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University Senate Minutes - March 7, 2005

The University Senate met on Monday March 7, 2005 at 3:00pm in Room 122 Whitehall Classroom Building and took the following actions.

Absences: Alexander*, Baldwin, Barker, Baxter*, Berger*, Berryman, Bhavsar, Biagi*, Braun*, Bulter, Carter*, Catavolos, Cavagnero*, Cibulka, Clauter*, Cohen, Darnall, Debski, Deem*, Dembo, DeSimone, Diedrichs, Duffy, Durant, Filak, Fink, Garen, Garrity, Getchell, Gonzalez, Grabau, Gross* Haist*, Hanson, Harley*, Haven*, Hoch*, Hoffman, Jackson*, Jennings*, Johnson, Kerley, Lester, Martin, McCormick*, McKinney, Michael*, Mitchell*, Mobley, Mohney, Nitzel, Noonan*, Odoi, Owen*, Perman, Perrier*, Portillo, Pulito, Ray, Roberts, Robinson, Roland, Shaw, Shay, Smith, Sottile, Steltenkamp, Sudharshan, Terrell, Thelin*, Todd, Tsang, S. Turner*, W. Turner, Vasconez, Vestal, Walker, C. Williams, E. Williams, Witt, Wyatt.

* Denotes excused absence

1. Minutes from February 14, 2005 and Announcements

The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes. There being none, the minutes were approved as written.

The Chair called upon Tagavi to provide an election update. Tagavi said two nominations had been received for the upcoming Board of Trustees Election; Jeff Dembo and Michael Kennedy. There will be only one round of voting since there are only two candidates. He noted that the Women?s Forum Board will sponsor election forums and said elections will be timed accordingly.

The Chair noted that the Ad Hoc Committee on the Academic Council of the Medical Center had met and would soon produce a report.

2. Proposed changes to Senate Rules regarding academic offenses

Bob Grossman, as chair of the ad hoc committee, presented the proposed policy for the Senate?s review and input. Grossman highlighted various aspects of the proposal and opened the floor to questions.

Gabel said he had been through the process of dealing with academic offenses and suggested the only real change was that the offense wouldn?t necessarily be reported to the Dean. Grossman clarified that the Dean would no longer play a role in the case of a first offense, but that instructors would not be able to penalize an offender without consulting the Chair. He hoped that the proposed changes would empower and encourage faculty to participate in a codified process rather than handling individual cases "in the shadows."

Royse suggested that students should be able to appeal both their guilt and their punishment. Grossman said that in the proposed policy students can appeal the finding of guilt but not the penalty assessed once found guilty, if the penalty is less than a grade of XE.

Tagavi raised two concerns. First of all, he suggested the XE grade should not remain on a student?s permanent transcript, since he thought that penalty too harsh. Secondly, he agreed with Royse that students should be allowed to appeal.

Grossman noted that there are many instances in which the grade would be appealable, along with an appeal of the guilt. He said that one reason the policy should be changed was to create a whole range of punishments for various types of infractions rather than forcing faculty to assign an E grade as the minimum penalty under the current policy.

The Chair thanked Grossman and his committee for its hard work. He noted this item will appear on the April Senate agenda for action and noted that the committee was still soliciting feedback and comments from the University community.

3. Graduation Writing Requirements

Graduation Writing Requirements (DOC)

The Chair introduced the item and noted that it was forwarded from the Senate Council with a positive recommendation. Eldred, as Ad Hoc Writing Requirement Committee chair, provided an overview of the proposal and accepted questions from the floor.

Infanger asked why assignments consisting of fewer than four pages would not be included. Eldred replied that it was difficult to assess competence in writing samples shorter than four pages.

Kraemer asked if departments would submit proposals to have courses considered for inclusion as Writing courses directly to Undergraduate Council or if Undergraduate Council would receive the courses from the committee upon its recommendation. Eldred replied that the committee would make recommendations to the Undergraduate Council.

Albisetti noted that the proposal did not disallow 100-level courses from being considered as Writing courses. Eldred replied that as students become cognitively more sophisticated their writing skills deteriorate, so the committee suggested limiting the course level to 300 and 400-level courses. Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources some 200-level courses had to be considered.

Waldhart asked if departments would have to provide assessments every year. Eldred replied that all involved units will have to be assessed annually. She said that while some re-approvals by the committee would be relatively automatic if nothing changed with the course from one semester to the next, some may be approved one semester and not the next semester if dramatic changes occur with the course.

After further discussion the item was put to a vote. The motion from the Senate Council to approve the proposal passed without dissent.

4. Proposed changes to Senate Rules regarding University Senate elections

Proposed changes to Senate Rules regarding University Senate elections (DOC)

The Chair introduced the item and said it came from the Senate Council with a positive recommendation. Tagavi provided an overview of the proposal and requested that a copy of the example (XLS) be attached to these minutes. He noted that if approved a copy of the example would be included in the Senate Rules as an appendix, and opened the floor to questions.

Forgue asked what problem would be solved by adopting the proposed change in rules. Tagavi replied that once in awhile the smallest of the colleges loses approximately half of its entitled Senate membership as a result of the current apportionment figures. Forgue asked if the proposed solution would help small colleges more than it would hurt large colleges, and Tagavi agreed with that assessment.

Peffer suggested that the rule was so complicated that future Rules and Elections Committee chairs my find it difficult to understand. Tagavi said he will hand down to the next chair his Excel file that contains the appropriate formulas.

