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Senate Council Minutes - January 12, 2004

The Senate Council met on Monday, January 12, 2004 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in the Gallery of the W.T. Young Library and took the following actions:

The Chair called the meetingto order at 3:04 and thanked the members of the Staff Senate Executive Committee for attending to discuss the reorganization of LCC. After introductions were done, the Chair thanked EVPFA Siemer and Provost Nietzel for requesting the meeting.

Reorganization of LCC:

The Chair invited the Provostto outline his interest in discussing the issue with the Senate Council and the Executive Committee. The Provost expressed his interest in making himself and the EVPFA available to answer the questions of the Senate Council and the Executive Committee. The Provost explained that a set of issues had been identified as being crucial to the transition, should Option Three (to transfer LCC to KCTCS) be recommended by the President, adopted by the Board of Trustees and acted upon by the state's legislature. He noted the need for significant progress before March to meet SACS' requirements.

The Chair asked if the issue will be presented to the Board at it January 27th meeting. The Provost replied it would either be presented on that day or a special meeting would be called in February. Williams asked if legislative action would be required to accomplish the transfer. The Provost and the EVPFA replied that it would. Jones asked if the current budget situation could be impacted by transferring LCC at this time versus doing so at a later time. The Provost and the EVPFA replied that there was no evident benefit either way. Tagavi asked how the Provost and the EVPFA proposed to terminate LCC faculty tenure. The Provost said he had no desire to terminate tenure and noted the faculty at the former Community Colleges were no longer protected under tenure as UK faculty but were instead part of the UKCC system on paper. The EVPFA noted the importance of the faculty of LCC being granted the same considerations the Community College faculty received during their transfer into KCTCS. Kennedy suggested including wording to that effect in a Board of Trustees resolution.

Saunier noted Scott's question regarding the issue of equality to KCTCS President McCall during McCall's recent visit to LCC. Scott said he asked McCall if KCTCS would deny LCC employees the same rights and privileges that were extended to the other Community College employees during the formation of KCTCS. Scott reported that McCall's reply addressed KCTCS's newness during the last transfer of community colleges versus the established nature of KCTCS today.

Conversation of this issue continued and surrounded issues of diploma titles, the impact on students, and various issues of concern to faculty and staff. Williams expressed his interest in having the same privileges afforded to LCC students, faculty and staff as were enjoyed by the former Community College employees during the formation of KCTCS six years ago. He expressed his desire to see those privileges protected in writing. Saunier agreed that written protection would ease the concerns of the students, faculty and staff.

The Provost called the KCTCS Board of Regents' resolution regrettable and expressed interest in having a protective statement for the people associated with LCC to the Board of Trustees prior to their vote. He said the University should try to prepare the Board of Regents for such language in the hope that they would be agreeable. Jones asked what minimal Board of Trustees action would appease SACS. The Provost recommended drafting a resolution and showing it to SACS to eliminate any uncertainty along those lines. He said the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board will be briefed on this issue on January 21 at 10am.

Kennedy asked, aside from the time constraints, if it would be possible to maintain the current arrangement with LCC and UK. The Provost indicated there was an extensive list of issues that would need to be addressed in order to appease SACS. Saunier outlined a few of the larger issues which illustrated the complexity of accomplishing the necessary autonomy to maintain separate accreditation.

Jones asked if LCC would eventually move to different facilities. The Provost replied that the future was uncertain, but at the moment no other facilities exist which could accommodate LCC, so such a move was not part of the current discussion. Saunier noted the transfer of LCC "assets" was part of the KCTCS resolution, which would imply they would take ownership of the property.

Brothers asked if there was a reason the LCC Task Force's report, meeting and notes were not available on a University web page. The Provost and the EVPFA replied that they did not know, but were certain that no effort had been undertaken to shield information. Saunier noted it had not been discussed at the Task Force meetings. The EVPFA said that he would see that this information was made widely available for University-wide dissemination.

Further discussion ensued regarding the drafting of protective wording for inclusion in the Board of Trustees resolution, the timing of presenting such a draft to the Board of Trustees, and whether or not such wording would be presented to the Board of Regents prior to the Board of Trustees' vote. Kennedy suggested presenting the concerns about the Board of Regents' resolution to the Board of Trustees in time for the Academic Affairs committee meeting on January 21. The Provost noted the committee could meet a second time on January 27 if need be to accommodate the short time-frame. The EVPFA asked the two Chairs if their executive bodies could act on behalf of their respective Senates to ease the timing issue. Both Chairs replied that they could.

King asked if SACS was expected to implement an end-date by which the transfer of LCC to KCTCS must take place. The Provost indicated the various components of the transfer would likely take place at different times with different deadlines associated with each. The EVPFA said SACS is usually quite willing to grant institutions the time they need to accomplish such change so long as they felt the institution was making progress.

