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University Senate Minutes - November 10, 1997

The University Senate met in regular session at 3:00 p.m., November 10, 1997 in Room 115 of the Nursing Health Sciences Building.

Professor Jim Applegate, Chairperson of the Senate Council presided.

Members absent were: Debra Aaron, Behruz Abadi*, Laila Akhlaghi, Jim Albisetti, Leon Assael, Ruth Baer, Terry Birdwhistell, Ben Bogia, Douglas Boyd, Fitzgerald Bramwell, Geza Bruckner, Joseph Burch, Lauretta Byars, Johnny Cailleteau, James Campbell, Brad Canon*, Ben Carr, Edward Carter, Michael Cibull, Jordan Cohen, Charles Cooper, Raymond Cox*, Melanie Cruz, Frederick Danner, Susan DeCarvalho, Philip deSimone, Robert Farquhar, Juanita Fleming, Donald Frazier*, Michael Friedman, Richard Furst, Philip Greasley, Ellen Hahn, David Hamilton, Issam Harik*, Debra Harley, James Holsinger, Patricia Howard, Rick Hoyle, Mark Ison, Raleigh Jones*, Stuart Keller*, James Knoblett, Craig Koontz, Philipp Kraemer, Alan Leech, Thomas Lester, C. Oran Little, Donald Madden*, Steven Middendorf, Kim Miller-Spillman, Karen Mingst*, David Mohney, Wolfgang Natter, Anthony Newberry, Jacqueline Noonan, Thomas Pope, J. Todd P'Pool, Shirley Raines, Dan Reedy, Thomas Robinson, Pamela Rountree, Edgar Sagan, Rosetta Sandidge*, Horst Schach, Janice Schach, David Shipley, Gregory Smith*, Edward Soltis*, Carrie Sparrow, Cidambi Srinivasan*, David Stockham, Thomas Troland, George Wagner*, Retia Walker*, Jesse Weil, Charles Wethington*, Stephan Wilson*, William Witt.

* Absence Explained

Chairperson Jim Applegate called the meeting to order and said he would like to alter the agenda and go directly to the Report on the Student Satisfaction Survey. He said that the Senate Council had heard this report and felt that the Senate should hear it. He hoped that this would serve as a basis for a number of talking points between faculty and students. They were hoping to sponsor a Speak Out with the Student Activities Board at the first of next semester on this issue. Applegate noted that this presentation; presented in other venues, has spawned a bit of defensiveness and blaming. He knows Dr. Christian-Ray does not want that to happen. There is some very good news in here, some very good news about our University. However, one example of an area of the survey about which we need to be talking is its suggestions that students seem to think that faculty have very little concern for whether or not they are able to utilize what they get here in terms of gainful employment and contributions when they get out. Faculty seem to think that students are too concerned about career and part-time employment when they are here. He feels that the truth lies somewhere in between. If we take that as a good point for beginning to talk to one another we can do a better job of letting one another know what we do care about and produce students who are both academically engaged and better able to contribute meaningfully when they graduate and maybe even earn a living wage. Applegate noted, this is a University Senate. We have students and faculty present. He hopes this will serve as a beginning point for conversations that extend beyond the meeting today.

The Chair then introduced Dr. Connie Christian-Ray for a presentation on the Student Satisfaction Survey.

Dr. Christian-Ray made the following remarks:

There were copies of the survey available at the library and she was looking at getting it on the Web.

The purpose of this study was actually for them to take a closer look and try to understand the nature and source of student satisfaction and dissatisfaction with undergraduate instruction and noninstructional services, and to make recommendations as they felt necessary for improvement.

The concern for student satisfaction actually came from feedback we were getting on student survey data that we were required to report to the state each year in an accountability report. The first slide is an example of the 1994 Accountability Report from the Undergraduate Alumni Survey. They were asked to evaluate the quality of undergraduate instruction on a scale of 1 to 4. With 1 being poor and 4 being excellent. The Kentucky Accountability Committee had also put forth a goal that said that we should be at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on these kinds of items. The thinking being that we should at least strive to be good which was the value that anchored the 3.0. As you can see, the University fell somewhere in-between the 2 and 3. In this particular year we had a 2.6 rating on that item out of the 4.0, and we were the lowest ranked institution when the Courier Journal ranked in the newspaper all the institutions in Kentucky. We were the only institution to fall short of that 3.0 goal that had been put forth.

There was another item that we were required to report on called the Quality of Noninstructional Services. The item was also on the survey and in parentheses it said in other words or "i.e., computer labs, libraries, etc." We had the notion that students were responding to the computer labs and libraries for the etceteras. This was an item on which we did not look nearly as bad, compared to the University of Louisville and others. Comparatively, we were 2.7. We were second to the University of Louisville but still short of the 3.0 goal. We decided we should look at these two items and try to understand what was behind students' ratings when they did these. Similar items are also on the Graduating Senior Survey and we were getting similar results. We had two years worth of data like this that went to the Accountability Report. It was not a one year result on one survey that led us to this, it was a couple of years of fairly consistent findings like this.

The Study Process slide goes through all the various steps of the process and what we did in order to come up with the recommendations. Frequently, when people ask me to come and speak, they ask me to talk about the survey findings. I like to correct them and emphasize that the recommendations were based on several things and not just the survey. We started out looking at other existing survey results; other years of the two surveys I mentioned were reviewed, and we reviewed results from the Nonreturning Student Survey and results of the SACS' Survey that was done in 1990-1991. Both the students and faculty. We did that initially because we thought we should use what we already knew to try to understand what was going on and not do additional surveys or focus groups or that sort of thing unless it was necessary. We used those surveys to give us a few clues as to what the issues and concerns might be so we could go back and start thinking of the questions that still remained unanswered. We reviewed the related literature very intensely at first and then throughout the year and a half that they were together. We started out looking for articles that investigated college student satisfaction and what were the predictors of satisfaction. We looked at a lot of theoretical articles about what was important in quality of instruction in the living-learning process. We looked at articles about the need for change in higher education and how society is changing and how the student population is changing and therefore what are some of the changes we might need to look at.

