University of South Carolina Branches Sector Committee
Meeting 2, November 4, 1996
Main Conference Room, Commission on Higher Education
Members Present: Mr. Arnie Applebaum, Dr. Carl Clayton, Dr. Deborah Cureton, Ms.
Susan Miller, M.G. Thomas Olsen, Dr. Chris Plyler, Dr. Edward Seim, Chairman, Dr.
Committee Staff Present: Mr. David Hunter, Ms.Kay Coleman Mr. Fred Sheheen, Dr.
Gail Morrison, Dr. Nancy Healy-Williams, Dr. David Loope, Mr. Nelson Lindsay
Dr. Seim convened the meeting at 10:05 a.m.. Dr. Plyer moved approval of the minutes
from the October 28 meeting. Ms. Miller seconded and the Committee voted to approve
the minutes as written.
Dr. Seim noted that the Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. for its next two meetings
on November 11 and 18 rather than at the 10:30 time in order to have more time to
determine benchmarks for all indicators. He also distributed for the group's review
a draft "Formula for Developing the Actual Indicator Percentage Value (see Appendix 1)
and asked the committee to be prepared to discuss the draft at the next meeting.
The Committee then entered into discussions on benchmarking indicators for critical
success factors two, three, and eight. The group proceeded to establish benchmarks for
indicators 2a through f and indicator 3a.1. (See Appendix 2 for a complete list of
A brief synopsis of the discussions held regarding development of the benchmarks follows:
Indicator 2.A Academic and Other Credentials of Professors and Instructors
Measure a: The percent of all headcount faculty who meet the criteria for faculty
credentials of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Several members of the committee were in agreement that this measure calls for a stringent
benchmark and that SACS' intention is for 100% of all faculty to meet their guidelines.
Dr. Clayton expressed some reservation about faculty who may have taught at an institution
for several years who may not meet SACS guidelines but who are quite well-qualified to teach.
Dr. West moved to consider 100% as the benchmark for meeting SACS criteria; Dr.
Plyler seconded the motion and the committee voted 7-1 in favor of the motion.
Measure b: the percent of all headcount faculty who exceed the criteria for faculty
credentials for SACS
Prior to determining the percentage benchmark for this measure, the group decided to
weight the relative importance of the two measures first. After some discussion, Dr.
Plyler moved to consider that 80% of the weight for the indicator pertain to part a
and 20% to part b. Gen. Olsen seconded this motion. The group voted 8-0 in favor of
the motion. Dr. West moved to accept a rate of 30% as the benchmark for headcount
faculty who exceed the criteria for SACS faculty credentials. Dr. Clayton seconded the
motion. The group agreed that the high numbers of part-time faculty would make a much
higher benchmark extremely difficult to achieve because of the small number of part-time
faculty who hold terminal degrees at most of the branch campuses. The Committee voted
8-0 in favor of the motion to accept 30% as the benchmark.
Indicator 2.B Performance Review for Faculty to Include Student and Peer Evaluations
Measure: The extent to which the criteria stipulated in the "Best Practices for a
Performance Review System for Faculty" document are incorporated into the institution's
own performance review system and the relative ranking of each institution as compared
to others in its sector.
Dr. Morrison explained that the intent of the task force that developed this measure
was to award funding for this indicator dependent on institutional rankings. However,
the task force also felt that most institutions would already incorporate the best
practices established in conjunction with this measure. Dr. Seim pointed out that if
this were indeed the case, the funding for this indicator would be equally distributed
throughout the sector. Gen. Olsen moved to give equal weight to each of the 11 best
practices. Dr. West seconded this motion. The group voted in favor of the motion 8-0.
2.C Post-tenure Review for Tenured Faculty
Measure: The extent to which the criteria stipulated in the "Best Practices for
Post-tenure Review" document are incorporated into the institution's own performance
review system and the relative ranking of each institution as compared to others in the
The Committee felt that the parameters governing this measure are largely the same as for
2.B. Ms. Miller moved that the panel accept an equal weighting for each "best practice."
Dr. Plyler seconded, and the group voted 7-0, with one abstention, to accept this motion.
Measure: The average deviation (expressed in standardized units) of faculty salaries
by rank, discipline, and type of institution from national averages.
The Committee discussed several approaches to this indicator at some length. Dr.
Clayton pointed out that this indicator could harm those institutions that are least
able to pay higher salaries because they do not possess the budgetary flexibility to
devote more money to faculty salaries. The Committee agreed (vote was 8-0) to send a
statement to the Steering Committee noting that the indicator may perpetuate faculty
salary problems at some institutions in this sector. Next, the Committee discussed the
lack of data for two-year institutions by discipline. They also suggested that the
benchmark be based on data taken from similar branch systems (Ohio State, Wisconsin,
Penn State, etc.) rather than from the entire two-year sector. Dr. Seim expressed some
concern about benchmarking without the benefit of knowing the national average. Given
this problem, he suggested that the Committee use a benchmark of 5% above the current
salary level at each institution toward the national average. Moreover, each institution
would receive a reward for each percentage point it increases above the current level
toward the national average. Mr. Sheheen added that under this scenario, each
institution should assume that there is a base level of funding for this indicator above
which an institution will be awarded for movement towards the national average. Gen.
