ACADEMIC SENATE MINUTES
March 4, 2013
Call to Order
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on March 4, 2013, was called to order at 3:02 p.m. by Robert Fujinami, Senate President. The meeting was held in room 115 C. Roland Christensen Center.
Present: David Ailion, Stephen Alder, Lisa Aspinwall, Keith Bartholomew, Clayton Beckett, Tully Cathey, Thomas Cheatham, Kuan Chen, Miguel Chuaqui, Ronald Coleman, Kevin DeLuca, Marianna Di Paolo, Lee Dibble, Justin Diggle, Richard Dorsky, Kristina Evans, Leslie Francis, Sabine Fuhrmann, Bruce Gale, Michael Gardner, Timothy Garrett, William Gershan, James Graves, Gary Grikscheit, Charles Grissom, Thad Hall, Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, Steven Sternfeld, Tom Henderson, Howard Horwitz, L. Eric Huang, Eric Hutton, Thunder Jalili, Christian Johnson, William Johnson, Sharee Lane, Anthea Letsou, John Longino, Kim Martinez, Theresa Martinez, Heather Melton, McKenna Menees, Duncan Metcalf, Tatiana Mixco, Alfred Mowdood, Patricia Murphy, Chris Myers, Ingrid E. Nygaard, Patrick Panos, M. Pollie Price, Matthew Potolsky, Alison Regan, Stephanie Richardson, Gary Rose, Sonia Salari, Paul Shami, Janet Shaw, Clough Shelton, Kristin Smith – Crowe, Gregory Smoak, Jeff Stratman, Orest Symko, Taylor Thompson, Norm Waitzman, Li Wang, Wynchester Whetten, Bryce Williams, Joanne Yaffe, Angela Yetman, Aaron Young, Jingyi Zhu
Absent: Barton Blackburn, Kathy Chapman, Reaz Chaudhuri, John Conboy, Charlotte Conerly, Alicia De Leon, Aria Flatau, Franz Goller, Joan Gregory, Leanne Hawken, Michael Hawkins, Bradley Katz, Evert Lawton, Karl Lins, Melissa Meeks, Dragan Milicic, Harvey Miller, Anne Mooney, Trevor Myrick, Lester Partlow, Marlene Plumlee, Martin Rechsteiner, David Rudd, Orine Shine, Geneva Thompson, Molly Wheeler
Excused: Pat Hanna, Vivian Lee
Ex-officio: Robert Flores, Robert Fujinami, Harriet Hopf, Paul Mogren, Allyson Mower, David Pershing, Amy Wildermuth, Shawnee Worsley
Excused with Proxy: Hannah Pratt, Gerald Root
Others: Soheila Amirsoleimani, Bradden Blair, Ann Darling, Milind Deo, JoAnn Lighty, Andrea Miller, David Sze
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Academic Senate meeting on February 4, 2013 were approved following a motion from Joanne Yaffe which was seconded by Pat Murphy.
Request for New Business
No new business to address
The resignations retirements, faculty appointments, auxiliary and limited term appointments, appearing in the Appendices dated March 4, 2013, received approval to forward to the Board of Trustees on motion by Joanne Yaffe and seconded by Sonia Salari.
Executive Committee Report
Allyson Mower, Executive Committee Secretary, provided a summary of the Executive Committee meeting held February 20, 2013.
Report from Administration
President David Pershing spoke to the Senate regarding the legislature session. The ongoing tax revenues are projected to be about 250 million in new money. The Higher Education subcommittee met last week and gave their recommendations to the House and to the Senate. They have recommended a strong set of measures for higher education. They start off with Mission Based Management as the first priority, 66% goal funding as the second, and the third priority is the expansion of the University of Utah medical students. An increase in compensation is still the University’s main goal. Also, the U is still working on the funding for the infrastructure to complete the project from last year.
