February 1, 2021
CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on February 1, 2021, was called to order at 3:01 pm by Senate President Randy Dryer. As had been announced on the Senate website and by email, this meeting was held using the Zoom online meeting platform due to COVID-19 pandemic closure of the University campus. Attendance was confirmed by requiring Senate members (and invited guests and public attendees) to register in advance for the online meeting.
Present: Rohit Aggarwal, Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski, Soheila Amirsoleimani, Amy Barrios, Michael Battistone, Matthew Bettini, Bryan Bonner, Simon Brewer, Kelly Bricker, Jonathan Brogaard, Kirsten Butcher, Juliet Carlisle, Mike Caserta, Owen Chan, Tiffany Chan, Divya Chandrasekhar, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Gerald Cochran, Hilary Coon, Sarah Creem-Regehr, Shanti Deemyad, James Ehlers, Rachel Factor, Annette Fleckenstein, Candace Floyd, Leslie Francis, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Manu Goyal, Amos Guiora, Kim Hackford-Peer, Leslie Halpern, Andrew C. Harris, Sara Hart, Teresa Hebron, Bill Hesterly, Camilla Hodge, Anna Hodgson, Christel Hohenegger, John Hollerbach, Harriet Hopf, Howard Horwitz, Christopher Hull, Alexander Hyres, Luis Ibarra, Thunder Jalili, James Karner, R. James Keddington, Seth Keeton, Anne Kirchhoff, Keith Koper, Ephraim Kum, Tuyet Lien Lam, Dale Larsen, Stephan LeBohec, John Lin, Lakshan Lingam, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Gabriel Lozada, Brad Lundahl, Robin Marcus, Staci McIntosh, Kaitlin McLean, Christopher Mead, Rajesh Menon, Krystal Moorman, Ed Muñoz, Kent Ono, Rick Paine, Adrian Palmer, Marcel Paret, Robert Parker, Jeff Pettey, Wanda Pillow, Tom Quinn, Taylor Randall, Angela Rasmussen, Georgi Rausch, Ofer Rog, Sonia Salari, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Peyden Shelton, Xiaoming Sheng, Helene Shugart, Doug Shumway, Tim Smith, Brian Snapp, Taylor Sparks, Cynthia Stark, Ryan Steele, Kathryn Stockton, Kent Udell, Hunter Underhill, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Daniel Vargo, Maeve Wall, Crystal Wallenius, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi, Jingyi Zhu, Susan Zickmund, Brandon Zielinski
Excused with substitute: none
Absent: Rima Ajlouni, Robert Bowles, Seodam Kwak, Rich Landward, Connor Leeming, Susannah Mecham, William Nesse, Tressa Parkes, Jon Rainier, Jeff Schwartz, Roger Silvers, Audrey Stegman, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, Madison Ulibarri, Maria Velasco, Neil Vickers, Jessica Wojciechowski, Robert Wood
Ex Officio: Randy Dryer, Julio Facelli, Robert Flores, Robert Fujinami, Michael Good, David Hill, Lisa Hutton, Paul Mogren, Christina Porucznik, Sarah Projansky, Daniel Reed, Ruth Watkins, Bryce Williams, Jane Laird
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes dated January 11, 2021 were approved upon a motion from Katlin McClean and a second by Sonia Salari.
The following items require Senate approval, but the Executive Committee has judged these to be non-controversial and appropriate to place on the Consent Calendar, rather than the Debate Calendar, under protocols adopted earlier this year:
- Policy 4-004–Information Security– Rules Updates
- College of Mines and Earth Sciences Certificates in:
- Mine Health & Safety
- Geomechanics and Spatial Analytics
- Aggregates and Mineral Processing
- General Mining
Shanti Deemyad moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar. After a second from Julio Facelli, the motion passed. [Note: there were no faculty matters reports for this meeting]
REPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION
President Ruth Watkins thanked the committee that created the recent campus-wide online celebrations of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Events included powerful presentations and valuable dialogues, despite pandemic constraints. She reported that it is now easy to get an asymptomatic COVID test on campus, and she encouraged everyone to take advantage of that as part of monitoring and maintaining community health. Funding priorities from the State were halted for a year due to the pandemic, but several positive funding developments have already occurred during the current Utah State legislative session.
