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Senate Council Minutes - November 7, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, November 7, 2005 3:00 pm in 103 Main Building and took the following actions.

1. Approval of the Minutes from October 31, 2005

The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes besides those suggested via e-mail before the meeting. There being none, the minutes were approved as amended.

2. Announcements

The Chair stated that Ruth Beattie had accepted his invitation to serve on the Joint Provost/Senate Council for Planning and Coordinating General Education Reform and Assessment (GERA).

The Chair said that he had received three nominations for the Engineering Review Committee from the listserv, and asked for approval by the Senate Council so those names could be submitted to Connie Ray. The Senate Council concurred.

The Chair alerted the Senate Council that there were outstanding requests in both the Humanities (one vacancy) and Social Sciences (two vacancies) area committees. He noted that there was a pressing need to fill the vacancy in the Social Sciences, as there are portfolios pending that cannot be reviewed until the committee is officially formed and constituted. He acknowledged Jones' hard work and thoroughness in identifying potential nominees and ascertaining their interest before giving their names to the Senate Council.

Duke asked about the requirements for membership on the committees. The Chair said the only requirement is being a full professor in the area's discipline. Jones suggested contacting past, yet recent, committee members to try to find a volunteer. Lesnaw asked for information about where to find a list of faculty and their rank. Jones volunteered to send her information. Tagavi noted that the UK Bulletin has rank information, but not the detail of Jones' documents.

In the interest of speeding up the nomination process for these specific instances, the Chair offered to contact nominees if any Senate Council members had any suggestions for nominees. Three suggestions were noted, and the Chair said he would vet the names on the listserv.

The Chair noted that due to an administrative error, the agenda item, "Set University Senate Agenda" was left off of the circulated and posted agenda. He also noted that there would be some information shared with the University Senate regarding GERA. He stated that the University Senate would be the first body receiving Desantis' report from the external review committee.

Grossman wondered if Gerald Smith would be a member of GERA, since his name was discussed previously. The Chair stated that he would be, through an invitation from him on behalf of the Provost.

The Chair introduced guest Nancy Clauter, chair of the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. He noted that while the College of Engineering Admissions Proposal was first on the agenda, interim Provost Smith would be present later. Provost Smith had expressed an interest in speaking about issues regarding the process to enhance admissions proposals, in tandem with to the Senate Council hearing the admissions proposal from the College of Engineering.

3. Academic Offenses

The Chair reminded the Senate Council that before the Academic Offenses proposal could be voted upon, there were two issues remaining requiring discussion: a minimum penalty and the issue regarding sunsets. The Chair invited discussion on "minimum penalty."

Tagavi offered an analogy between the minimum penalty and receiving a speeding ticket. With a speeding ticket, a driver receives a fine. However, the driver also is subject to increases in auto, life and home insurance. Tagavi explained that the increases in insurance policies were analogous to the noting of the offense in one's permanent record. In addition, a police officer does not stop a driver for driving one mile over the speed limit. Tagavi stated there is a similar threshold for an instructor and lowering that threshold would resulting in more convictions.

Duke noted that if the analogy is followed, while there are more individuals caught in the dragnet, eventually the populace would learn the threshold involved, and the numbers of those with offenses would decrease over time. She noted that this decrease would be related to an improvement in the communication process, which would come about by enacting the proposal.

Tagavi noted that while the numbers would eventually decrease, even after a long period of time, a student would still be identified as a cheater, even though the penalty was minimal. Lesnaw offered her impression that the sunset clause would alleviate Tagavi's concern about an offense forever being in the Registrar's record.

Tagavi clarified that while the sunset clause would resolve the issue of noting an offense on the transcript, the sunset clause does not address the fact that the student was found cheating, and its lasting affects.

Lesnaw voiced concern over what exactly the sunset issue addressed, and stated that clear regulations regarding academic offenses were needed. Tagavi stated his belief that the minimum penalty and sunset issues should be discussed together.

Jarvis supported a student receiving notation on their transcript regarding an academic offense. She expressed concern that if otherwise, a student could repeatedly claim a first offense.

Jones spoke about the issue of sunset as it applied to removal from the transcript, as opposed to the issue of a student having to answer "yes" if asked about being found guilty of an academic offense. He asked for and received confirmation that Tagavi was concerned with the sunset clause as it related to question of guilt/"yes."

Grossman took an opportunity to offer an apology for a poor use of words in an email on the listserv. He then explained that there will be room for a warning in the proposal, and there may be no punishment associated with the warning. Grossman stated that if an offense is worth punishing, then the offense should be punished. Tagavi stated that if the offense is significant, then the punishment should also be significant.

Cibull asked if the cheating would still remain on the internal UK record, and reported as cheating. Grossman replied that it would. Jones further clarified that a student would have to answer "yes" to a question about whether or not the student was found guilty for cheating.

Cibull stated that judging from Fink's comments to Grossman, Fink was not in favor of the Academic Offenses Committee proposal. He noted concern with uniformity of the proposal. Cibull stated a good design would increase the ease with which cheating is identified and reported. Tagavi stated his belief that with regard to academic offenses, informal dealings are healthy.

