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Senate Council Minutes - November 21, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 3:00 pm in room 103 of the Main Building. Below is a record of what transpired.

The meeting was called to order at 3:11 pm.

The Chair noted the presence of guests Jennifer Brueckner from the College of Medicine and Bob Houtz from the Horticulture Department.

1. Approval of the Minutes from November 7, 2005

Approval of minutes was postponed until the November 27 meeting.

2. Announcements

The Chair noted that Jones had put forth names for the Humanities & Arts and Social Sciences Area Committees. The Senate Council affirmed the Chair's intent to send the names forward. The Chair thanked Jones for his hard work in identifying and contacting said individuals. Jones requested the Chair receive additional information from the President's Office in the future as to the specific areas to be identified for possible area committee members. The Chair agreed.

3. Graduate Certificate in Anatomical Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Anatomical Sciences (PDF)

The Chair noted this proposal came from the Academic Programs Committee. Guest Brueckner explained that the idea for the proposal developed over the past two years. During the course of the program, graduate students would develop a teaching style and serve as an instructor in a gross anatomy course. Jones questioned if the certificate would pass scrutiny by the accreditation agency due to a student acting as instructor. Brueckner replied that it would.

In response to a question from Duke, Brueckner explained that the certificate would be of interest to a variety of students. The certificate would be a tiered program that teaches anatomical science with practical tips. It would involve an introduction to teaching, offer practicum experience and require a seminar course. The certificate was intended to be discipline specific with limited theory. The one-year time commitment was built to be flexible to accommodate schedules. There is no similar certificate at benchmark institutions.

Tagavi asked for clarification regarding the acronym, "IBS." Brueckner explained it stood for Integrated Biomedical Sciences. Tagavi asked about the required minimum credit hours. In discussing this aspect of the proposal, it became apparent that the proposal being discussed included revisions not seen by either the Academic Programs Committee or the Senate Council.

This led to a discussion regarding the routing processes of the University Senate and Senate Council Office.

Cibull asked if the Senate Council could move on the positive recommendation from the Academic Programs Committee. The Chair stated it could. Tagavi suggested the proposal's wording be changed to state that a limit of nine credit hours could be transferred from post baccalaureate work to a degree program. In addition, he noted concern regarding post-baccalaureate students acting as "instructor." Brueckner said she would be happy to change the wording to accommodate any concerns. Cibull suggested the term 'student instructor.' Lesnaw suggested pairing a post baccalaureate with a graduate level person for assistance. Brueckner explained the certificate offered an opportunity to provide lab instruction and facilitate a lecture.

Discussion ensued as to the proper wording to use to identify the student when acting in the role of instructor. The term 'course assistant' was agreed upon.

Tagavi stated the word "participate" be exchanged for "take" in reference to a student enrolling in a course. Jones suggested an inference for passing a course. Tagavi asked to be shown the section that stated the required GPA required for attaining the certificate. Moore suggested adopting the GPA requirement of the Graduate School (3.0). Grossman asked if the requirement was a 3.0 or a B grade or better in each course. Brueckner stated she would change the wording to reflect a B or better in each course.

Referencing the handout from Brueckner, Tagavi asked for clarification. Brueckner explained that section (Curriculum, 2., d.) addressed the type of student who last took a gross anatomy class many years ago, and would benefit greatly from a current class. Grossman wondered if the classes had to be taken at UK or could be equivalent courses from another institution, and if it was 3.0 hours of credit. Tagavi expressed concern that it was unclear in the proposal how the different credits added up to the requirement.

The Chair asked the members if they wanted to approve the proposal then, at that time or wait until a proposal with revisions was available. He noted the seriousness with which the Senate Council reviews proposals. Brueckner offered her appreciation for the feedback and noted it would strengthen the proposal. The Chair commented that the types of issues raised regarding the new Graduate Certificate would be ironed out once the graduate certificate is institutionalized.

The Chair entertained a motion by Grossman to table the proposal until Brueckner made the changes and can resubmit it to the Senate Council Office. Jones seconded. The motion carried.

Cibull expressed concern with the level of scrutiny required by the Senate Council even after a proposal had already been to at least one other group for review. Dembo wondered if feedback was communicated to the Councils. The Chair noted the information should be conveyed back to other Councils. He commented on the important role the Senate Council takes in the approval process. Grossman stated that questions such as those asked by the Senate Council rarely came up at other Council meetings, and that it was a learning experience for Council members to begin asking detailed questions. Moore stated the other Councils tended to focus on resources and if the proposal authors consulted other programs, and less attention to specific criteria. He suggested a checklist of questions each body should address. Jones asked if the Chair routinely met with other Councils of the Senate at the beginning of the semester to review their charges and convey other information. The Chair indicated he met with some standing Committees, but not routinely meet with either the Graduate or Undergraduate Councils. Jones noted the usefulness of the Senate Council Chair meeting with those groups.

4. Proposed Changes to Section V of the Senate Rules (Honorary Degrees)

As Chair of the Senate Rules and Election Committee (SREC), Jones explained the process by which the SREC reviewed the Rules. He stated the SREC focused on codifying what currently happens once when the process of bestowing an Honorary Degree passes to the University Senate and how the process engages University Senate. Jones explained the changes section by section. {Underlined sections are new text.}

The Chair noted the proposal was on the floor with a positive recommendation from the Senate Rules and Elections Committee. A vote was taken, and the motion passed without dissent.

