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Senate Council Minutes - April 4, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 3:00 pm in 103 Main Building and took the following actions.

1. Approval of the Minutes from March 28, 2005

The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes in addition to those submitted by Tagavi prior to the meeting. There being none, the minutes were approved as amended.

2. Announcements

The Chair announced that the Provost requested names for the College of Nursing dean search committee, but that he didn't know how many names were expected or when they were due. He added that a nominee for the police chief search committee had been requested as well, and that the name of the nominee was expected within 10 days.

Tagavi said the Provost should be required to provide information about the composition of the CON dean search committee before the Senate Council submitts nominees. He suggested the Chair tell the Provost to seek nominations from the CON faculty council. Jones noted that according to the GRs the Provost is compelled to seek input from the Senate Council. Grossman noted the input of the Senate Council could take the shape of a recommendation that the Provost seek nominees from the CON faculty. It being the sense of the Senate Council that he should do so, the Chair will notify the Provost of the same.

Ms. Scott gave an update on the progress of Board of Trustees faculty representative elections, noting how many electronic and paper ballots had been received to date. She said that voting will continue until noon on Friday and that the vote tally would occur in 203E Main Building with all interested parties invited to attend.

Jones announced the findings of a recent open records request in which he discovered that nine faculty members had been denied promotion or tenure at the level of the dean over the past year. Cibull asked how many had received tenure or promotion, to which Jones replied that those decisions were yet to be finalized. Grossman asked how many faculty members received positive recommendations from the deans. Jones estimated maybe sixty or seventy positive recommendations. Grossman suggested obtaining that information.

3. Discussion on Computer Store closing

The Chair thanked Butler and company for attending and made them welcome. He provided some brief background on the Senate Council's interest in this topic and yielded the floor to Butler.

Butler said that when he first started acting as the EVPFA in October he had reviewed a request to provide funding to renovate a new space for the Computer Store to occupy. Rather than grant the request he reviewed the function of the store and suspected its efforts were duplicated elsewhere on campus. He reported having spoken with some people who were directly involved and determined that there were resources available elsewhere on campus to provide the same services. He noted the need to implement efficiencies and improving the standardization of desktop computing services on Main Campus as he had done in the Medical Center. He added that a RFP would be issued shortly for a single preferred vendor for the University's desktop computing needs. He suggested that more standardized equipment will be key in the implementation of the IRIS project. He added that as EVPFA he has tried to increase savings in order to increase the raise pool, and would examine other opportunities for savings in the future. He said Gene Williams, Zed Day and Doyle Friskney were along with him today to explain how changes caused by the closure of Computer Store would be managed.

Grossman expressed concern that a single preferred vendor would not be able to address all of the equipment needs the faculty might have when conducting research. Specifically, he worried about the many faculty members who use Macintosh systems for their research and the lack of availability of those machines under a single vendor contract. Day replied that many faculty in the Medical Center continue to use Macintosh machines and that exceptions would also be made on the rest of campus. He added that Macintosh machines are not as well supported as the standard equipment, but they do the best they can and will continue to provide what support they can. Grossman noted that many faculty members don't receive support at all as it is now and rely on Computer Stores to provide expertise.

Lesnaw said she had recently purchased an Apple laptop and had saved hundreds of dollars on software by walking to Computer Stores and placing the order. She said that while she understood the need to save money on bulk systems purchases she worried that the single purchase researcher wouldn't be able to utilize those software services in the future. Williams said that the Apple contract will not change.

Kennedy said he had requested a price quote over the internet and had gotten the exact same computer from Computer Stores for less money. Williams said the issue was more the economy of scale than individual purchases. He said the price will be driven down by obtaining a single vendor contract, adding that right now the rebates for purchases go to Computer Stores. Kennedy said it was his understanding that Computer Stores was partially funded by those rebates. Williams replied that Computer Stores marks up all computers 4-5% and were planning to increase that figure to finance the proposed renovations to their new location. He added that the rebates will now be put back into the pool to drive the prices further down, noting that those who buy in bulk will experience even bigger savings. Kennedy added that the Computer Stores price for printer cables was roughly half of what he found at Best Buy or CompUSA. Williams noted that cables and peripherals would be covered by the single vendor contract as well.

Cibull asked how students would be served after Computer Stores closes. Williams said that while he wasn't sure which services were currently provided by Computer Stores he was confident that students would be well-served by Mark Denomme and his group. He said they would make sure somebody attended all summer advising conferences with complete system packages to answer questions from interested students and parents. Williams added that he would charge Denomme and his group with developing a support program for students since he operates all the student computing labs.

