ACADEMIC SENATE MINUTES
April 4, 2016
Call to Order
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on April 4, 2016, was called to order at 3:07 p.m. by Bill Johnson, Senate President. The meeting was held in the SJ Quinney College of Law, Moot Courtroom.
Present: Ole Fischer, Lyda Bigelow, Jeff Nielsen, Todd Zenger, Olga Baker, Leticia Alvarez, Janiece Pompa, A.K. Balaji, Robert Hitchcock, Meredith Metzger, Edward M. Trujillo, Denny Berry, Ning Lu, Joe Marotta, Steve Roens, Lien Fan Shen, Stacy Manwaring, Reva Rauk, James Anderson, Chrisoula Andreou, Maria Dobozy, Nadja Durbach, Disa Gambera, Avery Holton, Anne Jamison, Lex Newman, Adrian Palmer, David Hill, Terry Kogan, John Bramble, Alicia Brillon, Luke Leither, Jill Moriearty, Jennifer Garvin, Michelle Hofmann, Katherine Kendall, Antoinette Laskey, Nicole Mihalopoulos, Ravi Ranjan, Jody Rosenblatt, Frederick Strathmann, Marjorie Chan, David Dinter, Paul Jewell, Mollie Cummins, Jindrich Kopecek, Linda Tyler, Randy Dryer, Peter Alfeld, Yekaterina Epshteyn, David Goldenberg, Thomas Richmond, John Sperry, Andrejs Treibergs, Frances Friedrich, Lori Kowaleski-Jones, Baodong Liu, Norman Waitzman, Wade Cole, Patrick Panos, Mary Beth Vogel-Ferguson, Marley Arango, Daniel Barber, Cindy Chen, John Muhs, Keegan Brown, Gaby Zumaeta, Anthony Oyler, Margaret Clayton, Joel Miller, Karin Baumgartner
Absent: Sarah Hinners, Jeff Coles, Scott Schaefer, Melissa Lewis, Gary Lowder, Yongmei Ni, Orly Alter, Sudeep Kanungo, Xiaoyue Liu, Michael Cottle, Julie Metos, Les Podlog, Lorie Gage Richards, Robin Craig, John T. Langell, William Lowrance, Maureen A. Murtaugh, Christy Porucznik, Robert A. Stephenson, Scott T. Youngquist, Lynn Hollister, Andrea Bild, Jordan Gerton, Dmytro Pesin, Michael Shapiro, David Temme, Joan Brenner-Coltrain, Duncan Metcalfe, Lina Svedin, Jason Castillo, Chris Bell, Douglas Chan, Devin Daniels, Conrad Dean, Aubrey Keaney, Jaycee Lynn Christensen, Andy Moyle, Julie Olaf, John Peterson, Ashlee Ruff, Amy Simonsen, Hannah Stinson
Ex-Officio: Robert Flores, William Johnson, Paul A. Mogren, Xan Johnson, David W. Pershing, Amy Wildermuth, Harriet Hopf
Excused with Proxy: Keith Bartholomew for Brenda Scheer, Betsy Cook for Kelly Bricker, Craig Dworkin for Chrisoula Andreou, Cihan Bilginsoy for Nilufer Cagatay, Kathleen Nicoll for Thomas Cova, Nadia Cobb for Debra Simmons
Excused: Carrie Byington, Vivian S. Lee, Ruth Watkins
Others: Joanne Yaffe, Naomi Franklin, Ruchi Watson, Bradden Blair, Kiston Finney, Joan Gregory, Mike Cooper, Lincoln Davies, Donna White, Kathryn Stockton;
Approval of Minutes
The minutes for February and March were approved with a motion by Jim Anderson and a second by Jill Moriearty. Motion passed unanimously.
The current list of appointments and resignations dated April 4, 2016 were approved with a motion by Jim Anderson and second by Jill Moriearty. Motion passed unanimously.
Request for New Business
No new business
Executive Committee Report
Xan Johnson gave a brief update on the Executive Committee’s activities. He mentioned that everything discussed in their last meeting is on the Senate agenda except the Emphasis in Environmental and Sustainability Studies proposal, which is being worked on further and will come back as a proposal in the fall.
Report from Administration
President Pershing gave an update on the administrations’ activities. He stated that the University was granted a 2% raise for salaries and a 1% increase in benefits. Utah schools were granted $5 million in performance funding; the University will receive $1 million of that. The administration also received approval for design and building of the Medical Complex. In addition, $1.2 billion was awarded to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, $200,000 was awarded to the museum, and the higher education system was granted $6 million for ongoing O&M.