After we had done that, we decided we should have a more intense day-long meeting and invite some people to come and talk with us, who might be able to answer some of the questions that we had developed as a result of the first two steps. We had a day-long meeting and invited some people from advising, student affairs, minority affairs, and some to talk about the curriculum. At the end of the meeting we decided we wanted to move forward with a series of focus groups so we could sit down and someone could have a conversation with both students and faculty and try to get even more information about the questions that had come up. We put together a data collection plan that consisted of three points. We interviewed a variety of people throughout campus, people who came to the meeting and talked with us. We sent instructional faculty a letter and asked for their input on what they thought were the concerns of students in terms of student satisfaction. We really made an effort to try to involve a lot of people across campus that would have something to say about this. That was the first part of the data collection.

The second part was the focus groups. We conducted eighteen all together.

Four were instructional faculty who had taught at least one undergraduate course in the past year, selected at random to be representative of the size of the colleges. There were fourteen student focus groups. The students were chosen at random, but to represent specific subpopulations such as: women, African-Americans, community college transfers, non traditional students; there was a group of students on academic probation, and various groups of different year classifications. They were selected at random. We recruited twelve or fourteen for each group. They were offered a nice incentive package and we had good participation. We felt really good about the whole process, we felt it was probably one of the best focus group efforts on campus because the participation was good on both the student and faculty side. We brought in an outside consulting firm, simply because we wanted to insure as much as we could that anyone who spent two hours with that person talking to them about the questions they posed would feel comfortable with being honest and open with their answers. That happened in October of last year. The sample survey, which is what you tend to hear the most about, occurred last Spring. It was a random sample survey with a 33% response rate. It tended to be something that would confirm what we had already heard rather than to break new ground. We took a lot of things that were said in the focus groups as far as what students were concerned about and what faculty thought needed to happen and made items about them and put them on the survey to try and confirm the focus group findings. From all of those things, we developed the recommendations.

The fifth slide is an example of the kinds of people we talked to during the course of the year and a half of meetings. People who came to the meetings and discussed issues with us such as advising, preparation of students, the balancing/juggling act of faculty with students, teaching and research activities, the conditions of classrooms, what the library and computer labs needed, the people from Career Planning and Placement talked with us, and there were representatives from various special populations. This is an example of the concerns they had. There were many more and they are in the report.

The sixth slide is an example of some of the focus group findings. When we did the focus groups, we made a point to probe for both strengths and weaknesses. To be fair, I would say we probed more for weaknesses, because we were looking for areas in which we needed to improve. Keep in mind that the focus groups took place October a year ago, right after the semester where there had been some racial occurrences on campus and tensions were high. It was also the same semester when the new printing fee in the computer labs was implemented and tempers were high about that. So there are some things that need to be put into relation as to what was going on at the time.

The following were sighted as weaknesses:

I am not sure there is anything here with which you would disagree. There were not any surprises for us. We did feel like we should move forward with the sample survey and try to confirm this.

We used the Noel-Levitz student satisfaction inventory for three reasons; one being to get at this kind of information. It you think back to the second slide that looked at the accountability ratings and how we were being compared to other institutions in the State of Kentucky--when that happens, the first question that pops into my mind was--those were other Kentucky institutions. We are different and have a different mission and population. What would it be like if we were compared to other research institutions? We knew the Noel-Levitz instrument allowed us to compare our students' responses to a national comparison group. We did that. The results were very positive for our students. The next thing we did was to narrow that comparison group down to other Research I and II institutions, because we felt would be even more relevant. There were just nine of those and you had to have at least seven before Noel-Levitz would let you use them as a comparison group. That is why we added a Research II group to the Research I. We had to do that in order to get a total of seven, and by doing that, we came up with nine. They are all listed in the report. We did not include all of our benchmarks; just one, Ohio State, was in there. You have to keep that in mind when you think about these results. It was Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Auburn, Kent, SUNY-Albany, and University of Illinois-Chicago. It was representative geographically of the country. But they were not necessarily those institutions we have aspired to in terms of our benchmarks.

On the Noel-Levitz there were 79 items divided into 12 scales. Students said how important each item was to them and how satisfied they were with what they were getting from the university on that item. On 8 of the 12 scales, our students were significantly more satisfied than all of the Research I and II institutions. On 47 of the 79 items they were significantly more satisfied. On every single item that made up the scale that was labeled instructional effectiveness our students were significantly more satisfied than the comparison group. We felt like this was a real positive finding and it gives us some information that we can use when we try to explain to external constituents why we do not compare too well to other institutions in Kentucky. We can say we are different now and we can say we have information that compares us to more similar institutions that looks a lot better. So we have something to work with.

We were significantly less satisfied on 6 of the 79 items. Those are the six items that the Kernel used in its first article. The first article looked at these six, with parking being number one. We know this and it is something we talk about and hear a lot about on this campus. We know that students are generally unhappy with parking on other college campuses as well. But our students were significantly less satisfied with student parking.

The other areas were:

As I said earlier, the students could do two things for each item, they could rate its importance to them and then they could rate how satisfied they were with it. After we looked at the satisfaction ratings, there were the importance ratings. This was quite gratifying, to see that what students ranked as the most important to them were their academic concerns.

These are the top five:

The fifth item about faculty being knowledgeable and up to date and experts in their fields was a strength that came out in the focus groups, and this survey also confirmed that. This was something very important to students, and as you can see, it is not one of the gaps. We thought that this spoke well of our student body as a whole, that when we looked at a lot of different things such as services, social activities and instruction, it was really the academic concerns that were at the top.

Then we went to the performance gaps. This is another reason we used the Noel-Levitz, it allowed us to compute what they called the performance gap, which is the difference between the average importance rating on an item and the average satisfaction rating on an item. The project team started talking early on, before we ever looked at the Noel-Levitz and learned about performance gaps, about the difference in student expectations, what they expect to find when they come here and what they find when they get here. We felt like there were probably some areas where there were gaps. Whether their expectations were realistic or not, we did not really debate. We felt that if it was an expectation and it was not met that would be one source of dissatisfaction. The Noel-Levitz really fit well with some of our thinking that developed as we went through the process. The gap is the difference in importance and satisfaction. If I had real high importance in, say, "the content of my major courses is valuable," and that is really important to me, and I get into my major courses and my satisfaction is really low, then there is a large gap. If intercollegiate athletics are not particularly important to me and I am not particularly satisfied then the gap is going to be smaller. According to the Noel-Levitz theory, the larger the performance gap, the more closely you should look at that item in terms of something you might want to work to improve on your campus.