Cibull expressed deep concern about the Senate Council being so undecided about an issue upon which it was expected to vote. He suggested the Academic Offenses proposal be debated in the University Senate, and hoped the Senate Council would receive guidance from those outside the Senate Council, also noted a lack of consensus among others informed about the specific aspects of the proposal. He asked for opinions from the Senate Council members about this idea.

Liaison Greissman commented that if a penalty less than an E was given, there was some question as to where it would be noted. If a student were given a penalty of less than an E, the Registrar would be notified but that information would not be on the permanent record. It would address the issue of a repeat offender, and the first offense would be excused in terms of official reporting. He thought this was a compromise of a complicated issue.

Jones noted the nomenclature would need to be revisited, and expressed sympathy towards Cibull's suggestion. Jarvis expressed support for, using the speeding analogy, offering a warning for a first offense instead of a ticket. She suggested a sunset on first offenses, but noted the importance of recording offenses to stop repeat offenders.

Tagavi noted that Greissman's idea had been discussed on the listserv, and sounded okay. Tagavi requested from the Senate Council a motion either on Greissman's suggestion, or on Cibull's concern. The Chair indicated a desire to hear more information before requesting a motion.

Grossman objected to the use of the word "branding." He stated that if a student chooses to commit an offense, the student brands him/herself. Additionally, he urged Senate Council members to not confuse the seriousness of the offense with the harshness of the penalty, and said that although a penalty might be light, the offense still could be considered serious.

Cibull expressed concern that Greissman's suggestion would record a suspected offense without having proved it.

After more discussion, the Chair noted that the Senate Council was at a critical juncture. While the Senate Council could proceed in striving to find common ground, the Chair also wanted to address Cibull's comments about sending the Academic Offenses proposal to the University Senate. The Chair noted that his personal opinion was to continue discussing the issue in the Senate Council to find common ground. He noted time constraints, with regard to the College of Engineering agenda item pending.

Greissman suggested continuing discussion until the arrival of interim Provost Smith. Cibull said he did not oppose continuing, but did not want to come to a quick resolution. A primary concern was his belief that the Senate Council exists as a microcosm and does not always reflect the will of the University of Kentucky.

Grabau moved that the first offense of academic misconduct would earn a recorded warning for the accused student, once proved, assuming it did not rise to the level of an E in the course.

Tagavi seconded. Discussion ensued, with Grossman stating that such a provision would not satisfy Tagavi's concern. If found guilty of cheating, a student's infraction would be put on the internal record as a warning, and later in life, the student would still have to answer affirmatively if asked about being convicted of cheating. Tagavi stated it would satisfy his concern.

Lesnaw asked for clarification regarding the definition of "warning" and who would decide if the offense warranted an E or not. Grossman replied that the instructor would decide if the punishment was an E or not, and that a warning is currently defined in the University Senate Rules.

Dembo cautioned against wrapping up the issue in a neat package. He suggested taking the Academic Offenses proposal to the full Senate for a first reading, and then focusing on specific issues that are raised at the next Senate Council meeting. Duke concurred, expressing interest in the issue receiving more "air time" and engendering more conversation and new ideas.

The discussion regarding sending the Academic Offenses proposal to the University Senate for discussion continued. Jones asked if the proposal could be alive for discussion at a future Senate Council meeting, if it were tabled. The Chair stated it could be. After discussion ended, a vote was taken on Grabau's motion. The motion failed.

Lesnaw moved to bring the issue to the University Senate for wider publicity and to solicit the input of this campus, in the interest of trying to get a more general feeling of the University community. Duke seconded.

Dembo noted that there would be a University Senate meeting in November, December and February, at which time this could be discussed. Grossman noted that the proposal had been out in various forms for more than a year, and he had attempted to solicit opinions on a variety of occasions.

Discussion ensued regarding taking the Academic Offenses issue to the University Senate and timing. After some procedural questions, Dembo referenced Senate Rule 1.2.3 Meetings and explained that the issue could be open for discussion only on the Senate floor, and then returned to the Senate Council for further discussion.

The Chair clarified that the motion on the floor was to bring the Academic Offenses policy proposal to the University Senate, and also to identify the four specific issues and a brief summary of the deliberations to the current time. Hobson and Jarvis noted they approved sending the proposal to the University Senate for discussion. They added they would have a list of students' comments and concerns ready for the December University Senate meeting

A vote was taken on the motion. The motion passed. The Chair recapped by saying that discussion on the Academic Offenses proposal would cease, and would await feedback from the University Senate. In addition, the University Senate would hear about the four particular issues needing resolution. Grossman noted that a fifth issue had arisen on the listserv, regarding graduate students. The question relates to whether jurisdiction lies with the student's home college, or with the Graduate School.

4. College of Engineering Admissions Proposal

College of Engineering Admissions Proposal (DOC)

Guest Clauter offered a brief explanation of the proposal, noting it applies only to new, entering freshmen, and not to transfer students. The primary concern was freshmen not having any requirements relating to math classes. The Admissions and Academic Standards Committee felt the proposal was clear and moved it forward with a positive recommendation (DOC).

