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Senate Council Minutes - March 21, 2005

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

1. Approval of the Minutes from February 28, 2005

The Chair asked if there were any additional corrections or changes to the minutes. There being none, the minutes were approved.

2. Announcements

The Chair reported having met with representatives of the Staff Senate earlier in the day to discuss the Computer Store closing. He said he will poll the Senate to determine faculty sentiment on this issue and will report back to the Senate Council.

The Chair said he had been invited to serve as a member of the Admissions and Financial Aid Review Committee, which will review and discuss the impact of two recent Supreme Court rulings regarding the University of Michigan's admission policies and how those rulings will impact UK. He reported having recommended Tony Baxter for inclusion on the committee.

Ms. Scott said she had received questions from a few colleges regarding Senate elections. She said there was some confusion regarding the rules and which faculty members are eligible to run and vote versus those who were considered "faculty" for purposes of apportionment. The council discussed her suggestion that the codification of the Senate Rules on this point contain clarification that would prevent the confusion. Jones and Moore re-emphasized the importance that the college elections understand and comply with the Senate Rules for elections.

Jones noted that the Senate Council Chair, by way of exercising Presiding Officership at Senate meetings to ascertain a quorum, to recognize and record the votes of faculty members of the Senate, etc., has the de facto decisional responsibility to "seat" new faculty Senators, by necessarily ascertaining that the individuals present and voting are in fact properly elected Senators. Jones noted that when the elections were transferred to the colleges it was with the understanding that they would provide their election rules to the Senate Council office. He asked if that was the practice. Ms. Scott replied that some colleges were more thorough about that practice than others and offered to request the rules again.

Bailey asked if there was any new information regarding the interim Provost. The Chair said he expected an announcement soon but had no additional information. Bailey asked if there was any action required of the Senate Council regarding the formation of the search committee. The Chair said four unranked names were requested by the President, but it was unclear how many he would chose from that list and how large the committee would be in general. The Chair said he had sought clarification from the President and was awaiting a response. Bailey asked if the proposed regulations pertaining to faculty representation on search committees were already in place or still pending. Greissman said they were still pending and should be included in the GRs that will be read by the Board of Trustees at the May meeting and voted upon in June.

3. Admissions and Academic Standards Committee report

After the Senate Council members and guests introduced themselves, the Chair called upon the committee chair, Braun, to provide his committee's recommendations. Braun said the committee had met on March 2 to consider three proposals from the Graduate School regarding changes to doctoral programs (PDF).

Proposal 1: Braun outlined the proposal, noted the changes to the proposal at the level of the committee and recommended approval. Lesnaw asked how fellowships would be affected by the change. Blackwell replied that the Graduate School processes would be greatly simplified since there would be fewer different classifications of students and since payments would be smaller and spread more evenly. She said she was uncertain as to whether money would be saved or lost by the Graduate School, but expressed hope that students would have a financial reason to try to graduate sooner.

Slaymaker asked if the students who registered for two hours would be considered full-time. Blackwell replied that they would, and that they'd all pay in-state tuition. Grossman asked if Blackwell would have more funded positions since the Fellowship Office would distribute those funds in smaller dollar amounts. Blackwell replied that she needed information about her future budget, tuition rates and the other factors before making that decision.

There being no further discussion, the motion from the committee to approve the proposal passed without dissent. It will be forwarded to the April University Senate meeting for approval.

Proposal 2: Braun provided a summary of the proposal and said the committee recommended approval. Jones asked if by "the program" Blackwell meant to say "the graduate faculty of the program". Blackwell agreed to that interpretation and suggested change. Jones asked what was meant by "graduate student handbook." Blackwell said it was a title of her invention that was intended to prompt programs to develop such a document.

Cibull asked if the benchmarks have a five year deadline. Blackwell said the five year deadline was a compromise between herself and the Graduate Council since she originally suggested a three year deadline. Cibull asked what percentage of students complete the qualifying exam stage in five years. Blakcwell said it was discipline specific.

Lesnaw asked if the students who take longer than five years are generally full-time or part-time. Blackwell said that many of them were part-time. Lesnaw suggested including only full-time students in the proposal. Blackwell said that most programs require about 36 hours of work, which spread over five years was roughly 7 hours a year and well within the reach of part-time students.

Bailey said he understood why a shorter time period might be desirable in the sciences since lapses in time of even two years could mean the student's knowledge was no longer current and may require retraining. He said his program would likely indicate in its graduate student handbook that a shorter time period was expected of full-time students.

