University Senate Minutes - September 9, 1996
The University Senate met in regular session at 3:30 p.m., Monday, September 9, 1996 in Room 115 of the Nursing Health Sciences Building.
Professor Janice Schach, Chairperson of the Senate Council, presided.
Members absent were: Debra Aaron, M. Mukhtar Ali*, Gary Anglin, Jenny Baker, Patricia Birchfield, Darla Botkin, Douglas Boyd, Fitzgerald Bramwell*, Lauretta Byars, James Campbell*, Ben Carr, Edward Carter, Eric Christianson*, Jordan Cohen*, Philip DeSimone*, Richard Edwards, Robert Farquhar*, Juanita Fleming, Daniel Fulks*, Richard Furst, Thomas Garrity*, Issam Harik*, Christine Havice, Robert Houtz, Edward Jennings*, Raleigh Jones, Jamshed Kanga*, Stuart Keller*, James Knoblett*, Craig Koontz, Thomas Lester, Mandy Lewis, C. Oran Little, Daniel Mason*, Douglas Michael*, Jenny Miller, David Mohney*, Roy Moore*, Santos Murty, Wolfgang Natter, Anthony Newberry, Thomas Nieman, Michael Nietzel*, James Noll, Jacqueline Noonan*, William O'Connor*, Melanie Shay Onkst, Doug Poe*, Rhoda-Gale Pollack, Daniel Reedy, Thomas Robinson, Michael Rohmiller, Horst Schach, David Shipley, William Stober*, David Stockham, Thomas Troland*, Jesse Weil*, Jane Wells*, Carolyn Williams, Eugene Williams, Lionel Williamson, Paul Willis, Emery Wilson, Phyllis Wise, William Witt*, Craig Wood.
* Absence Explained
Chairperson Janice Schach called the Senate meeting to order. She welcomed everyone back for the new year. She clarified that the next meeting on October 14, 1996 would be at 3:00 p.m. not at 3:30 p.m.
Chairperson Schach made the following introductions; President Wethington, the President of the Senate, Jan Schach, Chair of the Senate Council, Jim Applegate, Chair-elect, Cindy Todd the heart, soul, and conscience of the Senate Council Office, Betty Huff, Secretary of the Senate, Susan Caldwell, the recording secretary, Gifford Blyton, parliamentarian, and Michelle Sohner and Jacquie Hager, Sergeant at Arms. She asked all the new senators to stand up and for the Senate to give them a warm hand of welcome.
The Chair stated they were fortunate and pleased to welcome President Wethington to address the State of the University. His address is an important Senate tradition and always brings a good kickoff to the school year. She stated they had all enjoyed the growth of the new library; it is becoming a very impressive structure thanks to President Wethington's leadership. President Wethington has been very cooperative with the Senate Council. They meet regularly with him and he is always open with discussion, keeps them well informed and is forthcoming on information related to the University and legislative affairs. He has always had his door and ear open to her as Senate Council Chair and she would like to say thank you.
Dr. Wethington was given a round of applause.
The President's remarks follow:
SEPTEMBER 9, 1996
IT IS ALWAYS A PRIVILEGE TO ADDRESS THE SENATE AS WE BEGIN ANOTHER SCHOOL YEAR. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE YEAR AND THE CHALLENGES IT WILL BRING. I BELIEVE WE CAN STATE BOLDLY THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY IS PROGRESSING AND MOVING FORWARD. THIS INSTITUTION SERVES AS KENTUCKY'S PRINCIPAL INSTITUTION FOR STATEWIDE INSTRUCTION, RESEARCH, AND SERVICE PROGRAMS WITHOUT GEOGRAPHIC LIMITATIONS. HOWEVER, WE CAN ONLY BE A LEADING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IF WE ARE PREPARING OUR STUDENTS TO LIVE AND WORK IN AN INCREASINGLY INTERNATIONAL WORLD. TODAY I WANT TO PROVIDE A QUICK STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY REPORT. FIRST LET ME HIGHLIGHT SOME ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION, THEN TAKE A BRIEF LOOK AT THE STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY LAST YEAR AND FINALLY CONSIDER A FEW CHALLENGES THAT WE MUST ADDRESS DURING THIS ACADEMIC YEAR.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS ARE ISSUES THAT ARE NOT GOING TO GO AWAY IN HIGHER EDUCATION. I BELIEVE OUR COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE ASSURES US OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS. A GREAT UNIVERSITY IS CHARACTERIZED BY ITS EXCELLENT FACULTY AND STUDENTS. THE PUBLIC SOMETIMES HAS INACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION. FOR EXAMPLE THE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION NOTED THAT THE PUBLIC IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE COST OF ATTENDING COLLEGE YET BELIEVES THAT COLLEGES ARE MANAGED EFFECTIVELY. RISING COSTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION ARE A CONCERN WITH WHICH WE MUST COPE. WE ARE COMMITTED TO BEING EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE AS WE MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE OUR NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION FOR THE QUALITY OF TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND SERVICE. WE ARE MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO ASSURE THAT GRADUATES OF OUR VARIOUS PROGRAMS WILL BE AMONG THE BEST IN THE NATION AND THE WORLD. WE MUST TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GET INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT OUR EFFORTS AND THE ECONOMIC REALITIES WE FACE, SO THAT THEY HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR PREDICAMENT. AT THE SAME TIME, WE MUST LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE OUR PERFORMANCE AND OUR EFFICIENCIES AND I BELIEVE IF WE WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE AND MORE EFFICIENT.
OUR PRODUCTS ARE THE STUDENTS WE EDUCATE, THE KNOWLEDGE WE CREATE AND THE SERVICE WE GIVE. WE HEAR MORE AND MORE ABOUT WORKFORCE ISSUES. CORPORATIONS BELIEVE WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB OF EDUCATING THOSE WHO ENTER THE WORK FORCE. STATE AND NATIONAL LEADERS BELIEVE WE CAN DO MORE IN THIS AREA. WE SIMPLY CANNOT IGNORE AND DISMISS THESE BELIEFS. I KNOW THAT ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO, WE CAN DO BETTER. WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT MANY OF THE PROBLEMS CONFRONTING OUR SOCIETY ARE GLOBAL ONES. WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE OUR STUDENTS TO WORK INDIVIDUALLY AND COOPERATIVELY, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND PERSPECTIVES IS HELPFUL IN BRINGING ABOUT SOLUTIONS. WE NEED TO PROMOTE CREATIVITY AND ENCOURAGE LEARNING AND DISCOVERY. OUR ABILITY TO CHANGE, TO FOCUS AND RESPOND MAY BE AMONG OUR GREAT STRENGTHS. HIGHER EDUCATION HAS A TREMENDOUS ROLE TO PLAY IN SHAPING SOCIETY AND HELPING PEOPLE LIVE BETTER LIVES.
