January 11, 2021
CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on January 11, 2021, was called to order at 3:00 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, Robert Bowles, Simon Brewer, Kelly Bricker, Jonathan Brogaard, Kirsten Butcher, Juliet Carlisle, Mike Caserta, Owen Chan, Divya Chandrasekhar, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Gerald Cochran, Hilary Coon, Sarah Creem-Regehr, 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, Dale Larsen, Stephan LeBohec, John Lin, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Brad Lundahl, Robin Marcus, Staci McIntosh, Kaitlin McLean, Rajesh Menon, Ed Muñoz, Kent Ono, Adrian Palmer, Marcel Paret, Robert Parker, Tressa Parkes, 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, Roger Silvers, Brian Snapp, Taylor Sparks, Cynthia Stark, Ryan Steele, Kathryn Stockton, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, Hunter Underhill, Daniel Vargo, Maeve Wall, Crystal Wallenius, Jessica Wojciechowski, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi, Jingyi Zhu, Susan Zickmund, Brandon Zielinski
Excused with substitute: none
Absent: Rima Ajlouni, Tiffany Chan, Shanti Deemyad, Seodam Kwak, Tuyet Lien Lam, Rich Landward, Connor Leeming, Lakshan Lingam, Gabriel Lozada, Christopher Mead, Susannah Mecham, Krystal Moorman, William Nesse, Rick Paine, Jon Rainier, Jeff Schwartz, Tim Smith, Audrey Stegman, Kent Udell, Madison Ulibarri, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Maria Velasco, Neil Vickers, 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 November 30, 2020 were approved upon a motion from Maeve Wall and a second by Harriet Hopf.
Randy Dryer asked Senate Past-president Julio Facelli to preside for the presentation of the Consent Calendar. Julio explained that items for this meeting were:
(i) Faculty Appointments and Resignations and
(ii) the following items which require a Senate vote for approval, but which the Executive Committee has judged to be non-controversial and appropriate to place on the Consent Calendar, rather than the Debate Calendar, under protocols adopted earlier this year.
- Graduate Certificate in Tribal, Rural, and Underserved Medicine
- Resolution for Pat Hanna
- Policy 6-002 Change/SACD Updates
- 2020-21 University Distinguished Teaching Awards Recommendations
- 2020-21 Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship Award
He congratulated the teaching award nominees, which included Senate President Randy Dryer, and asked Senate Parliamentarian Paul Mogren to read aloud the Resolution Recognizing Patricia Hanna upon her retirement and appointment to Professor Emerita status. Julio Facelli moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar. After a second from Katlin McClean, the motion passed.
REPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION
President Ruth Watkins expressed gratitude to Senate members for their invaluable efforts to navigate the Fall term changes and health challenges successfully. She announced that the Huntsman Mental Health Institute will hold a virtual event later in the week celebrating its official launch and rebranding. A COVID testing Town Hall will be held on January 13 and will provide information about campus virus testing planned for this semester. SVP Michael Good added that testing capacity has expanded to an extent that he expects the UofU should be able to conduct more testing this spring, including asymptomatic tests for staff and faculty. He also noted that University is also in close contact with Utah health authorities and will get more information, including expected dose shipments, on coordinating the next vaccination phases.
SVP Daniel Reed echoed President Watkins and thanked faculty for being great partners during an extraordinary time. He appreciated their notable efforts to support the UofU’s mission of supporting society by educating a new generation and creating new knowledge through scholarship. Plans for the Fall 2021 semester are being developed. He believes that the fall term will have a larger percentage of in-person learning, but administration will wait until March to take stock of the evolving pandemic situation before rolling out final plans. Minimizing how many changes are made helps to avoid stress and confusion of students and faculty.
SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT
Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik reported that the Senate Executive Committee met on December 14, 2020. It determined this meeting’s agenda, including placing items on the Senate Consent Calendar in the category of vote-required items that did not appear to be controversial, nor have any procedural or content issues.
