March 30, 2020
CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on March 30, 2020, was called to order at 3:01 pm by Senate President Julio Facelli. 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 first requiring Senate members (and invited guests) to register in advance for the online meeting, and then by logging joining of the registrants.
Present: Alan Abbinanti, Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski, AnnaMarie Barnes, Amy Barrios, Pinar Bayrak-Toydemir, Gunseli Berik, Kelly Bricker, Kirsten Butcher, Devon Cantwell, Laurel Caryn, Mike Caserta, Divya Chandrasekhar, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Susanna Cohen, Hilary Coon, Amy Cox, Elizabeth Craft, Shanti Deemyad, Ann Engar, Diego Fernandez, Annette Fleckenstein, Candace Floyd, Kenneth (Bo) Foreman, Leslie Francis, Moira Gray, Amos Guiora, Kim Hackford-Peer, Leslie Halpern, Patricia Hanna, Rebecca Hardenbrook, Andrew C. Harris, Bill Hesterly, Christel Hohenegger, John Hollerbach, Sierra Holmes, Christopher Hull, Luis Ibarra, Srikanth Iyengar, Thunder Jalili, R. James Keddington, Anne Kirchhoff, Keith Koper, Kim Korinek, Anne Lair, Rich Landward, Dale Larsen, Stephan LeBohec, Connor Leeming, Erik Lehnardt, Lauren Liang, Brad Lundahl, Don Ly, Kelly MacArthur, Sharon Mastracci, Maureen Mathison, Staci McIntosh, Rajesh Menon, Dragan Milicic, Damon Ngo, Kathleen Nicoll, Kent Ono, Rick Paine, Brandon Patterson, Wanda Pillow, Christina Porucznik, Tom Quinn, Angela Rasmussen, Terry Ring, Frank Sachse, Sonia Salari, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Jon Seger, Varun Selvam, Helene Shugart, Debra Simmons, Sara Simonsen, Tim Smith, Brian Snapp, Kathryn Stockton, Dustin Stokes, James Sutherland, Thomas Swensen, Joshua Taylor, Alex Terrill, Emily Thomas, Sylvia Torti, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, Kent Udell, Hunter Underhill, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Neil Vickers, Jessica Wempen, Feng Zhang, Susan Zickmund, Brandon Zielinski
Excused with proxy: Jeremy Rosen (proxy Anne Jamison)
Absent: Rohit Aggarwal, Rima Ajlouni, Shmuel Baruch, Thomas Crane Giamo, Franz Goller, Gema Guevara, Ken Johnson, Gabriel Lozada, Hunter Mansfield, Danielle Martinez, Krystal Moorman, Khue Nguyen, Jon Rainier, Kalani Raphael, Georgi Rausch, Amnon Schlegel, Sara Scholes, Jeff Schwartz, Peyden Shelton, Roger Silvers, Ryan Steele, Amrinder Thind, Daniel Vargo, Maria Velasco, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi
Ex Officio: Randy Dryer, Julio Facelli, Robert Flores, Michael Good, David Hill, Lisa Hutton, Robert Fujinami, Paul Mogren, Sarah Projansky, Daniel Reed, Thomas Richmond, Billinda Tsuya, Ruth Watkins, Jane Laird
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes dated March 30, 2020 were approved upon a motion from James Sutherland and a second by Gunseli Berik.
Four items which had been provisionally approved by the Senate Executive Committee were presented on the Consent Calendar. Due to the special circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic Senate President Julio Facelli had asked the Executive Committee, at its March 16, 2020 meeting, to act on behalf of the Senate to provisionally approve certain agenda items that would usually be presented on the Debate Calendar for a vote during the Senate meeting. Anticipating that coordinating today’s meeting would be more complicated than a live session, the Senate Executive Committee approved placing items that did not appear to be controversial, nor have any procedural or content issues, on the Senate Consent Calendar. Julio asked that the Senate today by a single vote of approval ratify the Executive Committee’s provisional approval of all of these items without further discussion:
- Educational Psychology BA/BS
- Graduate Certificate in Language and Culture
- Master of Science in Pathology
- Dark Sky Studies Minor
Also, on the Consent Calendar were the Faculty Matters reports. Randy Dryer moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar. After a second by Moira Grey, the motion passed.
REPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION
President Watkins expressed great appreciation to students, staff, and faculty for remarkable adaptation over the month of March during an unprecedented time of campus closure. She commented on the creativity and innovation demonstrated by the University of Utah community. Holding this Senate meeting online is an example of a way to allow shared governance and business to continue. So many have risen to the occasion to make online teaching and learning available, keep critical functions going and make decisions guided by the priorities of the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, faculty, staff, and community. University of Utah health providers and support teams are on the front lines of testing and patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. She thanked them for their effort as well as the supportive partnerships with the Salt Lake community and organizations such as the LDS Church.
She expressed profound sadness at the recent loss of Bob Garff, who, along with his family was an exemplary friend of the University and education. In addition, the Utah legislative session finished on March 12 and it was very successful. For instance, there will be an investment of $60 million to support the new applied science buildings, and the University of Utah will have about $9 million available for performance funding. It was a legislative session that demonstrated investment in the University. UofU administration will be part of the dialogue in the weeks ahead as the legislature determines more of how the present environment will influence support and funding for the institution, and how federal relief funding will be allocated. The President will share any information about that as soon as possible.
The Board of Regents’ meeting was last week. The primary discussion was about tuition. The recommendation from University of Utah students was to hold fees flat at a 0% increase, and the recommendation from the institution was a 2% increase in tuition; together that is about a 1.7% overall increase. University leaders and trustees also made the recommendation to not implement that increase until January 2021, depending on conditions. The aim is to be as supportive of students as much as possible and to help everybody come back to school, stay in school, and keep making progress towards their degree.
Senior Vice President Dan Reed addressed a question from James Sutherland, who asked what he can tell concerned colleagues about the tenure clock during campus shutdown. Dan explained that fortunately the extant policy of the U has a clause that will allow time extensions, so he has been in discussion with Senior Vice President Mike Good, Senate President Julio Facelli, and the Deans to find the most simple and streamlined way to process appeals for tenure clock extensions. The goal is to rollout a process around April 1. ASUU Senator Connor Leeming expressed that students are worried about how grades will be impacted; grades affect graduate admissions and scholarships for instance. President Watkins explained that the determination was made that, in this situation, it is best to allow the students to have choice and flexibility in what happens in their individual circumstances. Her recent and ongoing discussions with Presidents of AAU and PAC 12 universities helps her know that evaluating student grades of the Spring 2020 term is a national and international concern. In addition, to further assist students, there is now a consolidated fund for financial emergencies that is managed by the Office of Financial Aid. More than 200 requests have been filed so far.
To help answer Angela Rasmussen’s inquiry about graduate student deadlines, SVP Reed explained the Dean of the Graduate School, David Kieda, has been working hard on ensuring health coverage for graduate students and will be holding a Zoom Town Hall on March 31 to get more input from graduate students on the issues they are facing. Dan distributed that Zoom link to the Senate for those who want to follow up.
SVP Mike Good reported that ARUP Laboratories now can manage over 3,000 coronavirus tests a day, and is on the way to advancing to 4,000 per day. Information from countries and cities that are ahead of Utah in pandemic cases suggest that if a testing platform is in place, activities can slowly resume and not overload the health care providers. The University of Utah is also preparing for the surge, including workforce planning. The School of Medicine’s Division of Epidemiology is working with the state’s epidemiologists and the models suggest that Salt Lake’s surge is somewhere between two or three weeks away. However, the models are updated daily, and Mike expects there is going to be variations in the forecasts. He and Dan Reed are both committed to making short term decisions that best positions the University for the future; they will be following up this summer to further utilize lessons learned during the pandemic.
SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT
The Senate Executive Committee met on March 16, 2020 using the Zoom online meeting platform and approved today’s Senate agenda, reported Senate President-elect Randy Dryer. Of special note are the COVID-19 Special Committee & Resolution Proposals that will be seen on the Senate Debate Calendar; it is anticipated that there will be a discussion and friendly amendment to support adding a student representative to the special committee proposed.