Because President Watkins has accepted another position elsewhere, she wanted to express that it has been a privilege and honor to work with faculty and the Academic Senate over the last eight years. Faculty contributions to research success, student success, and the university’s capacity to engage communities in work that is needed in local areas and around the world, has been instrumental in the institution’s upward trajectory. Senate President Randy Dryer, on behalf of the Senate and faculty, expressed enormous gratitude to President Watkins for her many achievements, which include presiding as a committed supporter of shared governance.
SVP Michael Good reported that his office is having productive conversations about vaccine distribution with state and local health departments as increased supplies become available. The University is interested in helping by becoming a distribution point as soon as supplies allow. A national search is underway for a replacement for Gordon Crabtree, CEO of the University Hospitals and Clinics, who has retired. SVP Good extended his congratulations to Gordon, noting his invaluable contributions.
SVP Daniel Reed encouraged faculty to visit 1300 East near the University to view the twenty banners celebrating faculty excellence, reflecting the humbling and heartwarming breadth and depth of faculty contributions. The final census is not complete, but Spring enrollment is up 3% from last year so far. Fall admissions applications are up 11%, which reflects the enduring value of an education at the UofU. His office has asked college schedulers to defer finalizing fall schedules for a couple of weeks. The public health situation continues to evolve, so waiting to get the best data is optimal as far as minimizing confusion, which happens when schedules get changed. He added that a fall semester break will likely be part of that schedule in recognition of possible improved health conditions and the importance of taking well-being breaks.
SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT
Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik reported that the Senate Executive Committee met on January 25, 2021 and organized this meeting’s Senate agenda. She noted that there is thoughtful consideration when determining agendas so that meetings are as effective and efficient as possible. This includes placing items on the Senate Consent Calendar in the category of vote-required items that do not appear to be controversial, nor have any procedural or content issues.
REPORT FROM ASUU
ASUU President Ephraim Kum reported that the semester is in full swing for students. The ASUU legislative bodies are already working on pending legislation. The Executive Branch is gearing up for a busy month that includes Black History Month activities and programming, culminating in a conference for diverse excellence. ASUU elections are also coming up. He added that ASUU continues its messaging to students about taking necessary precautions during pandemic conditions and to stay vigilant.
NOTICE OF INTENT CALENDAR
No items for this meeting.
ASUU Joint Resolution 6
ASUU President Ephraim Kum and ASUU Vice President Ayana Amaechi presented ASUU Joint Resolution 6. ASUU legislative bodies approved this joint Resolution because members do not want what happened to fellow student Lauren McCluskey, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend on the UofU campus despite multiple reports to authorities, to happen again. ASUU wants to increase awareness that Interpersonal Partner Violence (IPV) continues to be prevalent in society and on college campuses. This Resolution offers ways to remind students and other members of the campus community that IPV is a persistent problem and that there are resources available to those who experience it. Part of the resolution is asking course instructors to voluntarily include available resources and Lauren’s Promise on syllabi. Lauren’s Promise is a statement aimed at promoting a culture of belief: “I will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you.”
Ephraim explained that the Senate Executive Committee had asked the ASUU presenters to clarify what actions they want to request of the Senate, because there are multiple recommendations listed in the Resolution, some of which are on topics not under the Senate’s purview. He identified that the goal of this meeting’s discussion was to ask that the Academic Senate do the following:
- Endorse this resolution and the distribution thereof to other institutions of higher education in Utah.
- Ask SVP Reed and AVP Projansky to inform the faculty of the University of Utah about Lauren’s Promise, and encourage incorporation within syllabi and academic departmental mission statements if they can fulfill the promise.