FUNDING BASED ON QUALITY OF PERFORMANCE IS AN ISSUE THAT WILL NOT GO AWAY IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THE COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION APPROVED THE HIGHER EDUCATION PERFORMANCE FUNDING SYSTEM INCLUDING PARAMETERS, INDICATORS, GOALS AND OTHER ASSOCIATED ELEMENTS. THE SYSTEM INCLUDES FOUR COMMON PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ON WHICH EACH UNIVERSITY WILL BE MEASURED. PERFORMANCE FUNDING CAN BE VIEWED AS AN INCENTIVE FOR ASSURING THAT THERE IS QUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES. IF WE WORK TO IMPROVE OUR TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND SERVICE, AS I THINK WE HAVE IN THE PAST, PERFORMANCE FUNDING CAN TURN OUT TO BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS UNIVERSITY, RATHER THAN SOMETHING TO FEAR.
DISTANCE LEARNING AND COOPERATION AMONG INSTITUTIONS ARE ISSUES THAT WE WILL HEAR MORE ABOUT. WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION, ONE THAT WILL REQUIRE OUR USE OF INNOVATIVE MECHANISMS. I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT WHAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THROUGH DISTANCE LEARNING AS WE ASSUME LEADERSHIP IN DEVELOPING MEANS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING, SERVICE AND RESEARCH. AS A LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY IT IS NOT ONLY IMPORTANT THAT WE ENGAGE IN RESEARCH BUT THAT THE QUALITY OF OUR TEACHING AND SERVICE CONTINUE TO BE IMPORTANT AND BE MADE AVAILABLE TO AN INCREASING PROPORTION OF OUR POPULATION. TECHNOLOGY UNDOUBTEDLY WILL PERMIT US TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE, IF WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY LAST YEAR
LAST SEPTEMBER DURING MY ADDRESS BEFORE YOU, I POINTED OUT SEVERAL ISSUES FOR US TO PURSUE IN 1995-1996. ONE ISSUE INVOLVED EXPENDITURES OF MONIES FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM THE ROBINSON FOREST QUASI-ENDOWMENT FUND, MONIES THAT CAN ONLY BE USED FOR THE PRIMARY BENEFIT OF THE MOUNTAIN REGION OF EASTERN KENTUCKY. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AUTHORIZED THE EXPENDITURE OF $3.3 MILLION FROM THE ROBINSON FUND ON PROJECTS WITH $1.1 MILLION TO BE USED TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON THE FORMER CAMPUS OF LEES COLLEGE OF JACKSON ADMINISTERED BY HAZARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE U. K. BOARD OF TRUSTEES HAS APPROVED THE NEW COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAM. ENROLLMENT AT LEES THIS SEMESTER IS 33 PERCENT MORE THAN LAST YEAR AND THE COLLEGE CAMPUS IN JACKSON CONTINUES TO SERVE THE MOUNTAIN REGION OF KENTUCKY.
IN ADDITION, OTHER ROBINSON FOREST MONIES WERE ALLOCATED FOR A VARIETY OF RESEARCH AND SERVICE PROJECTS (INCLUDING RESEARCH PROJECTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY) THAT WILL BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF EASTERN KENTUCKY.
AS YOU MAY RECALL FROM LAST YEAR, I POINTED OUT THAT IT HAD BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE TOOK A CAREFUL LOOK AT GRADUATE EDUCATION. A BROAD-BASED THIRTEEN MEMBER COMMITTEE ON GRADUATION EDUCATION WAS APPOINTED AND CHARGED WITH EXAMINING AND CONDUCTING A FULL REVIEW OF GRADUATE EDUCATION AT THIS UNIVERSITY. THE COMMITTEE CARRIED OUT A VERY THOROUGH STUDY AND IDENTIFIED STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. IT CONSIDERED STRATEGIC INDICATORS, STUDENT CONCERNS, THE NEED FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT, THE AVAILABILITY AND QUALITY OF PROGRAM RESOURCES AND RELATED MATTERS, AND REVIEWS OF WRITTEN RESOURCE MATERIAL AS WELL AS NUMEROUS UNIVERSITY-WIDE INTERVIEWS WITH STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF.
THE COMMITTEE PRESENTED A PRIORITIZED LIST OF TWENTY-EIGHT RECOMMENDATIONS GEARED TOWARD THE LONG-TERM QUALITATIVE IMPROVEMENT IN THE GROWTH AND QUALITY OF OUR GRADUATE PROGRAMS. MANY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS REQUIRE NOT ONLY A REALLOCATION OF EXISTING RESOURCES, BUT SIGNIFICANT NEW FINANCIAL RESOURCES. THE REPORT MUST BE VIEWED IN TERMS OF SYSTEMIC AND LONG-TERM CHANGE REQUIRING THE IMPLEMENTATION AND USE OF ALL UNIVERSITY RESOURCES TO ACHIEVE ITS GOALS. I HAVE REPLIED TO EACH OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS AND FINDINGS IN THE REPORT AND I HOPE THAT THE REPORT AND MY RESPONSES WILL SERVE AS A TEMPLATE FOR EXPANDING AND FURTHER DEVELOPING OUR HIGH QUALITY GRADUATE EDUCATION PROGRAM. NEARLY 250 COPIES OF THE REPORT AND MY RESPONSES HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED ACROSS THE CAMPUS TO UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS, THE GRADUATE COUNCIL AND THE SENATE COUNCIL.
IN THE AREA OF RESEARCH
THIS UNIVERSITY CONTINUES TO BE RANKED AS A RESEARCH UNIVERSITY ONE BY THE CARNEGIE FOUNDATION - ONE OF JUST 59 PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN THE COUNTRY.
LAST YEAR, OUR FACULTY AND STAFF ATTRACTED $114.1 MILLION DOLLARS FROM GRANTS, CONTRACTS AND GIFTS. IT'S THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR THAT MORE THAN $100 MILLION IN EXTRAMURAL FUNDING HAS BEEN OBTAINED. THAT IS IMPRESSIVE AND REMARKABLE IN THIS ERA OF DWINDLING FEDERAL DOLLARS FOR RESEARCH. THIS SERVES AS A GREAT TESTIMONIAL TO THE WORK OF OUR ADMINISTRATORS AND THE QUALITY OF OUR FACULTY.
IN THE AREA OF FUND RAISING
WE HAD ANOTHER RECORD YEAR IN PRIVATE FUNDRAISING. GIFTS TO THE UNIVERSITY LAST YEAR TOTALED MORE THAN $39 MILLION DOLLARS, MORE THAN EVER BEFORE AND A 5% INCREASE OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR. THERE WAS ALSO A RECORD OF 43,374 DONORS AND OF THOSE DONORS NEARLY 25,000 WERE U-K ALUMNI, SETTING ANOTHER RECORD.