REPORT FROM ASUU
ASUU President Anna Barnes explained that the ASUU leadership has been working diligently to support and advocate for students during this unprecedented campus shutdown. Students have been hard hit by losing jobs and needing additional technological resources, in addition to transitioning to all classes being offered online. The ASUU legislature has found and allocated a total of $80,000 to assist students. Some of that funding will supplement the Food Bank and help the Library provide more hot spots and tech support. The last $50,000 of funding is going to an emergency grant program that is being run by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
The ASUU website also has more information for students who would like to enter a design competition for the traditional class gift provided by each class to the Alumni Association. The current class gift proposal is to support the establishment of the Center for Violence Prevention, which is being spearheaded by President Watkins’ office.
NOTICE OF INTENT CALENDAR
COI Policy Revisions Update
Andrew Weyrich, Vice President for Research, and Marc Rinehart, Director of the Conflict of Interest Office, presented proposed revisions to Policy 1-006: Individual Financial Conflict of Interest and Procedure 1-006: Reviewing Individual Conflict of Interest Disclosure Forms, and three new Rules. The intent of these revisions is to clarify and simplify University policy, while also addressing changes in federal and state laws. In addition, the proposed changes will help the University respond to recent requests by federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, that institutions take a more proactive approach in identifying and managing conflicts of interest related to foreign entities. The key policy and procedure revisions proposed are adding an annual disclosure process for certain employees; simplifying the disclosure threshold for all employees; clarifying and simplifying the event-based disclosure and review process. Most of the proposed changes represent no major policy revisions and are consistent with existing requirements. Also, three new rules based on individual job responsibilities are proposed. The intent is to give more focused guidance to faculty and staff and provide better direction. To clarify questions posed by Terry Ring, they explained that personnel will only need to disclose relationships that are University-related but need to adhere to the thresholds indicated in the new requirements in those cases. The Senate will see this matter on the Senate Debate Calendar at the April 27, 2020 Senate meeting.
Senate Committee on Student Input in the RPT Process
Sarah Projansky and Devon Cantwell, Co-chairs of the special Senate Committee on Student Input in the RPT Process, updated the Senate on its findings and policy recommendations. Sarah, Associate Vice President for Faculty, thanked all the committee members and Senate Policy Liaison Bob Flores for all their work and contributions. The committee included students, faculty, Deans, and academic administrators. She presented a brief background. The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA) issued a memo in April 2018 explaining that Student Advisory Committee (SAC) recommendations were disproportionately sending RPT files of women and/or underrepresented race/national-origin faculty members to UPTAC for review. President Watkins, exercising the right to allow exceptions to policy, subsequently asked the Senior Vice Presidents to work with ASUU to create an exception to existing RPT review process as short-term, temporary solution. The temporary solution has been in place since then, and Senate Committee on Student Input in the RPT Process was formed to provide suggested revisions to Policy 6-303 that responded to the OEO/AA concerns while allowing ongoing and robust student input.
After considerable discussion and broad consultation, the special committee now suggests changes to the Policy, and wishes to offer additional recommendations. The main revisions to Policy 6-303 are renaming SAC to RPT-SAC–Student RPT Advisory Committee; eliminating student vote and recommendation regarding RPT action; strengthening student input. Devon, an ASUU Senator, explained that the committee also wants to make sure that students continue to have a voice in RPT reviews; faculty who are exceptional teachers and mentors are an example of qualities that students value and would like to have incorporated into decisions. To support this, she explained other committee suggestions include asking the University to oversee RPT-SAC training developed by departments, ensure appropriate RPT-SAC procedures are being followed, and have a plan to make sure that faculty and student participation in this matter is ongoing. Bob Flores added that this policy applies to tenure line faculty only. The question of how to incorporate student input for career-line faculty remains, and underscores why continuing this discussion is important. Pat Hanna motioned, seconded by Anne Jamison, to move these policy revision proposals to this meeting’s Senate Debate Calendar. Over two-thirds of the Senate approved the motion and this item was thus moved. A further motion to approve the Policy 6-303 revisions and the committee suggestions by Pat Hanna passed, after a second from Rebecca Hardenbrook. There were two opposed and no abstentions.
