November 2, 2020
CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on November 2, 2020, 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, Rima Ajlouni, Soheila Amirsoleimani, Amy Barrios, Michael Battistone, Matthew Bettini, Bryan Bonner, Robert Bowles, Kelly Bricker, Jonathan Brogaard, Kirsten Butcher, Juliet Carlisle, Mike Caserta, Owen Chan, Tiffany Chan, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Gerald Cochran, Hilary Coon, Sarah Creem-Regehr, James Ehlers, Rachel Factor, Annette Fleckenstein, Candace Floyd, Leslie Francis, Divyam Goel, 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, Christopher Hull, Alexander Hyres, Luis Ibarra, Matthew Irwin, Thunder Jalili, James Karner, R. James Keddington, Seth Keeton, Anne Kirchhoff, Keith Koper, Ephraim Kum, Rich Landward, John Lin, Lakshan Lingham, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Gabriel Lozada, Brad Lundahl, Robin Marcus, Staci McIntosh, Kaitlin McLean, Christopher Mead, Rajesh Menon, Ed Muñoz, William Nesse, Kent Ono, Adrian Palmer, Marcel Paret, Robert Parker, Tressa Parkes, Jeff Pettey, Wanda Pillow, Tom Quinn, Taylor Randall, Angela Rasmussen, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Jeff Schwartz, Peyden Shelton, Xiaoming Sheng, Helene Shugart, Doug Shumway, Roger Silvers, Tim Smith, Brian Snapp, Taylor Sparks, Cynthia Stark, Ryan Steele, Kathryn Stockton, Hunter Underhill, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Daniel Vargo, Maeve Wall, Crystal Wallenius, Jessica Wojciechowski, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi, Jingyi Zhu, Susan Zickmund
Excused: Sonia Salari
Excused with substitute: Divya Chandrasekhar, Tuyet Lien Do Lam
Absent: Simon Brewer, Shanti Deemyad, Howard Horwitz, Seodam Kwak, Dale Larsen, Stephan LeBohec (substitute), Connor Leeming, Susannah Mecham, Krystal Moorman, Rick Paine, Jon Rainier, Georgi Rausch, Ofer Rog, Audrey Stegman, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, Kent Udell, Madison Ulibarri, Maria Velasco, Neil Vickers, Robert Wood, Brandon Zielinski
Ex Officio: Randy Dryer, Julio Facelli, Robert Flores, Robert Fujinami, David Hill, Lisa Hutton, Paul Mogren, Christina Porucznik, Sarah Projansky, Daniel Reed, Ruth Watkins, Bryce Williams, Jane Laird
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes dated September 28, 2020 were approved upon a motion from Kaitlin McClean and a second by Harriet Hopf.
REQUEST FOR NEW BUSINESS
Julio Facelli asked to submit a resolution in support of the Dixie State University faculty, which is requesting an institutional name change that would remove the word Dixie from its title.
Due to the special circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate Executive Committee had approved at its August 17th meeting placing some agenda items, which would usually be on the Senate Debate Calendar for a vote, to instead be presented on the Senate Consent Calendar. These items would be those that did not appear to be controversial, nor have any procedural or content concerns. For this Senate meeting, the following proposals were offered on the Consent Calendar: Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy Name Change and Restructure; Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Health Professions; Permanent status for Interim policy 5-211 and Interim Rule 3-010B; Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Literacy for Business.
Also on the Consent Calendar were the Faculty Matters reports. Harriet Hopf moved to approve all items on the Consent Calendar. After a second from Julio Facelli, the motion passed.
REPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION
President Ruth Watkins highlighted notable recent events at the University. These included attending positive meetings of the newly formed Utah Board of Higher Education, which had been called the Utah Board of Regents but is now an integrated post-secondary board that brings together career technical education with community colleges, four-year institutions, and the two research universities. The Center for Violence Prevention has been renamed to McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention. The University will go back to conducting classes entirely online after the Thanksgiving break. It has made a commitment to test all students before that and remind them of the importance of quarantining and isolating. This is part of what the UofU can do to reduce virus spread and transmission. The University has also joined the federal lawsuit regarding the narrow definitions of positions that qualify for H1B visa sponsorship; as currently written, restrictions would dramatically impact the University. She also thanked those who contributed to a powerful Native American Land Acknowledgement statement, which has been approved by the Board of Trustees.