President Pershing is pleased to announce the Distinguished Professors for 2012-2013 Academic Year: Robert Adler – Distinguished Professor of Law, Michael Hardman – Distinguished Professor of Special Education, Erik Jorgensen – Distinguished Professor of Biology, and Kathleen Mooney – Distinguished Professor of Nursing.
The Siciliano Forum will be held on March 4-12 and will include several RadioWest shows broadcast live on KUER and a documentary sneak peak. John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe (as well as a U of U alum) delivered the keynote address on Tuesday, March 5 in the Gould Auditorium.
The search for the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is still in process. The search committee has selected two final candidates and two forums will be held on campus. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend open forums on Tuesday, March 5 and Thursday, March 7th to meet the two candidates.
Report from ASUU
Taylor Thompson, ASUU Senate Chair, spoke to the Senate regarding student elections. The election voting has opened and will close March 7th. Please help us encourage all students to vote and help us get a larger turn out than the eight percent we saw last year.
ASUU will be hosting the Rock the U Dance-A-Thon on Friday, March 22, 2012 7:00pm until 7:00 am Union Ballroom. All proceeds benefit the Huntsman Cancer Institute. You can also create a donation team to help us raise money in the fight against cancer. The goal is to raise $100,000 for research.
Notice of Intent
The proposal for a BS/MS in Information Systems was presented by Braden Blair. The MS in Information Systems has become highly desirable for business practitioners, as the advances in IT have allowed firms to increase efficiency and make better use of resources. The combined degree would foster undergraduate research and accelerate progress toward the MS degree in a timely and attractive manner for undergraduate students interested in pursuing employment in the field. This combined degree is intended to attract qualified undergraduate students into the graduate program early, decrease the time required to obtain graduate degrees, and involve students early in their careers in research programs. There is no reduction in credits for this degree. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Joanne Yaffe and seconded by Sonia Salari. Motion passed unanimously.
The proposal for name change of the Undergraduate Minor from Urban Planning to Urban Ecology was presented to the Senate by Keith Bartholomew. This transition started in 2008 as a refocusing of instructional attention on the interconnected relations of complex urban systems within the context of urban ecology. As part of a faculty retreat and strategic planning in 2011, it was determined that a formal transition process should begin. The entire faculty of the College of Architecture + Planning and the College Council unanimously approved the name change. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Sonia Salari and seconded by Clayton Beckett. Motion passed unanimously.
The proposal for a new Master’s of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering was presented by Joann Lighty and Milind Deo. The proposed degree will be a 33 credit hours, sixteen-month program of course work, practical field and design work, and a substantial research project resulting in a project-based thesis. The degree will be housed within the Department of Chemical Engineering. All of the departments in the college of engineering offer non-thesis Master of Science degrees and this degree is in line with those programs. There are no similar programs in the Utah System of Higher Education. This is a reasonable venture for a state university, particularly in Utah, recognizing that hydrocarbon-based resources provide significant royalty support to state; and further recognizing an underlying public desire for environmentally appropriate extraction and use of these resources. Some discussion followed of the absence of a Civil engineering degree in alternative and renewable energy. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Joanne Yaffe and seconded by Charles Grissom. Motion passed with two abstentions.
Brian Snapp presented the Proposal for Undergraduate Minor in Drawing. The Department of Art and Art History has received numerous enquiries from students and prospective students who are interested in pursuing a structured minor in drawing. A Drawing Minor would serve the needs of students from a broad range of Major programs on campus as well as meet an intradepartmental need in the Department of Art & Art History. The department faculty mentors students in innovation, critical thinking, craft, and exploration to create exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Patricia Murphy and seconded by Howard Horwitz. Motion passed unanimously.
