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Senate Council Minutes - February 21, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, February 21, 2005 at 3:00pm in room 103 Main Building and took the following actions.

1. Senate Council minutes from February 7, 2005

The Chair asked if there were any corrections or changes to the minutes. Tagavi drew the Council's attention to his suggested changes and underscored their importance. The minutes were approved as amended.

2. Announcements

The Chair said that Ms. Scott has been coordinating breakfast with the Provost. Ms. Scott said breakfast will be Friday, March 4 from 8:00 to 9:00, and the location will be announced.

The Chair announced that there will be two candidates for the Board of Trustees faculty representative seat. Michael Kennedy and Jeff Dembo were both nominated. He added that the nominations were announced at 4:30 the preceding Friday and were witnessed by Ms. Scott, himself, Tagavi and Kennedy.

The Chair noted that Tammie Disco from the Women's Forum Board was present to discuss a proposal from that body to sponsor or co-sponsor some "meet the candidates" forums on campus. Disco suggested holding two forums, one in the medical center and one in a more central campus location.

Dembo, Cibull and Saunier entered at this time.

Disco added that the Women's Forum Board had hosted forums for the staff representative to the Board of Trustees in the past and wanted to host forums for the faculty election as well. She noted that the WFB represents both faculty and staff so it seemed fitting to offer forums for both types of elections.

The Chair said there had been significant discussion on the listserv regarding this issue and thanked Davy for his comments. He pointed out Kennedy's discussion on this topic and noted that various other Senate Council members had registered their concerns that the Senate Council remain neutral during the election. He asked the Senate Council to discuss the proposal.

Disco said the WFB was interested on co-sponsoring the forums but said it could also sponsor the events alone. She said the intent of the WFB was to serve as a conduit to the faculty so the candidates could talk about the issues. She suggested a commentator could help moderate the process. She concluded by saying the WFB's intention was to help the election process.

Tagavi asked if the WFB was a registered campus group. Disco replied that they were and added that their membership was elected from among both the faculty and the staff of the University. Jones asked if the WFB was a body that was required to exist under regulations. Disco replied that she suspected not but was unfamiliar with the origins of the group.

Bailey said he thought the initiative should be welcomed but was not sure what advantages there were to co-sponsorship. Disco pointed out that co-sponsorship would help the faculty understand that the Senate Council was involved. Lesnaw asked if there were forums in the past and, if so, who hosted them. The Chair replied that the Senate Council has not played a role previously. He added that the staff forums were hosted by the WFB and that it seemed appropriate to them to do for the faculty what they had done for the staff. Kennedy said he didn't think there had been a faculty forum for the election to the Board of Trustees previously. Jones agreed, noting there may have been some at the college level.

Cibull said that since the WFB wasn't asking the Senate Council to do anything to expend any energy he didn't see the need for such extensive debate. Tagavi noted that they were at the minimum asking to coordinate the voting schedule around the forums. Cibull thought the forums were a good idea and spoke in favor of facilitating the election around the forums.

Tagavi said he was aware that Kennedy was in favor of the forums and asked if Dembo was as well. Dembo replied that the issues facing campus can never be discussed too much.

Bailey made a motion to welcome the initiative on the part of the WFB and that the Senate Council will work to accommodate them in meeting this initiative. The Chair pointed out that various Rules and Elections issues may preclude full accommodation but that the Senate Council should work to facilitate this. He added that anything that provides open venues for faculty to hear about the issue of the direction of the University is all to the good. He noted that anything that encourages and facilitates voting among a relatively demoralized faculty body works to the advantage of the Senate Council.

Grossman agreed with the motion, especially in light of the agreement by both candidates to participate.

Lesnaw seconded the motion.

Bailey noted that as a WFB initiative it would be the purview of that body to conduct the forums in the manner they saw fit.

Tagavi offered the friendly amendment that the Rules and Elections committee facilitate and accommodate. Bailey accepted the amendment and Lesnaw's second stood.

The Chair made a comment, for the record, in regard to the Senate Council office and those are members of it. He said they had talked about this issue and the absolute importance of neutrality emanating from that office, which in large and small ways they were concerned about maintaining. He said it was entirely appropriate for Davy to voice his concerns but did want to make it clear that his office is well aware of these issues, especially since two very strong candidates who sit on the Senate Council were vying for the seat on the Board.