After further discussion the item came to a vote. The motion from the Senate Council to approve the proposal passed with one vote in opposition and two abstentions.

5. Proposed changes to ARs regarding Lecturers

Proposed changes to ARs regarding Lecturers (DOC)

The Chair introduced the item and said it was forwarded from the Senate Council with a positive recommendation. Yates spoke against the proposal, noting that it may well lead to the appointment of more lecturers. He proposed an amendment that the word faculty should be removed and that the first and last sentences be retained and the rest be deleted. Jones replied that the ARs define Lecturers as faculty, not staff. Edgerton seconded the amendment. Discussion ensured about the proliferation of Lecturer faculty among the departments, the faculty?s concern over the diminishment of faculty lines over time and the pressures of increased enrollment.

Rosenman said a definition of when it was appropriate to hire Lecturers would be helpful. She asked if the criteria should be academic or purely fiscal, adding that the English Department had experienced Lecturer hiring from a purely fiscal perspective. She said she was unclear as to how departments who currently employed Lecturers in excess of the proposed cap could deal with that dilemma and worried that shrinking faculty lines would continue to shrink.

Jones said that while he agreed with Yates and Rosenman he didn?t think that voting down the proposal would solve their problems. He reiterated that the tenured and tenure track faculty of the department determine whether or not Lecturers are considered part of the departmental faculty.

Greissman said the University will continue to be dominated by tenured and tenure-track faculty, that the most vulnerable class of faculty should not continue to be exploited, and that the proposal included the provision of a ceiling, the determination of which was left in the hands of the faculty. He went on to say that the department faculty set the rules of its department and that the faculty determines which privileges it, as a body, wishes to extend to its colleagues. He pointed out that English?s problems with its faculty lines is a distinct and separate problem since it has responsibility for providing instruction for so many lower division classes. He reiterated that English?s situation will not be addressed by defeating the proposal.

The Chair asked Yates to restate his amendment. Yates said Lecturer Faculty should be changed to Lecturers and everything in paragraph five should be deleted except the first and last sentences. The Chair called for a vote on the amendment. The amendment failed.

The Chair called for a vote on the motion from the Senate Council to approve the proposal. The motion passed with twenty-three votes in favor, twenty votes against and three abstentions.

Given the lateness of the hour the Chair proposed delaying Agenda Item 6 so the faculty trustees could provide their update in the time allotted them. Kim Wilson graciously agreed to delay her agenda item until the following meeting.

6. Faculty Trustee dialogue

The faculty trustees addressed the Senate on a variety of issues. Moore noted that during their address they would speak as trustees and not on behalf of the Board. He expressed concern that the trustees often don?t receive enough input from faculty. He noted that the tuition increase may be less than originally anticipated, noted the new bonding authority authorized by Frankfort, discussed increased room and board charges, merit increases and the creation of a "fighting fund" that would provide limited funding for the Provost to try to retain excellent faculty. He noted the Board had been provided information regarding the FFEL vs. Direct Loan debate and why it was important for UK to remain a Direct Loan school, but which political pressures were being brought to bear to fuel the ongoing controversy. He discussed the importance of ensuring that the interim Provost not be considered a candidate for the permanent position during the upcoming Provost search.

Kennedy outlined the importance of making sure the faculty have input into the choice of the interim Provost. He said he was monitoring the progress of the Retiree Health Benefits committee. He discussed the findings of a survey he sent to the portion of campus that deals with undergraduate education and outlined his plans to share that information with the Board. He suggested faculty should have more input into building design and utilization. He said the Boone Center issue will probably be on the Board?s May agenda, but that right now there were no plans to reopen the facility. He discussed plans to re-evaluate the academic calendar to allow for a real fall break. Kennedy expressed concern that the University continues to pay Wethington?s salary of $250,000 annually to fund the writing of his memoirs and occasionally lecture.

Moore said that he and Kennedy meet with the Provost on a regular basis and offered to take issues of faculty concern to the Provost.

Waldhart requested that any announcements about salary increments accurately reflect how much of a percentage increase was being passed on to faculty after things like tenure and promotion increases are subtracted from the pool. She suspected the public would like to know how much of the 3% was actually going to reach the faculty as a whole.

Grossman asked if there were any plans being discussed to change the nature of the relationship between the University and the Commonwealth. Moore said that William and Mary had just accomplished such a feat, but that there was no serious conversation occurring about such a move for UK at the level of the Board. Kennedy noted that a political reality is that sixteen members of the Board are appointed by the Governor.

Albisetti asked how the University?s endowment was progressing. Moore said the Board received Investment Committee reports about that and would be glad to share it with him.

Jones noted that when he was on the Board the President was almost always present during the Board?s summer retreat. He asked when the Board would be able to speak as a body about evaluating the President?s performance without his presence. Moore replied that the Board as a whole would need to decide to institute such a practice in order for it to take place. Kennedy added that nobody has ever asked the President to leave the room during such a discussion. Jones asked if Kennedy intended to do so this year. Moore reiterated that the Board would need to decide as a group to make such a request. Kennedy added that the Board has done a good job of evaluating the President since he has been here.

The Chair thanked both trustees for their efforts. The Senate meeting will return to its normal location of the Auditorium in the Young Library for the April 11 meeting. The hour being late, the meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Bailey
Secretary, University Senate

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on March 18, 2005.