Noel-Levitz says that once you have identified those very large performance gaps, go back and look to see which of those items are also very important to students. You do not want to spend a lot of time, effort, and resources on an item that has a large performance gap but maybe it was not really that important to students. Parking is a good example. Parking falls about 33rd out of 103 in terms of importance to students even though it was the top performance gap. For the 103 items that we could compute a performance gap, the average was 1.24. That might give you a kind of an anchor in your mind as we look at some of these.

The first thing we did when we started on the performance gaps was we went through and identified those which fell in the top 25%. Out of 103 items there were 28 which had a gap of 1.50 or greater. We identified that as a target group that we might want to look at and think about in addition to our focus group findings and our interview data as we form our recommendations. They really address a wide variety of issues from:

These are in a little bit of priority order in that there were two items that had to do with parking and we put them in that category, but one of the items was the first, it was the largest performance gap. The five by library resources and services--out of 28 of the top performance gaps, five of those items had to do with library resources and services. So two of those were in second and third place in terms of the large performance gaps. So there is a little bit of a prioritization.

Looking at how broad these were in terms of addressing so many different things, that really gave us a feeling that maybe we were not projecting a very good climate for living and learning on this campus.

We made a commitment early on to consider the concerns of special populations, so after we looked at overall performance gaps we started looking at the African-American responses, female responses, community college transfer responses, and in the classifications, seniors in specific, since they are the ones that make it through and tend to respond to the items that end up in the accountability reporting. When we did that, two more items came up as being top concerns among those special populations, and we added these two to the group to consider when making recommendations; "the campus is safe and secure" and "campus staff are caring and helpful."

I mentioned earlier that we looked at classifications; freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and throughout all of this, we had to analyze this data in a number of ways, and we tried to cast a wide net because we knew there were a lot of different ideas about how to manage and analyze this kind of data. We wanted to be as inclusive as we could. We tried to look for trends and patterns and consistencies that kept popping up from the related literature, to the other survey findings, and to the focus groups. The USP issue was one where we were able to take what was said in the focus groups and create customized items and put them on the Noel-Levitz. That was another reason we used the Noel-Levitz, because they allowed us to add some of our own items.

When we looked at the USP items this way--they did not really bubble up to the surface very much when we looked at top performance gaps, but when we looked at them in terms of what freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors said, we saw a very clear trend. That was, for every item that addressed the USP the performance gap increased from the freshman to the senior year. We felt like that was a strong enough message that we needed to at least revisit it.

One of the last things we did was (a regression)....first of all we looked at a lot of means. We had a 103 items and the importance ratings and satisfaction ratings and performance gaps and that took a long time to look at. The project team was saying "how do we bring this down and make some sense of it and make some recommendations?" We had varying theories as to what should go in a regression model and what should be the outcome and what some of the explanatory variables should be. We developed eight different models and we tested eight. If you want anymore information about those, I will be more than happy to provide it. There is not a lot of statistical information in the actual report. The numbers you see on the items on the Survey Findings slide are how many times that item came up in a regression model as a significant explanatory variable. The "TAs as competent instructors" came up every time, and it was highly significant. The second item that came up the most often was "whether course materials are presented in an interesting and creative manner," and that came up seven times.

The other ones were:

These came up at least once. Now this is not saying that students had low satisfaction on these. These are the items that tended to predict whether or not a student would say that the quality of instruction is excellent, good, fair or poor. That was the outcome.

We came up with 12 conclusions, and they really parallel the recommendations. The first was to develop a service-oriented campus climate. This had to do with training all of our front line staff to be more customer service oriented. If you do not like the word customer, you can put student service oriented in there. It really has to do with answering questions and making sure that students get what they need when they go to an office for help. There is a lot that can be done with computer technology and reliability of information for cross-training and just making our campus more effective in terms of responding to students' need for information.

The second--creating a community appreciative of differences--was really in support of continuing the efforts of the Inclusive Learning Community Committee and the response to the concerns about racial tension on campus.

I will be glad to take a few questions.

George Myers (student - Social Work) asked if Dr. Christian-Ray would speak to the process by which the questions were chosen for both the focus groups and the surveys. He also asked if he could have a copy of the survey.

Dr. Christian-Ray said that they added thirty questions to the Noel-Levitz and they were taken from what students said in the focus groups. In many cases we took verbatim phrases that students used to come up with the questions. We did not go back to students then and ask them to look at or approve them. They did come from student input.

She said that she would give him a copy of the whole report.

George Myers asked now that they had come to these conclusions, what was the process for making change?

Dr. Christian-Ray said that what she was doing right now was probably one of the most important things; getting out in the University community and talking about their findings and recommendations. Encouraging everyone to discuss in their own units what they think might be the best way to move forward. The project team put forth some

possible initiatives, but they did that tentatively. They felt like people in the units knew more than what they did in terms of everyday operations and issues, and they would be able to talk about it and formulate initiatives. The other thing that they were doing was trying to incorporate these recommendations into the strategic planning process. They are right now revising the University's strategic plan and many of these things will be in there.

Mary Burke (Medicine) said that the student satisfaction questionnaire reminded her of the discussion in the College of Medicine. In medicine they talk a lot about patient satisfaction. Sometimes they get very elaborate with their questionnaires and then take a step back and say does this have anything to do with an important outcome. What is the process by which they decided how does student satisfaction equate with the appropriate outcomes, whatever that might be, with education.

Dr. Christian-Ray said that the appropriate outcome is enhancement in the quality of what we do. We are being increasingly asked to demonstrate that they are doing a good job. In the accountability movement and performance funding type of things that are sweeping the country and our state as well, part of that equation or what they are asking for in order to document that quality is feedback from the students. That is from a practical standpoint and we must respond to those requests and those people believe that student input is part of what should be used to document problems. Quality in education is such an elusive thing, we do not have a bottom line like they do in business, so they use a variety of indicators to help make the case for quality and student satisfaction has become one of those important ones. From my perspective, the whole issue of passing on knowledge to the next generation, students are half of that equation, therefore their perspective is valuable.

