 2008 summary.
Given the impending important meeting on Weds., Harry and I then went up to the BOS office and had a lengthy impromptu visit with Dr. Brad O'Hara (system VPAA) and Dr. Nick Bruno (system VP Finance--who will represent UL System at the Weds. meeting). We gave them copies of the DRAFT resolution and thanked them for meeting us without an appointment.
Dr. Bruno noted that, as far as he knew, no one had checked the validity of using "Liberal Arts" as the 1.0 level for the matrix. (Other classifications [e.g., NURS, PHAR, Dev.Ed, ENGR] had been checked to see if the ratios were statistically valid.) He also informed us that "Liberal Arts" is a CIP-code (as are the other categories) and includes such diverse disciplines as English composition, literature, philosophy, history, foreign language, psychology, math, and statistics. He agreed to ask at the Weds. meeting whether a study had been or could be done to validate the 1.0 ratio through doing a study of class sizes, etc., in LA rather than relying on the Texas data.
"Cost of instruction" is tied to that little chart at the top of p. 2 of the handout I gave you in Dec.: average SREB salaries by rank, Carnegie category, average class sizes, etc. LSU is category 1; ULL is category 2; the rest of the system is category III (I think). I got lost in the arithmetic, I fear. These statistical averages will be applied (somehow or other) in figuring the cost of instruction vis-a-vis the matrix.
Dr. Bruno said he thought that the matrix's reference to "lower-level unit" vs. "upper-level unit" meant not the actual level of the class (e.g., 100/200 vs. 300/400) but to the classification of the STUDENT. So if a student who was a junior with 60 hours applied toward graduation took a 100-level course, it would be funded at the ULU level because he/she is a junior. Apparently, institutions already send BOR data according to the how many juniors took (for example) ENGL 101 vs. how many freshmen took ENGL 101 that same semester (for all classes).
But the language on the draft version of the proposal that the FAC is using is ambiguous and so Dr. Bruno said he would double-check the meaning of LLU vs. ULU in the matrix.
The logic for tying funding to STUDENT classification is to reward universities for student progression towards graduation.
I don't think, however, that student-based ratios (freshmen/sophomores vs. juniors/seniors) obviates our concerns about the huge disparity in the methods/costs of actual instruction in those highly disparate disciplines. I understand that the plan we were given is somehow tied to statistical averaging of salaries, costs, disciplines, and student levels. But if the 1.0 foundation level of the core component matrix is the hodgepodge classification of "Liberal Arts," then I'm still not sure how valid the data for the entire matrix actually are.
I think I have summarized the points more or less accurately. Harry, if you have any corrections or additions, please send them on to the FAC.
I'll try to keep following up on all of this.