There being no further discussion on the motion, the Chair called for a vote. The motion passed without dissent. The Chair thanked Disco and she departed.

The final announcement was from Greissman, who thanked the Senate Council and the Senate for expeditiously and favorably hearing the Honors Program proposal. He said it was very nice to not have to qualify statements when speaking with merit students and their families and offered thanks on behalf of the committee.

3. Graduation Writing Requirement update

Graduation Writing Requirement update (DOC)

The Chair provided some brief background and thanked Eldred for attending. Eldred provided a brief overview of the recent history of the writing program at the University. She and Grossman, a committee member, outlined the proposed changes to the Bulletin and addressed the issue of governance. Eldred noted under section III on Governance that the committee would be appointed by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education with advice from the Senate Council.

Bailey suggested that instead of approving or rejecting the courses the committee should make recommendations. He asked if the power to reject or approve the courses would reside with the Undergraduate Council. Eldred replied that the committee would be able to say whether or not the courses satisfied the graduation writing requirement, but added that the Undergraduate Council would still have to approve new or changed courses. Bailey said that while the idea of an advisory group was a good one he was concerned that it not have too much power.

Greissman offered an analogous situation in the body of the USP committee. He noted that while that committee doesn't approve courses it does approve them for inclusion for credit in the University Studies Program and suggested that in that regard they function in much the same way as the proposed advisory committee. Jones noted that in the analogy offered by Greissman the USP committee receives its authority to vet proposals from the Senate.

Duke asked Eldred to explain the faculty development funds. Eldred replied that modest funds had been designated from the Provost's office for a three-year period. She said the committee will identify one or two programs per year that are interested in integrating writing into the curriculum and would then bring in consultants, speakers, graduate students and undergraduate peer tutors to help cause the change. She said the effort would be focused for about a year before moving on to another program in need of assistance.

Saunier asked if this committee would review transfer of credit requests and, if so, if the request was granted on an individual student basis or per college. Eldred replied that she wasn't sure but that she currently evaluated those requests on a student-by-student basis. Grossman noted that this was just the sort of question that should go to the ad hoc committee chaired by Eldred for discussion.

Tagavi asked why the proposed advisory committee would be composed of four or five members and asked that they choose which number they would like. Eldred replied the committee didn't have a strong opinion on that issue either way. Tagavi also said he was uncomfortable giving the final authority on a purely educational matter to a committee appointed by the administration. He said that such a committee should be appointed by the Undergraduate Council or by the Senate Council rather than the Associate Provost.

Ms. Scott explained that the USP Committee is appointed by the Senate Council while the Undergraduate Council was elected from among the colleges.

Grossman suggested changing the wording of the proposal to say the committee would be appointed by the Senate Council with recommendations from the Associate Provost. Bailey suggested changing the word "approval" to "recommendation," in which case the committee could still be appointed by the Associate Provost. Duke agreed and thought the committee should make recommendations to the Undergraduate Council.

Eldred expressed concern that the rather large membership of the Undergraduate Council may not appreciate the extra work involved in reviewing every single proposal. Tagavi suggested the advisory committee could write a brief report regarding each course. Kaalund suggested making the advisory committee a committee of the Senate to incorporate it into the Senate's governance process.

Dembo noted that currently the Senate is responsible for approving every single course and program change but noted that not every Senator reads every proposal. He suggested that from a faculty governance perspective an elected group like the Undergraduate Council would be a better body to which to make writing recommendations than an appointed body like the USP Committee. Bailey added his suspicion that the Undergraduate Council would be responsive to suggestions from the advisory committee.

Eldred said that if the Undergraduate Council didn't have to read every syllabus then she wasn't opposed to the suggestions raised by Senate Council members.

Tagavi suggested that the advisory committee should have final authority on disposition of the funding for faculty and program development. The Senate Council members expressed general agreement with that idea.

The Chair noted that five recommendations were being put forth by the ad hoc committee: changes to the bulletin, criteria for course approval, program assessment for SACS, governance and changes to the Senate Rules. He asked the Senate Council members if they had any additional suggestions, criticism or alternatives.

