March 29, 2021

Mar 29 2021
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Meeting Minutes



March 29, 2021

The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on March 29, 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: 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, 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, 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, Rich Landward, Stephan LeBohec, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Gabriel Lozada, Brad Lundahl, Robin Marcus, Staci McIntosh, Kaitlin McLean, Christopher Mead, Rajesh Menon, Krystal Moorman, Ed Muñoz, William Nesse, 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, Jeff Schwartz, Peyden Shelton, Xiaoming Sheng, Helene Shugart, Tim Smith, Taylor Sparks, Cynthia Stark, Ryan Steele, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, Kent Udell, Hunter Underhill, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Maeve Wall, Crystal Wallenius, Jessica Wojciechowski, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi, Jingyi Zhu

Excused: Dale Larsen

Excused with substitute: Kathryn Stockton

Absent: Rohit Aggarwal, Rima Ajlouni, Robert Bowles, Tiffany Chan, Divyam Goel, Camilla Hodge, Seodam Kwak, Tuyet Lien Lam, Connor Leeming, John Lin, Lakshan Lingam, Susannah Mecham, Tressa Parkes, Jon Rainier, Doug Shumway, Roger Silvers, Brian Snapp, Audrey Stegman, Madison Ulibarri, Daniel Vargo, Maria Velasco, Neil Vickers, Robert Wood, Susan Zickmund, Brandon Zielinski

Ex Officio: Randy Dryer, Julio Facelli, Robert Flores, Robert Fujinami, Michael Good, David Hill, Lisa Hutton, Paul Mogren, Christina Porucznik, Sarah Projansky, Daniel Reed, Bryce Williams, Ruth Watkins, Jane Laird


The minutes dated March 1, 2021 were approved upon a motion from Katlin McClean and a second by Sonia Salari.



There were no requests for new business.



Julio Facelli moved to approve the faculty appointments & resignations reports on the Consent Calendar. After a second from Amos Guiora, the motion passed, with one abstention.



Senate President Randy Dryer introduced a Resolution of Appreciation for President Ruth Watkins on behalf of the Senate. It resolved that the University of Utah Academic Senate recognizes and thanks President Ruth Watkins for her remarkable service and leadership on behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, and wishes her the best in the new phase of her stellar career. President Watkins thanked Randy and the Senate for the incredibly kind and generous comments. She added that she is grateful to everyone providing leadership to the institution, and that Senators should be recognized as partners in all that has been accomplished.


President Ruth Watkins, SVP Daniel Reed, and SVP Michael Good further discussed transitional planning. President Watkins thanked SVP Good for his efforts to support the presidential transition and expressed that the University will be in great hands under when he takes on the role of Interim President on April 7. SVP Good reported that his goal is to maintain the momentum gained during President Watkins’ eight years of leadership. He strongly supports shared governance and believes that working together as a team produces the optimal results.


SVP Reed summarized the University’s transition process for a conditional return to normal operations with the gradual lessening of the Covid-19 pandemic, but his office will continue to monitor the public health situation. For instance, while the University Commencement will be virtual this year, students expressed a strong preference for college-level convocations to be in-person, and those plans are being developed. The fall term schedule had just been released that day.


Jason Perry, Vice President for Government Relations, reported that funding received during the recent Utah state legislative session met two key University priorities and supported other notable projects. A performance-based compensation increase was approved, as was funding for the Applied Sciences Building. He also thanked Senate President Randy Dryer for his assistance in providing faculty viewpoints to the legislative session effort, particularly on a bill that dictates what percentage of courses higher education institutions must offer in-person next year.


ASUU President Ephraim Kum echoed his gratitude to President Ruth Watkins for all she has done for the university. He announced that the student body had elected a new ASUU President for next year, Jessica Wojciechowski. After serving as ASUU President this past year, Ephraim expressed that he is going to miss working with the Senate and the incredible group of leaders at ASUU.



The Senate Executive Committee (EC) met on March 15, 2021 and developed the agenda for this meeting, noted Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik. One question that has come up in EC discussions is whether the University can require COVID vaccinations for those returning to campus. The answer is no. All of the vaccines in current use are federally approved only under Emergency Use Authorization and so cannot be mandated. Christy additionally explained that restarting the administration’s annual Report to the Senate on Faculty Composition has been postponed; AVP Projansky will be soliciting input from faculty on what should now be included in the required report and will subsequently follow up.