Cibull said that while some faculty enjoy computer support within their own departments others do not. He asked how Williams was prepared to address the needs of those faculty members. Williams said that he currently has five full-time people who provide desktop support and said he had repurposed two additional positions which he will fill for that purpose. He said they will do most of their support through downloads and remote access but will make "housecalls" during the first year of standardization if need be.

The Chair noted that the Computer Store currently offers a personal touch when dealing with faculty members and that they were often helpful with things like end of fiscal year purchases and grant issues. He added that their helpfulness had mobilized support for retaining the Computer Store. He worried that the loss of the Computer Store would cause slower response times for equipment purchase and advice. Williams replied the Denomme would be able to find solutions to such potential problems.

Cibull expressed concern that while Medical Center computer controls desktop support many faculty members still buy their equipment through Computer Stores. He worried that once that option is gone there will be a loss in the level of support available. Williams said that ten years ago when he started Computer Stores there was a high need for a centralized entity that had expertise in this particular area. He said that people are generally more educated about computers now and don't require the same level of assistance that they used to.

Kennedy asked if he would be able to buy a laptop for less money after Computer Stores closes and a new regime is in place. Williams replied that he would. He added that the University of Missouri was able to save over a million dollars a year by closing their store and believes that this arrangement will produce a notable drop in prices. Kennedy said he was asking about himself as an individual. Williams said that while individuals can buy systems on contract he was unsure about the pricing. Lesnaw said her previous questions of how students would make purchases and how Macintoshes would be purchased were along those same lines. Williams replied that he didn't know the answer to those questions yet but that Friskney was working to find the answers. Lesnaw asked that Friskney solicit input from faculty and students on those processes involving purchases in order to help quell the panic that was produced by the announcement of the Computer Store's closing. Friskney said he would seek the advice of those involved. He added that he expected every contract either to remain exactly the same or to reduce costs. Williams added that more people on campus use Macintosh machines than one might expect.

Grossman said he and others experienced anxiety when thinking about the advice that will evaporate when Computer Stores closes. He used the example of projector purchases, since few faculty members know much about what sort of projectors they might need. Williams said that a list of information about "hot items" will be maintained, but that his area won't be receiving any additional funds for staffing. He said Denomme's group will match the service provided by Computer Stores. Butler added that the savings that will result are not going to either Day or Williams, but instead will go back to the departments.

The Chair expressed concern about the ten people who currently work in Computer Stores who will lose their jobs. Williams replied that two of those positions will be repurposed within Purchasing. Day added that he hoped the remaining people will apply for some open positions in MCIS.

The Chair thanked Butler, Williams, Day and Friskney for attending and they departed.

4. Follow-up visit from VP Ray

Ray outlined the ways in which she had addressed or incorporated suggestions on the AR and GR from the Senate Council members. The Chair noted that his position should be referred to as Senate Council chair or University Senate presiding officer since the President of the University was technically Chair of the University Senate. Ray agreed to the change. Jones noted the word "members" should be added to the last paragraph of the GR when referring to "faculty".

Tagavi asked if an officer could request a review of himself/herself. Ray replied that they could. Tagavi asked if such a request would alter the regular review cycle. Ray replied that such requests would be considered with the need to keep the unit review and administrator review parallel.

Jones asked how a dean could be made to do something he or she was told to do in his or her evaluation. Ray replied that the evaluation was an improvement plan that will be shared with that individuals direct reports, adding that the improvement plan would then become the basis for annual reviews. She said the review should be used as an accountability tool.

After further clarification about the process of the review, Ray asked if she had the Senate Council's support to forward the proposed changes to the President. The Senate Council expressed its support. The Chair thanked Ray for her attendance, hard work and willingness to engage in a transparent process and Ray departed.

5. Winter Intersession discussion

Winter Intersession discussion (DOC)

The Chair thanked the Provost for attending. The Provost asked the Senate Council for its endorsement to continue the Winter Intersession in light of the data obtained and compiled by Greasley.

Tagavi expressed concern that faculty receive such little pay for teaching during the Winter Intersession. The Provost said that each faculty member could work with department chairs and deans to negotiate additional pay above the minimum. He added that faculty are not required to participate in the Winter Intersession but ask to participate if interested.

Grossman asked if there was some mechanism in place to compare learning between regular semester classes and those offered during Winter Intersession. Grossman said he was worried that a professor would pretend to teach something, the students would pretend to learn something, but that no learning would actually occur. The Provost replied that faculty evaluations were very favorable, even among those faculty who were initially skeptical. He added that UK was very late to offer a Winter Intersession and that other Universities had already provided years of assessment data that indicated that learning outcomes were the same during the short session and hoped UK could take advantage of that incremental empiricism. Cibull suggested that assessment should be provided for those courses that were required. The Provost replied that departments were welcome to provide assessment if they felt it was needed.