- Ask VPSA McDonald to inform the Student Affairs departments of the University of Utah about Lauren’s Promise, and encourage incorporation within Student Affairs departmental mission statements if they can fulfill the promise.
- Inform the President’s Cabinet of Lauren’s Promise and encourage incorporation within their values/missions. Following this, ask that the President’s Cabinet inform all divisions of the promise and encourage incorporation within all divisional values/missions if they can fulfill the promise.
[Senate President Randy Dryer noted that the original ASUU meeting materials submission identifying its recommendations to the Senate had only two requests, instead of the four presented during the meeting. The requests identified above amend the original materials.]
Ayana reported that the Resolution had been widely circulated after its adoption by ASUU, however that circulation did not include requests for faculty and departments to consider the option of including Lauren’s Promise in syllabi or mission statements. She explained that it seemed more efficacious to present it for discussion with the Senate in order to reach as many members of the campus community as possible.
Subsequent discussion confirmed that there was wide support for the intention of this Resolution. One issue identified though was that of asking faculty to state that they “will believe” when presented with an individual’s report of an incident by including Lauren’s Promise on their syllabi. This statement might be problematic because it infers that the person receiving a report might be acting beyond their legal or trauma-informed capabilities. Some Senate members offered that they would prefer language that says they will “take reports seriously” instead. Other issues presented included concerns with conducting follow-up surveys that ask faculty who did and who did not include the suggested syllabi statement. Faculty may be supportive of the intent of the Resolution but may be opposed to the precise wording of the Statement or adding the Statement to already lengthy syllabi. Although the Resolution states that inclusion of the Statement is voluntary, conducting a survey of who does and does not include the statement undercuts the voluntariness of the Resolution and inevitably will result in namechecking, with the erroneous implication being that those faculty who do not incorporate the Statement in their syllabi are not supportive of the spirit of the Resolution.
On the other hand, it was pointed out that under current policies faculty are already mandatory reporters for certain types of incidents, so there is no extra burden imposed when receiving reports than exists already. Ayana, Ephraim, and other ASUU Senators also reiterated that including Lauren’s Promise on syllabi and in mission statements is optional, not required. Those who are not comfortable with the language do not have to make these inclusions. However, the word believe was deliberately chosen. Studies show that creating a culture of belief establishes a safe space for reporting. The exact phrasing was requested by Lauren McCluskey’s family, so ASUU officers cannot unilaterally change the wording.
Along with other Senators, ASUU Senator Kaitlin McClean indicated that the discussion produced productive ideas about training the campus community and providing a culture that promotes the safety of those who are hesitant to report IPV and threat incidents. To ensure Senate endorsement of the Resolution, she offered that it might be optimal to table the ASUU Resolution 6 Senate vote until this meeting’s comments can be carefully considered and possibly incorporated if found helpful. Kaitlin McClean moved to table a Senate vote on ASUU Resolution 6 until it is ready to be brought back again to the Senate by ASUU Officers. Ryan Steele seconded the motion. Friendly amendments offered to the motion were declined. The motion passed with 4 opposed and 3 abstentions.
INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CALENDAR
Senate Personnel & Elections Committee Update
Dale Larsen, Chair of the Senate Personnel & Elections Committee (SPEC), updated the Senate on upcoming Senate elections and University and Senate committee nominations. He presented SPEC’s charge and member roster, and noted important dates coming up. A faculty-wide email will be sent on February 8 that asks faculty to register their interests in serving on University and Senate committees by completing the survey by March 8. He explained that the survey participation is an important part of shared faculty governance. Those eventually elected or appointed to these committee seats influence University planning, information technology, faculty rights, campus safety, and other critical areas. SPEC will meet this year on March 26, 2021 and review the lists of interested faculty and develop a nominations slate from it. The Senate will vote on the nomination slates provided for Senate standing committees. The University President will appoint final members for University committees from the nomination lists.
