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Senate Council Minutes - January 10, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, January 10, 2005 from 3:00 to 5:00 in 103 Main Building and took the following actions.


The Chair introduced Thelin, Grossman and Lesnaw, the three new Senate Council members, and made them welcome. The remaining Senate Council members, liaisons and guest introduced themselves.

1. Minutes from December 6, 2004

The Senate Council members reviewed the minutes. The Chair asked if there were any changes. There being none, the minutes stood approved as written.


The Chair announced a recent meeting with Kim Wilson, Assistant Vice President for Human Relations, in which Wilson discussed the details of a new pre-employment drug testing policy. He reported that the policy will affect new hospital and College of Medicine employees and may potentially include other colleges of the medical center. He noted Wilson's willingness to meet with the Senate Council to further discuss the policy if need be.

Cibull asked if Wilson provided a rationale for the new policy. The Chair replied that Wilson feels strongly about the importance of providing a drug-free working environment and added that UK Hospital is the only hospital in Lexington that does not currently require pre-employment drug screening.

Duke asked if the policy was evolving or merely in the proposal stage. The Chair replied the policy was in a state of finalization. Bailey asked if the proposal would apply to research assistants and post-docs. Ms. Scott replied that she understood the proposal to include all new employees who were processed through Payroll in the Hospital or the College of Medicine.

Bailey requested the submission of a written proposal and to invite Wilson to attend a future meeting. Cibull requested further information regarding the driving force behind the proposal. He asked if there were plans to extend the policy to the rest of campus. Yanarella said it was his understanding that it would not.

The Chair expressed concern about a variety of issues, including test reliability, false positives, the location of the testing, confidentiality issues and privacy issues, among others. Cibull noted that drug testing is a reality in a variety of work situations and added that he would like more information about rationale. He added it would be beneficial to open the conversation about the proposed policy to a wider group, including potential new hires, in order to increase transparency and build trust in the proposal. He noted that he was in the College of Medicine and had not heard of the proposal until it was broached by the Chair. Duke added that the Chair's announcement was the first she had heard of the proposed policy as well.

Grossman wondered if the proposal had come forward in response to a situation that had arisen in the Hospital or College of Medicine. The Chair said the proposal was related to best hiring practices rather than any incident. Grossman wondered what sort of expense is associated with the proposed proposal. Cibull noted that if the proposal pertained to patient safety the cost may be irrelevant. Duke wondered if the lab staff at the hospital should be subject to the same sort of testing as those in patient care.

The Chair informed Dembo that Wilson may contact him in the future since Dentistry may begin talking about implementing the policy. Dembo expressed concern that the development of the policy did not seem very transparent and suggested that wide acceptance of the policy would be aided by improved communication. The Chair offered to invite Wilson to a future Senate Council meeting. Jones noted that the policy would have to come through the Senate Council as part of the mandatory advisory process for Human Resource policies that affects faculty employment.

2. Proposed Changes to AR's and GR's - presented by VP Ray

The Chair introduced Ray and asked her to briefly review the portion of the proposal previously presented to the Senate Council for the benefit of the new members. Ray reviewed the portion of the proposal presented by VP Martin during a November Senate Council meeting. She added the need to change the regulations as to how academic, administrative and academic support units are reviewed in one AR as opposed to two, and noted that current AR's don't provide for the review of chief academic officers above the rank of Dean but below the rank of President. She noted that the proposed policy would incorporate all of the changes mentioned above.

Ray highlighted the proposed changes to the ARs and GR and asked the Senate Council members for feedback. A link to the proposals will be included as part of the minutes.

Bailey asked if the unit under review would have the opportunity to reject the review committee's recommendations or suggestions. Ray said there was a spot to note the acceptance or rejection of suggestions on the review form.

Various Senate Council members expressed concerns and suggestions about a variety of issues. They are summarized below:

The issues raised by the Senate Council members will be distributed and reviewed via the listserv. After the Senate Council members agree that these are the primary issues of concern, the list will be forwarded to Ray.

3. Approval of Academic Calendars

The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the seven calendars as forwarded by the Registrar's Office. Jones asked if there were any references to the Winter Intersession in the proposed calendars. The Chair replied that no such references were included. Kaalund made a motion to approve the calendars, which was seconded by Grabau. Tagavi noted a typo on the second page of the main calendar. Ms. Scott will notify the Registrar's Office.

There being no further discussion, a vote was taken. Nine Senate Council members voted in favor of the motion, which passed without dissent.

Kennedy explained that he and Moore met with the Provost earlier in the day. Kennedy reported that the Provost suggested forming a committee to examine possible changes to the academic calendar. Kennedy said the committee would examine a proposal that would eliminate the one-day Fall break and cause classes to begin on Monday during the Fall semester. The three days of instructional time that was gained could be used to add three days off during the week of Thanksgiving such that the entire week would be a University holiday. Kennedy made a motion to form the committee he proposed. Moore seconded the motion.