Tagavi asked if a student took a writing course that required six paper and they get As on five of them and a D on the sixth, what grade would the student receive in the course? Eldred replied the student would receive either an E or an I. If the student received an I he or she would be given an opportunity to revise the D paper in an effort to improve the writing and raise the grade. If the student failed to improve the grade of E would be assigned. Grossman replied that one of the major factors to consider was how instructors would define major assignments that counted as part of the requirement. If fifteen pages of writing are required and six papers are assigned then it is likely that more than 15 pages would be produced.

Cibull offered an example in which a student took an Engineering class that was part of the writing program and performed flawlessly on the Engineering portion of the class but wrote terribly. He asked if the student could be prevented from passing. Eldred replied that the committee had considered this subject thoroughly and felt that a D grade on a paper did not constitute satisfactory writing.

Eldred said that for the time being students can say whether or not they are taking the course to satisfy the requirement by enrolling either for the regular class or for the W class, ENG 203 and ENG 203W being examples. She said the problem with this arrangement is that students can't add or drop one in favor of the other once they discover they are either doing well or poorly.

Cibull asked if there was a proposal from the committee to allow the add/drop date to be waived for students who find themselves in this situation. Eldred replied that no such recommendation was forthcoming at this time. Cibull said that a solution should be found to resolve this particular problem in order for the proposal to be approved.

Greissman said that in an ideal world writing would be integral to the course in such a way that wouldn't allow it to be separated from the rest of the material. He asked if a possible solution would be to allow the instructor to award credit for the ordinary course and the instructor could then award credit for the fulfillment of the writing requirement, if appropriate. Eldred asked if the student would receive six hours or three. She said if three, then the student would receive two grades, which was one of the unacceptable suggestions already discussed by the ad hoc committee.

Tagavi expressed concern that for the first time a committee is proposing going into a classroom and telling the instructor how do teach the course. He said he thought the proposal encroached into the professor's discretion.

The Chair proposed to ask Eldred and Grossman to return to the next Senate Council meeting after they had a chance to vet with the ad hoc committee the issues raised by the Senate Council and to give the committee a chance to revise the proposal with more specificity. He noted that a delay of one week would still allow the proposal to move forward to the March Senate meeting, pending Senate Council approval. Cibull suggested the Senate Council members forward additional concerns or questions to Eldred.

The Chair said he was pleased that the Senate Council had been able to reach a consensus on the governance issue. Eldred said that if the D policy is eliminated then an alternative will have to be inserted in its place. Grossman suggested she prepare a list of the alternatives for Senate Council review.

The Chair thanked Eldred and she departed.

4. College of Communications minor course changes

College of Communications minor course changes (DOC)

The Chair indicated his discomfort with approving these minor course changes and asked the Senate Council to provide him with some guidance. He said the request was to change the prerequisites such that the responsibility for allowing students to enter the courses changed was moved from the course instructor to the department. He added that he had invited Waldhart and Harrington so they could answer questions and help allay his concerns.

Harrington said that from the department perspective the request was simple. She said the change in prerequisites would create a fairer environment for the students and would help the department ensure that all of the faculty members were following the regulations. She added that checking each student's request at the departmental level would allow oversight of the students' records to make sure the necessary prerequisites were met before being allowed into a course.

Jones asked if by "department approval" Harrington meant that the approved criteria of the faculty body were being used or if she meant that she as department chairperson was controlling admission to the courses in question. Waldhart replied that the faculty of the department has approved the criteria that she and Harrington applied them to individual requests as they were received through the on-line request system.

Tagavi asked if the students had to receive the approval of the department chair or the DUS. Harrington replied that most of the responsibility fell to Waldhart but that she as chair helped upon occasion. Tagavi expressed concern that the prerequisite says the students have to have had the appropriate courses "and" receive departmental approval. He suggested "or" would be more appropriate and wondered if the criteria on which requests were heard were clearly published somewhere so students could review the criteria. Waldhart replied that she did not have a copy of the criteria with her, but could provide one if necessary.

Tagavi asked what other criteria, aside from the completion of COM 249, were required for admission to COM 449. Waldhart replied that the department sees many Agricultural Communications students, for whom the course is an elective, adding that the department checks to make sure those students have priority over students who don't need that course to fulfill a specific purpose. She added that the department takes a student's major and minor into consideration when approving requests as well.