COVID-19 Committee & Resolution Proposals
Senate President Julio Facelli presented two items that the Senate Executive Committee had authorized, by electronic vote, to include on this meeting’s Debate Calendar for Senate approval. The first was a Resolution to ratify the transition to online instruction and C/NC grading modification and, the second, a Proposal for Special COVID-19 Committee.
The Senate Executive Committee had unanimously voted to recommend that the Senate adopt the Resolution to ratify and confirm two previously made decisions–made by University administration in consultation with Senate and student leaders–concerning online instruction and modified grading during the Covid-19 campus closure:
Be it resolved that both the March 12 University Announcement requiring temporary closure of campus classrooms and transition of course instruction to online format, and the March 20 University Announcement regarding temporary modification of Regulations regarding credit/no credit grading options for students are hereby ratified and affirmed.
A motion from Kathleen Nicoll to ratify this Resolution was seconded by Tom Richmond and passed, with no opposed.
The second recommendation was a proposal to appoint a special Senate committee that is consistent with University Policy 6-002 and delegate to it emergency authorization for situations that might come up during the COVID-19 pandemic. These would be decisions that are usually reached with shared governance input, but with such a tight turnaround that the Senate Executive Committee or Academic Senate cannot be feasibly consulted due to time and circumstances. The COVID-19 Response Special Committee members proposed would be the three Senate Presidential Officers (Senate President, Senate Past President, Senate President-elect). If time and circumstances permit, any approvals or other decisions normally required of the Executive Committee or the Academic Senate shall be considered and acted upon by those bodies in the usual and customary course. This special committee proposal was approved by most, but not all, Senate Executive Committee members. Executive Committee member James Sutherland pointed out that the Executive Committee can respond relatively quickly, within a day or maybe two, so a new committee is probably not necessary and does not provide the breadth of representation that the Executive Committee does. Julio offered that the intent for the special committee is to be able to act in a matter of hours, and would only be employed for those types of urgent turnaround requirements, and only under the limited circumstance of academic issue decisions related to the COVID-19 situation. After this temporary situation no longer applies, it would dissolve.
ASUU President Anna Barnes added that she and other student leaders strongly recommend including an ASUU representative to provide student input to the special committee. To incorporate that, she proposed a friendly amendment to add the ASUU President, or designee, to the COVID-19 Senate Committee membership. The proposal memorandum sent to the Senate, covering I. Recommendation #1, would be changed from:
The three Senate Presidential Officers  are hereby appointed as the COVID-19 Response Special Committee of the Senate (the “COVID-19 Senate Committee”).
The three Senate Presidential Officers  and the ASUU President, or designee, are hereby appointed as the COVID-19 Response Special Committee of the Senate (the “COVID-19 Senate Committee”).
A motion to approve the establishment of the special committee, which includes the friendly amendment that adds student representation, was offered by Pat Hanna and seconded by Kelly MacArthur. The motion passed with ten (10) opposed and one (1) abstention. [Note: the final approved memorandum, as amended, covering both proposals is included in the Appendix to these minutes.]
SACBP – SACUSP Restructure Proposal
Julio Facelli reviewed the proposal to reformulate the current Senate Advisory Committee on Budget and Planning (SACBP). The restructured committee would be named the Senate Advisory Committee on University Strategic Planning (SACUSP). SACBP is currently inactive because Senate input into budgets now happens by participation of the current Senate President in the annual University budget meetings. The idea behind the proposed restructured committee is that faculty input into long-term strategic planning is still very important. SACUSP creates an opportunity for systematic faculty engagement when thinking about how resources get invested during the strategic planning process. A motion from Randy Dryer, to approve the establishment of the SACUSP committee to replace the SACBP committee, passed after a second from Pat Hanna.