YOU MAY BE AWARE THAT A SELF-STUDY OF THE ATHLETICS PROGRAM WAS CONDUCTED THIS YEAR. A BROAD-BASED COMMITTEE EXTERNAL TO THE ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT CONSISTING OF FACULTY, STUDENTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL RECENTLY COMPLETED THE STUDY. THE NCAA HAS RECENTLY INSTITUTED A NEW REQUIREMENT, A SELF-STUDY OF THE ATHLETICS PROGRAM, WHICH IS TO BE CONDUCTED IN A FASHION SIMILAR TO TYPICAL ACADEMIC SELF-STUDIES. THERE WERE FOUR BASIC TOPIC AREAS; GOVERNANCE AND COMMITMENT TO RULES COMPLIANCE; ACADEMIC INTEGRITY, FISCAL INTEGRITY, AND COMMITMENT TO EQUITY. COPIES OF THE REPORT ARE AVAILABLE IN FOUR U-K LIBRARY LOCATIONS: KING CIRCULATION; KING SPECIAL COLLECTIONS; LAW LIBRARY; AND MEDICAL CENTER LIBRARY. IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE WEB. I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THE U-K ATHLETICS PROGRAM IS OPERATING WELL WITHIN SEC AND NCAA REGULATIONS. SEVERAL EXCELLENT SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT WERE RECOMMENDED AND WILL BE ADOPTED, ACTUALLY, SOME HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUT IN PLACE. IT ALSO PLEASES ME THAT SOME OF OUR PRACTICES AND PROGRAMS HAVE SERVED AS MODELS FOR OTHER INSTITUTIONS. THE REPORT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE NCAA AND AN ACCREDITATION TEAM FROM THE NCAA WILL VISIT HERE IN NOVEMBER.
LAST YEAR I APPOINTED A BROAD-BASED INSTITUTION-WIDE COMMITTEE COORDINATED BY THE UNIVERSITY'S OFFICE OF INSTITUTIONAL PLANNING, BUDGETING AND EFFECTIVENESS TO CONDUCT A "STUDY OF STUDENT SATISFACTION." THIS IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN BECAUSE (1) WE NEED TO KNOW HOW SATISFIED STUDENTS ARE WITH OUR EFFORTS AND (2) THE UNDENIABLE FACTS SHOW THAT STUDENTS DO NOT COMPLETE THEIR EDUCATIONAL PURSUITS AT ACCEPTABLE RATES. A 50% GRADUATION RATE IS SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR US. THE COMMITTEE IS ON TARGET TO PRESENT ITS REPORT DURING THE SPRING SEMESTER 1997. SOON, PROBABLY WITHIN THE MONTH, FACULTY WILL BEGIN HEARING ABOUT THE STUDY AS FOCUS GROUPS OF FACULTY AND STUDENTS WILL BE FORMED. THE RESULTS OF THIS STUDY WILL BE MOST IMPORTANT TO US IN GENERATING INFORMATION THAT WE WILL USE TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF OUR PERFORMANCE IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM. HOPEFULLY WE WILL BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHY OUR GRADUATION RATE IS LOW AND HOW WE CAN MAKE CHANGES TO IMPROVE THE RATE. WE MUST TOGETHER FIND WAYS TO IMPROVE A GRADUATION RATE THAT I FIND TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND I KNOW YOU DO AS WELL.
ITEMS OF INTEREST THIS YEAR PARKING ON CAMPUS THIS YEAR - I KNOW THAT PARKING THIS SEMESTER IS MORE CRITICAL THAN IN THE PAST WITH THE LOSS OF PARKING SPACES IN SOME AREAS AND PARKING LOTS IN OTHER AREAS DUE TO VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND SOME PARKING SPACES BEING CHANGED TO BICYCLE PARKING AREAS. PLEASE BEAR WITH US THIS SEMESTER - HELP IS ON THE WAY IN THE FORM OF THE NEW PARKING STRUCTURE BEING BUILT BETWEEN LIMESTONE AND UPPER STREETS AND NEW LOTS BEING ADDED BETWEEN COLUMBIA, WOODLAND, AND HILLTOP. CONSTRUCTION ON THE NEW STRUCTURE IS ON SCHEDULE WITH AN ANTICIPATED COMPLETION OF DECEMBER. TO ALLEVIATE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS, MORE BUSES HAVE BEEN USED TO SHUTTLE STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF FROM THE STADIUM PARKING LOTS TO AREAS ON CAMPUS SINCE I MENTIONED BICYCLES A FEW MOMENTS AGO, PERMIT ME TO COMMENT ON BICYCLES. FOR QUITE SOME TIME THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASING CONCERN FOR THE SAFETY OF PEDESTRIANS AND THE MIX OF CYCLISTS ON CAMPUS. LAST YEAR, AT THE SUGGESTION OF A COMMITTEE REPRESENTING CYCLISTS AND NON-CYCLISTS, WE IMPLEMENTED BICYCLE DISMOUNT ZONES WHICH PROVED TO BE NON-EFFECTIVE, BECAUSE CYCLISTS WERE STILL RIDING ON SIDEWALKS. PUBLIC MEETINGS WERE HELD TO DISCUSS FUTURE COURSES OF ACTION. VIRTUALLY EVERYONE AGREED THAT ACTION NEEDED TO BE TAKEN TO IMPROVE SAFETY CONDITIONS. PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THIS SEMESTER, BIKE LANES AND PATHS WERE INSTALLED THROUGHOUT THE CAMPUS ALONG WITH BIKE PARKING AREAS. NEW BICYCLE REGULATIONS WERE ADOPTED AND ARE IN EFFECT. SO FAR, CYCLISTS ARE ADHERING TO THE REGULATIONS AND IT IS MUCH SAFER FOR BOTH CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS.
STATUS OF THE W. T. YOUNG LIBRARY
I AM SURE ALL OF YOU HAVE SEEN THAT THE EXTERIOR OF THE W. T. YOUNG LIBRARY IS BEING COMPLETED AT A FAST PACE. ABOUT A MONTH FROM NOW THE EXTERIOR FINISH OF THE UPPER SECTION OF THE ROTUNDA SHOULD BE FINISHED ALONG WITH THE SKYLIGHT CONNECTING THE ROTUNDA WITH THE MAIN PART OF THE BUILDING. THE STONE CORNICE THAT WILL EVENTUALLY SURROUND THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING IS PRESENTLY BEING PUT IN PLACE. THE CONTRACTORS ARE ON SCHEDULE TO COMPLETE THE BUILDING NEXT SUMMER WITH OCCUPANCY NEXT FALL. A COMMITTEE HEADED BY PAUL WILLIS IS PLANNING A NUMBER OF EVENTS AND A GRAND OPENING WHEN THE LIBRARY IS COMPLETED.
IN THE MEANTIME, ANYONE AROUND THE WORLD WITH A COMPUTER AND ACCESS TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB MAY NOW WATCH THE BRICK-BY-BRICK PROGRESS OF THE W. T. YOUNG LIBRARY. A SMALL CAMERA HAS BEEN MOUNTED ON A NEARBY BUILDING AND FOCUSED ON THE LIBRARY WITH A TRUE-COLOR PICTURE OF THE LIBRARY BEING UPDATED AT REGULAR INTERVALS ALLOWING ONE TO MONITOR THE DAILY PROGRESS OF THE CONSTRUCTION.