Proposals for (i) a new Undergraduate Certificate in Ballet Studio Teaching and (ii) a new Undergraduate Emphasis in Ballet Teaching were presented by Linda Smith. The BFA degree in Ballet is a performance degree, requiring 80 credits under the accreditation standards of the National Association of Schools of Dance. In compliance with the National Association of Schools of Dance standard the Department currently requires all students to complete one 3-credit course in Ballet Methodology. Many students seeking the BFA degree in Ballet aspire to teach. Because careers as professional ballet dancers are typically short, most ballet performers pursue a second career after retiring from dancing. Often that second career is in ballet teaching. Many students teach part-time during their studies and may aspire to a career as a teacher rather than as a performer. Currently many students choose to take these courses in order to prepare themselves to teach. However, they receive no recognition for this preparation. Approving an Emphasis in Ballet Teaching that would be recorded on these students’ transcripts would benefit them when they ultimately sought employment as ballet instructors. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Tully Cathey and seconded by Joanne Yaffe. Motion passed unanimously.
Proposals for (i) name change of Undergraduate Minor in Literacy Studies to Writing and Rhetoric Studies and (ii) new Undergraduate Major (BA/BS) in Writing and Rhetoric Studies was presented by Maureen Mathison – Director of University Writing Program, Jay Jordan- Professor University Writing Program and Robert Newman – Dean of Humanities. The proposed new major in Writing and Rhetoric Studies addresses the needs that have been expressed by university faculty and students to ensure that exemplary writing teaching is available in a cohesive university program for all students. The major explores how written texts have been used in different societies and cultures, as a means to record, enact, and embody values and practices. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Patricia Murphy. Motion was seconded by Howard Horwitz and passed unanimously.
Katie Ward presented the Proposal for new Graduate Certificate in Care Management within MS in Nursing. This new graduate certificate will target baccalaureate prepared nurses who wish to develop knowledge and skills in managing the health care of groups of individuals and families across the continuum of care settings. The certificate is often taken concurrently with the Doctor of Nursing Practice or PhD degrees. The certificate program is developed as a fast track to meet the needs of the health care industry. The motion to approve and forward to the Board of Trustees was made by Richard Dorsky and seconded by Joanne Yaffe. Motion passed unanimously.
The proposal for discontinuation of Graduate Emphasis in Clinical Nurse Leader was accepted with no recommendations.
Mike Hardman, Interim Senior VP for Academic Affairs, presented the U of U’s Asian Campus at Songdo. In Suk Han, Martha Bradley, Sabine Klahr, Janna Mather, Robert Muir, Mary Parker, and Robert Payne were also in attendance. The U has been given the opportunity to participate in the Songdo Global University Campus (SGUC). The University has been given this opportunity based on its ranking and the active alumni in Korea. George Mason University, Virginia (GMU), The State University of New York (SUNY) and Ghent University, Belgium (Ghent) have also been invited to participate at SGUC. The University will work with participating universities but the Asian Campus will be an extension of the main Utah campus and the faculty here at the Utah campus will have control of curriculum, admissions and the hiring of faculty for all U of U programs operated at the Songdo campus. The financial support of the Korean government includes support specific to the development and operation of SGUC. Each of the colleges and departments on the main campus will be responsible for ensuring that the curriculum is consistent with that taught on the main campus. Hiring of faculty will follow the same guidelines as hiring on main campus. The recruitment will be based upon utilizing current faculty and emeriti faculty. Faculty appointments in residence at the Asian Campus will be flexible, ranging from two weeks to two full academic years. Patrick Panos moved to pass a resolution that the Senate endorses the proposed participation of the University of Utah in the Songdo South Korea project, as has been described. The motion was seconded by Joanne Yaffe and passed unanimously.
The updated Athletics Advisory Council Charter Mission Statement was accepted with no recommendations.
The list of 2012- 2013 Distinguished Professors Appointments was accepted with no recommendations.