The President and SVP Michael Good updated the Senate on COVID 19 developments. They were able to meet with representatives of the Centers for Disease Control, Drs. Birx and Redfield, the previous weekend to share information. They had two main messages: masks work and much of the national spike in cases is caused by asymptomatic individuals, who do not know yet that they have the virus. It was recommended that students get tested weekly and that health care workers also get tested as frequently as possible. SVP Good explained that a way to lower the current increase in cases is by aggressively testing asymptomatic individuals. UofU Healthcare is working on acquiring tests and strategizing testing mobilization.
SVP Daniel Reed responded to the Senate’s recent request for further clarification on the recently rising number and variety of certificates being offered. He briefly outlined the complex landscape of types of certificates, approval processes, and funding/incentive models. Ann Darling, Assistant Vice President Undergraduate Studies, added that the Undergraduate Council is constituting a committee to look into areas where the University can improve, such as duplication. She hoped that this committee will have policy update recommendations to report to the Senate in January. SVP Reed explained that the guiding decision principle for navigating the various tradeoffs when deciding to offer a certificate is what is best for the students.
SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT
Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik reported that the Senate Executive Committee met on October 12, 2020 to determine this meeting’s agenda. This included placing items on the Senate Consent Calendar that did not appear to be controversial, nor have any procedural or content issues.
REPORT FROM ASUU
ASUU leaders continue to meet new challenges caused by the recent spike of pandemic cases and 2020 election news stress, reported ASUU President Ephraim Kum. Student leaders of ASUU have been producing novel initiatives to support students that show a level of ingenuity, creativity, and determination that he was grateful to acknowledge. The ASUU Presidency’s election platform had been one of access, safety, connectivity, and affordability. One aspect of safety is that of feeling safe in students’ identities, and he referred to the ASUU co-sponsorship of a resolution, which will be offered on this meeting’s Senate Debate Calendar next, that addresses recent federal Executive Orders in respect to stereotyping. Ephraim highlighted multiple initiatives that student leaders in his office, ASUU boards, legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch have developed to support this platform that make a positive impact on the students at the University.
NOTICE OF INTENT CALENDAR
No items for this meeting.
Resolutions in Response to Recent U.S. Presidential Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping
Wanda Pillow, Chair of the Gender Studies Department, and Michelle Valdes, ASUU VP of Student Relations, introduced a Resolution: “Affirmation of Support for Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship, Teaching, and Training at The University of Utah.” The Resolution was jointly proposed by the ASUU presidency, University Staff Council, and the School for Cultural and Social Transformation (SCST). Its aim was to directly address recent White House memos and an Executive Order that mandated a ban on diversity trainings and anti-racism workshops involving what the Order labelled as “divisive” concepts (that included critical race theory and unconscious bias).
President Watkins, SVP Reed and SVP Good had previously issued an administrative statement affirming the university’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The presenters explained today’s proposal was an opportunity for the University community to further add its own resolutions. The intent of asking the Senate to endorse the proposed resolution was to provide leadership and direction that would extend commitments to being an anti-racist community. Wendy offered that a Senate resolution can serve as a catalyst to hold the University community members accountable and responsible for supporting an institutional culture that is committed to anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion and also remind members to continue to foster a campus climate that supports and extends this work in meaningful ways. Individuals, and departments and units from across the University had expressed support for the proposed joint resolution. This included backing from the Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity. Kent Ono moved that the Senate adopt a resolution affirming support for anti-racism, diversity and inclusion scholarship, teaching, and training at the University of Utah, a resolution jointly sponsored and proposed by ASUU, the University of Utah Staff Council, and the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. After a second from Ed Munoz, the motion passed.
Consideration of recommendation by Executive Committee on how best to proceed regarding issues involving Senate scheduling of meetings and University recognition of holidays
Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik presented a recommendation from the Senate Executive Committee to establish an ad hoc committee that would study and make recommendations on Senate meeting scheduling and other larger University holiday concerns. The ad hoc committee would thoroughly study issues surrounding not only scheduling Senate meetings on dates of religious and cultural observances, but also formulate recommendations on the larger issue of setting the University’s annual holiday calendar. The proposal to form a special committee was aimed at addressing the complexity of the issues presented in a more comprehensive way than might be possible during a debate at a Senate meeting. It would be asked to provide a report and specific recommendations to the Senate by February 2021 at which time Senators would get another opportunity for additional discussion and comments. She explained that those interested in serving on this committee can contact the Senate Officers. Christy Porucznik moved to approve the Senate ad hoc committee proposal and recommendations report deadline. Amos Guiora seconded, and the motion passed with three abstentions.