INFORMATION & RECOMMENDATIONS CALENDAR
Senate Personnel and Elections Committee Update Report
Dale Larsen, Co-chair of the Senate Personnel and Elections Committee (SPEC), and Jane Laird, Secretary of the Faculty, presented the SPEC update report. SPEC members met on March 5, 2020 to produce nominations lists for 96 open faculty positions on Senate and University committees for the 2020-21 academic year. Dale explained that there are still eight SPEC member vacancies to fill. Jane reported that there are currently just two nominees for the Senate Executive Committee and none for Senate President-elect. Senators were encouraged to offer ideas and nominees for these positions. Tom Richmond added that self-nominations are very welcome.
Pat Hanna suggested (and seconded by SCST Dean Stockton via an email note) that alternatives to filling college-specific vacancies on Senate committees for the smaller colleges be considered at some point. This is due to the difficulty of stretching a limited amount of faculty resources into membership on all the committees that have a seat assigned to each college. Dale agreed that this would be a worthwhile conversation, and they will follow up.
Items approved at the March 16, 2020 Academic Senate Executive Committee for the Senate Information and Recommendations Calendar
Julio Facelli explained that the reports assigned to the Senate Information and Recommendations Calendar usually have a representative present them at the Senate meeting. Because of the complexities of holding this Senate meeting online, he had asked the Senate Executive Committee to approve that the following reports be available to the Senate, but not require individual presentations. He encouraged Senators to review the following, if they had not already, and forward any questions to the Senate office for any needed follow-up:
- Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity– Recommendations Update and Annual Report
- Senate Advisory Committee on Information Technology– Chair Report
- Name Change from the Human Ecology Emphasis to Evolutionary Anthropology for Anthropology BA/BS
- Illustration Emphasis in Art BFA
- Institutional Data Management Policy 4-001
- Internal Audit Policy
- Distinguished Professor, Hatch, and Early Career teaching prizes
There was no New Business offered at this meeting.
Bob Flores asked for electronic applause for Senate President Julio Facelli for conducting the first Senate meeting ever held online.
Meeting adjourned at 4:59 pm.
The final approved memorandum covering the COVID-19 Special Committee & Resolution Proposals is the following (the approved amendment is highlighted):
To: Members of the Academic Senate
From: Senate President Julio Facelli
Date: March 29, 2020
Re: Proposal for Special Senate COVID-19 Committee, and Resolution to Ratify Previous COVID-19 related decisions.
The following items are being added to the Debate Calendar agenda of the March 30 Senate meeting with very minimal notice to you, which Senate leaders regret, and which reflects the urgent circumstances underlying the proposal being made.
The Senate Executive Committee voted on making the two recommendations now presented to the Senate. Of those voting, they unanimously voted for the recommendation that the Senate adopt the resolution to ratify and confirm the two previously made decisions (online instruction and modified grading). A substantial majority voted in favor of the recommendation to establish the special COVID-19 committee, and therefore the leaders are obligated to now present that recommendation as approved by the majority. However, it is noted that concerns were raised about a lack of specific provision for representation of student interests in the special committee. There has been discussion of possibly also adding one student representative, along with the three Senate Presidential Officers to form the committee. Consideration of such a change could be accomplished by motion and amendment after the proposal is open for debate at the Senate. This could come in the form of motion to amend the membership of the committee to add one of the ASUU representative, who is available when critical decisions must be made.
I want to emphasize the importance of carefully considering the background information explaining the need to act under these extraordinary circumstances when and only when quorum of EC may not be available as rapidly as needed.
On behalf of the Senate leaders I thank all Senate members for your continuing patience and dedication in these very difficult circumstances, and we look forward to a successful meeting conducted ‘virtually’ with your cooperation.
(Recommendations approved by Senate Executive Committee March 26, 2020, to Senate March 30 Debate Calendar)
Proposal to authorize a Senate Special Committee to act on behalf of the Senate Executive Committee, and in turn act on behalf of the Academic Senate,
in urgent circumstances requiring immediate action when the Executive Committee cannot be called upon—in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic –Spring 2020.
And Resolution to ratify two previously made decisions
to temporarily convert to online course instruction and modify Regulations on CR/NC grading.
