November 7, 2022
- CALL TO ORDER AND Announcements
The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on November 7, 2022, was called to order at 3:01 pm by Senate President Sonia Salari. As had been announced on the Senate website and by email, this meeting was held using the Zoom online meeting platform. Attendance was confirmed by requiring Senate members (and invited guests and public attendees) to register in advance for the online meeting.
Present: Soheila Amirsoleimani, Andrew Anderson, Yoshimi Anzai, Steven Bartlett, Michael Battistone, Pinar Bayrak-Toydemir, James Bekker, Adrian Bell, Melissa Bobick, David Bowling, Jonathan Brogaard, Kenneth Bromberg, Jen Brown, Jessica Brown, Richard Brown, Luca Brunelli, Timothy Brusseau, Marc Calaf, Jon Chaika, Owen Chan, Kevin Coe, Frank Drews, Nanette Dudley, Katie Durante, Nadja Durbach, Atif Ellahie, Melinda Fagan, Stacy Firth, Julia Franklin, Gina Frey, Lela Graybill, Amos Guiora, Eric Handman, Tucker Hermans, Anna Hodgson, Heather Holmes, Harriet Hopf, Howard Horwitz, Rory Hume, Susan Johnston, Bryan Jones, Sam Judd, Youjeong Kang, Srabani Karmakar, James Karner, Sejin Kim, Kai Kuck, John Lin, Jack Longino, Alysse Loomis, Benvin Lozada, Sarah Lucas, Kate Lunnen, Stacy Manwaring, Nancy McLaughlin, Meeyoung Min, Ed Muñoz, AJ Myers, Anna Neatrour, Dave Norwood, Adrian Palmer, Yihui Pan, Robert Parker, Alek Peterlin, Codrina Rada, Sean Redmond, Alessandro Rigolon, Ofer Rog, Carol Sansone, Nathan Seegert, Paul Shami, Xiaoming Sheng, Chris Simon, Jamesina Simpson, Sondra Stegenga , Casey Tak, Matt Tokson, Patrick Tripeny, Jessica Van Der Volgen, Seetha Veeraghanta, Muskan Walia, Ryan Walker, Jennifer Watt, Jaclyn Winter, Zhou Yu, Kilo Zamora
Excused with substitute: Michael Abrahamson, Jay Jordan, Alyssa Lee, Anthony Tenney
Absent: Matthew Bettini, Simon Brewer, Holden Cheney, Gerald Cochran, Lizabeth Cowgill, Janice Darko, Zak Fang, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Manu Goyal, Jesse Graham, Sara Hart, Max Hernandez-Nietling, William Holland, Seth Keeton, Audrey Laney, Titus Larrieu, Shelley Lawrence, Feng Liu, Janis Louie, Frank McAlpin, Mikaila McIntyre, Eugene Mishchenko, Will Nesse, Susie Porter, Wayne Springer, Maggie Tesch, Jim VanDerslice, Melodie Weller, Peter West
Ex Officio: Mike Braak, Shanti Deemyad, Robert Fujinami, Savannah Manwill, Paul Mogren, Allyson Mower, Christina Porucznik, Taylor Randall, Lisa Rigtrup, Sonia Salari, Martell Teasley, Jane Laird
Senate President Sonia Salari welcomed Sejin Kim, the recently elected, and inaugural, University Asia Campus Faculty Representative to the UofU Academic Senate. She reminded Senate members about the November 14th Senate Social, hosted by President Randall. This year’s Day of Collective Action will be held on February 8, 2023. She noted that more details on this event will be presented at next month’s Senate meeting.
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes dated October 3, 2022, were approved upon a motion from Harriet Hopf and a second from Bryan Jones. There was 1 abstention.
- REQUEST FOR NEW BUSINESS
There were no requests for New Business
- CONSENT CALENDAR
The Faculty Matters Reports were approved after a motion from Shanti Deemyad and a second from Harriet Hopf. There was 1 abstention.