Report from Office of Equity and Diversity
Kathryn Stockton presented an update on the Office of Equity and Diversity’s activities. She presented a document with thirteen immediate responses to the November 20th open dialogue on racial climate held in the Union Ballroom. Senior administration was present at the dialogue, and President Pershing sent out a letter after the dialogue promising immediate change.
The administration has since begun to implement the following items: (1) mandatory diversity training for all faculty and staff, (2) there are long-term and short-term plans to expand the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA) space, (3) there will be a total of $11,000 put towards CESA groups, (4) faculty and post-doc diverse hiring initiatives will continue, (5) Kathryn’s office is developing a diverse staff hiring plan, (6) a Mentoring Plan is also being developed for faculty and staff – Kathryn stated that the key to this item is compensation for those serving as mentors, (7) Belinda Saltiban in the Inclusive Excellence Office will get a new colleague to respond to racial microaggressions on campus, (8) a Student Diversity Council, made up of representatives of each student group will meet directly with Senior Vice President Ruth Watkins, (9) a one-stop document is being developed called “Diversity in Progress,” where all diversity entities will contribute to one website to consolidate reporting on all diversity efforts, (10) a Diversity Coalition Group will start meeting monthly to share diversity efforts, (11) the Diversity Scholars program will pipeline students into the Honors Program, (12) a $1 million gift was rewarded to the University for support for Native American students, and (13) a proposal for the School for Cultural and Social Transformation will be coming forward, the program would elevate both the Ethnic Studies and the Gender Studies programs into divisions. Kathryn responded to various questions about these plans and efforts and agreed to keep the Senate informed of progress.
Report from ASUU
Anthony Fratto Oyler, Student Body Vice President, gave an update on ASUU’s activities. He stated that last week, ASUU held the Conference on Diverse Excellence featuring Spike Lee as the keynote address. The upcoming week will be It’s On Us Week to prevent sexual assaults on campus. The week is not only about taking the pledge to stop sexual assault, but it also focuses on healthy relationships and the definition of consent. The week after will be Mental Health Awareness Week and Hip Talks, followed by the Grand Kerfuffle and Geek Week. Anthony also mentioned that the new administration has been elected – Jack Bender has been elected President, and Jessica Patterson and Matt Miller will serve as Vice Presidents next year.
No requests for new business
Notice of Intent
No Items of Intent
Joanne Yaffe presented a proposal for revision of Policies 6-100 and 6-002, to create a new Senate-elected Senate-standing committee, the Senate Advisory Committee on Student Course Feedback. The proposal is take an existing non-Senate committee and restructure it as a Senate committee. The existing committee was created by a 2010 revision of Policy. But in that existing form the committee had very limited success in accomplishing its functions. The committee consistently met for two years, but then stopped meeting thereafter, and then was revived this year, with a primary activity for the year being development of a proposal to restructure to become more effective Currently, under Policy 6-100, committee members may only serve two year terms, which contributed to the committee’s inactivity. The proposal from the existing committee would make the Committee a Senate Standing Committee, with Senate-elected faculty members serving three year terms. There was an extensive discussion about how the University’s academic departments currently use student course feedback information as part of reviews of faculty member performance, including in the retention, promotion, and tenure process for tenure-line faculty. Jim Anderson, who chaired the existing committee in its first year of existence and at that time brought to the Senate an extensive report about the utility of the evaluations for RPT and other purposes, spoke about concerns raised in that report. Joanne acknowledged that the committee does not have the proper mechanisms in place to evaluate such feedback. She mentioned that making the committee a Senate committee will provide it with better resources and accountability, in turn improving the overall role of the committee. There was a point of clarification made that the proposal at this point is not to change the course evaluation process. Rather this would simply establish the committee and provide for it a role in the Senate system. This is a mechanism to bring the committee under the view of the Senate , and with that accomplished the underlying problems with course evaluations can be tended to and fixed. It was pointed out that this will be the second new Senate committee established this year. At the March meeting the Senate approved a proposal to revise Policy 6-002 to create the new Senate Advisory Committee on Information Technology. Once today’s proposal is approved, both proposals will then be sent on to the Board of Trustees. And it was explained that the Personnel and Elections Committee was previously informed about plans for the two new committees, and so P&E is already preparing the elections procedures to populate both of the new committees, as part of the upcoming annual spring Senate committee elections. Motion was made by Margaret Clayton to approve the proposal for revising the Policies to create this new Senate committee, and forward to the Board of Trustees. Motion seconded by Jill Moriearty. Motion passed unanimously.