REPORT FROM ASUU
ASUU President Ephraim Kum reported that ASUU leaders were getting ready for the new semester. They continued to meet over the winter break with administration to consult on a wide range of topics that included expanded virus testing and the arrival of vaccines. The initiatives that are coming up are Martin Luther King Week, Black History Month and Women’s Week. Ephraim explained that students are excited to see what potential improvements come from the approval and circulation of the ASUU Campus Wellbeing Resolution passed at the November 30 Senate meeting; he was thankful for the campus community’s support of creating ways for more wellbeing and less stressful situations for not only students, but also instructors.
NOTICE OF INTENT CALENDAR
No items for this meeting.
Career-Line Parental Leave Committee Report–proposed revised Policy 6-315
Mardie Clayton, Chair of the Career-Line Faculty Parental Leave Policy Senate Special Committee, reviewed the committee’s proposed revision to University Policy 6-315, which will fill a gap in providing parental leave benefits to career-line faculty–benefits that have already been approved for tenure-line faculty, University staff, and career-line faculty at the School of Medicine (and by an internal college policy also the College of Health). As a background, she explained that a series of Career Line Task Forces, beginning with the first formed over a decade ago, were charged with addressing issues facing career line colleagues. After acknowledging the efforts of the many contributors to the earlier task forces and to the current committee, she offered that this current policy proposal for a career-line faculty parental leave benefit provision builds on the substantial progress the earlier task forces had made. They had changed the reference nomenclature to career line faculty in lieu of what had been used, such as auxiliary (or implicitly irregular) faculty. They also established procedures for regular reviews and reappointments, encouraged longer terms of appointments, created career-line representation and leadership in the Academic Senate and Senate Committees, and encouraged establishing voting rights in departmental and college-level faculty governance.
Mardie reviewed the main points of the policy revision proposal including eligibility requirements, duration based on employee responsibilities and term assignments, and payment specifics. The proposed policy update was positively received when presented to the Council of Academic Deans. Leslie Francis, seconded by Harriet Hopf, moved to approve the Policy 6-315 revisions. The motion passed with two abstaining. [Note that the approved proposal included a special provision that certain defined terms in the revised policy will need further revision later this year to make the terminology consistent with several other regulations also being revised — and this will be accomplished by a specially designated set of representatives of the Senate and administration, which is anticipated to occur before the revised policy takes effect July 1, 2021.]
Clinical and Translational Science Institute Proposal
The currently named University of Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science is one of few similar entities in the country that is not designated an “institute,” explained Co-Director Rachel Hess. The proposal offered would formalize the Center as a university-designated institute: the Utah Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The mission of the Utah CTSI is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of discovery to improve human health. It will continue to do this through expertise provided by its cores and services, numerous workforce development initiatives, and the collective resources housed within a newly formed clinical research support office. Rachel reviewed the proposed institute’s governance structure, programs, and alignment with University goals. The Utah CTSI and its resources are managed by faculty and administration of the University. External entities serve in an advisory role.
As part of the presentation, she pointed out proposed institute’s continually expanding funding sources; grants and supplements total over $16 million in the current fiscal year. For instance, it receives funding through a grant from the National Center to Advance Clinical and Translational Science. Rachel also noted that financial resources are expected to grow once it is designated an institute. Harriet Hopf motioned to approve the proposal to become a university-designated institute. After a second by Robin Marcus, the motion passed. [note: Julio Facelli, Senate Past-president, notified the Senate that he was associated with the Institute in a leadership position prior to discussion.]
INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CALENDAR
Racial Bias Incident Response Team Report
Brian Nicholls, Special Assistant to the Chief Safety Officer (CSO), explained that a Racial Bias Incident Response Team (RBIRT) has been created to centralize, coordinate, and communicate campus racism and bias complaints so to expedite appropriate responses and maintain a data base that can be used in identifying trends and issues. RBIRT aims to develop a campus-wide coordinated and centralized approach to complaints that will connect affected parties to the knowledge, reporting structures, programming, and communication tools that are currently available to the campus community. Its new website will have more information about resources and a University-wide response form that ensures that complainants and affected parties get a calibrated and appropriate response. One subcommittee of RBIRT is the Racial Bias-Critical Incident Response Team (RB-CIRT), which will nimble and flexible enough to respond to these incidents when they are reported. The team has developed a response and communication matrix that establishes actions to take. Brian’s role will be to ensure these are coordinated and appropriate, and that those involved in the incident are put in touch with the trauma-informed counseling and advocate resources available.
