Academic Task Force
September 18, 1996
Members Present: Dr. J. J. Britton; Ms. Juanita Bulloch; Mr. Frank Gilbert; Dr.
Martha Herbert; Dr. Layton McCurdy; Mr. Douglas McKay; Dr. John Stockwell; Mr.
Larry Wilson (Chairman)
Task Force Resource Persons Present: Dr. Wanda Hayes (USC-Aiken); Dr. Joe Prus
(Winthrop University); Dr. Gail Morrison, CHE Associate Commissioner for Academic
Affairs; Dr. Mike Smith, CHE Associate Commissioner for Special Projects; Dr. Lynn
Kelley, as recorder (CHE-Academic Affairs)
Also Present: Mr. Fred Sheheen, CHE Commissioner; faculty and staff
representatives of the institutions of higher education.
Mr. Wilson opened the meeting with a request for a motion to approve the
minutes of the September 10 meeting. Dr. Britton so moved (seconded, Mr. McKay).
The minutes were approved unanimously.
Mr. Wilson began the discussion on Performance Indicator (8)(A), User-Friendliness of the Institution: Transferability of Credits to and from the
Institution. Questions were raised concerning the exact relationship of
institutional credit by number of credits. Dr. Stockwell stated that institutional
credit offerings are already so close that any variation in credits for courses
that transfer is virtually nonexistent. Mr. Sheheen and Dr. Morrison noted that
this and any other issues of discontinuity or lack of quality in transferred
credits can be handled under the May 1996 policy of the Commission which
establishes a quality control mechanism. In response to Dr. Prus' question about
the extent to which the Statewide Planning group's draft meets the need for data,
Dr. Morrison stated that more was required for reporting under this draft.
Mr. Avery questioned how this proposed indicator will be reported as a
measurement and whether it would be weighted. He said his concern was to assure
that institutions were getting an understandable feedback through this (and other
indicators) so that they could work on improvement. Mr. Wilson stated that the
elements involved in Attachment 1 would be the presumptive measurements to be used
for this indicator; and that the benchmarking committees would be weighting these
on a basis of evaluating institutions in relationship to each other.
Further discussion led to the Task Force's agreement that the drafted
measurements in the Attachment should be changed to reflect percentage increases,
rather than numbers of increases. (After a later recess in the course of the
meeting, Mr. Wilson clarified the decision to replace numbers with percentages. He
stated that this decision needed to be placed in the context of achieving and
maintaining an acceptable percentage, which was designed to achieve increases in
numbers at a relatively high level. This will be benchmarked also by sector by the
benchmarking task forces.)
Clarification was made of "h" as a measure to assure that these courses were ones
to be drawn from the list of 72 courses and acceptable toward the four-year degree
program into which a student might have transferred. Mr. McKay stressed in his
comments that it is meritorious for the technical colleges to be offering students
the opportunity for an inexpensive first two years of college, ending with an AA/AS
degree. He said that the completion of these degrees, however, was related to
whether the technical colleges were offering the course work at times and
frequently enough during a year when students could take advantage of them.
Therefore, he said, he felt that maintenance of a measure for the increase of
numbers of students transferring was worthy to be kept as a separate measure from
the percentage increase. However, after Mr. Sheheen explained that the task force
dealing with the accessibility of higher education for all citizens is working on
graduation rates, the Task Force majority maintained its decision to establish
percentage increases on this indicator as a substitute measure for numbers.
Dr. Stockwell then requested that percentages be substituted on items a,b,d,g,
and h for this indicator. The Task Force agreed. The Task Force also agreed to
change the wording of the measure itself to read "the extent to which the criteria
are achieved"; and to pass along to the benchmark task forces the preference of the
Academic Task Force that this indicator be benchmarked by comparison of peer
institutions in a rank/order progression, so that the institutions with high
percentages of successful transfer activity will receive more funding than those
with low ones.
Mr. Wilson asked if there were final agreement on the changes which had been
made. Dr. Britton moved (seconded, Dr. Stockwell) to accept the wording of the
performance indicator and measures as amended. The motion was accepted
Mr. Wilson then asked that the Task Force consider (9)(A) Research Funding:
Financial Support for Reform in Teacher Education and (9)(B) Research Funding:
Amount of Public and Private Sector Grants. Mr. Wilson said that these two
indicators need to be linked to the FTEs in Teacher Education as a percentage of
the total FTEs in the institution and view the grants awarded proportionally. After
considerable discussion the Task Force agreed that both percentages and actual
dollar amounts should be measured for both (9)(A) and (9)(B). Dr. DeWitt Stone
(Clemson) said that in his view the money for grants in teacher education should be
compared against the student FTE in teacher education and leave the rest of the
institution out of the equation. Mr. Sheheen said that the problem with this, as
the General Assembly sees it, is that teacher education programs have not
historically received their share of what is brought into the institution by FTE.
