September 28, 2020

Sep 28 2020
View Agenda

Meeting Minutes



September 28, 2020


The regular meeting of the Academic Senate, held on September 28, 2020, was called to order at 3:02 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, Soheila Amirsoleimani, Amy Barrios, Michael Battistone, Matthew Bettini, Bryan Bonner, Robert Bowles, Simon Brewer, Kelly Bricker, Jonathan Brogaard, Kirsten Butcher, Juliet Carlisle, Mike Caserta, Owen Chan, Tiffany Chan, Promothesh Chatterjee, Thomas Cheatham, Gerald Cochran, Sarah Creem-Regehr, James Ehlers, Rachel Factor, Candace Floyd, Leslie Francis, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Manu Goyal, Kim Hackford-Peer, Leslie Halpern, Andrew C. Harris, Sara Hart, Teresa Hebron, Bill Hesterly, Camilla Hodge, Anna Hodgson, Christel Hohenegger, John Hollerbach, Harriet Hopf, Howard Horwitz, 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, Dale Larsen, Connor Leeming, John Lin, Kerry Lohmeier, Jack Longino, Gabriel Lozada, Robin Marcus, Staci McIntosh, Kaitlin McLean, Rajesh Menon, Ed Muñoz, William Nesse, Kent Ono, Rick Paine, Adrian Palmer, Marcel Paret, Robert Parker, Tressa Parkes, Jeff Pettey, Wanda Pillow, Tom Quinn, Taylor Randall, Angela Rasmussen, Georgi Rausch, Ofer Rog, Sonia Salari, Jeff Schwartz, Peyden Shelton, Xiaoming Sheng, Helene Shugart, Doug Shumway, Taylor Sparks, Cynthia Stark, Ryan Steele, Kathryn Stockton, Kent Udell, Madison Ulibarri, Hunter Underhill, Brenda Van Der Wiel, Daniel Vargo, Maeve Wall, Crystal Wallenius, Jessica Wojciechowski, Julie Wright-Costa, Jaehee Yi, Jingyi Zhu, Susan Zickmund

Excused: Hilary Coon

Excused with substitute: Divya Chandrasekhar, Amos Guiora, Stephan LeBohec, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura

Absent: Rima Ajlouni, Shanti Deemyad, Annette Fleckenstein, Seodam Kwak, Tuyet Lien Lam, Brad Lundahl, Christopher Mead, Susannah Mecham, Krystal Moorman, Jon Rainier, Roger Silvers, Tim Smith, Brian Snapp, Audrey Stegman, Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, 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

The minutes dated August 31, 2020 were approved upon a motion from Kaitlin McClean and a second by Leslie Halpern.



There were three requests for New Business. Julie Wright-Costa asked to put the issues surrounding the concerns expressed about holding Senate meetings on major religious holidays on the agenda. Katlin McClean proposed a resolution regarding designating Election Day as a University holiday. Connor Leeming requested a discussion on the creation of a new ad hoc committee to review COVID-19 implications for students in areas such as the online learning environment, mental health, and financial stability.



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 issues. For this Senate meeting, no proposals of this category were offered on the Consent Calendar.


There were no Faculty Appointments and Resignation Reports for this meeting.




President Ruth Watkins brought the Senate up to date on current COVID-19 issues facing the University community and expressed gratitude to those working in residence halls’ management positions who have borne the burden of keeping resident students healthy. She also highlighted the upcoming US Vice Presidential Debate, to be held on October 7 at Kingsbury Hall, and thanked all who have contributed to making it possible and community members for being flexible about the event inconveniences. The University is actively utilizing public health guidance to ensure the safety of participants, volunteers, and others. She also announced that the University’s Tribal Land Acknowledgement statement will be formally launched on October 12, 2020.


Steven Lacey, Public Health Division Chief, discussed the public health rationale for the two-week break planned for this term (“circuit breaker”). The two main guiding concepts behind the decision were chain of infection and virus generation time. The two-week break, which had originally been planned for one week, aims to halt the chain of infection and slow down spread by including two full virus-generation cycles of seven days each. The next part of the plan will be to conduct education entirely online after Thanksgiving.


The Spring 2021 academic calendar has been changed to address pandemic issues after wide consultation with administration, faculty, and students, reported SVP Daniel Reed. Spring courses will begin January 19, 2020, which is later than previously planned. In addition, there will be no Spring Break this year to accommodate this late start. Senators will see more information in @theU and other communications in the coming weeks.