Bailey asked for a description of how pervasive the problem was in terms of how many students are gaining entrance to classes in which they shouldn't be enrolled. The representatives from Communications said they didn't know exactly how many students. The Chair asked them to provide a number range. Waldhart replied that in many ways the problem has been about their own majors going around the requirements and gaining entrance to particular courses than about outside majors. Bailey asked why the department hasn't dealt with the problem by asking the faculty to follow the requirements. Harrington replied that she had tried to do so but felt that mistakes might be lessened if the decision was handled at the departmental level.

The Chair said his inclination had been to reject the minor course changes and thanked the Senate Council for helping discover some other items for consideration. He said he now had more specific questions that he could ask Waldhart and Harrington over the next few days. Cibull suggested that the decision would be made easier if the Senate Council could receive a written list of the criteria and some evidence that the faculty of the department had approved those criteria and delegated the authority of enforcing them to the DUS and department chair. The Chair said he would report back to the Senate Council on his disposition of these minor course changes.

5. Motion regarding growth of Nursing program

Motion regarding growth of Nursing program (DOC)

The Chair thanked Dean Williams from Nursing for attending to address the motion. Kennedy reiterated the motion and its intent for the benefit of the Dean and asked what the College of Nursing would need to grow its enrollment. Williams provided a very thorough and complex presentation in which she outlined the role of the University of Kentucky at the level of state-wide nursing education and explained that while other institutions are responsible for producing entry-level nurses, the thrust of UK's efforts was to produce faculty and administrators who could help educate the next generation of nurses. She noted that the College of Nursing is very proud of its excellent undergraduate education and will do everything it can to continue that tradition. She hoped, though, that any additional resources provided to the College would be aimed at its graduate education mission. She addressed several of the limitations faced by Nursing if it were to increase its undergraduate education efforts, including Board of Nursing regulations and the lack of appropriate clinical spaces in which to train students. She noted that in addition to a national nursing shortage there was also a national shortage in Nursing faculty and hoped the University would continue its efforts to address that shortage.

Kennedy said he thought he understood and offered the analogy that instead of making lumber Williams was interested in making lumber mills. He said he was very sensitive to Williams' argument and appreciated the need to increase the number of nurses serving in faculty rolls.

The Chair thanked Williams for her time and asked the Senate Council members to consider this issue at its next meeting.

Cibull left the meeting at this point.

6. Proposed changes to the AR regarding Post-Doctoral appointments

Proposed changes to the AR regarding Post-Doctoral appointments (DOC)

Watt reminded the Senate Council that it had previously approved changes to this document but that since that time new concerns were raised by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Executive Vice President for Research. He noted that a new sentence had been inserted on page three that addressed Grossman's concern that perhaps post-docs would be held in those positions longer than they should be to the benefit of their faculty advisors. Watt thanked Greissman for correcting the language that reflected the old Chancellor system.

Jones asked why issues relating to post-doctoral scholars were still under the auspices of the EVPR rather than the Provost. Watt replied that the language on the first page that delegated certain matters to Deans might ease Jones' concern and noted that if the EVPR wished she could delegate authority to Dean Blackwell to process the appointments in question. Jones asked if the Provost approved this arrangement. Greissman said he was uncertain and added that the effect of this version was that the Dean of the Graduate School has the primary authority on these matters whereas previous version made it clear that the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies had primary responsibility but could delegate it to the Dean. Watt noted that changes at this point in the approval process would necessitate backing the proposal up and circulating it again.

Tagavi presented a similar concern to the one raised by Jones when he asked for clarification of the following sentence, "Individuals whose experience and training exceed that of learner or apprentice shall be considered as visiting scholars and are under the jurisdiction of the Provost or the Executive Vice President for Research, as appropriate." He asked if that language could be clarified to explain the intent of the sentence.

Greissman suggested that the Provost, Dean Blackwell and EVPR Baldwin meet to discuss the various delegation and authority issues and present a revised version to the Senate Council that eliminated some of the ambiguity of the present version.

The Chair thanked Watt for his time and he departed, as did Grossman and Kaalund.

The Chair asked that the committee nomination issue be discussed by e-mail. He noted that since the quorum had departed the remaining action items must wait until the subsequent meeting. He apologized for the length of the agenda and thanked the Senate Council members for their time.

Respectfully submitted by
Ernie Yanarella, Chair

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

Liaisons present: Greissman, Saunier.

Guests present: Harrington, Disco, Eldred, Waldhart, Watt, Williams.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott.