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Senate Council Minutes - February 27, 2006

The Senate Council met on Monday, February 27, 2006 at 3:00 pm in 103 Main Building. Below is a record of what transpired.

The meeting was called to order at 3:06 pm.

The Chair introduced himself, as did other Senate Council members. Guests Jay Blanton, Kyle Dippery, Anne Harrison, Art Jester, Terry Malone, and Sean Rose introduced themselves.

1. Minutes from February 20 and Announcements

There being no changes to the minutes other than what was previously incorporated, the minutes were approved as amended.

The Chair shared that he had that day been to a meeting of the Criminal Background Check Committee (CBCC). The CBCC is seeking to create a proposal for President Todd on how expansive the background checks should be for faculty and staff employees. He related that the first official meeting had been that morning on the informative issue. The Chair said he would make available for discussion with the Senate Council any developments from the committee.

2. MS Dentistry Plan B Option

The Chair reported that no sponsor had been available to attend. He said he could entertain the proposal or that it could be tabled until a guest was present to walk through the proposal and respond to questions. Jones stated that Tagavi had some questions regarding the proposal. The Chair asked for a motion. Guest Terry Malone referred to his membership on the Graduate Council and stated he was at the meeting at which it was discussed. He said it was for a small number of students. The Chair stated the item should be postponed until the next meeting, out of fairness to Tagavi and his questions.

Grossman moved to postpone consideration until such time that someone from Dentistry could attend to discuss the proposal. Jones seconded. The motion passed with seven votes.

3. Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (PDF)

The Chair welcomed Anne Harrison and Terry Malone, both from the Department of Physical Therapy, and asked for an overview. Malone said the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) had been implemented in August 2005. He explained it was similar to the transitional degree in the College of Pharmacy for people wanting degree parity. The Department of Physical Therapy decided to make it available but with time limits and other specific controls. Harrison explained that the program's design was based on the previously approved DPT curriculum. She stated that individuals with masters degrees in physical therapy could enter the program, take certain courses and obtain a doctorate. There would be two different tracks, one allowing completion in one year plus one semester, and one track two years long. Harrison stated that faculty members had been identified for teaching the courses and resources incorporated into the budget.

In response to Jones' request for clarification of a Transitional DPT, Harrison explained that the degree would offer a transition from the masters level to a clinical doctorate degree. She added that the program was not transitional, but that the degree offers a transition between degrees. After brief discussion regarding the name of the program, Malone shared the information that an attempt was made to be consistent with what was occurring nationally, in terms of the wording.

There was brief discussion regarding the other Kentucky institution (Bellarmine College) offering a Transitional DPT being a private one. Grabau asked if the Transitional DPT was student friendly. Malone stated that having used the DPT program as a model, it was obvious what specific other courses needed to be added. He said initial discussions were for a program only accepting UK graduates of the physical therapy program, but there had been concern that other individuals would want to enroll. He said the program would accommodate all enrollees, but primarily UK graduates were expected to participate.

The Chair asked how enrollment would bear on faculty resources. Harrison shared that feelers had been put out to gauge the faculty's interest level. She acknowledged a lot of interest, but said it was hard to quantify that interest with commitment. She said that 15 students would be needed for the program to be financially feasible, but that more than 30 or 35 would be unwieldy. She expected low to mid-20 enrollment numbers in the first year, and said the department would review how resources were affected.

Malone said that the program was anticipated to be provided for five to seven years and then be discontinued. He said that any discontinuation of the program would be fair to students and communicated in writing, etc., stating that a participant would only have two years in which to finish the program as of a certain enrollment rate. In response to Liaison Greissman's question about the logic behind a terminal date, Malone responded that depending upon enrollment numbers, the program could be ended if sufficient participants were not present; it would not be offered unless it was feasible and financially sound.

Discussion followed regarding the Proposed Amendment by Jeff Dembo included in the available meeting materials distributed. Many courses in the Transitional DPT program would be taught online, and Dembo had expressed concern that there would not be enough time to have the online courses ready for Fall 2006 and urged the department to wait until Spring 2007. Harrison stated the proposal had been going forward, in terms of development and the same concerns had been shared. The department had not yet decided on which semester the program would begin. Harrison said timelines had been created for both effective dates, and that the faculty would discuss it again upon approval by the Senate Council.

Jones asked him to address a possible lack of resources. Malone said that the Transitional DPT had been created in accordance with existing faculty members, and added that additional funding from Dean Gonzalez would help support a coordinator for the program. Duke asked about any impact on other students beyond the physical therapy program. Malone stated that those affected would all be located internally. In response to Greissman, Malone explained that there were no accreditation implications; the DPT program was externally accredited, but members of the Transitional DPT program would already be licensed. Harrison added that enrollees would necessarily already be licensed. Greissman stated the Transitional DPT would have interesting implications for other programs with a distributed learning model, and said it would be useful to hear a later report about any success of the program. Malone stated he would be happy to offer such a report.

There being no further discussion on the positive recommendation of the Transitional DPT proposal, a vote was taken on the motion to approve the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The motion passed unanimously. The Chair thanked both Harrison and Malone for attending.

Greissman referred to the recent College of Nursing admissions proposal, and asked about the time at which the Provost would weigh in on the proposal. The Chair said it would go next to the University Senate, and asked what issue the Provost would be reviewing. Greissman opined that in the best of situations and assuming the Senate Council so desired, the Provost would offer that Office's opinion, which would help the Senate Council in making the most informed decision. Jones asked if the Provost's opinion would be a part of any degree utilizing new resources. Malone stated that he had discussed the proposal with Provost Smith, and during the most recent discussion, the Provost again stated his overall approval.

The Chair asked Council members if they desired the Senate Council Office to confer with the Provost, and bring that assessment to the University Senate meeting. Grabau recalled that the Provost wanted to weigh in on admissions standards that differ from that of UK as a whole, and not specifically every proposal. The Chair suggested he and Greissman could discuss the issue and return to the next Senate Council meeting with that report. Grossman said that there was a mechanism for the Office of the Provost to weigh in on proposals, through the Liaison to the Senate Council, Greissman. He agreed with Grabau's recollection. The Chair said that a meeting to discuss the issue would be appropriate.

Jones added that Section III of the Senate Rules (Rules) addressed the creation of programs, separately from the deconstruction of programs. While the Provost's opinion was required in Section 3.3.2.1 ("Procedures Governing Consolidation, Transfer, Discontinuation, or Significant Reduction of an Academic Program or Educational Unit"), there was no parallel in Section 3.2.0 ("Procedures for Processing Academic Programs and Changes") for the Provost's opinion in the creation of programs. Jones hoped that because of conversations with the Provost on this issue, the Senate's Rules and Elections Committee would receive guidance as to how to clarify the section.

4. Committee Nominations to Nonresident Fee Committee and Ombud Search Committee

The Chair said that nominations for the Ombud Search Committee would be discussed at a subsequent meeting. However, nominations for the Teaching Course Evaluation Review Committee were available. Regarding the Nonresident Fee Committee (NFC), the Chair asked Jones, chair of the Nominating Committee, to elaborate. Jones stated that the issue of nominations to the NFC was discussed at a previous meeting, and that the Nominating Committee sent communications to college faculty councils requesting input. Thus, five names were submitted for approval by the Senate Council. Jones explained that Associate Provost for Academic Affairs David Watt had suggested a faculty voice on the NFC, which was established to make decisions regarding out-of-state students establishing residency in an attempt to receive in-state tuition rates, a practice viewed negatively by the Administration.

Jones moved that the Senate Council consider the names put forth, as well as any other names that might be put forward. Grossman seconded. There being no further discussion on the issue, a vote was taken. The motion passed unanimously.

Discussion turned to the Teaching Course Evaluation Review Committee (TCERC) nominations. The TCERC was created to update to the 21st century the process by which students submit teaching evaluations of faculty members. The Chair stated that the current process used class time at the end of the semester was reliant upon pencils and bubble sheets, and TCERC was looking into using a web-based review system. Faculty input was desired on this committee. Jones verified with Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness Connie Ray that the committee's charge was to address how the teaching evaluations could be filled out using modern technology, and not to make substantive changes to the evaluation questions. Jones offered to the Senate Council names for consideration.

Jones stated that two slots needed to be filled. Duke asked if the slots needed to be filled by technologically savvy individuals, and Jones stated they could be. The Chair added that there were usually larger pedagogical issues relating to the classroom. Speaking to dedicated class time for filling out the forms, he added that an online survey would have an impact on the return rate of surveys. The practice of instituting such an online survey would require more than just technical skills; a process would need to be established that would ensure sufficient numbers of students took the time to fill out an online evaluation.

Suggestions were made by various Senate Council members to include or remove individuals from the list of those to put forward. In summary, Jones listed the four names the Senate Council ultimately agreed upon, and moved they be approved. A vote was taken on the motion, which passed unanimously.

The Chair asked Jones for a quick update on the process by which a chair would be named for the Ombud Search Committee. Jones stated that the Rule addressing the process was poorly written, so one could either interpret it to mean the Provost would name the chair from the list of individuals sent forward by the Senate Council, or that the Provost could name anyone for the role of chair. He added that he hoped the Senate Council would charge the Senate's Rules and Elections Committee with clarifying the Rule. The Chair added that the Senate Council would be working on the basis of past precedent, in which the Provost chose a chair from the list submitted by the Senate Council. Grabau thought the President appointed the chair. Jones stated that while he had also thought that to be true, the current Rule stated the Provost would choose the chair. Jones said he went back to changes to the Rules from 1998 and could not find that the Rule had been changed, but that he also had thought the chair of the Ombud Search Committee would serve at the behest of the President.

5. Update on UCAPP Membership and Senate Council Request

The Chair stated it was not completely clear if the request to add the Senate Council chair as an ex officio member of the University Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities (UCAPP) had been granted. During his initial meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President Doug Boyd, the Chair was told that letters had been sent out to prospective UCAPP members and the letters stated that a reply was only needed if the recipient was unable to serve. The Chair said he received one of the letters, but that it was addressed to him as a member of the Department of Political Science, not as Senate Council Chair. In addition, the invitation was to serve on the Undergraduate Education Domain Subcommittee. The Chair pressed Boyd for further information about membership, expressing the imperative nature of receiving some type of response, but Boyd said he did not have the list available.

The Chair explained that he thought he would have the information to share, but did not. He said the deadline for negative responses was March 1. He said that since neither he nor chair-elect Tagavi received a letter, one could infer that no letter was forthcoming. He asked the Senate Council for guidance as to his next step.

Jones asked about the specific wording of the request from the Senate Council, wondering if the Council requested a "yes" or "no" answer, or if it was open-ended. He opined that maybe no response did not mean a negative response. The Chair stated the communication "respectfully requested" the Senate Council chair be an ex officio. Lesnaw suggested an alternative approach - asking for clarification of the invitation to Yanarella (the Chair) in Political Science. She said a fresh approach might illicit a response. She thought that perhaps the letter was sent without the appropriate the title for the Chair. The Chair stated he was invited to participate in a subcommittee, not the main body of UCAPP. He said he was willing to press the issue again. He added that the letter sent out to potential UCAPP members was from Ray and Interim Provost Smith, so it would be appropriate to contact Ray. The Chair said Boyd was unable to find the initial email the Chair sent, so it was sent again.

Jones asked if any of the Senate-Council-suggested individuals were invited to join UCAPP. The Chair said that he did not know, but fully expected some had. He said UCAPP was to be constituted specifically with three members from a list submitted by the Senate Council, and a sufficient number of names were submitted in a timely manner. In response to Jones, the Chair said he thought the membership decisions were made by Ray and Boyd. Jones wondered if the letter requesting the Senate Council Chair be an ex officio on UCAPP could have been lost. The Chair stated he had sent the information in an email to all three individuals, so each knew of the names submitted and of the request. He said he would continue to press the issue, and offer an update to Council members when new information became available.

6. Faculty-Staff Merit Raise Differential Issue - Staff Senate Chair Kyle Dippery, Guest

The Chair introduced Staff Senate Chair Kyle Dippery, and suggested he lead the discussion. The Chair said Dippery approached him about a week previously about the issue, and tendered an invitation for the Chair to attend the Staff Senate's Executive Committee meeting, at which President Todd would discuss the raise differential, among other issues. At that time, the Chair stated that while he was only speaking for himself, he believed it was possible to look at the development of a joint faculty/staff coalition to address the differential raises.

The Chair stated that the Top 20 Business Plan (Plan) recommended a multi-year series of five- to five and one-half percent raises for faculty to close the gap between the median income of faculty at UK's benchmarks and that of UK's faculty. Lower raises were recommended for staff employees. The rationale was that UK competes in a national market for faculty, but in a local or regional market for staff. The Chair said he wanted to give Dippery an opportunity to address the Senate Council and gauge the feeling among Senate Council on the issue.

Dippery said that many staff members were outraged at the higher percentage raises for faculty. He said many staff felt they were second-class citizens, and that many were not paid much. The higher percentage raises for faculty did not sit well with many staff. He thought a Staff Senate protest would carry more weight if the University Senate were to be united with the Staff Senate. He asked Senate Council members for their thoughts and opinions, and asked if there would be sufficient support for such a proposal in the University Senate. Jones asked [Faculty Trustee to the Board of Trustees] Moore to share the thoughts of the Board of Trustees (BoT) on the issue of the Plan. Moore said that Dippery, the Chair and [Faculty Trustee to the BoT] Dembo were all on the committee with him. The Plan's Appendix G.2 clearly stated the raise for faculty would consist of a three percent base, plus an additional two and one-half percent to raise salaries to a level commensurate with that of faculty salaries at UK's benchmarks. Moore stated it was a unanimous vote by the BoT to approve the Plan.

Jones stated the Plan had been unanimously supported in Frankfort. In response to a question from Duke, Greissman described the one-time non-recurring amount offered two years prior in which both faculty and staff received the same percentage amount. Dippery added that it was 12 or 15 years since differential raises were last given. Grossman said that there was a difference between faculty and staff. He recognized that staff were sometimes underpaid for the amount of work done and expressed his sympathy, but he stated that faculty also were underpaid. Grossman said faculty had been complaining for awhile about their low salaries, and thought it would seem churlish to oppose the Plan at this point. He agreed with the Plan's assertions that UK competed nationally for faculty but competed locally for staff. Grossman said that when looking to a great university, the greatest need would be for faculty. He said staff was needed, but that faculty was the beginning and end of a university. He thought it was appropriate to treat staff and faculty differently in many ways, not just that of salary.

Lesnaw stated her view was diametrically opposed to that of Grossman's. She said the differential was already built into the existing salary scales. Having been at UK for over 30 years, she stated she had always championed the needs of staff. She said the Staff Senate had its beginning in staff groups at the college level, in which she was involved, and said she was thrilled that UK had a Staff Senate. Lesnaw stated that a university was not built on a president or just faculty or just staff. She said that one problem UK had faced was not being able to attract and sustain outstanding staff. Lesnaw thought there were still many outstanding staff at UK, many of whom had been working for UK as a labor of love as much as anything. She thought that because a salary differential was already built in, faculty receiving a higher percentage raise would send the wrong message.

Duke said she thought she was somewhere in between Grossman and Lesnaw's opinions. She said that coming from the medical center where work depended so much on staff, it was a thorn in its side that staff could not be treated better through higher pay. Duke said that training and losing good staff was a problem throughout clinical services in the medical center. She said she knew how poorly faculty were paid compared to faculty at benchmarks, but wondered what staff salaries were compared to those at UK's benchmarks. Dippery replied that he was checking salaries of staff at universities across the state, but accurate data had not yet been acquired. Duke added that many staff seemed to stay for the benefits and the purpose of the University of Kentucky. She worried about the ability to retain quality staff in the face of decreasing benefits, partly the health insurance benefits. She said that part of keeping the loyalty of staff were the benefits, which might not be able to be counted on in the future.

Jones said the Plan had been given to Frankfort, and that the President was trying to make a case for Frankfort to give UK additional funding. Part of the plan was coming up with 40% of the funding and the money would be coming, in part, from faculty members writing grants. He said the President was looking to give a signal to Frankfort that UK would be bringing in faculty for writing grants. Jones went on to say that this did not mean the President could not have another long-term plan for the staff's situation. He suggested Dippery press the issue of a plan for staff with the President. There was a brief discussion, after which Council members established that there were only two types of employees, staff and faculty, and that staff members received the same raises. Thelin asked if there were certain selected positions with bonuses built in. There was no consensus as to whether or not Athletics Association employees were considered differently. Dippery stated that UK's affiliated corporations might complicate things.

Thelin expressed concern that the raise differential created an unfortunate situation, and suggested the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers be utilized for detailed information about staff salaries. Lesnaw stated the issue was critical, and the issue ought to be one of catch-up. If it turned out that staff at UK were paid lower than staff at the benchmarks, the same criteria for raising faculty salaries should be applied to staff. She said it was essential to have clear data before bringing such an issue to the University Senate, and asked if there was a mechanism for obtaining the data. The Chair thought that the office of Vice President for Planning, Budget and Policy Angie Martin could outline a basis for a differential and might be able to answer questions. He reminded Council members that conceptually, the Administration approached faculty differently from staff, in terms of a national labor market for faculty versus a local or regional labor market for staff, which provided a basis for the Stillwater Group's inclusion of a differential into the Plan itself.

Lesnaw stated that Duke's point about clinical staff being lost to local or regional markets put UK at a disadvantage for retaining staff in many areas, not just clinical areas. Thelin added that if clinical staff were being recruited locally, that local market should be used in comparing salaries. Grossman stated that it was only the trained staff employees being snapped up by other employers, and said that a three percent raise did not necessarily mean every staff employee received a three percent raise. He supported salary equity for staff employees if it turned out that there was a big differential between staff salaries at UK and salaries for staff at the benchmarks. Jones wondered what would happen if data illustrated that UK staff were overpaid.

Thelin stated staff employees took the lead in the outcry for more affordable health care benefits. He remembered that a high-level UK administrator said that no changes could be made to the then-outrageously high health insurance premiums but staff led by example showing that something could be done. Greissman wondered if this was an appropriate time for a more cafeteria-style approach to benefits, thinking it could either compound or ameliorate the problem. Dippery replied that a cafeteria-style benefits package had been discussed in reference to the planned $5 million set aside for staff enhancement. Dippery personally thought it was not a good use of time to fight over the differential raises, citing concern that it would exacerbate an already bitter issue, but added that he must represent the views of the staff he represented. He added that $5 million was sufficient to start a cafeteria-style plan, but certainly not enough to sustain it. He said that during the Executive Committee meeting with President Todd, he had the impression that if faculty wanted to join that type of benefit structure, the additional funding would have to come from the faculty raise pool.

Moore stated that the key was to take a long-term view, maybe five or ten or 20 years to find the best and most efficient way to increase salaries and benefits for staff and faculty. He said that in looking at it through that perspective, it was clear that there would be differentials in salary between staff and faculty, but that it could be staff receiving a higher raise if data supports the premise that UK staff are underpaid, compared to benchmarks. He said individuals should not just think in terms of salary, but also in terms of a cafeteria-style plan. Moore thought there would be certain benefits, such as tuition for children, which staff would take more advantage of than faculty. He urged the issue be viewed as a package and not simply in terms of a percentage raise. Pitting staff against faculty would ultimately undermine morale of the entire institution, not just staff morale. Moore supported working to define what would be best for staff and for faculty and if agreement can be achieved on those issues, more progress will be made.

The Chair said that UK's faculty had consistently complained about the problem of UK faculty salaries being at the bottom of the totem pole of the benchmarks. He said UK faculty salaries had moved from dead last to next-to-last over the past couple years. The President had openly acknowledged that a goal in the 2003 - 2006 Strategic Plan to reach 90% of the median salaries of faculty at benchmarks would not be met. The fact that a multi-year approach to closing the gap had been incorporated into the Plan, and that the Administration was prepared to accomplish it was an achievement of faculty. He said that apart from feelings of the Senate Council and polling faculty, he did not think a strong majority of faculty would be sympathetic to closing the staff's salary gap if it affected achieving parity of median faculty salaries. He argued that the entire package needed to be addressed, and that a cafeteria-style benefit plan was one issue that both staff and faculty could rally around. He added that a report submitted in the past on faculty salaries stated that benefits to staff would probably be skewed as opposed to faculty in regard to any tuition remission policy. The Chair said there would be many opportunities for staff and faculty to work together if the salary issue was enlarged to include benefits.

In conclusion, the Chair stated that with regard to the approach taken by the Administration to close the median salary gap, it was not enough. Palpable inequities exist among faculty members at UK, and many long-timers have paid what former provost Mike Nietzel characterized as a longevity tax - the longer faculty were at UK, the larger the discrepancy between the individual's salary and what the larger market would bear elsewhere, which contributed to recent brain-drain. Salary, per se, was not a reason for faculty to stay at UK. The Chair also thought that some individuals categorized as staff were pursued on the national market. Finally, he brought up the issue of a living wage for UK employees and noted the success of staff leaders in bringing this matter to the Administration's attention.

Dippery said that a focus on the raise differential would be a wedge between faculty and staff for at least the next five years and that it would only get worse, especially if the budget from Frankfort was lower than requested, and the Plan was adjusted due to funding shortfalls. He proposed the Staff Senate and the University Senate work together in ways to adjust the Plan that were amenable to both senates; he said working together could help ease tensions. Lesnaw stated it was an excellent idea, and believed the first goal in working together should be a joint committee, of which the first task would be acquiring data on staff salaries. Moore asked about the recent surveys of faculty and staff, and Dippery replied that staff data would not be released until the faculty survey was completed. Moore said that the data from the surveys would be crucial, and that in light of probable differences between staff's and faculty's benefits needs and wants, creative thinking would be required to satisfy both groups. Duke added that for clinical faculty, having a tuition benefit that could be transferred to a spouse would be additionally attractive in recruiting nationally. Grossman said that there could be structural problems to staff's salary structure, especially between the business and academic sides. Moore said there was a long tradition of faculty and staff working together, and that the faculty trustees wholly supported the creation of a staff trustee, even over the negative view taken by the then-administration. Dippery offered his appreciation of that and for the information about how the SS had its beginnings in college-level staff bodies.

Lesnaw moved that the Senate Council and the Staff Senate form a joint committee, the charge of which would be to address potential disparities in staff compensation with respect to UK's benchmarks, and then to address potential means of overcoming that differential, using a broad definition of "compensation." Discussion followed regarding the exact wording of the motion. Jones seconded. After further word-smithing, Lesnaw asked if all those at the meeting were comfortable with the wording. Dippery and others indicated they were. Lesnaw called the question. A vote was taken on calling the question, and it passed unanimously.

A vote was then taken on the motion that the Senate Council and Staff Senate form a joint committee, the charge of which would be to address issues of mutual concern to faculty and staff, and explore areas in which collaboration can improve the working conditions for all. The motion passed unanimously.

7. Women's Studies Program Name Change

There being no sponsor present to answer questions, Grossman moved to postpone discussion on the issue until a sponsor could attend. Jones seconded. A vote was taken and passed unanimously. In response to Greissman, the Chair stated that invitations to the Senate Council meeting were tendered.

The meting adjourned at 4:58 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Yanarella
Senate Council Chair

Members present: Baxter, Duke, Grabau, Grossman, Jones, Lesnaw, Michael, Moore, Randall, Thelin, Yanarella.

Liaison present: Greissman.

Guests present: Jay Blanton, Kyle Dippery, Anne Harrison, Art Jester, Terry Malone, Sean Rose.

Prepared by Sheila Brothers on March 1, 2006.