Senate President-elect Christy Porucznik presented the final three recommendations, regarding meeting procedures during the pandemic, made by Senate officers based on the recent survey of Senators. 1) Retain the current in-meeting voting system where votes against a motion are first recorded, then abstentions are recorded and then and all other members present are recorded as having voted in favor of the motion; provided that if a vote appears close, Senators will cast their vote by email or other electronic means to the Senate Parliamentarian during the meeting (86.4% of respondents favored). 2) Schedule the discussions about University “strategic policy questions” as separate meetings; attendance is optional, and meetings are recorded and posted on online discussion board for Senators to view and post any comments (79.1% of respondents favored). 3) Start Senate meetings at 2:30 pm with informational/non-voting items being scheduled for the first 30 minutes of the meeting; this part of the meeting will be recorded and available for viewing by Senators unable to begin the meeting at 2:30 pm (73.9% of respondents favored).


ASUU leaders continue to meet the challenges caused by the pandemic, reported ASUU President Ephraim Kum. Despite the obstacles, students continue to participate in the all the branches of the ASUU. The ASUU Presidency continues to coordinate large initiatives such as planning for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, collaborating with Athletics, working with the Department of Public Safety, participating in preliminary discussions surrounding the planning of Spring Semester and more. The Executive areas of the Finance Board–the First Year Council, Government Relations Board, Academic Affairs Board, Campus Events Board, and Sustainability Board–continue to partner with students, faculty, civic organizations, the ASUU legislative branch and more, to make sure that student issues are actively being addressed. Senators will hear later in the meeting details of a student-led resolution asking that the upcoming Election Day, November 3, be named an instructional day off and University holiday.



No items for this meeting.




Postdoctoral Trainees University Policy Committee Proposal

Amy Barrios, Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, and Harriet Dashnow, Utah Postdoctoral Association (UPDA) Junior Chair and UPDA Advocacy Committee Chair, proposed creating a temporary Senate Special Committee to review and update policies governing postdoctoral trainees. Amy discussed current University policy gaps governing hiring, dismissal, leaves of absence, and grievances. Harriet pointed out that the University of Utah is behind its PAC 12 peers in implementing postdoctoral salary standards, leaves of absence, and grievance policies. The committee members would be appointed by the Senate Executive Committee and charged to draft and propose updated policies, rules, and guidelines that support and protect the postdoctoral community. These proposed policies would be presented to the Senate in the Spring of 2021. Leslie Francis motioned to approve the formation of this special committee and authorize the Senate Executive Committee to compose its membership. After a second from Thomas Cheatham, the motion was approved.


Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) Certificate

Tyler Christopulos, representing the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health, presented a graduate-level certificate program proposal. The program provides the post-baccalaureate graduate-level coursework and clinical training that students, with a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science, would need to be licensed as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) (once state licensing for this new paraprofessional category is enacted). The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Utah State Board of Education both seek to address a shortage of qualified speech and language pathologists (SLP). ASHA will begin offering national certification for SLPA, which is a paraprofessional position that supports SLPs, this fall. Students that successfully complete the SLPA graduate certificate program will be immediately eligible for national certification. And when Utah state licensure for the SLPA position is approved (anticipated soon), certificate holders would be authorized to practice under the direction of a school based SLP. The Senate Executive Committee, at its September 14 meeting, had requested additional information and letters of support for the program be included in the proposal, and these had been incorporated into the version the Senate was reviewing. A motion from Sara Hart, seconded by Richard Landward, to approve the program proposal passed.


Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity
Steve Alder, Jay Barney, and Abbie Griffin–Director (designate) and Co-Directors (designates) of the proposed new Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity reviewed the mission and vision of the Center and asked the Senate to approve it, with permanent status. David Eccles School of Business will host the Center, which will focus on campus-wide engagement. The Center’s mission is advancing societal prosperity using interdisciplinary approaches in education, research and engaged service. The Academic Senate had voted at its August 31st meeting to postpone discussion, until this meeting, on the proposed Center to give the proposers extra time to consult more widely with University departments and units that engage in related fields of study.


The presenters reported that they had contacted all the units and Colleges suggested by Senators and had even expanded upon those contacts. Groups contacted included leaders of the Department of Population Health Sciences, Department of Economics, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and more. These discussions were aimed at explaining why they are advocating for permanent center status and looking for potential ways to collaborate across the institution as the Center launches. In addition, the Graduate Council’s Interim Guidance Document for Centers, Institutes, and Bureaus, which outlines the approval processes being followed, had been included in the meeting materials. Jonathan Brogaard moved to approve establishment of the Center. After a second from Leslie Francis, the motion passed.