Chairperson Applegate said that the Senate had talked before about retention rates, at UK and our low retention rates compared with their benchmarks. That is another outcome they hope this survey will help us to address.

Dr. Christian-Ray said that retention was an issue which they tried to separate--satisfaction from retention--because they were really studying satisfaction, but according to the Noel-Levitz theory and others things, there is definitely a relationship. Retention and graduation rates are not just a statewide focus but a national focus. Dr. Christian-Ray was given a round of applause.

The Chair said that a lot of questions had been asked about the new library and the transition to the new library. He introduced Paul Willis, Director of Libraries to talk about the transition plan as we move into next semester. Hopefully, in December, Paul will come back and give a fuller explanation of what the new library will entail.

Paul Willis made the following remarks:

There are copies of the Student Satisfaction Report on reserve in the King Library.

I am passing around some interior photographs of the building. I have a video of the interior which I can show in December. Judy Sacket is the library's construction liaison for the new building. Mary Molinaro will be the team leader for the new building.

The move will not disrupt collections during the semester. We can go about assigning term papers, research papers and so forth as usual.

Even when the move occurs, whether that is in-between semesters or whether we have to wait until next May, our move contract requires that even items in transit have to be made available within 24 hours. Even if we move at low peak times, the collection will not be inaccessible. We will use a professional library mover. Of our two low bids, one is from a mover in Connecticut and the other Massachusetts, they bring special computer programs, special equipment, and expertise. They use local labor to move the collections.

We hope to make the move during the coming semester break. If the building is not turned over in time to do that, then the book collections will not be moved until May. Once the building is turned over to us, there is a lot of computing equipment to setup. There is considerable time between when we get the building and when it can be opened to the public. We already know for sure we do not plan to move any of the materials that come from the Medical Center Library, Biological Sciences, or Agriculture between semesters; all of that move will wait until May. We do not want to rush final construction of the building nor do we want to share the building with contractors. We want the key to the building, everything finished, and the contractors out. Even now we face the situation constantly when we are over there looking at things the question is: "Do you want us to fix that the way it was suppose to be or do you want us to finish the project?" We simply cannot let ourselves get into a situation where we compromise the quality of the building. We have waited a long time for it. The building is going to have a long life span and there is no reason at this stage to settle for anything other than what we programmed, asked for, and have paid for.

Why not do the collection move at Spring break?

The move of King Collections will probably take at least four weeks. As part of the move we are going to relabel about 700,000 volumes from the Dewey Classification System to the Library of Congress System, so that in the new building we will only have one primary classification system. So our move is not a typical move.

The movers who bid on the contract were very careful, one of them came and pulled the truck up to the loading dock at King South, got on an elevator and went up to where the collections are, came back down, went to Rose Street, went to the loading dock of the new building, then went to Agriculture, the Medical Center, and Biological Sciences and reported that you cannot get to the loading dock at the Medical Center. When you get on Rose Street all you do is sit. We are moving not only King, but 100,000 volumes from the Medical Center Library, all of Biological Sciences, and the bulk of the book collection from Agriculture.

If the collection move does get delayed until May, we will likely open the new building as soon as we have the PC, audio visual classrooms, the meeting rooms, and the faculty and graduate student studies ready for use. We will know the schedule before Thanksgiving and will get word out on it.

The question was asked if there was money available to remodel King.

Paul Willis answered that there was not. The only money available following the move of main services out of King is for things which stay there; the Library School on the fifth floor, a computer lab, the map collection, Radio Eye, and the STAARS lab will stay. The President has committed the money to fix King so that those services can stay open without having to keep the whole building open. Phase II of our project is to take the 1931 part of King South and make it Special Collections and Archives, we have a proposal to turn the 1963 addition with an entrance in the back facing Pence into a Science and Engineering Library, that is still being talked about. We do have money to turn two floors of the King North Building into a Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. That architectural work is underway. We do not have money for the Phase II projects for King South. That decision is up in the air. In addition no firm decision has been made in creating a Science and Engineering Library.

Paul Willis was given a round of applause.

The Chair made the following announcements:

On November 13, 1997, Loys Mather, our faculty trustees, I, and senate leaders around the state, are invited to have lunch with the Governor and talk about higher education reform: the criteria for the new incentive funds and a variety of issues related to House Bill 1. If you check your Web page this will be on there and we are asking for your input. If you have particular issues or questions that you feel like need to be addressed as we talk to the Governor about where we are now and where we are headed, we would certainly open to any suggestions and bring up any issues when we meet.

On November 11, 1997 the AAUP is sponsoring a seminar at 3:00 p.m., in 102 Mining and Minerals Resources Building on the issue of Post-Tenure Review. There will be representatives there from the national AAUP office. This is part of a continuing discussion we are having about this issue this year; an issue which is one part of the Promotion and Tenure Task Force Report. We wanted to extensively discuss this particular part of that report (post-tenture review) before we came to any action item discussions in the Senate. Today we have a couple of action items on other issues we are addressing from the Task Force Report and we will soon be rolling out various other items from the P&T Task Force Report as well as a Task Force that is just getting its report to the Senate Council on the special title series. Tomorrow's meeting with the AAUP may be an opportunity to hear yet another perspective on the post-tenure review issue.

We have three new Senate Council members elected that will take office on January 1, 1998. Usually when people join the council they are a little bit taken back by how often we meet (every Monday for 2 full hours), and how much we cover, but I have forewarned these people and they are still willing to do it. So I thank them for that. They are: Don Frazier, College of Medicine, Dave Durant, English, and Bill Fortune from the College of Law. We welcome them and look forward to working with them in the coming year.

On Tuesday, December 9, 1997, from 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m., is the Senate Council reception for the Board of Trustees, generally known as the Holiday Social will be held. It will be held this year in the President's Room of the Singletary Center.

There has been a slight change in the Advising Calendar for community college transfer students cleared for fall admission. The advising dates currently appear as April 17, 1998, however that will happen on April 24, 1998, a Friday. The minutes from September 8, 1997 have been distributed. There were no corrections to the minutes and they were approved as circulated.

ACTION ITEM I - Proposal to eliminate the Prior Service Committee and define a policy on waiver of Prior Service. A recommendation from the University Senate to the Administration.