Olsen moved to accept this benchmark; Dr. Cureton seconded, and the Committee voted to
approve the motion 8-0.
2.E Availability of Faculty to Students Outside of the Classroom
Measure a. The percent of instructional faculty who receive a mean rating of
"satisfied" or above on a standardized question using a standardized scale administered
in a prescribed manner on anonymous student evaluations which are submitted for all
Dr. Morrison noted that the technical colleges had submitted a suggested benchmark for
this indicator of 85% of faculty who receive a rating of 2.5 or better on the question's
4 point scale. Dr. Cureton suggested that the Committee should look to setting a high
standard for this benchmark. Other members of the group agreed. Dr. West moved to
accept a benchmark of 80% of faculty who receive a 3 or above on the standardized
question (a score of satisfactory or above). Gen. Olsen seconded this motion. The
Committee voted 8-0 in favor of the motion.
Measure b. The percent of students who report satisfaction with availability of academic
advisors outside the classroom as shown by a mean rating of "satisfied" or above on an
anonymous evaluation instrument completed at a minimum during the fall term by a
representative sample of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Ms. Miller moved
acceptance of a benchmark of 80% of those students responding who indicate a 3 or above
(satisfactory or above) on a standardized question. Mr. Applebaum seconded the motion,
and the Committee voted to accept the motion 8-0.
2.F Community and Public Service Activities of Faculty for Which No Extra Compensation
Measure: Percent of full-time faculty participating in service to the community or
public using professional skills/knowledge base with emphasis on service to the
economic and community development of the region or the State.
Dr. Cureton moved that the Committee submit to the Steering Committee a comment
regarding the absence of a performance indicator pertaining to the diversity (minorities
and women) of the faculty given that diversity is one ingredient in instructional
quality. Mr. Sheheen noted that the statement should also include women. Gen. Olsen
seconded the motion, and the Committee voted 8-0 to approve the motion.
Next, Gen. Olsen moved to accept 50% as the benchmark for this indicator. Dr. West
seconded this motion, and the Committee approved the motion 8-0.
3.A Class Size and Student/Teacher Ratios
Measure 1: The average class size by sector, discipline, level, and mode of delivery
compared to the average in South Carolina's public institutions.
Dr. Seim questioned whether small or large class size was considered preferable for this
indicator. Mr. Sheheen replied that the legislature clearly favored smaller class size.
Dr. Morrison noted that the technical colleges had developed a benchmark of 100% funding
for this indicator if no more or less than 25% of an institution's classes exceed the
existing formula ratio for that discipline, level, and mode of delivery. The Committee
agreed that this idea was sound, but decided to substitute the actual state average ratio
for the existing formula ratio. Dr. Seim noted that a sliding scale will be developed
when the data on these ratios is collected under which an institution would get 90%
funding if 30% of its classes exceed the state average; 80% if 35% exceed the average,
etc. Gen. Olsen moved to accept this benchmark; Dr. Plyler seconded, and the Committee
voted 8-0 in favor of the motion.
Prior to adjourning, Dr. Seim requested that the staff collect whatever data is available
relative to the second measure in indicator 3.A prior to the November 11 meeting.
The Committee adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
University of South Carolina Branches Sector Committee
Benchmarks for Indicators 2A - F and 3A.1
Indicator 2.A.a: 100% of all headcount faculty meet criteria for faculty credentials of the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) (80% of total indicator weighting)
Indicator 2.A.b: 30% of all headcount faculty who exceed the criteria for faculty
credentials for SACS (20% of total indicator weighting)
Indicator 2.B: each "best practice" criterion will receive equal weight (9.09% each); CHE
will rank order each institution relative to its ability to meet the 11 "best practices"
Indicator 2.C: each "best practice" criterion will receive equal weight (8.33% each); CHE
will rank order each institution relative to its ability to meet the 12 "best practices"
Indicator 2.D: 5% above the current individual institution average salary level by rank and
discipline toward a nationally computed salary average by rank and discipline for
comparable branch campus systems; institutions will receive a percentage award for
Movement toward the 5% benchmark in the amount of the percent faculty salary increase
above their individual institutional average (i.e., 2% for a 2% percent increase, etc.)
Indicator 2.E.a: 80% of faculty who receive a 3 or above (satisfactory or above) on
the standardized student evaluation question
Indicator 2.E.b: 80% of those students responding to the standardized student evaluation
question who indicate a 3 or above (satisfactory or above)
Indicator 2.F: 50% of full-time faculty participating in service to the community or
public using professional skills/knowledge base with emphasis on service to the economic
and community development of the region or the State
Indicator 3.A.1: 100% of funding if no more or less than 25% of an institution's total
class offerings exceed the average class size within the two-year branch sector for
each discipline, level, and mode of delivery; a sliding scale will apply for percentages
greater than 25% as follows: 90% funding if 30% of an institution's total class
offerings exceed the state average; 80% if 35%, etc.