Interim Abusive Conduct Policy 1-021
Amy Tolman, Sarah Wilson, Bob Thompson, Wendy Peterson, and Rick Smith attended on behalf of the University of Utah Human Resource Division to explain a new Interim Abusive Conduct policy authorized by President Ruth Watkins. This set of Regulations was authorized by President Watkins in Interim status, without prior Senate consideration, to meet a deadline set by recent Utah legislation. The legislation requires employers in the Utah System of Higher Education to provide employee training and a policy for prohibiting, reporting, and resolving abusive conduct in the workplace. A proposed permanent version of these Regulations will be presented to the Academic Senate within a year. Amy and Sarah reviewed the key portions of the policies including defining what abusive conduct is (and is not) and explaining the interim rules that outlined the processes for reporting and resolution for non-UUHC staff, faculty and for UUHC employees. The presenters also clarified that the Regulations apply to students employed by the University as employees in those workspaces, but not students in the classroom. All paid employees, including adjunct faculty, will be required to take an annual training, beginning in January 2021.
SACSCF Student Course Evaluation
Maureen Mathison, Patrick Tripeny and Adam Halstrom updated the Senate on the progress of the new student course feedback instrument implementation. Maureen, Chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on Student Course Feedback (SACSCF), walked through the new student feedback instrument approved by the Senate in April 2019 that will be implemented beginning January 2021. Its questions had been chosen, after meeting with students and faculty throughout 2016-2018, to align with the current literature defining best practices. The question set is psychometrically sound and has been verified by prior statistical research through factor analysis. The new design also aims to meet its core purpose, which is to collect student input on instructors and courses. It is also shorter because current research indicates that students do not complete overly long surveys, and SACSCF members hope this helps with response rates.
Maureen explained that in accord with commitments made at the April 2019 Senate meeting, SACSCF had planned to conduct pilot tests, during the 2019-20 academic year, of the new instrument, once the University had contracted with a vendor who could provide the required technical support. Plans to locate a vendor were disrupted by the COVID 19 pandemic last Spring, but the University was able to contract with SACSCF’s chosen vendor in June 2020. Since July 2020, Adam Halstrom, Program Manager for Student Feedback for the Center of Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), has been operationalizing the instrument’s campus implementation. It is now ready to be launched.
Plans for implementation were reviewed and submitted in the meeting materials. These included townhalls with students, mass communication strategies, and meetings with Deans, Chairs, Associate Deans, and Program Directors throughout the Spring semester. In addition, SACSCF will conduct an analysis of the old and the new instruments on select courses to develop an understanding of how well the new one is performing. It will look at trends, any issues of discrimination, and comparisons that can be made with sets of data such as that of large classes or known distinguished teachers.
She also addressed questions of how student course assessments would be used by departments and programs, which can be relevant during faculty teaching performance evaluations and curriculum decisions. SACSCF’s charge is to oversee the development, and any necessary revisions, of standardized student course feedback instruments and standardized course feedback reports. Policies on how the University assesses its courses and instruction contemplate that evaluation should be based on multiple measures, including student feedback. Because of this, the new system can add a department’s or instructor’s questions that are specific to their students and courses to the instrument–after the initial rollout–to meet any remaining evaluation needs required at that level. Patrick Tripeny, CTLE Director, offered that these will be limited in amount to keep the surveys as short as possible, and it will be easy for instructors to add these to the course feedback question sets.
There was no New Business at this meeting
Following up on the issue raised in November, Randy Dryer noted that the Dixie State University Board of Trustees had voted for an institutional name change, and that the DSU Senate President had forwarded his appreciation for support from University of Utah colleagues (in the form of the resolution approved at the November 2, 2020 Senate meeting). Randy explained that, as this now will go to the Utah Legislature, any Senator who would like to continue to promote the name change should write to their local representatives.
Meeting adjourned at 5:02 pm.