Recommendations

  1. Appropriate Administrative and Governing Regulations be modified (AR III - 1.0-3; AR II - 1.0-1; AR II - 1.1-8, AR II - 5.0-2 and GRS) such that an incoming faculty member may request the waiver of all prior service. Such a waiver will be a part of the negotiation of job conditions at the time of hiring, and can be changed at any time during the first year of appointment in the tenured faculty position but no later than this. The Dean of the College will be part of the negotiations to ensure uniform application of the policy.

  2. There will be no consideration of these requests by the Senate Advisory Committee on Prior Service. This Committee will be eliminated. [See University Senate Rules, Section I - 1.4.5.4 and appropriate Regulations cited in 1. above.]

  3. To ensure that all incoming faculty are aware of their right to request such a waiver, a statement of the right shall be printed on the initial appointment form or an addendum and be initialed by the faculty member at the time of accepting the appointment.

Rationale

This proposal is one of the recommendations made in the report of the Senate Council Task Force on Promotion and Tenure. The Task Force reviewed the promotion and tenure system during the 1996-97 academic year. It is forwarded with the recommendation of the Senate Council with the following specific rationale.

Any change of institution is disturbing to the progress of a faculty member's research program and should be grounds for an extension in time allowed to build a good research record. Most people in non-tenure track lines at the University of Kentucky are not eligible to apply for grant support in their own names and hence also should not have that time counted in their probationary period.

In addition, a review shows that requests for waiver of prior service in the past have almost all been granted and hence consideration by a committee is largely a waste of time.

Note

If approved, the proposed recommendations will be forwarded to the President for appropriate administrative consideration.

The Chair recognized Chair-elect Roy Moore for introduction of the item. Professor Moore reviewed the item and recommended approval on behalf of the Senate Council.

Chairperson Applegate said that Mike Neitzel who co-chaired the committee was in attendance and asked him to make a few comments, having been in on the committee discussions on the issues.

Mike Nietzel made the following remarks:

Let me just say a couple of additional things.

There were three criteria that the subcommittee looked at. The subcommittee was concerned with procedures and process for promotion and tenure. They wanted to look at changes that would help the institution make good decisions as far as increasing or enhancing the quality of the promotion process and of the faculty. They wanted to look at procedures that would help promote faculty development and improve chances for faculty to be successful here. Third, they looked at the matter of decreasing those aspects of the bureaucracy that did not appear to be doing much useful. My apologies to those of you who served on the Prior Service Committee, I do not mean to say anything negative about your work on that committee, but our records indicate that most of these requests concerned faculty who came from institutions where they had very high teaching loads. They may have been appointed here initially in a non-tenured position and did not have access to research resources. The committee almost always approved the request. We do think that in this day and age it is reasonable to have this particular aspect of the hiring decision be negotiated between the faculty member who would presumably have his or her best interest at heart as well as the administrator who is hiring that faculty member. We think that this really is a matter that can be handled quite effectively in the negotiation between the individual being appointed and the director or chair of the department. With deans, in the cases where there is not a chair, making sure that the person is well aware of this option and understands it clearly. This is one that is a combination of believing that it would be more efficient to do so, that this matter can get resolved in the first year. Sometimes the affirmative vote from the committee came quite a bit later after the request had been made, so we had a very long delay. This recommendation addresses both the efficiency issue and one that we think does promote effective faculty development.

David Durant (English) said that the item was worded such that it appeared that a faculty member could request such a waiver, but not that it would be granted. We would be moving power in this area from faculty committee to administrators. Will administrators grant such waivers? He sees the point that the faculty usually granted them, but are they confident that administrators will grant them?

Mike Neitzel said that it seemed to him to be something to be discussed, if the faculty member being hired thinks this is an important thing. They have had two years of prior service at the previous institution and really want to have that waived and the chair believes that is a good idea presumably it would be waived. He can not assure him, but it seems to him that most chairs would be interested in facilitating the faculty member's request. It does seem that in a vast majority of cases that would be what would happen. Presumably there would be cases where the chair might make some different advice to the person. I do not think that we can guarantee that they would always be granted. Then it becomes a matter for the potential faculty member to consider in terms of accepting the offer. It seems to make it much clearer than what they currently have, which is the person requests it and they do not hear for a year or in some cases longer.

The proposal passed in a voice vote.

ACTION ITEM 2 - Proposed modifications to Governing Regulations (GR X-3ff) relative to interruption of the tenure clock for up to one year).

Recommendation

Modifications to the Governing Regulations of the University of Kentucky (1/12/92), Page X-3ff. are proposed at this time which specify the following understandings relative to probationary periods and the granting of tenure. Material to be added is underlined; material to be deleted is in brackets:

2. Probationary periods (or maximum non-tenure periods) are not applicable in cases where faculty members are appointed (1) in the research, Medical Center clinical, adjunct, visiting, or voluntary series of academic ranks and titles, or (2) on a part-time or temporary basis. In all such appointments, faculty members are ineligible for tenure.

Probationary periods are applicable, however, to non-tenured appointments of faculty members on a full-time year-to-year basis in the regular, special title, extension, or librarian series of academic ranks and titles. Such non-tenured appointments may be for one year or for other stated periods, subject to renewal. The total non-tenure period, however, shall not exceed [seven] eight years, including previous full-time service with the rank of instructor or higher in other independently accredited institutions of higher learning, provided that in the case of a faculty member with more than three years in the academic profession, who is called from another independently accredited institution and appointed at the rank of associate professor or below, it may be required that the individual serve in a probationary status for a period not to exceed four years, even though thereby the individual's total non-tenure period in the academic profession is extended beyond [seven] eight years. However, in any case where a period of prior service of a prospective faculty member involves significantly different institutional objectives or significantly different professional activity, all or part of the period of prior service may be eliminated from consideration in determining the maximum non-tenure period in the University System or the Community College System of the University of Kentucky. Except as provided in Part X.C.7, time spent on leave of absence shall count of probationary period service unless the University in granting the leave and the individual in accepting it agree to the contrary. In such circumstances, the process of tenure review may reasonably be extended by one full academic or calendar year consistent with the appointment, contract, rank and prior service of the individual member. That is, rather than being reviewed in the sixth year, the review would occur no later than the seventh year of an appointment. In the event that tenure is not awarded following review in the seventh year, the terminal contract would occur in the eighth year. The ordinary review of faculty remains in the sixth year of the seven year probationary period. However during the probationary period, faculty members, in consultation with appropriate administrators (Division Director, Department Chair, or Dean), may elect to interrupt their University service WITHOUT PREJUDICE, for a period of time not to exceed one full year of appointment, discretionary decision-making relative to the granting of such interruption of University service shall remain between the individual faculty member and the appropriately authorized administrator. (Division Director, Department Chair, or Dean). It is recognized that the University and its units are subject to all appropriate state and federal laws, including but not limited to the Family Medical Leave Act and any and all other such laws as may apply.