At that time, the Chair introduced the other guests, Donn Hancher, Associate Dean for Administration and Academic Affairs, College of Engineering, G. T. Lineberry, Associate Dean for Commonwealth and International Programs, College of Engineering, and Scott Smith, who attended as the interim Provost.

The Chair noted that the College of Engineering admissions proposal was just one of many that would be coming to the Senate Council. In that context, he contacted the Provost to offer an opportunity for Provost Smith to comment on the process or about this particular proposal.

Provost Smith stated that while he had no explicit objection to the College of Engineering proposal, he did have concerns regarding specific internal requirements for sending similar proposals to the Senate Council. He stressed his understanding that a review concerning academic considerations is solely under the purview of the University Senate, but continued on to say that changes in admissions policies have had a financial impact on the institution. He urged the Senate Council to analyze the impact selective enrollment has on other colleges, as well as the financial ramifications. While unable to offer a solution, Provost Smith asked to be involved in the process of reviewing selective admissions proposals.

Jones suggested there be a University Senate Rule addressing this issue. There was a brief discussion regarding the point at which the Provost's Office would be involved with a selective admissions proposal.

Cibull moved to approve the proposal as recommended by the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. Provost Smith indicated disappointment at not being alerted to the College of Engineering admissions proposal. Lesnaw requested information regarding the potential impact the proposal would have on minority recruiting.

Guest Hancher reminded the Senate Council that Provost Smith was an ex officio member of the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. Hancher discussed a variety of problems with the college's current admissions structure, and noted that had the proposal been in effect, of 428 students accepted, 46 students would have been denied admittance, with two of the 46 being black. Hancher also mentioned that the college's accreditation body suggested changes to the admission process, and would be reviewing the college's admission standards at its next review.

Lesnaw again asked about the potential impact on recruitment of minorities, and if there were other mechanisms to help minorities. Hancher replied that the college already has a diversity program, which they have had for some time, but acknowledged that very few minorities are attracted to Engineering. In addition, the college also has one full time person dedicated to diversity.

Thelin expressed concern that the math department placement exam, which is included in the proposal, had never been normed or validated. Discussion then surrounded the math department placement exam, and the authority by which it was included. Provost Smith clarified, stating that the exam was experimental and being used as an advisory tool, and that it would be reviewed at the end of the year.

The Chair noted that the math department placement exam was only one path of many a student could take to meet the minimum requirement. After additional discussion, a vote was taken on the motion on the floor. The motion passed, with one abstention.

At this point, Tagavi suggested a motion, considered an internal procedure for Senate Council, to address Provost Smith's concerns. After some discussion and word-smithing Tagavi moved that parallel to the requirement in the Senate Rules that requires a letter of financial feasibility for new programs we solicit a letter from the Provost's Office to state the Provost Office's opinion on proposals that substantially affect enrollment, whether at certain colleges or in the University as a whole. Jones seconded.

Jones suggested a friendly amendment, which was not accepted, to change the wording to refer to the Senate committees soliciting the Provost's opinion, instead of the word "we," to make it clear that the Senate committee is the entity soliciting the Provost's opinion and not the Senate Council. Tagavi stated that the letter should accompany the proposal when it arrived in the Senate Council office [directly from the recommending college], not just at the time when the Senate Council heard the motion [to adopt the admissions proposal received by the Senate Council from the Senate committee/advisory council].

Grossman offered a friendly amendment to remove "substantially," which was accepted by Tagavi and Jones. Duke asked for clarification regarding whether or not diversity goals should also be a part of the letter. She suggested a friendly amendment to include the concept of diversity goals in the amendment. Tagavi and Jones accepted the friendly amendment to insert "including diversity."

Grabau stated support for the proposal, and noted that the College of Business & Economics would likely be the first affected by the proposal to require a letter from the Provost. Provost Smith reiterated the financial effect on the big picture of enrollment, and wondered aloud how to involve faculty to deal with this problem.

A vote was taken on the motion reading, "parallel to the requirement in the that requires a letter of financial feasibility for new programs we solicit a letter from the Provost's Office to state the Provost Office's opinion on proposals that affect enrollment, including diversity, whether at certain colleges or in the University as a whole." The motion unanimously passed.

5. University Senate Agenda

The Chair offered the following (unordered) list of items for the November 14 University Senate meeting:

The Chair noted reluctantly that due to time constraints, Phyllis Nash's overview of the IRIS project would have to be pushed back to the December meeting. A vote was taken, and the agenda items passed unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 5:24 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Yanarella
Senate Council Chair

Members present: Cibull, Dembo, Duke, Grabau, Grossman, Hobson, Jarvis, Jones, Lesnaw, Tagavi, Thelin, Yanarella.

Liaison present: Greissman.

Guests present: Hancher, Lineberry, Lyle, Smith.

Prepared by Sheila Brothers on November 8, 2005