Tagavi suggested that if the start-date for Fall semester is changed to Monday then the Spring start-date should be changed to Monday as well so as not to confuse people. To the list of three items for committee consideration Tagavi asked to add number four: to consider potentially altering the Spring semester as well.

Grossman suggested that if extra days are gained earlier in the semester then those days should be used between the end of class work and beginning of final exams at the end of every semester to allow students time to study. He suggested that if a break were to be created it should be for the academic purpose of providing study time rather than the purpose of allowing more time for travel arrangements over the Thanksgiving break. He proposed to add number five: that a short break be created between the last days of class and finals to allow for additional study time. Kennedy accepted the friendly amendments put forth by Tagavi and Grossman and Moore's second stood.

Dembo spoke in favor of adding a break at the end of the semester for study time and suggested that it might also lessen the number of complaints and questions received by the Ombud's office at the end of each semester regarding the nature of "dead week."

Grabau recommended a correction to Don Witt's title on the motion circulated by Kennedy. Kennedy agreed. Tagavi asked if Witt and Nietzel were going to be part of the committee. Kennedy said he thought of the two of them as consultants to the committee's deliberations. The Chair stressed that the committee's recommendation would come back through the Senate Council for consideration before going on to the Senate.

Dembo suggested that more than one student would be needed on the committee to ensure the student's perspective was heard. He noted that last time the issue was brought forward the Student Senate voted it down. The Chair reported the resignation of Odoi, which left Watt and Kaalund as possible student members from the Senate Council. Jones suggested selecting the committee's student membership from among the elected student Senators who sit on the University Senate.

There being no further discussion a vote was taken. Nine Senate Council members voted in favor of the motion, which passed without dissent.

4. USP External Review Committee Charge

The Chair provided some brief background for the benefit of the new Senate Council members and asked for feedback.

Jones left the meeting at this point.

The Chair noted that the review committee was composed of faculty members who had been recommended by the Senate Council during the previous Fall semester. He said the committee would attempt to make recommendations that emanated from the USP Committee's self-study and to serve as the organization committee to coordinate activities and work with the Provost, Associate Provost of Undergraduate Education, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Senate Council and its Chair. The Chair reported having been asked by the Provost to draft the committee's charge using language that was appropriate and acceptable to the Senate Council in terms of its role in the review and disposition of the funds provided by the President to invigorate various undergraduate initiatives. He noted that since the funds will expire at the end of the fiscal year the committee was understandably anxious to receive its charge and begin its work. He added that the review committee will not duplicate the efforts of the ad hoc committee on Enrollment Management, chaired by Grabau. The Chair asked if the Senate Council members had any questions.

Grabau expressed concern that the two parts of the committee's mission seemed disparate and asked if they could coexist in one committee. The Chair said his intention was to eliminate duplication of effort among competing committees and for that reason he recommended combining the two missions into one committee.

Cibull asked for information regarding the committee's membership. The Chair replied the committee will be led by Alan DeSantis and provided a list of the committee's membership. Tagavi asked to whom the committee will make its recommendations. The Chair replied that the committee will make recommendations to the Provost who would then forward any ensuing proposals to the Senate Council.

Cibull suggested it was odd that the committee's budget was under the control of the Senate Council while the committee reported to the Provost. The Chair noted that the funds had been provided by the President to the Chair of the Senate Council and that he was now working in good faith with other administrators to ensure a collaborative process. He underlined that the idea of this proposed arrangement emerged his understanding of Senate Council members' expressed desire to be involved in oversight and distribution of these funds. Dembo suggested this may be an excellent chance for the Provost and the Senate Council to work together to determine which workable solutions should be considered and forwarded to the Senate for approval.

Grossman made a motion to approve the committee's charge. Kaalund seconded the motion. After further brief discussion a vote was taken in which seven Senate Council members voted in favor of the motion. There were none opposed and no abstentions. Tagavi did not cast a vote in any category. The motion passed.

Kennedy noted that the Provost expressed interest in continuing to meet with the Senate Council on a regular basis. Ms. Scott will investigate this availability.

The hour being late, the meeting adjourned at 5:20. Remaining agenda items will be addressed at a future meeting.

Respectfully submitted by
Ernie Yanarella, Chair

Members present: Bailey, Cibull, Dembo, Duke, Grabau, Grossman, Jones, Kaalund, Kennedy, Lesnaw, Moore, Tagavi, Thelin, Yanarella.

Liaisons present: Greissman, Saunier.

Guest present: Ray.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on January 10, 2005.