Bradden Blair and Associate Dean Mark Parker presented the proposals for a new MS degree and a new Graduate Certificate, in Business Analytics. The proposals were brought forth due to an interest by employers and pressure from accreditors. Business analytics is defined as using data to inform decision-making in organizations. There was a motion and a second to approve both proposals and forward to the Board of Trustees. Motion passed unanimously.
Information and Recommendations Calendar
The following items were presented for the information and recommendations of the Academic Senate:
- Kiston Finney of the University Information Security team presented rules accompanying Policy 4-004, which will become enforceable in April. The policy and all of its accompanying rules were approved last year by the Senate on the provision that they not be fully enforceable until April when faculty members will have had time to address concerns regarding the rules. Revised versions of the Rules on today’s agenda wre presented to and reviewed by the Executive Committee—which determined that these are not academically significant and so are appropriately placed on the Information & Recommendations Calendar. Kiston brought forth the Access Management Rule, the Remote Access Rule, and the Log Management and Monitoring Rule to the Senate to make them aware that they will become enforceable.
- Two ad hoc committee reports regarding responsible investment were considered.
First– Joan Gregory presented the Senate Ad Hoc Re-Investment Dialogue Committee’s (RIDC) report. Included in the report were recommendations of actions to be taken by the Senate. The committee had four main proposals: (1) that the Senate urge the U to implement recommendations of the predecessor Senate Ad hoc Committee on Investment Responsibility (a report presented by chair Erika George last year—which the Senate at that time “accepted” without endorsing or approving specific recommendations), (2) that the Senate urge the University of Utah to implement the STARTS Investment Credits, (3) that in implementing the proposals, the Senate and University create only the number of committees and subcommittees required to implement the spirit and intent of all three investment committees, and (4) that the University of Utah strategically divest its endowment from fossil fuel-intensive funds and reinvest in renewable, sustainable, and socially responsible ways.
Second, Mike Cooper presented the Senate Ad Hoc Responsible Investment Committee’s report. This committee looked at a list of currently available mutual funds and ETFs as well as investment options, created an analysis of the likely performance effects of socially responsible investment (SRI) practices for the University’s endowment, compiled a list of SRI options available to faculty and staff, voted on outcomes of various proposals, and recommended how to move forward with SRI practices.
Following the two reports, there was an extensive discussion A few highlights of remarks during the extensive discussion include: David Gould, a research scientist at the U, stated that the RIDC’s claim that fossil fuel investments are incompatible with the U’s academics is false. He argued that the RIDC made political statements that jeopardize research opportunities at the U. A graduate student from the College of Engineering stated that he understands the negative effects of pollution, but that the same technology and expertise used in the fossil fuel industry is instrumental in reducing pollution. John McLennan of the Chemical Engineering department stated that he believed the RIDC’s report was one-sided and divesting completely affects ratings as a University and a as a research institute. Marjorie Chan of College of Mines and Earth Sciences stated that divestment is a complex issue, and the statements made by the RIDC are an oversimplification of the issue that paints oil companies as the villain. She made the argument that the endowment serves students as well, and it is not up to the faculty to wholly make a decision about divestment. Ed Trujillo of the College of Engineering encouraged the Senate not to vote for divestment and that more information is needed to make an informed decision. He also stated that oil companies will pull out of research opportunities on campus. David Carrier (of the RIDC) and others spoke at length about the harms of climate change and the importance of individuals and the University taking steps to address the climate change problems. Motion was made by Norm Waitzman and seconded to move both committee’s reports to the Debate Calendar. Motion did not pass. Motion was made by Christy Porucznik to accept the reports as information items. Motion seconded by Bill Johnson. Motion passed with one opposed.
- Donna White presented the Report of the Graduate Council’s Seven-year Program Review of the Department of Communication.
- Lincoln Davies, as chair, presented the annual report of the Senate Faculty Review Standards Committee. .
- University Professor Appointment
- 2016 Early Career Teaching Awards
- 2015-2016 Distinguished Professor Appointments
- Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching
- Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Awards
- Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award
- Legislative Overview Report – 2016
Meeting adjourned at 5:11 p.m.