James Anderson presented his report on Student Feedback Measures. This study started when James was appointed chair of the newly created Student Course Feedback Oversight Committee (SCFOC). The interim report was initially presented to the SCFOC and the Senate Executive Committee in April 2012, and is now brought to the Senate on petition of ten members of the faculty. The study is based on two large samples drawn from the standard instructor and course forms from the student feedback measures for the 2009 and 2010 semesters. The action steps recommended from the report are:
- Institutional practices have invested too much authority in student ratings as a basis for merit, retention, tenure, or promotion purposes, reading them as measures of effectiveness or competence. Student experience in the classroom is a substantive element in the overall evaluation of teaching and course design, but, at least in some cases, it has become the only element and has substituted for the professional evaluation of a professional activity. The practice of using student feedback measures in Faculty Activity Reports as the sole and automatic measure of teaching competence should stop.
- Colleges and departments should address the role of student feedback measures in their professional evaluation of teaching competence in light of this study. On-going practices across the University may be inappropriate to the character of the data. Initial returns from a survey of department chairs by the Student Feedback Oversight Committee indicates that such measures account for 50 percent and sometimes 90 percent of the evaluation. This heavy weighting of such measures does not seem justified by this study.
- The data show that instructor demographics interact with colleges of instruction. Colleges need to address the cultural aspects within their disciplines that lead to stereotyping of individuals by their age, gender, and ethnicity.
- The University should consider suspending the publication of student feedback ratings for graduate students. Graduate students may be unfairly marked by the process. At the least, it is inappropriate for a “teacher-in training” to be evaluated against a seasoned professional. Further, given that student evaluations appear to represent a user experience judgment, a principled development of a teaching philosophy may be compromised by a felt need to please. And last, as the internal items have little independent meaning, using those values to “improve” teaching has little more than a random effect.
- If a revision of the current 14 item instructor and course feedback scales is being planned, it should take into account that student respondents are likely to return user experience values, regardless of the wording of the items. It would be much better to design the scales as UX scales to avoid their subsequent abuse in the faculty evaluation process. Moving to a user experience scale would eliminate much of the misappropriation and abuse of information that the existing scales promote. Student comments should be encouraged.
- The role of student comments needs to be systematized. Most reports that I have read over several years of reading such reports simply poach good and bad comments. A preliminary study of all comments from all courses conducted in spring 2009 shows that comments range from the trivial to the insightful, from over the top praise to through the floor complaint from inappropriate suggestiveness to useful suggestion. An initial study conducted over those data showed that an eight-code set constituted by the codes “unfocused affective (best/worst); personal attributes (looks, style, voice, accent); teaching skills of the instructor; content of the course; relational skills/practices; question handling; communication skills/practices; grading; and consequences for the respondent” accommodated the majority of comments.
- It is possible that early access to grades is too sweet of a carrot, hyper-inflating return rates at the expense of considered judgment and comment. A small sample experiment that provides an opt out escape (“I want to skip the ratings. Just grant access to my grades, please.”) might give us a better understanding of this phenomenon.
- An in-depth study of student feedback measures such as the present study should be conducted at least biennially. The study data format should be developed by a team incorporating Academic Computing Services, the Office of Budgeting Information and Analysis, and independent disciplinary experts. These data sets need to incorporate student demographics, which is the missing element of this study. Data sets de-identified by student and instructor should be widely available for analysis by qualified researchers within the institution. These data are far too valuable for understanding the instructional process to be held behind closed doors in the hands of the few.
- The relationship between student feedback measures and academic rigor needs to be investigated. Further, the institution should consider the relationship among the SCH budgeting paradigm, student feedback measures, and academic instructional quality. One way in which that study could be supported would be for departments to report on a common set of design attributes such as pedagogical approach, use of a textbook, assignments, tests, and so forth. The available course attributes are not robust enough to support this study. More appropriate attribute measures need to be developed.
The motion to receive the report and revisit this subject at the next Senate meeting was made by Joanne Yaffe. The motion was seconded by Marianna Di Paolo and passed.
February 2013 Presidents report was accepted.
The meeting adjourned at 5:46 p.m.