Southeastern Louisiana University
of the Faculty Senate, 2000-2001

Faculty Senate Resolution (00-01-Number Nine)
Adopted Feb. 7, 2001

Board of Regents Master Plan

WHEREAS the Board of Regents governing higher education in Louisiana is consider-ing a revision of the Master Plan, with particular attention devoted to selective admis-sions based upon the redefined role, scope, and mission of each institution, and

WHEREAS the Board's decisions will have a profound impact on the future of higher education in Louisiana, the citizens, and each institution, and

WHEREAS the Board and the Regents Staff have expressed a willingness to entertain the concerns of faculty regarding the proposed changes;

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate of Southeastern Louisiana University endorse the comments and recommendations noted below;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate of Southeastern Louisiana University authorize its President to convey this resolution and attached comments to the University Administration, the Chair of the Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Higher Education and appropriate members of the Regents Staff.

Concerns and Recommendations Regarding
the Proposed Changes in the Master
Plan Submitted By The Faculty Senate
of Southeastern Louisiana University

  1. The draft's discussion of the three categories of four-year institutions essentially reflects current practice in Louisiana. They are also similar to the Carnegie system. However, Southeastern's faculty are concerned about the implications of the termi-nology. Therefore, we would urge that references to "categories," "levels," and "tiers" be omitted from the draft Master Plan and from discussions of the three types of four-year institutions. Faculty fear that such language could create the perception that "lower level" schools are inferior and therefore their programs and faculty and students are inferior. "Types" is a fairly innocuous word that could be used. Also, on page 11 of Draft 4, the first sentence of each definition could read as follows: "According to the Carnegie Classification, Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive institutions typically offer " with the name of each type changing as appropriate in the other two paragraphs. Similar revisions could be made elsewhere in the draft. Also, language referring to "Selective Category 1," etc., could be revised to state the name of the type, e.g., "Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive."

  2. The terminology creates an even deeper concern that faculty in "lower level" schools will not be able to compete equally and fairly for state research grants and other monies for higher education. The Governor's plan to pump funds for computer science faculty and equipment into Category I and II schools suggests that such a restriction on the use of state funds already exists. SLU's Faculty Senate recom-mends that the Master Plan contain a statement guaranteeing that the faculty of all three types of four-year institutions can compete equally for such monies.

  3. The Southeastern faculty would urge that any labeling system not preclude a four-year institution from "moving up" to a higher category either through offering a doctorate or through implementing the more stringent admissions criteria of the next higher level.

  4. The Southeastern Faculty Senate is concerned that the implicit hierarchy in the draft will impair the "lower level" universities' ability to attract the highest quality fac-ulty and excellent graduate students. Faculty in programs which prepare under-graduates for admission to selective graduate programs fear that, despite the strength of the curricula, students will be deterred from coming to a "tier 3" school.

  5. Southeastern faculty are required to conduct "significant research." However, for the Doctoral II schools and the Master's Comprehensive schools, the definitions contain no reference to faculty's research mission. We would urge that those definitions be revised to indicate that research is an important component of the schools' missions. Omitting references to research signals to faculty that their research is not valued and that they will not be able to compete for state grants and that their applications for federal grants might be unsuccessful if they come from a "Category 3" (i.e., "third rate") school.

  6. Southeastern considers an applicant's high school class rank as one of its admissions criteria. We would urge that this criterion be added to the definitions of the admis-sion standards for each of the three types of schools.

  7. Schools like Southeastern draw a good portion of their students from rural parishes, which are sometimes unable to offer the courses necessary to fulfill the TOPS core. The same is true for some small private schools. These students should not be penalized because of the inadequacies of their schools. Perhaps by 2005 all the districts in the state will be able to offer a full TOPS core. However, if that proves not to be the case, and if a university draws a significant proportion of its students from such parishes, then the 15% exception quota for such a university should be increased. An alternative approach would be to divorce the admissions criteria from the TOPS criteria, which are subject to frequent revision by the legislature, and instead to adopt a more flexible core of academic courses.

  8. Similarly, students in predominantly rural areas might be unfairly burdened with commuting to a community college, especially when (as is the case with some of Southeastern's feeder parishes) a four-year institution is closer. For example, stu- dents in the north central section of Southestern's service area would have to travel much farther to get to Baton Rouge or Slidell. Thus, they might be discouraged from going to college at all. Establishing off-campus sites or full-blown community colleges might not be economically feasible in such cases. Therefore, the 15% exception quota should be raised in for universities in primarily rural settings.

  9. The proposed admissions standards might result in enrollment declines for some institutions. Therefore, the Southeastern Faculty Senate urges that the Board of Regents strive to convince the legislature to "hold harmless" the budgets of such schools for at least three years after the implementation of the new admission standards.

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