Digital Signs                                           

Patti Ross, Chief Business Strategy Officer, and Brett Eden, Director of Auxiliary Business Development, explained that the University is transitioning from an analogue-based advertising and communication platform to a digital signage platform. The use of outdoor digital signs supports campus branding, improves the campus experience and wayfinding, enhances safety messaging, and offers additional resource generation opportunities. The proposed phase one of the installations will include three sizes of centrally administered signs. The message approval management will have three levels of review. ASUU President Ephraim Kum asked the team to insure adequate student input into the management of content review and other areas of implementation.

Surveillance System Administrator Committee Report                        

The Chair of the Surveillance System Administrator Committee (SSAC), Harriet Hopf, gave the EC its first annual report. The committee had been charged with developing and implementing processes and procedures for SSAC oversight of surveillance systems. She reviewed the Committee’s membership roster and noted the membership updates. Also reported were the key accomplishments since its establishment in July 2019: reviewed University Policy 3-234 to guide SSAC planning and development; inventoried building access and video surveillance systems on campus; created rules, procedures, and processes for SSAC oversight of registration and data access requests; established an administrative reporting structure to the Chief Safety Officer; developed a process for reviewing new or proposed technology and reported concerns. Plans for this academic year include a roll out of updated registration and training systems this fall, implementation of an audit and concern-reporting system, inventory and registration requirements for free-standing surveillance systems, and further outreach efforts. SSAC will have a website online beginning October 2020, which will include a mechanism for reporting concerns.


Utah Council of Faculty Senate Leaders (UCFSL) Update

The Utah Council of Faculty Senate Leaders (UCFSL) usually meets two times a year and the UofU’s participation has been beneficial, reported Julio Facelli, Senate Past President, and Bob Flores, Senate Policy Liaison. Julio expressed that recent meetings with Faculty and Senate leaders from the USHE institutions have offered a forum for faculty across the state to compare notes during the pandemic precautions. UCFSL’s most notable effort and accomplishment this year was to propose and push for, a faculty representative to the Utah Board of Higher Education (formerly known as the Board of Regents), which was partially successful in that a faculty representative position was added to the Industry Advisory Committee which will advise the main Board. Bob added the University of Utah’s contribution has been meaningful because its Senate has already experienced faculty issues that newer or smaller institutions are just starting to examine.



The Senate then considered the three New Business items offered by Senators earlier in the meeting.

1) Connor Leeming withdrew his request to discuss forming an ad hoc Senate committee to study the pandemic’s effect on student learning and welfare. He asked to postpone discussion to a future Senate meeting.

2) Kaitlin McClean proposed that the Senate support a student-led resolution that asks the University of Utah administration to acknowledge the importance of student–and other members of the campus community–engagement in the 2020 US general election on November 3, 2020. Specifically, to further allow student participation and volunteer election-support experiences, the Resolution requests that the day be designated by administration as a non-instructional day of civic service and a University holiday. The ASUU presidency and legislature had approved the resolution, and its discussion could not be postponed to future Senate meetings because they occur after Election Day. A broad discussion resulted in two resolutions. Christy Porucznik motioned that the Academic Senate resolve to encourage faculty to move academic engagement planned for Election Day to asynchronous activities; the motion was seconded by Bob Flores. Sara Hart offered a friendly amendment that the Senate statement additionally encourage faculty to avoid assignments on either November 3rd or 4th. The amendment was accepted. The motion passed with four opposed. Senate President Dryer added that the Senate leaders would next send the resolution to UofU administration [Note: This resolution, including the amendment, was transmitted to President Ruth Watkins on Tuesday, September 29, 2020].

Kaitlin McLean moved to approve the following: That it be resolved by the 2020-2021 University Academic Senate that we encourage administration to classify November 3, 2020 as a non-instructional university holiday in recognition of the 2020 election. Julio Facelli proposed a friendly amendment that would replace the words “university holiday” with the word “day.” The amendment was accepted. After a second from Ephraim Kum, the motion passed with thirteen opposed [Note: This resolution, reworded as approved, was transmitted to President Ruth Watkins on Tuesday, September 29, 2020].

3) A discussion of Julie Wright-Costa’s request to address concerns about Senate meetings scheduled on major religious holidays resulted in proposals to postpone the issue until the November 2, 2020 Senate meeting for several reasons. First, not all Senators concerned were at the September 28 meeting and it would be preferential to have their participation. Second, there was an agreement that some broader scheduling issues needed further study, such as the University academic and holiday calendars. Matthew Irwin motioned to postpone debate until the November 2, 2020 Senate meeting. After a second from Leslie Halpern, the motion passed. Randy Dryer also asked Christy Porucznik and Julie Wright-Costa to develop discussion materials regarding the matter and its surrounding issues for the October 12, 2020 Senate Executive Committee meeting.


Meeting adjourned at 5:50 pm.