In response to further inquiry from Tagavi regarding pay for teaching in the Winter Intersession, Greasley noted that five of the twelve classes were taught by TAs who receive more money in the winter than they would have teaching the same course in the summer. He added that the additional money returns to the department so the faculty member who is willing to teach can negotiate with the chair and the dean regarding salary. The Provost added that he did not recommend changing the profit split at this time. He reiterated that departments could fund assessment out of their profits if they saw the need.

Lesnaw asked if the success of the Winter Intersession had caused the Provost to consider other configurations during the summer months. The Provost replied that there were any number of possibilities that could be explored, the most likely of which was two six-week summer sessions.

The Provost asked the Senate Council to keep the feedback and the demand of the students in mind when making a decision. The Chair thanked the Provost and Greasley for attending and they departed.

Cibull made a motion to endorse the request with the stipulation that some attempt be made to evaluate the quality of the education for those courses that are required courses in the student's major and that are also offered during the regular terms, and that a report of such assessment be presented to the Senate after the end of the Winter Intersession 2005. Kaalund seconded the motion.

Tagavi again raised the issue of funding for faculty who chose to teach in the Winter Intersession, suggesting that there should instead be a flat fee or a percentage of salary given to professors.

Kaalund spoke in favor of the motion, noting that SGA hears from students that they enjoy and benefit from the Winter Intersession.

Greissman pointed out that the Provost has deliberately decentralized the process of salary negotiations to allow greater flexibility among colleges and departments. He agreed with the Provost that the issue of salary should be a discussion between the faculty member, the chair and the dean.

After further discussion the motion passed with seven Senate Council members voting for the motion. Tagavi did not vote, nor did he abstain.

6. Proposed changes to Academic Offenses policy

Grossman noted that Tagavi had brought up a line in the student Code of Conduct that faculty may not have the power to decide who should hear a student's appeal. He suggested that since the Code was currently under revision and up for review by the Board the Senate Council could either proceed on the assumption that the new Code would be adopted by the Board or wait until after the Board adopted the new Code. Cibull and Jones both suggested waiting to act until after the Board adopted a new Code.

Cibull made a motion to table the proposal until after the Board of Trustees adopts a new Code of Student Conduct. Jones seconded the motion.

Kaalund spoke against the motion, noting that faculty members who don't follow the existing Senate Rules are potentially open to litigation. Cibull said it would be a mistake to develop a new policy while the policy on which it relied was in the midst of change.

Grossman also spoke against the motion, noting the current policy was not being enforced and would come up repeatedly during Spring, Summer and Fall 2005 until a new policy could be implemented. He expressed concern that faculty were not being made to abide by the Rules as written and that a resolution of this matter was urgent to the students who find themselves in this situation.

After further discussion Lesnaw called the question. Six votes were cast in favor of the motion with two opposed (Kaalund and Grossman). The motion passed. The proposal will be tabled until the first possible Senate Council meeting after the June Board of Trustees meeting.

7. Proposed Resolution

Tagavi suggested determining whether or not the Senate Council was in favor of presenting a resolution before discussing the specific wording of it. The Chair replied that individual members may be in favor of or against such an idea based entirely upon the content of the resolution and would not be in favor of taking such a straw poll.

Cibull and Lesnaw suggested that no good would come of the resolution and thought it would be overly antagonistic. Kaalund disagreed, thinking a resolution now might stave off future incidents, though admittedly not changing the present situation. Grossman agreed with Kaalund, as did Jones. Duke suggested that while a resolution was in order the wording of the present resolution was overly adversarial and should be altered.

Jones suggested the issue be revisited on the listserv. Grossman suggested the last sentence of the resolution be deleted. Cibull suggested a subcommittee of people be assigned the task of developing draft language that could be reviewed on the listserv. Jones, Grossman and Cibull were suggested, but Cibull yielded his place to Lesnaw. Lesnaw suggested the resolution be non-case specific, addressing the greater issue of shared governance rather than the specific issue at hand.

8. University Senate Agenda

April 11, 2005 Agenda (DOC)

With the Senate Council's actions earlier in the meeting there was need to delete the Academic Offense policy proposal and the Resolution from the Senate agenda. Tagavi reminded the Chair that a memorial resolution for Don Leigh would be read at the April meeting. Lesnaw made a motion to approve the agenda, which was seconded by Kaalund and passed without dissent.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 5:40pm.

Respectfully submitted by
Ernie Yanarella, Chair

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

Liaisons present: Greissman, Saunier.

Guests present: Butler, Cormney, Day, Edgerton, Friskney, Greasley, Nietzel, Portavilo, Ray, Troutman, Williams.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on April 11, 2005.