February 7, 2022

Feb 07 2022
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Meeting Minutes



February 7, 2022

    The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on February 7, 2022, was called to order at 3:00 pm by Senate President Christy Porucznik. 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 conditions. Attendance was confirmed by requiring Senate members (and invited guests and public attendees) to register in advance for the online meeting.


Present: Michael Abrahamson, Serena Aeschilman, Rohit Aggarwal, Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski, Soheila Amirsoleimani, Yoshimi Anzai, Gloria Aquino, Michael Battistone, Erin Beeghly, Matthew Bettini, Melissa Bobick, David Bowling, Simon Brewer, Kenneth Bromberg, Jen Brown, Jessica Brown, Luca Brunelli, Juliet Carlisle, Adrienne Cataxinos, Owen Chan, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Holden Cheney, Gerald Cochran, Hilary Coon, Sarah Creem-Regehr, Stuart Culver, Shanti Deemyad, Nadja Durbach, Stacy Firth, Annette Fleckenstein, Gina Frey, Sydney Gilliand, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Manu Goyal, Amos Guiora, Eric Handman, Sara Hart, Bill Hesterly, Anna Hodgson, John Hollerbach, Harriet Hopf, Howard Horwitz, Alexander Hyres, Luis Ibarra, Jeremiah Jaggers, Thunder Jalili, Jay Jordan, Youjeong Kang, James Karner, R. James Keddington, Seth Keeton, Matti Koenig, Keith Koper, Audrey Laney, Titus Larrieu, Mike Lewis, John Lin, Shane Lloyd, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Gabriel Lozada, Robin Marcus, Frank McAlpin, Staci McIntosh, Nancy McLaughlin, Rajesh Menon, Ed Muñoz, Anna Neatrour, Kent Ono, Adrian Palmer, Marcel Paret, Robert Parker, Jeff Pettey, Susie Porter, Tom Quinn, Emi Radetich, Kevin Rathunde, Sean Redmond, Alessandro Rigolon, Alan Rogers, Xiaoming Sheng, Doug Shumway, Momina Sial, Roger Silvers, Robert Smith, Tim Smith, Brian Snapp, Taylor Sparks, Ryan Steele, Hunter Underhill, Jessica Van Der Volgen, Seetha Veeraghanta, Muskan Walia, Crystal Wallenius, Melodie Weller, Peter West, Jaclyn Winter, Jessica Wojciechowski, Jaehee Yi, Kilo Zamora, Susan Zickmund, Brandon Zielinski, Maeve Wall

Excused with substitute: Jonathan Brogaard, Richard Brown


Absent: Robert Bowles, Sondra Stegenga, Reid Ewing, Bradley Hunter, Srikanth Iyengar, Lakshan Lingam, Kelly MacArthur, Eugene Mishchenko, Ofer Rog, Jeff Schwartz, Paul Shami, Dave Symons, Maggie Tesch, Nick Tygesen , Kent Udell, Daniel Vargo

Ex Officio: Randy Dryer, Robert Fujinami, Michael Good, Taylor Gregory, Lisa Hutton, Paul Mogren, Allyson Mower, Christina Porucznik, Sarah Projansky, Taylor Randall, Martell Teasley, Sonia Salari, Jo Scofield, Jane Laird


    The minutes dated January 10, 2022, were approved upon a motion from Sonia Salari and a second from Howard Horwitz.



There were no requests for New Business



The Faculty Reports submitted to the Senate Consent Calendar were approved after a motion from Brian Snapp and a second from Jay Jordan, with 1 abstention.




  1. Report from Administration

University President Taylor Randall announced that the University of Utah Presidential Inauguration will take place on March 23. He also echoed Senate President Porucznik’s encouragement for interested faculty to consider running for Senate office and seats. The joint governance process at the UofU is important, and the interactions that administration has with Senate leadership are very helpful. He offered some Utah State legislative updates, including allocating increased funding for salaries. Interim SVP Martell Teasley added that this is welcome news. He also reported that the University will increasing its cyber security activities, a very serious issue, including requiring more employee training.


SVP Michael Good explained that the educational, research, and community-engagement components of a new West Valley Health Center would be planned over the next year. A university-wide task force has been set up, and it be working on the design of the facilities and seeking input on the various components, including how to integrate the Center with the other parts of the university.


  1. Executive Committee Report

Senate President-elect Sonia Salari explained that the Senate Executive Committee had met January 24, 2022, and approved the agenda presented to the Senate at this meeting.


  1. Report from ASUU

ASUU President Jessica Wojciechowski reported that ASUU is looking forward to a busy spring term and listed some of the initiatives it is currently working on. ASUU leaders are scheduling town halls with university administration, and other concerned offices, to address recent racial bias and sexual assault incidents on campus. Other projects include working with the UofU Racial Bias Incident Response Team and completing the bathroom hygiene product project initiated by ASUU a few years ago.