Lesnaw suggested it would save work for everybody involved if part-time students were exempt from the proposed time limit. Grossman noted that part-time students needed even more help staying engaged than full-time students. Blackwell added that some students switch back and forth between full-time and part-time, which would make time limits very difficult to track.

Bailey left the meeting at this time.

Grossman expressed concern that students who were in programs that required shorter time limits weren't going to be eligible for as much time when appealing for extension as students in programs with the regular five year time limit. He suggested changing the language to allow for up to a total of six years in the pre-qualifying period. Duke said that proposal was basically the original five years plus a one year extension, which didn't address the problem of keeping students engaged in current knowledge. Grossman suggested instead that the Graduate Council approve appeals from programs to reduce the time limit as well as appeals to increase it on a program-wide basis. He added there should be justification from the program to explain its need and oversight from the Graduate Council.

Grossman proposed an amendment that the last sentence of the first paragraph be changed to read "The graduate faculty of a program can allow a longer or shorter time limitation only by petition to Graduate Council." Kaalund seconded the amendment, which passed with five members voting in favor and one opposed.

Moore expressed concern about the second to last sentence of the proposal that discussed the majority vote of the graduate faculty in the program. He said he worried that the privacy of students may be violated in that the minutes of the meetings were public documents. Jones noted that under FERPA the meeting would be closed if confidential student information was being discussed.

Jones noted that in the second paragraph a reference to petition did not indicate from whom the petition was emanating. Blackwell said it was the department's DGS. Jones suggested including that explicitly in the proposal and Blackwell agreed.

Jones asked if the proposal would become part of the graduate faculty rules or if it would be a document internal to the dean's office. Blackwell said it would be both part of the DGS manual and the graduate faculty rules.

There being no further discussion a vote was taken on Proposal 2. The motion from the committee to approve passed without dissent. The proposal will be forwarded to the April University Senate meeting for approval.

Proposal 3: Braun outlined the third proposal and indicated the committee's positive recommendation. Lesnaw noted that at the bottom of the proposal there was language suggesting programs could specify consequences of lack of good progress in their graduate student handbooks. She wondered why programs would define good progress without also specifying consequences. Blackwell noted that some programs are interested in listing consequences while others view the process as a positive growing opportunity. Blackwell added that some programs may wish to tie progress to funding opportunities within the department. Lesnaw asked if the Graduate School currently had automatic rules regarding funding in place. Blackwell said the minimum rule was a GPA requirement of 3.0 or better, but that programs frequently implemented more stringent requirements.

Jones suggested a friendly amendment that the first sentence be changed to read: "In the Graduate Student Handbook, a majority vote of the graduate faculty of each doctoral program will define good progress to completion of the doctoral degree." Blackwell agreed.

There being no further discussion a vote was taken. The motion from the committee to approve was passed without dissent. The proposal will be sent to the April University Senate meeting for approval.

4. Proposed changes to AR regarding post-doctoral appointments

Proposed changes to AR regarding post-doctoral appointments (DOC)

Greissman reviewed the many times this proposal had been brought before the Senate Council and approved. He said the latest review was necessitated by information from the Office of International Affairs that for the past two years the University has been working under a different benefit policy. Instead of using University Health Services post-docs were eligible for participation in the University health plans instead. He added that the most recent changes had been in place with Nancy Ray but never codified in the AR's before she left the University. Greissman noted that the University health plans were more comprehensive and less expensive than coverage through University Health Services.

Slaymaker noted that both post-doc scholars and fellows are treated like employees in their eligibility for the University health plans and that they receive a health credit like other employees. She added that international students are required to carry medical evacuation and repatriation insurance as well, which they purchase through OIA. Slaymaker went on to say that visiting scholars are eligible for student insurance through University Health Services and avail themselves of that opportunity.

Cibull made a motion to approve the proposed changes. Kaalund seconded the motion, which passed without dissent. The proposed changes to the AR will be forwarded to the April University Senate meeting.

5. Nominating Committee discussion

Ms. Scott noted this item pertained to Tagavi's suggestion that a nominating committee be formed to address the various nominations requested from the Senate Council every year. Grossman suggested that the item be tabled since Tagavi was absent.

6. CPE representative discussion

Dembo provided some background on this item, noting that the CPE relies on appointees and also appointed faculty representatives. He added that a list of three possible faculty representatives is generated by all of the faculty regents and trustees from around the state and then forwarded to the Governor for his selection. Dembo noted that the CPE representative should be very knowledgeable about the perspectives of the faculty, state-wide higher education issues and academic processes.