SINCE 1992, WHEN SENATE BILL 398 WAS ADOPTED BY THE KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE, NEW PROGRAMS COULD ONLY BE APPROVED BY THE COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION WHEN GOALS ON EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES WERE ATTAINED. ALTHOUGH WE HAD MET SEVERAL GOALS OF OUR STRATEGIC PLAN AND MADE PROGRESS IN OTHERS, WE HAD NOT GAINED SUFFICIENT IMPROVEMENT TO WARRANT THE ADDITION OF NEW PROGRAMS. WE PETITIONED THE COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION TO GRANT US A ONE YEAR QUALITATIVE WAIVER OF THE STANDARDS OF THE KENTUCKY PLAN FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION. WE OBTAINED A WAIVER AND WERE PERMITTED TO SUBMIT NEW PROGRAMS. SEVEN NEW PROGRAMS WERE PRESENTED AND APPROVED INCLUDING: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY PH.D. PROGRAM IN GERONTOLOGY THAT WILL INCORPORATE THE BIOMEDICAL AND SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND FOCUS ON AGING AND HEALTH (IT'S THE 4TH SUCH PROGRAM IN THE U.S. AND THE FIRST WITH THAT KIND OF FOCUS); A MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAM IN HISTORICAL PRESERVATION IN THE COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE; A MASTER'S DEGREE IN THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING ENCOMPASSING ELECTRICAL, CIVIL, MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS AND MINING ENGINEERING; A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND A NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE, BOTH IN THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE; AN ASSOCIATE IN APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE IN ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY AT LEXINGTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE; AND AN ASSOCIATE IN APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE IN TECHNICAL STUDIES AT PADUCAH COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THESE NEW PROGRAMS HELP TO ENSURE THAT OUR ACADEMIC DEGREE OFFERINGS ARE CHANGING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL OUR STUDENTS AS WE MOVE TOWARD THE 21 ST CENTURY.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT OUR STUDENTS
PRELIMINARY REPORTS INDICATE THAT THE FRESHMAN CLASS IS ON PAR WITH LAST YEAR'S ENTERING CLASS WHICH WAS THE BEST EVER ENROLLED AT THE UNIVERSITY. ITS AVERAGE HIGH SCHOOL GPA WAS 3.4 AND ITS AVERAGE ACT WAS 24.8.
ALTHOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT GOVERNOR'S SCHOLARS, HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIANS, AND SALUTATORIANS IS INCOMPLETE FOR THIS YEAR'S ENTERING CLASS, THE CLASS DOES INCLUDE 73 NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS, A NUMBER WHICH I BELIEVE WILL KEEP US IN THE TOP TEN AMONG ALL PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN THE NATION.
INCIDENTALLY, THREE OF OUR NEW U-K STUDENTS WILL BRING PERFECT ACT OR SAT SCORES, ONE SCORED A 36 ON THE ACT, ACCOMPLISHED BY ONLY 75 OF THE 1.5 MILLION STUDENTS WHO TOOK IT THIS YEAR; AND TWO STUDENTS EARNED A 1600 ON THE SAT. ONLY 540 OF THE 2 MILLION STUDENTS WHO TOOK THE SAT THIS YEAR ACHIEVED SUCH A SCORE.
NOW, PERMIT ME TO DISCUSS TWO MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES THAT WE HAVE.
THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH THAT UNDERLIES THIS UNIVERSITY'S MISSION MUST INCLUDE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ISSUES OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/DIVERSITY, TOLERANCE, EMPOWERMENT AND THE OPEN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS AND PERSPECTIVES. TRUTH AND UNDERSTANDING CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF ENJOY MUTUAL RESPECT, ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY IS COMMITTED TO FOSTERING A CLIMATE CONDUCIVE TO SUCH IDEALS AND BEHAVIOR SO THAT EVERYONE IN THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY MAY STUDY AND WORK WITHOUT FEAR OF RIDICULE, INTOLERANCE, ABUSE OR PERSONAL SAFETY. THIS IS A UNIVERSITY OF CHARACTER AND HIGH IDEALS AND I ASK EVERY MEMBER OF THIS COMMUNITY TO EMBRACE THESE IDEALS AND ACT ON THEM DAILY TO SUPPORT THE RIGHTS OF ALL OTHERS TO DISCUSS AND DISAGREE, LEARN AND DISCOVER FREELY, WITH CIVILITY, AND WITHOUT FEAR.
WHAT I AM DESCRIBING IS AN INCLUSIVE LEARNING COMMUNITY ONE WHICH ALLOWS EACH OF US TO PARTICIPATE FREELY IN THE LEARNING PROCESS, INCLUDING THE IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER.
AFTER ALL -- AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY -- IT IS A MATTER OF MORE THAN SOCIAL JUSTICE. IT IS A MATTER OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AS WELL. MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, WE RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. WE ARE TAKING STEPS TO MAKE THE ON-CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT AN EVEN BETTER ONE.
- WE HAVE LAUNCHED A LEARNING COMMUNITY PLANNING TEAM AND A STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM THAT IS ALREADY BRINGING TOGETHER A DIVERSE CROSS-SECTION OF PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH QUESTIONS OF RACE AND EQUITY.
- WE HAVE ENHANCED THE CONTENT OF RACE RELATIONS AND DIVERSITY THAT IS PART OF U-K 101, THE INTRODUCTORY COURSE AVAILABLE TO ALL FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS,
I CHALLENGE YOU IN YOUR DEPARTMENTS AND COLLEGES TO CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO MAKE THIS UNIVERSITY A MORE INCLUSIVE LEARNING COMMUNITY, TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO ENSURE THAT THE ENVIRONMENT ON THIS CAMPUS IS ONE THAT RESPECTS THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF EACH INDIVIDUAL, TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO ENHANCE THE EXCELLENCE OF A VERY FINE UNIVERSITY.
THE SECOND MAJOR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO PROVIDE ALL THE HELP WE CAN TO ASSURE SUCCESS FOR OUR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS WHILE CONTINUING TO FOSTER EXCELLENT RESEARCH AND GRADUATE EDUCATION. THIS IS A CONSTANT BALANCING ACT, BUT ONE I BELIEVE WE ARE ACHIEVING.
ACCESS TO GOOD COUNSELING AND TEACHING FOR UNDERGRADUATES IS ESSENTIAL. LET ME GIVE YOU JUST A FEW REASONS WHY I BELIEVE WE ARE MAKING HEADWAY.
A CENTRAL ADVISING SERVICE AND TRANSFER CENTER WAS SET UP FIVE YEARS AGO TO ASSIST STUDENTS. LAST YEAR ALONE, THIS STAFF INITIATED CONTACTS WITH 7,000 STUDENTS INCLUDING 2,900 UNDECLARED STUDENTS.