Honorary Degree Task Force Update

Chair of the Senate Task Force on Honorary Degrees, Steve Alder, presented its final report to the Senate. The Task Force’s charge had been to investigate the topic of the current and future practices surrounding the awarding of honorary degrees. It was also charged with submitting a written report summarizing findings, recommendations, and the rationale for recommendations to the Academic Senate. He expressed great appreciation to the members for their work.


After reviewing the report’s main findings, he noted that member recommendations ranged from discontinuation to continuation of awarding honorary degrees. Opinions and perspectives differed, yet the committee was aligned on ensuring that, if honorary degrees are awarded, the selection process be inclusive and that nominated individuals and their accomplishments should be diverse. The committee also recommended that the process for selecting and awarding degrees be transparent; the selection process and authority under which honorary degrees are awarded be clearly communicated. The Board of Trustees is the final decision maker on awarding honorary degrees.


Senate President Christy Porucznik asked Senators to consider the next step of action for the Senate to take. Various options were discussed. Randy Dryer recommended asking Senators to circulate the report to their colleagues, ask for feedback, then forward input to Christy. Follow up to Senators’ feedback could be handled by the Senate Executive Committee by recommending a next action for Senate consideration.




New Degree: Education and Community Engagement for Social Change (ECE4SC) Proposal

A proposed new BS/BA degree of Education and Community Engagement for Social Change (ECE4SC), sponsored by the College of Education’s Department of Education, Culture, and Society (ECS), was presented by faculty members Karen Johnson and Veronica Valdez. The 122-credit program is proposed to begin in the Fall 2022 term and designed for non-licensed educators who wish to be engaged in community organizations without having a teacher’s license. ECS will create new courses and re-design existing graduate courses for undergraduate audiences. Brian Snapp, seconded by Sonia Salari, moved to approve the proposal. The motion passed with 1 opposed and 4 abstaining.


New Provisional Center: Utah Energy and Power Innovation Center (UEPIC) Proposal

Masood Parvania, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, introduced a three-year provisional proposal for the Utah Energy and Power Innovation Center (UEPIC). The proposed center will focus on technology, research, and development; testbeds and laboratories; education and workforce development; and technology maturation and commercialization. Funding will be provided by federal agencies’ resources. The Center’s collaborations include departments from the College of Engineering, College of Science, and College of Mines and Earth Sciences A motion to forward, to President Randall and the Board of Trustees, a Senate recommendation that it be approved was offered by Alan Rogers and seconded by Ganesh Gopalakrishnan. The motion passed.


Permanent Policy 1-021 Abusive Conduct

Amy Emrazian, Sarah Wilson, and Bob Thompson, from the University of Utah Human Resources Division, presented a final version of proposed permanent Policy 1-012 Abusive Conduct and its associated Rules. This version reflected improvements that resulted from meeting with Allyson Hicks, Trina Rich, and a selected Senate Executive Committee subcommittee. There was one wording change since the last Senate meeting stemming from a Senator’s suggestion. Christy thanked the team and Senate members who contributed to a successful process. Randy Dryer moved to approve this permanent Policy and associated Rules. After a second from Amos Guiora, the motion passed.


  1. Information and Recommendations Calendar


Senate Personnel and Elections Committee Reports                              

The Chair of the Senate Personnel and Elections Committee (SPEC), Dale Larsen, updated the Senate on the upcoming elections and committee nominations process. After highlighting the importance of shared university governance and academic freedom, he also reported that the Senate representation allocation, beginning AY 2022-2023, has been calculated according to Policy 6-002. The Senate is reapportioned every other year, and so the apportionment numbers presented will be valid through AY 2023-2024. For those who had an interest in running for Senate President, he summarized criteria and FTE coverage. He also reviewed the elections/nominations timelines for Spring 2022, asking that members contact him if there are any questions.


Policy 6-300 Update: Distinguished Professors                                       

Trina Rich, Director of University & Academic Affairs Policy Administration, explained that the SVP for Academic Affairs and SVP for Health Sciences have authorized an increase in the number of Distinguished Professors appointments from one per year to up to six.


Online Master’s Degree Initiatives                                             

AVP for University Connected Learning (UCL) Deborah Keyek-Franssen discussed the UCL initiative to expand online master’s degree offerings. The University’s goal is to increase educational access for students who would not otherwise enroll because they cannot physically come to campus. UCL will provide upfront support to establish high quality, rigorous online programs that help them advance their careers. A call for proposals in the Fall resulted in about eight programs currently under development and will launch next academic year. There is no substantial change, compared to in-person courses, in terms of governance and approval. Deborah relayed that her office is actively soliciting faculty feedback and questions.



There was no New Business requested for this meeting



Christy Porucznik posed a question for discussion: What makes you feel connected to the university as an organization, as an institution? It could be that the sense of belonging to a larger effort, group, and goal has diminished during the pandemic.


Senator Jay Jordan presented some of his observations about the importance of international outreach, noting that is can be one of the hallmarks of a top public university. He asked that the Senate stay aware of and invested in the wellbeing of the UofU global programs, citing how staff and faculty shortages/turnover have possibly impacted the progress of international programs development.


    Meeting adjourned at 4:57 pm.