An in-depth discussion at the March 15th EC meeting, about honorary degree awards and issues surrounding these, resulted in a seconded motion forwarded from the EC to the Senate. This motion stated: That the Senate accept the recommendation of the Executive Committee to (a) establish a task force to examine the issue of honorary degrees in the modern university and make recommendations for the future, no later than the December 2021 Academic Senate meeting and (b) authorize the Executive Committee to populate the Task Force. After clarifying that there will be student representation on the task force, the motion was approved by Senate vote.




Behavioral Health Innovation and Dissemination Center

Brian Baucom, College of Social Work, reviewed a proposal to provisionally create a new academic center, the Behavioral Health Innovation and Dissemination Center (BHIDC). The Center would be a research and training clinic that serves the entire local community. Its primary aim will be to bring together the University’s seven degree granting programs that require non-pharmacological psychotherapies as part of their training for students’ progress towards their degrees. To do this, BHIDC would create space that was open to faculty and students across campus to use for research. This proposal had been carefully designed so that it does not replicate already existing treatment services on campus. Julio Facelli moved to approve provisional status to the BHIDC. After a second from Sonia Salari, the motion passed.


Two New Writing and Rhetoric Studies Graduate Degrees

LuMing Mao, Chair of the Department of Writing & Rhetoric Studies, and colleague Jenny Andrus, presented proposals to offer 1) a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Writing & Rhetoric and 2) a Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) in Writing & Rhetoric Studies. LuMing summarized the programs’ purposes, needs and impacts. The field of Composition and Rhetoric has achieved a distinct disciplinary status. These degrees will form a stand-alone graduate program that is exclusively dedicated to Composition and Rhetoric Studies that will be the only one in Utah. Julio Facelli moved to approve both degree proposals. After a second from Amos Guiora, the motion passed.


Authorship Policy 7-020

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) has determined that the University needs a formal authorship policy, explained Associate Vice President Erin Rothwell. It held discussion sessions with the University community inquiring about the need for an institution-wide policy, and a majority of participants expressed support. In addition, numerous complaints concerning authorship that get directed to the ORIC are mistaken for research misconduct by the submitters. Policy 7-020, establishing a University-wide authorship policy, was initially presented to the Senate on the March 1, 2021 Senate Intent Calendar for consideration. Julio Facelli explained that the Policy presented today incorporates faculty comments and input received since then. This Policy will require each academic department to adopt and implement an internal policy (as a Supplemental Rule under the main University Policy). Erin and Julio clarified that until an individual unit establishes its own internal authorship policy (which can be simple as identifying which journal standards for authorship will be followed), certain provisions within this University Policy will by default serve as the department’s internal policy in the case of any disputes. This Policy will be reviewed every few years to further refine it for improvements. Future suggested changes will be also presented to the Senate. Julio Facelli moved to adopt Policy 7-020–as revised since the March 1, 2021 Senate meeting. The motion passed after a second from Ryan Steele. There was 1 abstention.



There were no items for this meeting.



Senate Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Recommendations                                                                                                                         

David Derezotes, Chair of the recently renamed Senate Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (SACEDI) explained that SACEDI had decided to form three subcommittees for academic year 2020-2021. These subcommittees were working groups, each with a different focus. He summarized the committee’s annual report and announced that two subcommittees were ready to offer recommendations for discussion and feedback. Subcommittee chair David Hawkins introduced a proposal for a Personal Diversity Statement (PDS) pilot program, as an EDI-focused intervention. SACEDI is interested in the how this instrument might be used to initiate, cultivate, and draw attention to the meaningful EDI work being done at the University. SACEDI will study the impact of the PDS intervention pilot model and identify further recommendations. Billi Tsuya, Chair of the Hiring and Review Processes Subcommittee, explained that this subcommittee was working to better strategize implementation of an EDI-focused lens to faculty hiring and review. It is partnering with the Faculty Affairs Office, Senate Faculty Review Standards Committee, and University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee, and looking at the components and types of faculty hiring, promotion and review.


Graduate Council Seven-Year Reviews                  

Associate Dean of the Graduate School Katie Ullman presented reports from three Graduate Council seven-year reviews for the 1) Department of English, 2) School of Dance, and 3) Division of Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH). During the March 15th Senate Executive Committee meeting, it was noted that the report on the OEH unit does not indicate whether it is a free-standing or non-free-standing division, which is a highly important distinction for purposes of such reviews. Katie clarified that OEH is a non-free-standing division.