Cibull writing a brief statement that outlined the two main concerns about the transition; the maintenance of UK's facilities as part of UK and the transition protocol being the same for LCC students, staff and faculty as it was for the other community colleges. Yanarella suggested adding a statement about the special relationship between LCC and UK in the interest of continuing privileges enjoyed by LCC students, faculty and staff into the future.

Williams asked for a further explanation as to why Option Three, rolling LCC into UK as one of the colleges, had not been fully explored as a viable option. The Provost outlined a number of issues which had been identified by the Task Force, among others. The issues included differential tuition, selective admissions requirements, the terminal degree level of LCC's faculty, the loss of LCC's unique identity, and the violence such a move would do to LCC's mission as an open access institution.

The Chair asked for summary comments from Saunier and Scott. Saunier reported on McCall's recent visit to LCC, saying that most of the staff and faculty questions had revolved around benefits. She indicated Scott's question to McCall about the KCTCS Board of Regents resolution generated most of the conversation. Scott stated that most of the people associated with LCC would feel more comfortable with being relocated within KCTCS if the provisions enjoyed by previous Community College employees were somehow protected by language included in a Board of Trustees resolution. He added the Board of Regents resolution was a pre-emptive move that made several people uncomfortable.

The Chair said he and Ms. Scott will begin drafting a summary of what was discussed during the meeting and will circulate it to the two executive bodies before sending it to the Board of Trustees for its consideration when molding its resolution.

Watts asked what time-line she should tell students who made inquiries about the transition. The Provost replied he hoped to be able to parallel the former Community College's time-line, in which fees, access to facilities and access to tickets should remain the same for two years. He noted it was not certain at this time.

The Chair thanked the guests and the members of the Executive Committee and adjourned the meeting for a small break.

Pilot Winter-Intersession Proposal

Pilot Winter-Intersession Proposal (PDF)

After the break the Chair addressed the issue of the proposed Winter session and reminded the Senate Council of some of the issues addressed in the Provost's response to the Senate Council's letter outlining its' concerns.

The Provost said his intent was to give flexibility to the programs to identify the courses they'd like to teach. He noted a variety of courses might offer good instructional possibilities and thought some courses could be easily adapted to the shortened format. He provided some examples of institutions who offered a mixture of both basic courses and specialty courses during a winter session. The Provost said the idea is that there is more than one type of course that can be offered during the winter session and said "the faculty should judge what those courses should be".

Kaalund asked if the Provost intended to make changes to the calendar to allow for a longer session. The Provost suggested starting fall classes on a Tuesday and abolishing fall break, which would cause classes to end on a Tuesday or Wednesday and finals to begin early. The Chair asked if such calendar revisions would happen this year or if the pilot session would still use the abbreviated two-week schedule suggested in the Provost's proposal. The Provost suggested using the two-week session for the pilot program and then using the feedback received from that session to determine the need for lengthening the term. He also stressed the importance of placing the syllabi and learning expectations on-line prior to registration so the students could decide up front if they were willing to make the commitment. He said financial aid would not be available for the winter session, but noted the students room and board expenses would be considerably less for the winter session than for the regular term, which would constitute savings to the students.

Tagavi said he was not satisfied with the Provost's answer to the Senate Council's concern about the number of hours students would have to spend studying for a four-hour-a-day course if they were expected to study for two to three hours for every hour they were in class. He said that just because students claim to not study two to three hours didn't mean the belief about the need for that much studying should change. The Provost said decisions shouldn't be made based on a hope that students study more than they report studying on surveys.

Debski reminded the Provost of previous statements he made regarding plans to get students to study more, graduate faster and get more out of their education. The Provost replied he though the students will use the time during the winter session to accomplish those things.

Watts spoke in favor of the proposal, suggesting students could access the syllabus on-line and begin studying before the beginning of the winter session. The Provost replied some schools had done exactly that, and some also had assignments due during the week between Christmas and New Years so that time was not "dead time".

Grabau expressed his doubt that students would be willing to study between Christmas and New Years. The Provost replied that many schools had bridged that week and were doing exactly what he proposed.

Cibull suggested the only way to see how the courses work is to teach the courses and see how well the students do. Watts spoke in favor of the proposal again, noting the lack of opposition from student groups to the proposal. The Provost noted faculty evaluations of winter sessions at other schools had been favorable.

Tagavi expressed concern over the number of instructional hours present in the Provost's proposal. The Provost said 200 more minutes had been built into the winter session than in the regular term, so that even if breaks were subtracted more instructional minutes would still remain. Tagavi asked what would happen if instructors didn't give breaks. The Provost replied the instructors should have better judgment than to not give breaks during a four-hour course. Tagavi expressed his desire to have the regular term numbers match the winter session numbers. The Provost noted the granting of breaks was under the purview of the instructor in any term and that breaks in lengthy graduate seminars were common during the regular term.