Other elections are coming up. All areas represented in the Senate will be sent notices in early February of upcoming Senate vacancies and a call for elections. In addition, those who would like to run to be the next Senate President-elect have a deadline of April 12th to self-nominate. He encouraged Senators to contact him if they have any questions.
[Note: technical issues required that Senate Past-President Julio Facelli preside over the remainder of this meeting]
Two New German BA Emphases
Karin Baumgartner, Professor from the Department of World Languages and Cultures, reported that the department has restructured and modernized its German BA program to give students two tracks to choose for the degree completion. University of Utah students face obstacles in declaring a German major as it is currently structured, which causes some, who would be interested in fulfilling the major, to otherwise choose German as a minor because of the extra time required. Allowing two different paths to graduation with a German major will increase access and assist students who have not had prior German language experience either from high school programs or an LDS mission to Germany. The German BA emphasis of Society and Culture will supply the student a mid-level/intermediate language proficiency and is organized around a German studies curriculum that includes lower-level courses. The Advanced Language, Literature, and Culture emphasis provides a greater language proficiency at an advanced-middle level.
Graduate Council 7-year Reviews
Associate Dean of the Graduate School Katie Ullman presented four Graduate Council seven-year reviews covering the School of Accounting, Department of Operations and Information Systems, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, and Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. The reports and summaries are given to the Senate as an informational item so that it can stay current on the Graduate Council reviews’ results. She explained that seven-year reviews, encompassing all degree programs within a unit, are conducted by the Graduate Council in consultation with internal and external reviewers, and the Undergraduate Council for programs that offer undergraduate degrees. The process is intended to help with continuous improvement and strategic planning. The process also allows the opportunity to check on areas that are University priorities, notably diversity improvements and learning outcomes. It culminates with a formal report, to which Katie adds a summary highlighting an area’s strengths, pressing issues, and suggestions for future planning. She indicated that she will usually offer these summaries in her verbal reports to the Senate but will forgo today due to time constraints and simply ask Senators for any questions regarding the reports; there were no questions posed.
New Emphases BS Mining Engineering: (i) Sustainable Resource Development, (ii) Operations Management, (iii) Health and Safety, (iv) Geomechanics and Spatial Analytics, and (v) Aggregates and Mineral Processing
The Department of Mining Engineering had conducted an extensive review of its curriculum, explained Professor Michael Free. After consultation with industry advisory boards, faculty members, and students, it developed five new areas of emphasis for the B.S. degree in Mining Engineering: Aggregates and Mineral Processing; Geomechanics and Spatial Analytics; Mine Safety and Health; Mine Operations Management; and Sustainable Resource Development. There are multiple benefits to this restructure. The new curriculum does not require additional faculty resources but leverages existing faculty strengths. It is more modern and interdisciplinary by providing more electives from other parts of the university and will then also assist the department to improve cross-campus collaboration. These extra options give students increased schedule flexibility and interdisciplinary education. In addition, the new curriculum, organized by the five new emphases, enables students to market their skills to a broader industry base.
Interim Revisions to University Conflict of Interest Policy – Policy 1-006, and associated Rule
A recent NIH regulatory audit found that areas of existing Policy 1-006, University Conflict of Interest, and associated Rule 1-006C, need additional language to satisfy compliance with the federal policy. The changes are not substantive, reflecting parts of the policy and rule that require either clarification or new language so to specifically identify practices and definitions. Julio Facelli explained that to be compliant and meet the required deadline, the Office of the Vice President of Research is proposing that President Watkins issue a set of Interim Regulations that contains the necessary text revisions. Although time is of the essence, Senators and interested colleagues can provide feedback, prior to finalizing the interim regulations, by emailing Senate Policy Liaison Bob Flores by February 8, 2021. Bob explained that the permanent version of the regulations’ revisions will be submitted in about a year, and that it is always valuable to get as much input as possible.
There was no New Business for this meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 5:03 pm.