Rationale

This proposal is one of the recommendations made in the report of the Senate Council Task Force on Promotion and Tenure. The Task Force reviewed the promotion and tenure system during the 1996-97 academic year. It is forwarded with the recommendation of the Senate Council with the following specific rationale.

The purpose of a specified period of probationary review is to provide a time frame that permits faculty to demonstrate scholarly productivity in order that an accurate assessment by the institution can be made relative to the individual's professional competencies. That is, accurate assessment by the institution of the individual's competencies are essential to the granting of a lifetime position within the organization. An arbitrary time frame that does not acknowledge the impact of life events may lead the organization to dismiss a scholar of great potential. The flexibility offered in this proposal does not affect the right of the organization to make these assessments of faculty potential in a timely fashion and does not prohibit meritorious faculty from moving forward toward tenure in a timely fashion (that is, this is a "budget neutral" proposal). It does provide equal opportunity to ALL faculty members, regardless of their life circumstances, to demonstrate their scholarly competencies. There is nothing inherently "magical" about a six year probationary time frame. In fact, rigid application of that requirement may limit the growth of the Institution by untimely release of talented scholars who have experienced "life intrusion". The proposal is consistent with decisions of major Fortune 500 companies and other business entities which acknowledge the complexities of life circumstances that often affect the most valuable resource of an organization -- the employee.

Note

If approved, the proposed recommendation will be forwarded to the President for appropriate administrative consideration.

The Chair recognized Roy Moore for introduction of the item. Dr. Moore reviewed the background of the item and recommended approval on behalf of the Senate Council.

Dr. Moore asked Professor Neitzel to highlight the rationale of the proposal.

Professor Neitzel said this item was a bit more controversial. The rationale was the belief that increasingly faculty are affected by personal, family, and professional contingencies and difficulties that may make the typical seven year review period no longer the most appropriate. Recognition also of the fact that other institutions have gone to longer extensions. Considerable concern about the fact that if they provide this are they simply increasing the expectations, in terms of faculty productivity so that now they expect seven years of measured productivity instead of six and so really they are not doing any advantage to faculty by this. This was really a proposal meant to advantage faculty who for some personal reasons needed it in terms of making the progress and having the success that they wanted them to have. We intend to have and the language was intended to convey, the normal review period would be at the end of six years, but they recognize that there are a variety of circumstances that may no longer be good for the faculty member and the institution to permit this suspension of the tenure clock for one year. It was considered in terms of national developments as well as the committee who finally reached a unanimous endorsement of this, feeling this would be good for the institution's long term interest. He asked Enid Waldhart (Communications and Information Studies) if he had omitted anything. She said the key phrase that they wanted expressed is "without prejudice" that the phrase is there very deliberately. It is not to be held against anyone who would have such interruption that somehow they are less good. That phrase is very important. Professor Neitzel said that there was clearly no intention of discouraging early promotion and tenure. That was a concern that was also raised.

David Adams (Mathematics) asked is there was any criteria for deciding when this should be granted? Professor Neitzel said that they did not discuss criteria, they left this to be a matter that would be discussed between individual faculty members and administrators. There was a discussion having hopefully done away with the Prior Service Committee, should there be a committee that would evaluate the quality of the requests, no one wanted to serve.

Hans Gesund (Engineering) favored the proposal provided it was limited to situations where someone has to take time off for family or similar problems. In that case, this is something we want. He is afraid that what will happen is that people who do not 'cut the mustard' will take a leave to publish or do some research and get eight years to do what other people are normally expected to do in six or seven years. That worries him. He is all for doing this when there is a family or similar crisis in someone's life and they need the extra time because of that. To make this available to anyone, and this is what this does; "may elect to interrupt their university service without prejudice". Anyone can do this without any good family reason simply in order to fatten their resume and get their promotion and pension. This is then going to become the norm. It will become an eight year system and most Ivy league schools already have a ten or twelve year system. He is not in favor of heading that way. His other concern was, where would AAUP stand on this, he would not want them to get censured by AAUP for deviating from the AAUP requirements.

Mike Neitzel said he was not sure about the last question. Professor Jesse Weil was a member of the subcommittee and there was a lot of discussion about it. The Chair does have to approve this request. The issue of criteria about how that is applied is not identified. Professor Gesund said it did not say that, it said "however during the probationary period faculty members in consultation with appropriate administrators may elect to interrupt their university service without prejudice." In other words, it is the faculty member's call. The Chair said that later it said "decisions granting such interruption of service shall remain between the individual faculty member and the appropriate authorized administrator." Professor Gesund said that they may be able to editorially fix the proposal to say what they think it should say. He still has a problem with it, as a former chair, if a faculty member who seemed like a nice guy came to him and said "I am not going to be able to make it" and he looked at his resume and saw it was an iffy sort of proposition, that faculty member and he could well agree "yes, take a year, we will get you a grant of some type or send you somewhere, to fatten up that resume and go ahead." I am not sure that is in the best interest of the university.

Mike Neitzel asked when he said "fatten up your resume", does that not presume that that faculty member then got the grant or did the publications or work? He is identifying that as an opportunity for the enhancement of the faculty member in the university rather than something that seems to be something they should be ashamed of.

Tom Blues (English) asked if the proposal were amended to make it clear that the appropriate administrator had to approve, could that mean that a request based on 'x' considerations could be approved by one administrator, but a request based on the same considerations presented to another administrator could be disapproved. The answer was yes.

David Durant said that they now allow candidates in special circumstances to stop the tenure clock but they cannot do that without prejudice. It seems that they need to have some statement that will allow them to avoid penalizing people.