Moore suggested nominating someone who had a good likelihood of being selected and who was known and respected by other trustees and regents across the state. He added that time was short and requested input regarding potential nominees by the following Senate Council meeting.

Cibull suggested John Thelin, who was absent. He also suggested Loys Mather. Moore noted that UK should only forward one name for consideration. Jones suggested the Chair contact the two individuals to determine if either of them was available and/or interested. The Chair will investigate and report back. Grossman suggested using the listserv since there was a pressing time issue. Grossman added that if both Thelin and Mather were available and interested then Moore and Kennedy should select which name gets sent forward.

7. Visit from Dean Perman, College of Medicine

The Chair thanked Perman for attending and invited him to discuss the future of he college and any issues he'd like to raise that relate to faculty and shared governance.

Perman thanked the Chair and provided a brief sketch of his career to date. He noted that his former Dean at the University of Maryland was instrumental in his education regarding shared governance. He said his dean's resistance to shared governance helped form and strengthen his understanding of its enactment. He spoke favorably of his interactions with the COM faculty council and stated how important the faculty voice was in educational policy making.

Perman expressed concern about gender inequity in the COM leadership and discussed a series of breakfasts he had with female faculty in the college to help unearth gender issues. He noted that many issues had emerged, but that some of them were decidedly gender-neutral issues like promotion and tenure concerns while others pertained to things like on-site childcare. He expressed hope that open dialogue about issues of concern would yield solutions and said that while he uncovered few gender-specific concerns he was glad to learn about which issues faculty were most concerned.

Perman said he hoped to foster more career growth and management opportunities in the college. He noted that when a chair leaves an interim chair is appointed and a national search undertaken. He added that during the year or so until a new chair is appointed work slows down, morale is affected, costs increase and decisions are not made. He suggested there might be a more effective way of bring up leaders and grooming groups of people who showed interest in eventually taking on management roles.

Grossman noted that in Arts and Sciences the chair usually rotates among the department faculty. Cibull added he was unsure as to the legality of not conducting a national search for a vacant chair. Perman said his concern wasn't necessarily related to whether the search was internal or external, but wanted to place more emphasis on conveying the message that internal candidates have an opportunity for advancement and should be mentored accordingly.

Dembo applauded Perman's suggestion, noting that mentorship has not traditionally been one of the University's strengths. He added his hope that COM may set the pace for the rest of the University in this endeavor. Moore concurred that the University does not do a good job of creating leaders from within the institution and added his praise to those offered by Dembo.

Greissman noted the first issue to address may be term limits. He noted that those faculty members who were being mentored and groomed may wish to know that achieving the chair position was a possibility within a defined period of time rather than endlessly wondering when the chair would become vacant.

Jones noted that one way Perman could help the Senate Council was in regard to curricular proposals that emanated from the College. He said that while the vote of the faculty council was usually registered quite clearly it was not always clear how the department or program faculty voted on a particular issue. He asked Perman to make sure faculty votes are noted on proposals coming out of the college.

The Chair asked Perman to address the efficacy of the Provost model and how it was working with regard to the newly unified campus. He also sought possible suggestions for improvement. Perman said it was difficult for him to separate the Provost system from the Provost himself, of whom he spoke very positively. He reported having received support from the Provost, who he said was very perceptive of the issues revolving around health science faculty and the clinical area in general. He said the Provost has been a friend to the COM dean and hoped the future Provost was as supportive and approachable.

Grossman provided an outline of how chairs are appointed in the College of Arts and Sciences. Perman agreed that there were many positive aspects to that model but noted that frequent attrition in the position of chair in COM would jeopardize the college's standing in the marketplace as a clinical enterprise.

Dembo said that during the planning phases of the change to the Provost model there had been some concern about how the different roles of the Provost, the EVPHA and the COM dean would all mesh together. He asked Perman to share his views on this topic. Perman replied that it is relatively easy to separate academic matters from clinical enterprise matters and had so far not encountered an issue that wasn't obviously in one camp or the other.

The Chair thanked Perman for attending and thanked Jones for suggesting the invitation. He said the Senate Council would look forward to working with Perman on issues in the future.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 5:02.

Respectfully submitted by
Ernie Yanarella, Chair

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

Liaisons present: Greissman, Saunier.

Guests present: Bettez, Blackwell, Bond, Braun, Clancey, Jackson, Perman, Slaymaker.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on March 21, 2005.