THIS PAST YEAR, WE REACHED A GOAL OF HAVING 50% OF THE LOWER DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSES TAUGHT BY FULL-TIME FACULTY.
THE TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTER IS A TREMENDOUS RESOURCE FOR YOU. UNDER THE ABLE DIRECTION OF LINDA WORLEY, IT IS COMMITTED TO DOING ALL IT CAN TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ANALYTICAL SERVICES, WORKSHOPS ON TEACHING, INFORMATION ON COOPERATIVE LEARNING, NEW TEACHING METHODS -- IN SHORT, THE RESOURCES YOU NEED TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS IN THE CLASSROOM.
NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE MY REMARKS BY DISCUSSING ONE OTHER ITEM OF VITAL INTEREST AND CONCERN.
ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE CONTINUE TO FACE IS OBTAINING NEEDED FUNDING FOR PROVIDING QUALITY EDUCATION. AS YOU KNOW HIGHER EDUCATION, REGARDLESS OF LOCATION, IS NOT RECEIVING THE INFUSION OF EXTRA DOLLARS FROM PUBLIC RESOURCES. THE QUESTION OF FUNDING (OR LACK THEREOF) IS A VERY SERIOUS ONE. WITHOUT ADEQUATE LEVELS OF FUNDING, THERE CAN'T BE ADEQUATE COMPENSATION FOR EMPLOYEES. RIGHT NOW THIS UNIVERSITY IS LOOKING AT A 2.4% INCREASE IN STATE APPROPRIATION FUNDING FOR FISCAL YEAR 1997-98, WHICH LEAVES US LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL MONEY. BECAUSE IT'S IN THE NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET, NOT THIS YEAR'S, THE IMPACT OF THAT 2.4% HAS BEEN FORGOTTEN ABOUT BY MANY PEOPLE AND PUT ON THE BACK BURNER. WE'RE IN A VERY SERIOUS SITUATION, NEEDING TO ADDRESS LEVELS OF FUNDING THROUGH STATE APPROPRIATION. OUR EMPLOYEES NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR ABILITY TO PROVIDE EVEN COST-OF-LIVING SALARY INCREASES IN 1997-98. THAT'S WHY THE GOVERNOR'S INITIATIVE OF ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT, SO CRITICAL TO US. GOVERNOR PATTON HAS APPOINTED A TASK FORCE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION COMPRISED OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND MEMBERS OF HIS CABINET. THE GOAL OF THE TASK FORCE IS TO ASSURE THAT KENTUCKY'S POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS POSITIONED TO PROVIDE THE HUMAN CAPITAL NEEDED TO ALLOW THE COMMONWEALTH TO BE A LEADER IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY OF THE 21 ST CENTURY. EIGHT PRINCIPLES WERE ESTABLISHED FOR THE TASK FORCE TO MEET THE GOAL: 1) ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION, 2) DEVELOP HIGH PERFORMANCE ORGANIZATIONS, 3) ASSURE A USER-FRIENDLY SYSTEM, 4) PROVIDE EFFECTIVE ACCESS, 5) INCREASE PARTICIPATION RATES, 6) ENHANCE APPRECIATION OF EDUCATION, 7) VALUE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY, AND 8) MAXIMIZE RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE TASK FORCE THE GOVERNOR ALSO ESTABLISHED THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL EFFICIENCY AND COOPERATION AS A MEANS FOR DIRECT INPUT BY THE UNIVERSITIES INTO THE TASK FORCE. THE COMMISSION, CHAIRED BY DR. MARY L. SMITH, PRESIDENT OF KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY, IS PRIMARILY COMPOSED OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND SEVERAL OF THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF. THE COMMISSION HAS A CHARGE TO PROVIDE TIMELY INPUT AND SUGGESTIONS RELATING TO IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF ACADEMIC PROGRAM DELIVERY, REDUCING PROGRAM DUPLICATION, STREAMLINING INSTITUTIONAL ADMINISTRATION, USING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE DISTANCE LEARNING DELIVERY AND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, AND DEVELOPING AN EVALUATION SYSTEM AND FINANCIAL INCENTIVES THAT WILL HELP ACCOMPLISH THE CHANGES THAT ARE NEEDED.
THE TASK FORCE HAS AGREED TO PROVIDE ITS REPORT IN MARCH AT WHICH TIME THE GOVERNOR HAS INDICATED HE WILL CALL A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO DEAL WITH THE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REPORT.
AGAIN, PERMIT ME TO SAY THAT I APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO THE SENATE. I AM PLEASED TO HAVE EVERYONE BACK ON CAMPUS - FACULTY AND STUDENTS ALIKE. I BELIEVE WE ARE DOING WELL IN OUR EFFORTS TO MAKE THIS A BETTER UNIVERSITY. I APPRECIATE THE COMMITMENT AND EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE OF FACULTY AND STAFF ACROSS THE THREE SECTORS OF THE UNIVERSITY.
President Wethington then entertained questions from the Senate.
President Wethington was given a round of applause.
Chairperson Schach stated the minutes from the March 11, 1996 and April 8, 1996 had been circulated and needed to be approved. There were no corrections to the minutes and they were approved as circulated.
The Chair then recognized Professor Don Sands, Department of Chemistry, to present a memorial resolution in honor of Professor William K. Plucknett. Resolution Presented to University of Kentucky Senate in memory of Professor William K. Plucknett September 9, 1996
William K. Plucknett, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, died on August 2, 1996, at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife, Evaline Plucknett, sons Bruce and Albert Plucknett, daughter Ellen O'Laughlin, and four grandchildren.
Bill Plucknett was a native of Nebraska. He graduated from Peru State College in 1937; he liked to recall that his total out-of-pocket expenses for his first year in college in 1933-34 amounted to $76. Bill went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Iowa State University. He came to the University of Kentucky in 1953 as Associate Professor of Chemistry. He retired in 1983.
Bill was an involved member of the University Community, and he filled many roles in his thirty years of formal service. He chaired the Senate Council in the 1970-71 academic year. From 1975 to 1983 he served as Director of General Chemistry. He was active in AAUP, and served as President of the State Conference of AAUP. I heard a new faculty member asking him once, "AAUP - what does AAUP stand for?"
Bill's response was quick: "AAUP stands for academic freedom."
Bill's retirement meant that we no longer had day-to-day access to his keen intellect. No longer could I stroll down the hall to seek his help on a chemical thermodynamics problem. His poker buddies, though, can attest to the power of Bill's mind just two weeks before his death. I visited Bill in July, two days after he suffered a stroke and five days before he died; his body was impaired, but he was still sharper mentally than many of us.
Retirement also deprived us of regular enjoyment of Bill's humor. His wit was quick and penetrating. He had a delicious sense of the ridiculous. He was a master at setting up and delivering a joke.
Bill's concern for faculty rights, as exemplified by his work with AAUP, was one aspect of his broader commitment to the rights of people. Through organizations such as ACLU and Amnesty International, he continued throughout his life to fight for humanitarian causes.