Dr. Stockwell questioned whether comparisons with the institutional FTE might have
the unintended consequence of promoting teacher education programming in surplus
areas (e.g., early childhood and elementary) simply to raise FTE in teacher
education generally, when in another indicator the Task Force had specifically
stated that these should be reduced. Mr. Sheheen responded that he felt the
incentive in the other indicator to promote enrollments in "critical needs" areas
would provide the disincentive to raise numbers in the surplus areas.
Discussion next centered on how FTE count was to be generated for teacher
education students: was it to be done on the basis of all teacher education
student majors enrolled in all courses; or on the basis of credit hours generated
in teacher education courses solely. The Task Force agreed it was to be the
latter. Additional discussion focused on the fact that the teacher education
students all take and need general education courses and that in some institutions
one cannot major in teacher education. For these reasons, the Task Force continued
to agree that only the teacher education course credits generated should be
computed for the teacher education FTE.
Dr. Garrison (USC-Columbia) objected to the measurements under (9)(A) as
having gotten off-track. Dr. Stone stated that teacher education grants were
different from others by reason of the fact that the overhead is captured not by
the institutions which write and receive the grant, but by the State's general fund
through the Governor's office, because these grants are considered "training"
rather than "research." Mr. Sheheen stated that this is an additional incentive
for the institutions to pursue teacher education grant opportunities which are
research grants under the law and regulations of the State.
It was agreed that the measure should reflect research grants dedicated to
teacher education as well as the total Educational and General costs dedicated to
teacher education. After considerable discussion pertaining to how size of an
institution or a program might affect this measure, Mr. Wilson suggested that the
measure be weighted in accord with the FTE enrollment in teacher education
(graduate and undergraduate). Dr. Britton then moved (seconded, Mr. Gilbert) that
(9)(A), as revised, be accepted. The Task Force adopted the motion unanimously.
Attention next turned to (9)(B). Dr. McCurdy stated that in his view this
indicator was most obviously and importantly related to research institutions and
that he also considers the ability of an institution to generate research dollars
as a primary indicator of quality for that type of institution's mission.
Discussion centered on the fact that the current formula contains an incentive of a
direct 25% incentive match by the State for every research dollar brought into the
State. The staff draft of the indicator suggests preserving this match. Mr.
Sheheen pointed out that this incentive is the only performance indicator in the
Dr. McCurdy said he concurred with the maintenance of the current 25% match,
but wanted to expand upon it, so that there might be additional funding available
as match when an institution exceeds a given dollar amount or percentage over the
previous year, on an ascending or escalating scale.
Mr. Avery commented that whatever measure is finally arrived at must preserve
the incentives that our research institutions (and others) currently receive, so
that we do nothing unintended to create disincentives to the research efforts that
are ongoing or contemplated. Representatives (Dr. Holderman and Mr. Peterson) from
the Technical College system asked that the Task Force members disregard their
draft indicator on research funding. After reflection, the Tech system has decided
that this indicator is not related to the system's mission.
Dr. Earlene Sims (South Carolina State University) stated that there needs to
be a place for SCSU in this indicator, since as a land grant institution it does a
considerable amount of research. Mr. Sheheen stated that all other institutions
would be included under this and all other indicators, although the weighting and
the expected return would be greater for the research institutions. Dr. Hayes
stated that public service grants were important to the State and needed to be
represented here, too. Dr. Morrison responded by stating that, however laudable
these might be, the legislation stipulates that this indicator is limited to
"research funds" and so the staff proposal is based on that literal interpretation.
Finally, after discussion which established a most-recent three-year time
period for determining a research dollar "base," a weighting for those three years
was also established as follows: 60% for the most recent past year; 30% for the
second most recent; and 10% for the remaining year. It was also decided that there
would be both a match for absolute dollars and for annual percentage increases over
the prior three-year base. Having secured this agreement, Dr. Britton moved
(seconded, Dr. McCurdy) that the performance indicator and measures as amended be
adopted. The Task Force adopted these unanimously.
A recess was held. When the Task Force reassembled, Mr. Wilson clarified both
the intent of (8)(A), which is mentioned in the minutes under the discussion of
that measure; and (9)(B). He stated that the weighted 60/30/10 three-year amounts
will be multiplied by their decimals, then added together as a weighted sum, and
then divided by three to get the three-year "base."
Review of Prior Weeks' Work for Further Refinement
The first indicator to be reviewed was (2)(F) Community and Public Service
Activities of Faculty for Which No Extra Compensation is Paid. Dr. McCurdy asked
if three of the measures would be weighted. After considerable discussion and Mr.