5. Academic Offenses

Grossman noted the presence of two similar proposals in the handout. The first proposal ("original proposal" (PDF)) was the proposal as brought forth by the Academic Offenses Committee and subsequently amended by the Senate Council. The second proposal ("amended proposal") included language addressing concerns raised in recent meetings. At Tagavi's request, Grossman summarized the differences.

The first difference in the amended proposal addressed offenses penalized by less than an E. An offense such as this would not be officially recorded as an offense, but would require a warning letter be sent to the Registrar. The letter would be destroyed upon graduation, assuming no additional offenses occurred.

The second difference in the amended proposal addressed the authority by which punishment would be meted out by the person leading the class in the event that person were to be a teaching assistant (TA), part-time instructor (PTI), Provost or dean. The Committee opted to utilize the official definition of 'staff employee' and 'faculty employee' when deciding what type of instructor was authorized to decide on a punishment. Duke asked if this change was in reference to Eldred's comments at the November 14 University Senate meeting. Grossman responded that it was, in part, and that the Committee consensus was that PTIs should be given authority for deciding punishment, since they were technically considered part-time faculty members.

The third difference in the amended proposal dealt with jurisdiction if a situation required involvement of the next level authority. The original proposal named the dean as authority in cases involving a chair instructor. However, questions arose as to how to create a parallel between that situation and that of a provost acting as instructor. Thus, authority for overseeing situations such as these are assigned to the associate dean or associate provost, as appropriate.

The Chair opened up the floor for discussion. Tagavi moved to approve the three modifications in the amended proposal, as explained by Grossman. Lesnaw seconded. Duke asked if the warning letter was recorded or not. Grossman explained that wording in the amended proposal directed the Registrar to retain the letter until graduation, at which time it would be destroyed. He also noted that throughout the amended proposal, he replaced references to "guilty" and "not guilty" with "commit" and "did not commit." In addition, in situations where the first offense was serious enough to warrant an XE, the punishment for a second offense was made stricter. Tagavi stated that he saw those changes as a friendly amendment and accepted them.

The Chair asked if there was any additional discussion. Grossman stated that while the Committee members seemed okay with the amended proposal, he did not feel the same and would likely abstain from the vote. The motion carried, so the modifications became part of the Academic Offenses Committee proposal to the Senate Council.

The Chair indicated it was appropriate at that time to hear discussion on the motion from the Academic Offenses Committee. Tagavi shared a synopsis of answers from certain interested individuals to questions he posed via email. The overwhelming majority (10/2) of individuals polled were against limiting the University Appeals Board's ability to reduce penalties. Tagavi moved that section 6.4.4, B.ii. (original proposal) be read, "If the offense is the student's first, the Board may reduce the penalty to any of the penalties listed in Section 6.4.3. (3). Cibull received confirmation that this would allow all penalties to be appealed to the University Appeals Board (UAB). Jones seconded.

Dembo stated his deep concern with this idea, stating that even though UK lives in a legal external world, UK was not required to transpose that into UK's internal world. He indicated the need for safe ground in the classroom where instructors could work things out at the classroom level. He brought up a hypothetical situation where a student's grade was dropped one level due to an academic offense. In this situation, the student loses the appeal of the punishment for an academic offense. Dembo wondered the outcome if the student re-appealed after the class ended, utilizing the defense that their grade was not based on good faith by the instructor. Tagavi noted that this situation could occur not just in the amended proposal, but also in the original proposal. Cibull opined that the instructor was more likely to be right than the UAB.

Guest Houtz stated that he was unable to speak at the University Senate meeting due to time constraints and attended the Senate Council meeting to make his comments. He spoke to being pleasantly surprised by the level of specificity in the Senate Council proceedings. He stated that he was a strong proponent of faculty responsibility and authority in the classroom. He did not believe the original proposal compromised this. He also believed students deserved the right to an appeal. In addressing comments made at the University Senate meeting regarding an instructor's passion and impartiality due to proximity to an academic offense, he stated that being intimate with the offense did not automatically translate into a lack of objectivity. Knowing the Academic Offenses Committee had been meeting for a year on this topic, he stated that the process was important, but creating a final product was what was most important to students and faculty. Houtz stated that he was speaking in general, and not addressing any specific aspect of either the original or amended proposal.

Grossman stated that as the proposal currently stood, a remaining issue dealt with whether or not the UAB would have the power to change the instructor's chosen penalty, after both the instructor and UAB have found the student committed an academic offense. In response to a question from Tagavi, Grossman replied that the UAB could reduce the penalty to something they believed was appropriate. Jones asked if the UAB had the discretion to increase the penalty. Grossman replied that the rules mentioned decreasing the penalty, but there was no reason why a rule addressing increasing the penalty could not be introduced.

Noting the time, the Chair reminded the Senate Council members that the agenda for the next meeting, November 28, would include nominations for Senate Council officers, and noted the agenda for the current meeting included a discussion on the qualities of the next Senate Council Chair. Tagavi, the member requesting that discussion, suggested finishing the academic offenses proposal instead of moving on to the qualities discussion. Discussion then took place regarding tabling the academic offenses proposal, and the timeline it needed to follow in order to be heard at the December 12 University Senate meeting.

Cibull moved to table the proposal until the next Senate Council meeting. Lesnaw seconded. The motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Yanarella
Senate Council Chair

Members present: Cibull, Dembo, Duke, Grossman, Hobson, Jones, Lesnaw, Moore, Tagavi, Yanarella.

Guests present: Brueckner, Houtz.

Prepared by Sheila Brothers on November 22, 2005.