We remember Bill Plucknett for his intelligence, for his scientific insight, for his good teaching, for his sense of humor, and for his dedication to justice and fairness. His life integrated these qualities and demonstrated that they are not isolated from each other.
I ask that this resolution be made part of the minutes of the University Senate and that a copy be sent to Professor Plucknett's family.
Chairperson Schach asked that the Senate stand for a moment of silence in recognition of Professor Plucknett.
The Chair recognized Professor Jim Applegate for a special resolution.
1995-1996 SENATE COUNCIL CHAIR
SEPTEMBER 9, 1996
Professor Applegate stated his resolution was thankfully different in tone.
It is traditional that the Chair-Elect of the Senate Council offer a resolution of thanks to the outgoing Chair of the Senate at the first fall meeting. We honor that tradition today by honoring the work of outgoing Senate Chair Professor Gretchen LaGodna. However, this is more that a ceremonial activity. For those who have worked closely with Gretchen it is particularly heartfelt.
If you examine the faculty governance structures of many institutions you will discover that at the University of Kentucky governing regulations define a comparatively strong faculty governance structure. But as we all know, governing structures are only as strong, as ethical, and as humane as the people who voices bring those structures to life. Many of you who have been associated with the senate know we have been blessed over the years with senate leadership that has provided a strong voice and good service to the University, the Senate, and the faculty. Certainly Gretchen is one of those voices.
Hers has been a voice of vision and values. Her vision led her to begin the year creating a special task force to address the difficult issues surrounding faculty retirement. This task force placed this issue squarely on the agenda of the University and developed a policy, which, though not fully implemented, offers a marvelous model for continued thinking about the issues.
She focused a variety of our standing committees on important issues related to the future of the University: for example insuring that academic values and issues drive our thinking about the application of new communication and information technologies to academic settings like the classroom. Most recently she has been instrumental in creating task forces on promotion and tenure and on the organizations of special title faculty series. These task forces will enable us to coherently and defensibly address the many issues that are currently swirling around both inside and outside the university regarding the roles and reward structures that should inform the work of what some are calling "the new American scholar" of the next century.
Her voice has been one not only of vision but of a high principle. We have watched Gretchen adhere strongly to the academic values that we all cherish: a commitment to shared governance in an inclusive community characterized by civil discourse. When necessary she has been willing to engage in honest dialogue with our President, our Chancellors, and other administrators to ensure these values drove institutional decisions. These dialogues, while not always enjoyable, are nevertheless appreciated by University leaders as a necessary corrective to other daily pressures they feel. Yet Gretchen's style was never confrontational for confrontations sake. In fact just the opposite was true. She always strove to establish dialogue and to create consensus. One of my favorite philosophers, Jurgen Habermas, once said that we should strive to create a climate in which "the gentle force of the better idea" will prevail. That for me captures a lot of what Gretchen seemed to be about. Fostering discussions would ensure that the gentle force of good ideas, many of which were hers, would prevail. That commitment to dialogue was evident in her efforts to ensure that all the voices that needed to be represented in any conversation were present.
This commitment to inclusion certainly characterized Gretchen's work before she became Senate Chair, while she was Senate Chair, and I am sure will continue to characterize it afterward. Her commitment to civility and inclusion was evident, when, in the wake of the reprehensible attacks on students last spring (reminding us perhaps that in 1996 we are still much closer to Little Rock than Camelot), it was the Senate, through Gretchen's voice, that was among the first to publicly go on record with a strong and eloquent statement that made clear our community would not tolerate such acts and which renewed our commitment to values and community.
I conclude by noting a final issue that Gretchen has left on the agenda for us. (She just won't quit giving us jobs to do.) She has us working to revitalize the commitment to faculty governance on this campus. It seems nationally for the last decade it has become more and more difficult to involve faculty in faculty governance. For obvious reasons we have all felt more pressure to maintain our research and teaching agendas in an era of declining resources. These are rightly our first concerns and our first loves. But this house in which we labor, this University, is not immune to powerful external forces of change.
There are those proposing some fairly radical remodeling of our home. No doubt there are some parts of what we do that could use some remodeling, but there are other parts that have endured for good reasons like the classic marble floors of old mansions. If we as faculty, students, and members of this community hope to have a strong voice in those changes we need to be willing to devote some time to the upkeep of our home. We must commit ourselves to shared governance that has at its
heart a belief in professorial administration as a guiding force for professional administration. Gretchen has raised this issue for us in the final days of her term and asked us to reflect anew on how to do a better job in recruiting our new colleagues as well as renewing the commitment of our more veteran colleagues. I will not be presumptuous enough to speak for Professor LaGodna.. But I would suspect that there would be no better way for we as her colleagues to honor her deep service and commitment to us than for us to demonstrate in the coming years a renewed commitment to devoting the needed time to preserve, improve, and invigorate the process of shared governance at the University of Kentucky.
I hope you will join me in a round of applause in thanking Gretchen LaGodna for her work as Senate Chair.
Chairperson Schach then welcomed Joe Burch, Vice President for University Relations to make a few comments about the United Way fund drive.
Vice President Burch stated that Doug Bruce, who is in the Chancellor's office at the Medical Center, and Jennifer Kreiger, who is in the Graduate School, are cochairing this year's United Way Campaign. Doug had asked for an opportunity to address the Senate, but fell ill. Jennifer is addressing a training group of United Way, so they asked me to come and speak to you which I am delighted to do. Unfortunately I have not had an opportunity to find out from Doug exactly what he was going to say today, but I think I know what that is. I think for the first time, we wanted to come before this body and ask for your support for the United Way Campaign on this campus, in the belief that this would say more to the academic community on this campus than anything else we could do.
As you know many years ago the University decided to enter into the Community Chest, what is now the United Way, as our part of helping in this community. This would be the one campaign of this nature that would be conducted on the campus and we have been doing this for many years. It might help you to know that the support of University of Kentucky employees is absolutely vital to the United Way Campaign in the Bluegrass, which supports not only Fayette County but the surrounding eight counties in the central Kentucky area. The University of Kentucky employees are either the second or third largest campaign contributors to the United Way. It is also interesting to note that we are one of the larger in terms of employer group users of United Way services from the service agency. We are told that one in four of our employees in some way or another use the United Way services. I am here simply to ask for your support in any way that you feel is proper for you to do so. We believe that this will help the campaign especially in the academic community this year on campus. We hit a low a few years ago as you probably know. Nationally there were some difficulties. We talked about that a lot on this campus, we believe the difficulties have been corrected. The United Way Campaign nationally and locally is under new leadership. The campaign has bounced back. Last year we bounced back on this campus as well as in the community. We believe as members of the community it is our responsibility to help out where we can. Whatever ways you can support this campaign certainly be appreciated.
Vice President Burch was given a round of applause.
The Chair then stated there was another tradition at the beginning of the year and that is to hear from the Academic Ombud. Lee Edergton has agreed to serve for a second year, he has done a terrific job and we are very fortunate to have his services.