Christy then asked the Senate to approve a resolution that would offer an inclusive philosophy and tone that would inform the just approved committee’s focus. The proposed resolution would be worded thus: “Resolution: The University of Utah values diversity. We strive to create and maintain an inclusive campus community. Be it resolved that the Academic Senate will endeavor to refrain from scheduling deliberative and decision-making meetings on the dates of religious or cultural observances so that no members of the campus community are systematically excluded.” In response to questions, she further clarified that the statement was intentionally broad; it was a message to the community that the Senate would endeavor, but not necessarily guarantee, to avoid these types of scheduling conflicts if possible. Some Senators questioned the need for the resolution now in light of the creation of the ad hoc committee. Christy Porucznik’s motion to approve the Resolution as stated was seconded by Harriet Hopf. The motion passed with ten opposed and six abstentions.
INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CALENDAR
Athletics Compliance Report
The Office of Athletics Compliance (OAC) Report for 2019-2020 was presented by Kate Charipar, Associate Athletics Director for Compliance. OAC is responsible for ensuring that the University remains in compliance with NCAA and PAC 12 athletics’ rules. Last year there were 22 investigations conducted and 31 violations found. The OAC provided 116 formal NCAA and PAC 12 rules education sessions to Athletics Department staff, coaches, student-athletes, University entities, and representatives of the institution’s athletics interests. Two current issues of national interest are court rulings concerning the right of student-athletes to profit from their name recognition and the non-restriction of education-related benefits and awards provided to football and basketball student-athletes.
Graduate students and COVID-19
Addressing concerns raised at a recent Senate meeting, Dean of the Graduate School David Kieda discussed measures being taken to support graduate students affected by the pandemic. Some graduate students will have to delay graduation due to reasons such as closed research facilities or unavailable clinical/practicum hours. Because of this, there have been questions about extending the Tuition Benefit Program (TBP) and providing the extra time and support needed because of graduation delays. His office is working with colleges and departments to find accommodations that will assist graduate students to graduate in a timely manner and provide TBP extensions in cases where accommodations cannot be made. His office proposes providing TBP extensions to those who have exhausted or nearly exhausted their benefits, using a petition process, which includes input from the supervisory committee. Because departments have only used about 25-30% of current allocations, there is enough current budget to offer these extended benefits. The other major financial commitment will be ongoing stipend and benefits costs incurred at the departmental level; the Graduate School will work with departments who face difficulty in covering those costs.
Postdoctoral Trainees Policy Review Committee Composition
Senate President Randy Dryer noted that the Senate Executive Committee had authorized the member composition for the Postdoctoral Trainees Policy Review Committee at its October 12, 2020 meeting; an updated report was included with the meeting’s materials.
Senate Executive Committee Action on Behalf of the Senate: Spring 2021 Schedule Approval
The Senate Executive Committee had been asked to review and comment on a proposed Spring 2021 academic calendar submitted by SVP Daniel Reed and approved by the COVID-19 Special Committee, Randy Dryer reported. Under COVID-19 special procedures, due to the need for rapid decision-making, the EC and COVID-19 Special Committee, acting on behalf of the Senate, had approved the proposed spring 2021 Academic Calendar, with special features including having a later-than-usual start date, and not having the usual spring break.
Julio Facelli submitted a motion that the Senate approve the following resolution: “On behalf of the faculty and students of the U of U, the Academic Senate endorses the efforts of the faculty senate of Dixie State University to pursue changing the name of the institution, in accord with the resolution adopted by the Faculty Senate at DSU.” He explained that DSU faculty leaders had actively asked for Senate support from peer Utah institutions at the October 2020 meeting of the Utah Council of Faculty Senate Leaders (UCFSL). The name change requests are due to significant practical problems that faculty and students have run into because its current institutional title includes the word “Dixie;” that term can be controversial. Members commented that negative connotations of the name affect not only the DSU faculty, but also affect how national audiences perceive the faculty and students at other Utah institutions. Julio Facelli’s motion to approve the resolution was seconded by Kaitlin McClean; the motion passed with two abstentions.
Bob Flores updated the Senate on the recent work of UCFSL members requesting faculty representation at the state level on the Utah Board of Higher Education (which was previously called the Utah Board of Regents) that governs the Utah System of Higher Education. State legislation would be required to give an official seat on that Board to a faculty representative, but a compromise has allowed one to sit on a subcommittee called the Industry Advisory Council (which advises the main Board regarding job market trends and employer needs). Bob advised that faculty from USHE universities should not give up trying to increase faculty input into state-wide higher-education decisions. Over time, faculty representation might be able to increase its scope, and UCFSL representatives will continue to focus on improving this situation.
Meeting adjourned at 5:22 pm.