The COVID-19 pandemic has required University leadership to respond quickly in ways that sometimes significantly affect academic activities, temporarily varying from otherwise applicable University Regulations on academic matters. Two prominent examples are the decisions to essentially close much of the campus and take the entire curriculum online for the remainder of the Spring semester (announced March 12), and to alter the existing requirements governing student use of credit/no credit grading (announced March 20). In each instance the central administration, although needing to act with extreme speed, has consulted extensively with the elected representatives of the faculty and students, and the decisions reached have reflected that consultation, in keeping with the University’s strong tradition of shared governance.
In particular, the issue of modifying existing University Regulations regarding letter grading vs credit/no credit grading began with widespread input from students and student leadership, and central administration held extensive consultation with leadership of the Academic Senate to craft the ultimate decision. Reflecting that cooperation, Senate President Facelli and President-elect Dryer were signatories to the Announcement along with Senior Vice Presidents Good and Reed. Given the academic importance of the online delivery and modified grading issues, approval of the full Senate would have been required in ordinary circumstances, and certainly at least approval of the Senate Executive Committee (on behalf of the Senate) would be expected in extraordinary circumstances if feasible. Neither was possible in these recent circumstances unprecedented in the history of the University.
It is anticipated that other decisions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic may need to be made in the near future by the University administration, which may affect academic activities to a degree meriting faculty and student representative input. It is likely that such decisions will need to be made too quickly to allow consultation with the full Senate or in some instances even consultation with the Senate Executive Committee. The three elected Presidential Officers of the Senate are best positioned to act as a Senate Special Committee on behalf of the Executive Committee and in turn on behalf of the full Senate in those instances, and providing them with such emergency action authority is clearly consistent with the authority of Policy 6-002-III establishing the positions, duties and responsibilities of the three elected Senate Presidential Officers and authorizing appointment of Senate special committees, and Policy 1-001-III-A-4 addressing the promulgation of University Regulations, including revisions, and outlining the role of the Senate in the promulgation process.
Additionally, in keeping with the University’s core principles of shared governance, the Executive Committee recommends that the Senate now act to formally ratify the two decisions which were previously made regarding online instruction and modification of grading, necessarily made in great haste, and with the faculty and student representative input that was feasible at the time under the extraordinary circumstances.
- Recommendation # 1. Whereas: Policy 6-002 authorizes the Senate to appoint a special committee to serve in the best interests of the University and to define the membership structure and terms, functions, and period of existence for each such special committee, and
Whereas: The circumstances described above make it appropriate to delegate emergency authorization to the Senate Presidential Officers, and this authorization is consistent with longstanding principles of the Academic Senate and shared-governance at the University generally.
Therefore, the Senate Executive Committee recommends that the Academic Senate approve this Proposal to establish a Senate Special Committee as follows:
The three Senate Presidential Officers and the ASUU President, or designee, are hereby appointed as the COVID-19 Response Special Committee of the Senate (the “COVID-19 Senate Committee”). The COVID-19 Senate Committee is hereby authorized to act by a majority vote of said persons, on behalf of the Executive Committee and on behalf of the Academic Senate in reviewing and approving any urgent academically significant decisions reasonably related to the COVID-19 pandemic until such time as said delegated authority is revoked by a majority vote of the Executive Committee or the Academic Senate, upon the ending of the need for such delegated authority caused by the pandemic. When time and circumstances allow it is expected that the aforementioned COVID-19 Senate Committee shall make reasonable efforts under the circumstances to consult with members of the Senate Executive Committee before acting on behalf of the Committee or the Senate. If time and circumstances permit, any approvals or other decisions normally required of the Executive Committee or the Academic Senate shall be considered and acted upon by those bodies in the usual and customary course. The current President of the Senate (as determined by the ordinary provisions of Policy 6-002) shall serve as chairperson of the COVID-19 Senate Committee.
- Recommendation # 2. And further, the Senate Executive Committee recommends that the Academic Senate approve the following Resolution: Be it resolved that both the March 12 University Announcement requiring temporary closure of campus classrooms and transition of course instruction to online format, and the March 20 University Announcement regarding temporary modification of Regulations regarding credit/no credit grading options for students are hereby ratified and affirmed.