Annual Report of the Academic Ombud 1995-96
Lee A. Edgerton
Thank you for the opportunity to address the senate at the beginning of my second year as Academic Ombud. It is appropriate to begin my report by saying that my experience during the past year has led me to believe that the overwhelming majority of faculty and administrators in this institution are genuinely concerned about providing an excellent educational experience for students in this institution. Similarly, the majority of students approach the office with a commitment to fairness for both students and faculty. That has made the process of dealing with the inevitable conflicts which arise in a large community a much more positive experience than it would otherwise be and I thank you all for that.
The statistical report of the office's activities is attached. Review of the data indicates that the number and nature of complaints registered in 1995-96 was similar to that of the preceding 3 years. The number of complaints per hundred undergraduate students ranges from 0.4 to 2.2 among the various colleges. It appears to this observer that programs in which the coursework complements closely the career objectives of students enjoy less friction than those dealing with the University's broader educational objectives. To the extent that this observation is valid, it behooves those of us in instructional roles to clarify for students the importance of each discipline to our lives. The second observation I wish to point out is that the College of Fine Arts and the College of Architecture, both of which have been using plus-minus grading, are below the University average on the complaint spectrum. Perhaps those of us who are anxious about the potential increase in complaints as more colleges adopt plus-minus grade calculations can take comfort in that observation. That noted, I must also report that the student responses to our office, with few exceptions, have been strongly opposed to the shift to plus-minus grading.
Philosophy of the Ombud Rather than dwell upon the statistics of the last year, I think it may be of more value to the Senate and to the office of the Academic Ombud to give the report a future focus. Having now served long enough to have formed an operative philosophy, I hope that by sharing some of that, each member of the academic community will be better positioned to interact with the office of the Academic Ombud during my second year.
The office of the Academic Ombud exists to consider those issues of conflict which arise due to a lack of a specific rule or procedure to guide the resolution or due to a situation in which the rules do not allow for a reasonable resolution. You should know that I share the philosophy of Philip Howard, author of "Death of Common Sense". Mr. Howard argues that it is not reasonable to believe that we can establish rules to answer appropriately every situation which will occur. Furthermore, the degree to which we approach such an extensive set of rules is directly related to the inability of those affected, including the administrators of the rules, to know all the rules. The alternative is, of course, to establish general guidelines and standards and resolve specific cases in keeping with these general standards. From this perspective, it is expected that numerous situations will arise in which two or more individuals disagree on how best to implement the University's ideal of fairness. I see the primary objective of the office of the Academic Ombud being to reconcile such individuals to a solution which allows the Academic community to best pursue its educational objectives.
My perspective is that the ideal resolution of issues brought to the office is one derived from direct and open discussion between the parties in conflict. That ideal is tempered by the knowledge that many people do not approach the Ombud, until a significant degree of estrangement has developed between the two, or more, parties. The Academic Ombud then:
- if possible, creates a reconciliation between the parties.
- negotiates a mutually acceptable solution to the problem/issue.
- directs issues to the University Appeals Board which, in the Ombud's opinion, justify a hearing.
In fulfilling this role my actions are guided by my general presumption that all parties have a valid perspective. If possible I attempt to affirm each person's perspective, while articulating to the best of my ability the validity of alternative perspectives.
My approach is as follows:
Encourage direct communication. This is not always easy for students who find faculty intimidating. It is probably true that, as students, we do not always wish to be known by faculty. Our comments often reflect an inner conflict. In part, we want faculty to know and care about us but simultaneously we desire a significant degree of anonymity, while we sort out which of our characteristics we want to have known. On the other side we, as faculty, often present a dichotomous face as we tell students "I don't have time to talk about that now" and later wonder "Why didn't the student come to me. I'm always available and willing to discuss these matters."
Listen intently to all parties. Few of us can focus on an alternative perspective of an issue when we believe our perspective is not being heard. More importantly, listening intently is critical to understanding the issues and perspectives.
Determine whether there is substantial agreement among the parties on "facts" of the issue.
If there is agreement, determine whether there is a clear cut rule which governs the issue and which provides a resolution consistent with the educational objectives of the academic community.
If there is not agreement, attempt to clarify the "facts".
Explore the implications of various actions with the involved parties. Although I may not believe that a pragmatic resolution is most consistent with academic ideals, in my view a decision to choose a pragmatic solution rather than pursue a philosophical ideal is most appropriately made by those who are most directly affected by the decision. Furthermore, some options may not be pursued by the ombud without violating an individual's right to confidentiality.
Encourage one or both parties to modify their position. Such requests are based upon my perspective of an appropriate resolution which is consistent with the educational goals of the University community and the spirit of the rules relating to academic rights and responsibilities. Most such requests are presented with the caveat that my perspective may not be supported by the University Appeals Board.
If informal resolution is not possible, prepare a formal statement expressing my position on the merit of the issues (except in cases involving academic offenses of cheating or plagiarism, in which students have an automatic right to appeal).
Using the Academic Ombud.
My perspective after one year in the office of the Academic Ombud is that time can be saved for faculty, students and the Ombud by proactive use of the office. I encourage the use of positive referrals to the office. By positive referrals, I mean that instructors terminate a discussion in which they have reached an impasse in this manner. "Lynne, I can see that I've not convinced you that my position is appropriate. It is, however, the position that I believe I must take, as the instructor, to be consistent and fair to all students. I do want you to know that it is your right to discuss this with the Academic Ombud. That office can provide you with an impartial assessment of the issues and advise you relative to your rights of appeal."
In my opinion, this referral to the Academic Ombud has several benefits for faculty including:
Leaving the student an option makes it easier for them to accept that you do not intend to alter your position and that you consider the current discussion finished. People with alternatives feel less compelled to keep the current conversation going, a process that frequently serves only to frustrate both parties.
The fact that you suggested the alternative sends a clear message that you care about the student's rights. This leaves you in a positive position for future dialogues with this student on academic matters within your discipline.
Referring the matter to another, and presumably impartial listener, suggests that you have confidence in your position. Many students approach the Academic Ombud for a hearing simply because they believe they may have a valid issue. That belief has often been reinforced because they perceived that the instructor lacked confidence in the position taken.
It acknowledges that you understand that ultimately the University Appeals Board does have the right to impose certain solutions which may contradict your decision. Acknowledging this initially leaves you in a position to accept such a decision graciously, should that be the final outcome.
Although a proactive approach will occasionally add to the stress and time required to resolve an issue, my perspective is that in most cases it reduces both stress and time required to resolve issues. More importantly, I believe, it helps to maintain a positive working relationship between instructor and student which is essential to fostering learning within the academic community.
Issues of general interest.
Modifications of the VIP system. We have had a few cases in which students claimed to have withdrawn from a class by the appropriate deadline, but later found they were still listed as enrolled. Although some of these claims may be false, I am informed by Lisa Collins that the VIP system is designed such that the message that tells the caller that they have been dropped from a course is delivered prior to the execution of the drop. Furthermore, it is possible, in situations such as when the computer records are being backed up, that actions which the caller is told have been taken, are, in fact, never executed. This means that we are poorly positioned to enforce the rules on withdrawing by a given date. I understand that it is not easy to modify the VIP system to avoid this shortcoming. However, I encourage the Senate to lend such weight as we can to efforts to correct this technical flaw in the system.