Report from Administration
President Taylor Randal updated the Senate on recent and upcoming events. A $15 Million donation to the School of Computing had been announced, and the Public Safety building opening is scheduled for November 9. He asked members to help students know that applications to apply for the new full tuition scholarships for members of regional indigenous tribes are open. President Randall announced the selection of Dr. Mitzi Montoya as the new SVP for Academic Affairs as of January 1st, 2023. He and Senators thanked Martell Teasley for his leadership and work as the interim SVP of Academic Affairs. Martell Teasley thanked the Senate for its important service, expressing appreciation for the chance to get to work with everyone.
Senators raised concerns about the apparent steep price increase facing graduate student residents of planned future housing units. President Randall will make inquiries about this and follow up.
Executive Committee Report
Senate President-elect Shanti Deemyad outlined the items on this meeting’s agenda that were approved at the October 21, 2022, Senate Executive Committee meeting.
Report from ASUU
ASUU Vice President for Internal Relations Benvin Lozada highlighted ASUU efforts to support student well-being. It will host a Mental Health Benefit Concert in the Spring 2023. ASUU student block grants for urgent needs will be available soon. He noted the ASUU Diversity Board is working on some issues that have come up about how many general education courses carry the diversity designation; if there are fewer courses with that designation, that might be problematic. He asked for Senate feedback on this also. Senator Sam Judd added that the development of an Asian Student Resource Center is in the works. Senate President Salari noted that the Senate Executive Committee will see a presentation on general education requirements revisions at its next meeting from AVP Karen Paisley, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies.
ASUU is currently working some student housing issues; it has formed an ad hoc committee with President Randall that is conducting campus listening sessions. One example is the possible graduate housing price increases brought up earlier. This is a new issue, and ASUU hopes to have more information on that soon. Another is that ASUU questions whether the current Housing and Residential Education practice to not poll a student’s security feelings when applying for a room change is sound. Senator Amos Guiora and other Senators asked for more clarifications and details on that practice in future Senate meetings, noting the importance of affirming students’ safety concerns.
- NOTICE OF INTENT CALENDAR
There were no items for the Notice of Intent Calendar
- DEBATE CALENDAR
There were no items for the Debate Calendar
- INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CALENDAR
BFA Art: Emphases Changes
Jared Rawlings, Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs, explained that the College of Fine Arts (CFA) proposes a new Book Arts emphasis for the Art BFA and a discontinuation of the Cross3-D emphasis program. The Book Arts emphasis represents an interdisciplinary collaboration with the J. Willard Marriott Library. It is an artistic discipline where the structure and the idea of books are used to create works of art. The Cross3-D emphasis is being discontinued due to low student demand, partly because of new similar minors now offered by the college.
The Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (VPEDI) update was presented by Emma Houston, Assistant Vice President for EDI & Chief Diversity Officer. She discussed the current climate in individual areas around EDI work, guiding principles for future development, the structure and charge of the EDI Strategy Council, the scope of the office’s work, and the challenges related to safety, health equity, and community engagement.
Senator Guiora offered that AVP Houston’s comments on safety could also relate to the previous discussion about ASUU’s ad hoc housing committee concerns, and so needs a broader discussion. Senator Paul Shami noted that he had previously asked that Administration include in its report to the Senate more regular general safety updates. Further discussion showed that Senators want to avoid creating redundant campus efforts and want more campus safety updates from university administration at Senate meetings. Harriet Hopf moved to formally request that the President presents on safety efforts as part of the Administration Report to the Senate. In addition, forward a Senate request that the Administration Report at the next Senate Executive Committee meeting (November 21) and Senate meeting (December 5) focus on Housing Residential Education and student safety. The motion passed after a second from Paul Shami. There was 1 opposed and 3 abstaining.
Scholarly Journals and the University Libraries
Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication Joel Thornton and Head of Collection Management Mark England highlighted contemporary trends, challenges, and options for open-access publishing available to University of Utah authors. The combination of rising costs and stagnant budgets drive inflationary pressures which have eroded purchasing power and the ability to fully address the need for coordinated campus responses. It is important to continue to have ongoing discussions with Academic Senate and other faculty or author bodies.