Computational Physics and Astronomy Emphasis

A new Computational Physics and Astronomy Emphasis will provide students important technical skills to meet industry needs and demand, explained Cyri Dixon, Academic Advisor for

the Physics and Astronomy department, and colleague John Belz. This new emphasis will also help prepare students for advanced studies. Many students indicate that they need to choose between physics and the often more lucrative computer science fields. About 75% of physics majors nationwide go into computer science, engineering, or other STEM fields upon graduation, and this emphasis will help them to better compete. The department collaborated with the Math Department and the School of Computing to create elective lists.


Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy Annual Report

Mary Beth Vogel-Ferguson, Chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy (SACAP), summarized its annual report. She highlighted SACAP’s current exploration of the issues posed by the Thesis Office process and deadlines; this project will continue through the next academic year.


Senate Advisory Committee on IT Annual Report                                   

The Chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on IT (SACIT), David Goldenberg, discussed the policies and rules considered in the 2020-2021 academic year. It is SACIT’s role to review proposals for new or revised policies and rules related to IT before they are considered by the Senate Executive Committee, he explained.


Senate Personnel and Elections Committee Report

Jane Laird, Secretary of the Senate, submitted Senate Personnel and Elections Committee (SPEC) updates on behalf of its Chair, Dale Larsen. SPEC met on March 26, 2021 and developed nomination lists for over 20 Senate and University committees. Senators should expect to receive electronic ballots for faculty vacancies for Senate standing committees on April 5, 2021. University committee nominations will be sent to the Interim University President for final appointment.


Nominations for Academic Senate President-elect and for Senate Executive Committee (EC) seats are due by April 12, 2021. Those leadership elections will take place during the April 26 Senate meeting. The presentation also announced the newly elected faculty Senators whose terms begin in AY 2021-22. Those interested in finding out more about serving as President-elect or on the EC should contact Randy Dryer, Julio Facelli, and Christy Porucznik.


Senate Faculty Review Standards Committee Annual Report

The interim Administrative Chair of the Senate Faculty Review Standards Committee (SFRSC), AVP Sarah Projansky, summarized the committee’s annual report. Quite a lot of progress had been made this year in finalizing and receiving approval for Templates for department and college Statements of Rules on Retention, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT), and Tenured Faculty Reviews (TFR). She anticipated that a Template for Statements of Rules on Career-line, Adjunct, and Visiting Faculty (CAV) will be fully approved in AY 2021-2022.  Sarah also outlined other projects in the pipeline and expressed great appreciation to the committee members and for the support provided by Bob Flores, Dave Hill, Trina Rich and Marie Fontaine. {Note: this item was presented earlier in the meeting due to a schedule conflict)


Athletic Academic Report

Sr. Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services Chris Uchacz outlined the annual Athletics Academic Performance Report. Student athlete academic achievements continue to be strong as shown by metrics such as departmental GPA averages and the graduation success rate (GSR).


Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights Annual Report

Randy Dryer, standing in for Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights (SCAFFR) Chair Lien Fan Shen, reported that no SCAFFR complaints were filed this year.


2021 Distinguished Research Awards

Randy Dryer announced the six Distinguished Research Award recipients for 2021. The winners were:

  • Vahe Bandarian, Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science
  • Jorge Contreras, College of Law
  • Mia Hashibe, Dept. of Family and Preventative Medicine, School of Medicine
  • William Smith, Division of Ethnic Studies, School of Cultural and Social Transformation
  • Neli Ulrich, Dept. of Population Health, School of Medicine
  • Jeffrey Weiss, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering


President Watkins’ Report to the Board of Trustees

Senate President Dryer noted that President Watkins’ monthly report to the Board of Trustees was included in this meeting’s materials.



Proposed Remote Work/Telecommuting Guideline  

Deputy Chief Human Resource Officer Wendy Peterson introduced updated remote work Guidelines that address the University’s long term telecommuting strategy. The existing “telecommuting guidelines,” developed long before the Covid-19 pandemic, required some clarifying language and additional sections so that managers can better use those as a tool for assisting eligible employees. In general, the guidelines are not meant to cover faculty assignments or University Hospitals and Clinics employees. Wendy asked Senators to send her their comments or questions.


Meeting adjourned at 5:20 pm.