Allan Kaplan (Medicine) said a counterpoint, as a chair it would seem to him that he would be very reticent to allow this for any reason other than someone who was unable to function effectively for a year. It does not seem to be in the best interest of the department, or the university to allow someone to take a year off to fatten up a CV and come back and be judged on six or seven years with an extra year or two. He does not see chairs abusing this if they are good chairs. If they are not good chairs, they have other problems that should be dealt with in different ways. It seems to him to allow people with legitimate reasons to opt out of a year because of a family, medical, or parental situation and allow them to extend their tenure under those conditions is fair and reasonable and consistent with what is happening at other universities.

Jim Brennan (Mathematics) said that he agreed that one should take into consideration a situation such as when someone has a health problem. This is about "without prejudice" however, and is not something that can be guaranteed because these cases are going across the campus. If that extra year does not produce something significant, there will be considerable prejudice.

Bill Fortune (Law) wanted to know whether the proposed effective date applies to people who are now in the middle or only in the future? The Chair said that these recommendations go to the President and are considered and have to be approved and the effective date would depend on that. Professor Fortune said that if the effective date was at the end of this academic year that the people who are now in the process would have the advantage of the proposal, would they not? If not this applies only to the future. The Chair said that his understanding was that people currently in the system would have access to this opportunity.

Bill Fortune proposed that this proposal when it becomes effective that it would apply to current faculty. The amendment was seconded. The amendment passed in a voice vote.

The Chair stated if they could take the sense of the statement he read in saying it would be with the agreement of the appropriate administrator they could change the wording and clarify that and unless an amendment was proposed. There was no amendment and the changes would be editorial.

David Adams made the motion to table the proposal, to send it back to the committee and have it rewritten. The motion was seconded. The motion to table was defeated in a show of hands; 21 in favor, 30 opposed.

Kaveh Tagavi said that it seemed to him that every person who thinks they are not going to get tenure will be asking for this, then they will be upset if they do not get it. They might sue or appeal. If they do not have a job they will go through a big hardship of not having any income, trying to do something in eight years that they should have done in seven years. Then they are faced with being denied tenure even after that. The least they could do is not grant this unless it is for family reasons, if it is requested on the sixth year.

Carol Brock said that if there are no criteria if this is granted then it does not protect the people it was designed to protect. It will then have to come back in several years and they will have to vote to give such people yet more time.

Lee Meyer (Agriculture) said it seemed they were mixing two sentiments; one to provide relief for people in personal or family crisis, and the other is the possibility of extending the tenure clock for one year. Unless they specify criteria they are going to mix those two things up. They need to make a decision and then specify criteria.

Tom Blues said that he was worried about the matter of variable criteria. A person could be treated one way in one college or department and a imilar case differently in another. It seems that then there might indeed be a case for litigation. The criteria problem could be a real problem for the institution.

The question was called. The proposal failed in a show of hands; 25 in favor of, 26 opposed.

ACTION ITEM 3: Proposal to modify the University Senate Rules to include Discovery Seminars (and a concomitant course) as part of the University Studies Program.

Proposal

The University Studies Program Committee has approved a proposal by professor William Freehling, Singletary Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences, to include the Discovery Seminars (and a concomitant course) as part of the University Studies Program.

The format is quite simple. If, for example, a Discovery Seminar focuses on the area of physics, students in that seminar may take any other course in physics to satisfy the science requirement in University Studies. If a seminar focuses on a topic in history, students may take any other course in history to satisfy the humanities requirements. If a seminar focuses on the social sciences, a student may take any course in the social sciences to satisfy the Social Science requirement in USP. The reason for the broader scope of the social science seminars is that in contrast to the humanities and natural science requirement in the USP, where two courses are required in one discipline, the USP Social Science requirement stipulates two courses in different disciplines. Each seminar will have no more than 25 students and will be taught by an experienced faculty member.

Background and Rationale

The Seminars are a new venture at the University to provide a stimulating academic experience to freshmen in order to engage their interest and set them on the right path to life-long learning. when University Studies was instituted in 1988, Freshman Seminars were listed as one route for satisfying the humanities component of the general education program. Because of funding problems, we have not been able to incorporate seminars until this time. Professor Freehling has experimented with this format for two years, and his recent success has persuaded the USP Committee that the seminars (together with an appropriate accompanying course) are an excellent way to satisfy one of the disciplinary components of University Studies.

The USP Committee recognizes that this venture departs from the normal format for satisfying the disciplinary components of the USP. Nonetheless, because of the focus of the seminars, the small class atmosphere which characterizes them, and the quality of the faculty teaching them, the Committee believes that the educational value to freshmen is such as to warrant this innovation. The most important things we can do for students, and especially our freshmen, is to engage them in intellectual inquiry in a challenging and attractive fashion. The Discovery Seminars achieve that goal very effectively, and the USP Committee believes that Dr. Freehling's proposal will be a significant step forward in helping our students to appreciate the purpose of a university education to progress toward a degree in a timely fashion.

The proposal has been approved by the Senate council and is recommended to the Senate.

Implementation

Spring Semester, 1998

The Chair recognized Professor Roy Moore for introduction of the item. Professor Moore reviewed the background and recommended approval on behalf of the Senate Council.

Louis Swift (Dean, Undergraduate Studies) stated he wanted to rise in support of the motion. This was the type of thing that they hope will happen in the course of the University's academic life. That is to say several imaginative faculty members who are very interested in undergraduate education and very much interested in freshmen, who are trying to do something that they all would agree is the most important thing that they do; to stimulate students, get them excited about the academic life, and be concerned about lifelong learning. They have that in this proposal. The Undergraduate Studies Program committee which looked at it and spent a good deal of time talking about it, recognized that it departs somewhat from the norm of a disciplinary requirement but the benefits that accrue to the students that are being taught in a class of 25 students by an outstanding teacher are such that they think that the change is well warranted. He strongly urged support of the motion.

Kaveh Tagavi said it seemed as of now students were not allowed to take two courses from the same social sciences area. Under the new proposal, supposedly students can take both; one seminar and one regular course from the same discipline. That is not explained in the rationale. He would like to see it explained or the language changed so students cannot take two courses in the same area.