Wilson's input concerning the business community's view that a fourth measure
(i.e., service which directly is related to the economic development of the State
and region) should be added, the Task Force decided to rewrite the measures for the
indicator so that there would be only one: Using one's skills and knowledge base
in service to the community or public with emphasis on economic and community
development for the State and region. Upon Dr. Morrison's inquiry, the Task Force
also decided to retain the last three lines of the note which currently appears
under the indicator's measures. Dr. Hayes asked how this single measure was to be
documented; Dr. McCurdy said that it should be consigned to the staff and members
of the Commission to figure out. Mr. McKay moved (seconded, Dr. Herbert) that
(2)(f) as amended be accepted. The Task Force adopted the motion unanimously.
Discussion next changed to (3)(C)Instructional Quality: Ratio of Full-Time
Faculty to Other Full-Time Employees. Discussion on this item centered on two
issues: the meaning of "full-time" as persons with full-time contractual status or
all persons in a category measured in FTE; and the source of payment for these
persons as either Educational and General or restricted funds. After considerable
discussion, the Task Force decided that the draft language of "full-time" will
maintain its meaning as strictly persons with full-time contracts unless further
research shows that this was not legislative intent; and that all persons paid any
proportion of their salaries from the E and G will be eligible to be included. Dr.
McCurdy then moved that this be accepted (seconded, Dr. Britton) and the Task Force
unanimously approved the motion.
The (3)(D) Instructional Quality: Accreditation of Degree Granting Programs
was next considered. Mr. McKay moved (seconded, Avery) that the draft be accepted
without changes. It was unanimously adopted. Dr. Jack Parsons (College of
Charleston) stated that he wanted to caution that many programs are not accredited
because there are no accrediting bodies for these majors. Mr. Wilson responded
that these were not of concern to the Task Force's work, since the law did not
include them and the prepared draft made it clear that they were not to be used in
the measurement. However, to meet Dr. Parson's concern, the Task Force agreed to
add an explanatory note that these programs are not accredited because they have no
accreditation body and thus the measure does not evaluate the quality of the entire
The (3)(E) Instructional Quality: Institutional Emphasis on Quality Teacher
Education and Reform was next reviewed. Dr. Morrison reviewed feedback received
from two deans of education. One expressed concerns that this measurement would be
likely to depress enrollments and graduates of minorities by stressing the
reduction in size of programs with oversupplies (i.e., early childhood and
elementary). Dr. Morrison pointed out, however, that 5c as a measure of this
indicator places stress on attracting and graduating minorities in teacher
education programs. Dr. Morrison noted that a measure pertaining to Professional
Development Schools as a major national reform effort in teacher preparation had
been added at the suggestion of one of the deans of education. Dr. Wiedemann
(Lander) asked where Professional Development Schools are to be found; Dr. Morrison
stated that they are in different parts of the State and Mr. Sheheen pointed out
that it is the responsibility of the institutions of higher education to work with
local educational agencies to develop these.
At the suggestion of Dr. Sandy Robinson (USC-Columbia), the Task Force made
certain changes in the language of the proposed indicator. In #1 it substituted
the language "unmet needs" for "weaknesses"; in #2 it eliminated language about the
number of weaknesses; and in #7 it substituted wording to show that the measure
here would be in credit hours. Mr. Gilbert then moved to adopt the indicator and
measures with the changes listed. He was seconded by Mr. Avery. The Task Force
unanimously accepted the motion.
Attention next turned to Agenda Item #4, Attachment #1. Mr. Wilson said that
the best practices for (2)(B) and (2)(C) performance review for faculty, untenured
and tenured, should show some special emphasis on activities which support actively
the economic development of the State, according to the business community's view.
Dr. Holderfield (SBTCE staff) objected to #9 of Attachment #1, because it is too
restrictive for individual contracts. Dr. Morrison stated that the intent of this
best practice was to be directed toward institutions by sector, not toward
individual faculty contracts. After considerable discussion, the Task Force agreed
to change the wording to "where appropriate" from "at a minimum" and to conclude
the first phrase with the words "the following criteria."
Similarly #8 was changed as follows: 8.a: to be interpreted as each course,
but not each course section (although Dr. Stockwell indicated that at USCS all
course sections are reviewed each semester with a short evaluation and that this
has been done easily and with positive results); and 8.d.: to change here and
elsewhere in the document all references to pre-tenure review and post-tenure
external review to every six years, from every three years; and also on 8.d to
specify "where appropriate" so that institutions for which this is not appropriate
might use national accreditation visits as a source for external review, rather
than individual external review visits for each faculty member who would be
affected. Likewise, at Dr. Holderfield's suggestion the word "grievance" was
stricken from #11.