To create a positive perspective of the office of Academic Ombud among students, I participated in an SGA retreat at Hazel Green. I have spoken to several of the UK 101 classes and participated in orientation programs for entering international students and for TA's. I welcome these opportunities for proactive interaction and encourage you to contact the office if you know of a student, staff or faculty group that would like to have input from our office. In an attempt to maintain continuity in an office which frequently changes occupants, Michelle Sohner, the administrative assistant has resurrected Ombud get-togethers, an idea, which I understand originated with Dan Fulks. My predecessors have shown a continuing commitment to the office, expressed not only by helpful advice, but also by periodically stepping in to serve as the Ombud in cases where students were uncomfortable dealing with me or where my involvement might be perceived as a conflict of interest. All of us within the University community are indebted to them for their continuing service to the institution. We also owe a sincere thank-you to Michelle Sohner, the administrative assistant in the office. Michelle maintains a compassionate demeanor which lowers the level of anxiety for both distraught students and frustrated faculty. She efficiently locates pertinent Senate rules and provides insightful suggestions for resolving many issues.
In addition, she provides cheerful, friendly help to innumerable callers who call the office just because Academic Ombud Services precedes alphabetically most of the myriad options for the University in the Lexington phone book. Finally, I appreciate all the members of the University community for the support, civility, courtesy, and sense of humor which you have brought to the office. The opportunity to expand my acquaintances at this institution has contributed significantly to the satisfaction of serving in this position. Thank you.
Number of Single Contacts
|Number of Cases Handled||266|
NATURE OF COMPLAINTS
COLLEGE WHERE COMPLAINT ORIGINATED
|Arts and Sciences||137|
|Business and Economics||21|
|Human Environmental Sciences||5|
|Arts and Sciences||133|
|Business and Economics||23|
|Human Environmental Sciences||5|
CLASSIFICATION OF THE STUDENT
CASES BY MONTH
FOUR YEAR COMPARISONS
|Year||Cases Handled||Single Contacts|
MOST FREQUENT COMPLAINTS
Professor Edgerton was given a round of applause.
Chairperson Schach stated since the time was running late she would like to postpone the action items until the next meeting.
The Chair made the following announcements.
Senate meetings are always the second Monday of the month with the next meetings are October 14, 1996, November 11, 1996, December 9, 1996, February 10, 1997, March 10, 1997, and April 14, 1997. Please keep these in mind. After discovering some problems with attendance on behalf on Senate senators the Senate Council has decided to be a little more strict with the attendance policy. We are going to have to adhere to the three strikes and you are out rule. If you have three unexcused absences we have the discretion to purge you. Please try to do everything you can and if you find you are having conflicts with being able to serve please contact our office.
Nominations for the Promotion and Tenure Task Force are still open. If you could get those to me by e-mail in the next day or so, we will be finalizing those nominations. For those of you who have not been able to get through to me on e-mail, my address is email@example.com.
The Senate Council has been active during the Summer, we continue our work all summer long. Let me tell you about some of those activities. The first is the Inclusive Learning Community Project that President Wethington mentioned. With the leadership of Chancellor Zinser and Vice Chancellor Byars we had the opportunity of coming together as a team involving People from Human Resources, Student Government Association, Dean of Students Office, and the Teaching and Learning Center. Through the funding of Chancellor Zinser we were able to attend a conference in San Antonio on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education where we learned a great deal and got many good ideas on how to implement a full blown diversity plan at the University that we are calling the Inclusive Learning Community Plan. I just want to make a point that it is a dynamic plan, it is growing by the day and becoming more representative and more inclusive in terms of the representation on the team and the ideas included. Hopefully everyone will participate in all of the various initiatives thinking in terms of the climate on the campus and improving in that respect.
Jim Applegate and Mike Nietzel have been working on a position paper that define the value of a research institution.
This is going to be part of a package that is put together by a group called COSFL, Coalition of Senate Faculty Leadership. If you are not familiar with it, it is a group of faculty senate leaders from all the state institutions which will be presented to the Governor prior to the special session. This is in an effort to help clarify and educate the participants in that endeavor on various issues related to the University.
It is really one of the best opportunities the faculty have had to give input in some of these discussions. Loys Mather is chairing the group and has been very instrumental in maintaining good communications with the Governor and his office.
The Senate Council held a retreat in July at which time the theme of the day was the rediscovery of the role of the Senate with respect to the Governing Regulations. We were somewhat surprised to discover one of the rules that is defined for us is to determine broad academic policy. We have become to realize what an important role that is and perhaps how we could revitalize our efforts in that respect. We discussed strategies on how to place the Senate not so much in a reactionary role but really in a leadership role, one which initiates policy and anticipates the future. In looking at the standing committee and the adhoc committee charges and putting together task forces for this year, we took very seriously that whole idea of starting to establish academic policy.
This past weekend, Jim Applegate and I attended an AAUP Conference at the University of Michigan entitled Shared Governments versus Corporate Management. It was a very interesting discussion of governance issues and the role of the collaborative decision making involving the Board of Trustees, the administration level, and the faculty. We came back with some very good ideas and insights as to perhaps how to look at that whole model on our campus here and help to improve decision making in that collaborative spirit.
You are all familiar with the Promotion and Tenure Task Force. The Task Force is composed of two committees, one looking at the Promotion and Tenure System and one looking at the title series. I think this will be one of the most important endeavors for this year. It is particularly important in view of some of the events at the University of Minnesota. There were some very sobering events there with frontal assaults on the tenure system. It is an important initiative that Gretchen started last year and it is going to go a long way at anticipating, improving, and strengthening our current system.
Some of the more significant committee activities include:
The Research Committee is going to be reviewing the Research Ethics Policy.
The Institutional Planning Committee is going to be developing a policy on Distance Learning.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Women is going to be looking at an update on the status report.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Minorities has started and will be completing their study on the satisfaction of African American Faculty here on campus. They will be interviewing faculty who are here and those who have left. They will also be working in an initiative to develop a racial harassment policy.
The Academic Facilities Committee will be working with Vice Chancellor Watt on the development of a classroom space/use policy.
Another interesting find in the Senate Rules is that the Senate is required to conduct a faculty survey in the Spring of every other year. This is the year coming up. We will be looking to gauge morale and satisfaction among faculty and to identify issues for senate agendas.
Linda Worley and I have been working on and will be proposing soon through the Senate Council a task force on the evaluation of teaching. The task force will focus on how we are evaluating teaching, teaching evaluation forms, and how we could make the whole process more constructive.
It is going to be a great year, a lot of our success is going to hinge on your participation. I encourage you to give it your all. The idea of shared governance only works if all of us give as much as we can in our own respective areas.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Betty J. Huff