Graduate Council 7-year Review Reports
Two Graduate Council 7-year Reviews were summarized by Katie Ullman, Graduate School Associate Dean. The Department of Film and Media Arts was commended for its leadership and growth, as well as efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Recommendations include articulating their strategic plan to underpin efforts for a major renovation among other priorities.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering was commended for its well-funded faculty, excellent research climate, and commitment to teaching and training. Challenges include developing an infrastructure for collaboration and integration with Health Sciences.
Retirement and Benefits Policy Updates: Changes to Rules attached to Policies 5-200, 5-201, and 5-300 (policy and rule), Employee Leave Regulations
Wendy Poppleton, Director of Benefits, and Rosemary Norton, HR Compliance Director for the Health Hospitals and Clinics, explained that retirement and benefits policy updates are proposed for:
- Rules attached to Policies 5-200, 5-201, and 5-300 (policy and rule), Employee Leave Regulations
- Policy 5-112: Retirement, and new attached Guidelines
- Policy 5-303: University Insurance Programs
- Policy 5-309: Phased Retirement
Slides summarizing the key policy changes were reviewed. The updates to employee leave policies and rules include expanding paid parental leave benefits and bereavement leave, adding an additional holiday for Juneteenth National Freedom Day, and documenting vacation donation. Updates to the phased retirement policy aligns policy language with current processes, removes outdated language, and adds the option for phased retirement through University Retirement Systems. Updates to the retiree benefits policy adds guidelines regarding staff emeritus appointments and retiree benefits available to eligible University retirees. These policy updates had been reviewed by the Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy.
University Winter Break Student Housing
Executive Director of Housing and Residential Education (HRE) Sean Grube discussed winter break student housing options and addressed issues brought up by the Senate on availability this year. He explained that students in some communities can stay in their current rooms by registering through the housing portal. For those living in residence halls that are closed during the break, students can apply for winter break housing in the University Guest House by also applying to the housing portal. Rents for winter break housing are only applied when a student has not already prepaid for that option. Those rates are approved by the Board of Trustees. For those who have a late break-housing request or have trouble paying any extra fees, perhaps due to emergencies or something unexpected, HRE is adept at making sure they have housing. It has never had a case where students that request break accommodations have not been able to get that. Current trends do not suggest that this will be an issue this year also, even though student housing is tight.
University Connected Learning Update: Exam Services
AVP for University Connected Learning (UCL) Deborah Keyek-Franssen introduced Cory Stokes, Associate Dean for UCL, to help follow up on the October 3 Senate meeting discussion about possible remote testing issues. Cory outlined the distinction between testing centers, which handle professional testing as a part of Student Services, and Exam Services, which serves online courses as a part of University Connected Learning. Cory acknowledged difficulties during initial post-pandemic transition when Exam Services were not always functioning as well as UCL wanted. UCL has made a commitment to better communication and better resources to assist faculty setting up exams; those details were included in the discussion. In addition, there will be more opportunities for faculty and students to give their feedback. Deborah reminded the Senate that the Office of General Counsel advises faculty to not conduct room scans of students.
- NEW BUSINESS
Senate President Salari reminded the Senate that the Senate Executive Committee will review a update on general education requirements revisions from AVP Karen Paisley, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, at its next meeting. Sonia also noted that she has had some initial conversations with the Dean of the Graduate School about the number of faculty required, currently at 5, for PhD committees. If that number could be reduced in cases where it is not necessary, that might help lessen faculty burden, an issue raised in last year’s faculty survey. Senate discussion on this included a range of perspectives about norms across different fields, departments, and institutions.
- OPEN DISCUSSION
Senator Benvin Lozada revisited the graduate housing concerns brought up earlier. He noted that although President Randall will be following up, these concerns could also be conveyed to Jennifer Reed, AVP of Auxiliary Services, the area that coordinates graduate student housing. In addition, ASUU advocates for graduate students, along with other campus-wide efforts. Senate members are welcome to send concerned students to Bevin for ASUU follow up.
Meeting adjourned at 5:34 pm.