The Chair noted the importance of underscoring that the courses in the winter session would be nominated by the departments who would exercise wisdom when making their suggestions. Tagavi requested that wording be included to say the faculty, not the department, would nominate the courses. Debski said the faculty don't make that determination for summer courses. Jones noted the Provost's earlier statement that the faculty should suggest the courses. The Provost said the Senate Council members could review the nominated courses and give its recommendation if they liked.

Debski asked if the provost had a minimum class size in mind and wondered if professors would be paid as they are for summer school. The Provost replied that the $7,500 earned for summer school would not apply to the winter session and noted the importance of maintaining high enough enrollment during the winter session to ensure that money was not lost. He said Chairs will have to arrive at their own compensation agreements with their faculty and use judgment in determining class size. He suspected a mixture of small and large courses would be necessary to come out even financially.

Yanarella said the value of an intersession is its diversity of courses and asked if the Provost envisioned both small and large classes being offered within the same department. He asked if a few courses would enroll 65 or 70 students with other smaller classes enrolling 8 to 10 students. The Provost expressed his interest in keeping the winter session enrollment rather small. He then outlined his understanding with the various academic units involved in this proposal, explaining that a profit in the first year would net the unit no revenue while a loss would cause them no harm.

Saunier asked if the long-term goal of the winter session would be to continue in a two-week format or if the two-week time period was to be used only for the pilot session with other accommodation in the future. The Provost suggested letting it run in the two-week format the first year and then determining future calendar adjustments after the data had been gathered from the pilot. Saunier noted the need to waive a Senate Rule if three credit hours were to be taken in a two week session.

Watts asked if housing would be available for students during the winter session. The Provost replied that only very limited housing would be available in Jewell Hall. Cibull requested that some metric of evaluation be included in the proposal and asked that the method of evaluation be included the course proposals coming from the departments.

Kennedy moved to send the proposal to the Senate with a positive recommendation with the stipulation that each proposal includes a method of evaluation for that course. Yanarella seconded the motion.

Jones offered the amendment of including "proposals from unit faculty", which was accepted by Kennedy and Yanarella. Kaveh offered the amendment of including "We recommend waiving Senate Rule 5.2.1" in the motion.Kennedy and Yanarella accepted the amendment.

The motion read "The Senate Council sends the proposal to the Senate with a positive recommendation with the stipulation that each proposal from unit faculty include a method of evaluation for that course. We recommend waiving Senate Rule 5.2.1 to facilitate the short session".

The motion passed without dissent.

The Provost reiterated his offer to allow the Senate Council to review the course proposals from unit faculty. Tagavi expressed his interest in relying on the unit faculty to propose the appropriate courses. Debski agreed.

Saunier asked if only three-hour courses were to be offered or if some four-hour courses, like language classes, would be offered as well. The Provost suggested either a three-hour or four-hour course would be appropriate. The Chair thanked the Provost and reminded the Senate Council that the Provost would be in attendance at the Senate meeting and could help answer any questions about the session that the Senate might have.

Approval of the Minutes

The Chair asked if the minutes could be approved as written. Tagavi suggested he did not make the motion listed at the top of page two about sending the Winter Session to the Senate with a negative recommendation. Ms. Scott will confirm the motion's origin by listening to the audio recording of that meeting and will make any corrections as needed. Otherwise, the minutes were approved as written.

Other Business

The Chair offered to send a letter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees outlining the concerns of the two executive bodies. He asked the Senate Council members to provide feedback to a letter he will circulate via e-mail Tuesday morning.

Tagavi asked if ensuring the same benefits for LCC faculty was as pressing an issue as their tenure rights. Yanarella replied that the issue was that they should be given the same choices the other Community College faculty had received. The Chair noted the broad ranging nature of this issue. Saunier outlined the ways in which tenure would be affected if the Board of Regents' resolution was allowed to stand.

Jones suggested sending a copy of the letter to the Chair of the Academic Affairs committee. The Chair said he would also send a copy to the President. Tagavi noted the importance of not circumventing the President. Kennedy said he would speak with the Chair of the Academic Affairs committee to determine if she'd like to meet with the Senate Council regarding this issue. Kennedy pointed out that the President has not yet announced his decision.

Kaalund offered to postpone his motion until a subsequent meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:56.

Submitted by Jeff Dembo
Chair, Senate Council

Members Present: Cibull, Debski, Dembo, Edgerton, Grabau, Jones, Kaalund, Kennedy, Saunier, Tagavi, Watts, Yanarella.

Guests Present: Brothers, Duperey, Harper, Judd, King, Nietzel, Scott, Siemer, Van Meter, Williams, Wilson.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on January 21, 2004.