Professor Swift said that the nature of the seminars is a little bit different from the ordinary sequence that they have now where departments are clearly identified. The seminars can be unique in nature and focus on a particular issue. In light of that fact, the proposal was written in this fashion. It may very well be that a seminar taught by a psychology professor could then be paired with a course in the psychology department. The nature of the seminars is such that they are not an ordinary psychology courses, they are usually built around a particular theme or a particular idea and there is a great deal of interaction between the professor and the student in the development of the theme in the course, so they are different from the norm. The reason the rules are different in the humanities and the natural sciences from the social sciences; in the humanities and natural sciences two courses have to be taken from the same discipline, in the social sciences students take two different disciplines; when they got the faculty members together ten years ago to put USP together the natural scientists and humanist said "whatever you do, make sure that you have two courses in chemistry or two courses in biology or two courses in literature, do not mix them up" the social scientist came to them and said "whatever you do, don't make it two courses in psychology or sociology." You are about to receive a questionnaire being distributed to all faculty members asking whether they would like to change that arrangement. If that is true the committee will go ahead with its work.

James Brennan asked if this was supposed to run like the ProSeminars in the Honors Program? Dr. Swift said, "Not quite." The ProSeminars are a sequence of four courses spanning Western Civilization.

Bill Freehling said these seminars are more research oriented. One of the purposes is to let research professors interest and excite freshman in the nature of their disciplines. He is on a task force now which is considering improving research and graduate education to a top twenty status, he personally feels they need to connect that with undergraduate studies. This does that. It asks research professors to teach undergraduate seminars, particularly to freshman.

James Brennan said that the point of his question was that in order to teach one of the seminars a proposal must be submitted that is reviewed by a committee, is that the way this will be run?

Bill Freehling said that there would be a committee that Dean Sands will appoint and the committee will look at all proposals by the faculty. He would like not only for them to vote for the proposal today, but also expand their interest in this program in the future. His dream for the program is not just to have the College of Arts and Sciences teaching but also the law school, medical school, business school and the engineering school. They will all help with this new initiative in freshman education. No professor can ever make this kind of a forum in freshman education without the help of incredible administrators.

Without the support of people like Richard Greissman, Don Sands, Elisabeth Zinser, and especially Lou Swift there is no way this could have been possible.

The proposal passed in an unanimous voice vote.

ACTION ITEM 4 - Proposal to modify the University Senate Rules Section 1 - 1.4.2, to eliminate required biennial faculty surveys

Proposal

(delete the entire section reproduced below)

1.4.2 IDENTIFYING ISSUES FOR STUDY (US: 2/13/89) An ad hoc committee of properly qualified professionals shall be appointed by the Senate Council to survey a random sample of the faculty in the spring of each even numbered year to identify the most pressing issues facing the University during the coming year.

The Senate Council shall evaluate the issues and, where appropriate, assign them to standing committees. Any significant issue not within the jurisdiction of one of the standing committees shall be referred to an ad hoc committee appointed by the Senate council. Standing and ad hoc Committees of the Senate shall have the privilege of presenting reports to that body after review by the Senate council provided the report has been appropriately circulated in advance.

In addition to issues generated by this faculty survey, the Senate Council may identify other issues for committee study as a result of suggestions by its members or by a student, faculty, or administrator at any time.

Committee members may also decide on issues for study by their own committees if this work does not interfere with Senate Council assignments.

Background and Rationale

In February, 1997, the Senate Council appointed a Task Force to examine the utility of Senate Rule 1 - 1.4.2.

The Task Force discussed the issue, meet with faculty across the campus, and detected little, if any, enthusiasm for a faculty polling effort.

The Senate Council has not conducted a poll since 1987. Since then, the University Senate has responded to issues from the ten-year accreditation selfstudy, considered reports from ad hoc committees addressing issues like faculty retirement and gender equity, and most recently addressed the Higher Education Reform Act of 1997. These and other challenges have been met through the normal functioning of the Senate's standing committees and other ad hoc or special task force committees appointed by the Senate Council.

The Task Force concluded that the Senate would not have been more effective in its operation had faculty polls been conducted in the even-numbered years over the last decade. The Task Force believes the Senate Council can accomplish the intent of Rule 1.4.2 by encouraging committee chairs to be sensitive to issues and responsible in carrying forward their responsibilities.

The Task Force recommends the repeal of Senate Rule 1 - 1.4.2 in its entirety. The Senate Council concurs.

Implementation

Immediate

Chairperson Applegate recognized Professor Roy Moore for introduction of the item. Professor Roy reviewed the background of the item and recommended approval on behalf of the Senate Council.

There was no discussion and the proposal passed in a voice vote.

In an update on Senate Committee activities, the Chair said that the Research Committee had met with Dan Reedy, and is becoming engaged in what is happening with the task force that Bill Freehling talked about. The Finance Committee chaired by Craig Infanger is meeting with Chancellor Zinser soon to talk about priorities on the Lexington Campus budget. The Planning and Priorities Committee chaired by Kim Anderson is submitting a report that will be very timely in looking at what is going to happen with distance education and the virtual university.

The Senate Council is meeting with Ed Carter to begin to explore in depth what is being planned with the Coldstream Farm Development. They are also meeting with the legislators and the Governor. Post-tenure review legislation is still prefiled for the first session. We are very lucky that Loys Mather chairs the Council of Senate Faculty Leaders for the state and Merl Hackbart is the faculty representative; representing all faculty on the Council on PostSecondary Education. There is a lot of ways in which we are having input into both the CPE and legislative processes. Most of you are being very active in giving students and faculty a voice on some very important issues.

The Chair made one other query given the 25 to 26 vote on interruption of the tenure clock and the discussion of the need for criteria. Is there any interest in going back and looking at that and thinking about more extensive criteria?

Tom Blues said that the sense of the discussion was that the sticking point was the issue of criteria and it would be well to send it back and then look again at that issue.

Maria Boosalis said that criteria would be useful especially if there is a family emergency. There should be some uniform criteria, so it is not arbitrary.

George Blandford (Engineering) said if they are going to look at it, he would like to see the language cleared up on prior service. Given the fact that they just voted on something to negotiate it between the dean. The Chair said they would find an appropriate committee to look at it.

Bill Freehling said he very much hoped they would keep the proposal alive, because it had many good things in it.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Donald E. Witt
Secretary, University Senate