With these changes, Mr. Avery called for the question (seconded, Mr. McKay) on
accepting Attachment #1. The Task Force accepted it unanimously.
Attachment #2 was then considered. Slight changes of wording (#5 was changed
to six years; #12 the word "grievance" was stricken) were made. Dr. Stockwell then
moved (seconded, Mr. Gilbert) to accept the Attachment and the motion carried
Dr. McCurdy suggested, and the Task Force agreed, to allow Mr. Wilson to make
any final revisions of a non-substantive nature to the document.
The Task Force next looked at (2)(E) Quality of Faculty: Availability of
Faculty to Students Outside The Classroom. They agreed that appraisal could take
place in one course, rather than in all sections of that course taught by the same
professor. On page 1, "classes" will be changed to "courses." To avoid problems
which might occur at institutions where nonfaculty do advising, wording within the
performance indicator was changed to read "academic advisor." With these changes,
Mr. Gilbert moved (seconded by Dr. Hayes) that the indicator be adopted. The
motion carried unanimously.
The following indicators were next reviewed and approved with the following
(1) (B). "And/or" was changed to "and"
(2) (A). "meet" was changed to "exceed"
(2) (B). "The percent of" was changed to "The extent to which" "and relative
ranking of the institution to other institutions in that sector" was added.
(2) (C) The same changes as were made in the wording of (2)(B).
(2)(D). No changes were made although Mr. Wilson indicated that this one
continues to make him uneasy because he is concerned that increased salaries might
occur without increased quality in faculty performance.
Mr. Wilson then asked the members of the Task Force what issues they might
have seen develop as a result of the legislation, the task force process, or
projected problems. Dr. Prus said that if the idea of getting away from best
practices and moving toward ranking institutions relative to each other is upheld,
he fears that a great deal of interinstitutional cooperation which has been
achieved in the public sector in recent years will end in an era of great
interinstitutional competition and mistrust. Dr. McCurdy stated that he wished to
be on record as supporting the idea of the process as it has unfolded and the
spirit behind the legislation to reward high quality in institutional performance.
At the same time he said, he felt compelled to point out two matters which greatly
concern many in the academic institutions: 1) the rapidity of the process; and 2)
the vastness of the changes contemplated. He said the combination of the two holds
the high possibility of creating dangerous unintended consequences which could
conceivably lead to absolute chaos in the system. If the process appears in its
later manifestations to be veering increasingly in this direction, Dr. McCurdy
stated that the Commission on Higher Education needs to have the courage to go back
to the General Assembly and say clearly "Wait!"
Mr. Wilson said that as a businessman his greatest concern is that he cannot
find persons in South Carolina coming from our institutions in great enough numbers
for positions which have to be filled. He stated that at a recent meeting he
attended, he was informed of a national survey which showed that North Carolina was
considered in the top 10 most favorable states in the Union in which to live,
whereas South Carolina was ranked #49, principally as a result of the differences
in our higher education systems. Dr. Britton then reiterated what he had said in
the first task force meeting to substantiate Mr. Wilson's remarks. He said that
the big problem was that while both states spend about the same, proportionally, on
k-12 education, North Carolina spends much more per capita than South Carolina on
higher education. He said North Carolina views higher education as a necessity and
South Carolina seems to see it as a luxury.
Mr. Sheheen stated that up to the present time, no definable clarity has
emerged to show where the process might finally lead. Nevertheless, he said,
certain things are now clear: 1) not all performance indicators can be instituted
the first year; 2) there has to be a recognition of a base funding and performance
indicators for quality above that level; and 3) for the credibility of this system
to emerge, the first indicators to be implemented must be those which have
statistically-based data attached to them and the "softer" indicators need to be
looked at longer to assure that they will be accurately and acceptably integrated
later. He said performance indicators need to be developed and implemented in a
rational manner, not hurriedly.
Mr. Wilson responded by thanking Mr. Sheheen and said it was his hope that as
these performance indicators are implemented, the General Assembly will come to see
greater efficiencies and effectiveness at the institutions and then will be willing
to add additional dollars to funding them. Dr. Stockwell said that while this
would also be his hope, the anti-intellectual elements of the debate which have
sometimes appeared need to fade into the background before such a salutary outcome
would be possible. He added that he hoped that the Task Force's work would
contribute to the lessening of that anti-intellectual climate and he thanked Mr.
Wilson for his efficient and effective leadership of the work of the Task Force.
Mr. Wilson received a warm round of applause from members of the Task Force and the
audience. He thanked all present on the Task Force for their dedication to their
work and declared the Task Force adjourned at 6:26 P.M.