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April 08, 2009 Minutes

Minutes for 04/08/09

Members present: Senators Feakes, Bond, Brown, C. Hazlewood, D. Hazlewood, Melzer, Minifie, Shah, Stone
Guests: Assoc. Provost Gene Bourgeois; Rebecca Swindal, Staff Council Representative; Kosaku Narioka, Univ. Star
Meeting called to order at 4:00
Info Items:
  • Senate Elections: The chair has contacted all of the elected faculty for the vacant Senate seats in Science and Applied Arts and they have each accepted their appointment to the next Faculty Senate. The formal transition will take place at the May 6th meeting.
  • University Advancement Summary: Vice President for University Advancement Rebecca Prince will provide a written summary of the events that have transpired since she met with the Senate a couple of weeks ago regarding University endowments and student scholarships.
Meeting with the Assoc. Provost: Assoc. Provost Bourgeois met with the Senate to discuss several topics:
Summer Teaching Budget: He discussed how summer budgeting has changed over the past few years. He indicated that currently summer money is allocated, based on the previous summer budget, to each college. This year’s money is essentially the same as the amount allocated to each college last year. He mentioned that there are some exceptions, specifically for new classes that had not been taught before, and that there would be consideration for potential increases in enrollment. The new summer budget does not reflect the average 3% increase to faculty salaries last year and the Senate expressed concern that this might cause problems in the future. The essential worry is possible pressure to replace full-time summer faculty with cheaper adjunct faculty. Dr. Bourgeois indicated that should not be a concern. If summer budgets come up significantly short, the Provost will request new funds from the President’s Cabinet so that summer budgets can be readjusted. He stated that summer tuition dollars traditionally do not cover the cost of summer classes, and encouraged departments to allocate summer teaching assignments based on a departmental summer teaching policy. He added that, so far, the University seems to have enough money to meet needed summer budgets this year.
Evaluation of Tenure/Track Faculty: Dr. Bourgeois was asked for his opinion regarding the Senate’s discussion of a potential sixth reappointment option, “reappoint for one year with reservations,” for PPS 8.01. He indicated he would be against such an option, and as had happened in the Senate the week before, the discussion centered on how the actual write-up by the Personnel Committee was developed and approved. The Personnel Committee must elect the representative of the Personnel Committee who composes the write-up for the reappointment form, and the write-up should reflect the Personnel Committee’s discussions from the reappointment review. The written remarks should reflect the opinion of the Personnel Committee and should not be written nor edited by the department chair.
Summative Evaluation of Chairs: The Senate raised the issue of a dean’s determination that only signed comments with respect to a current summative evaluation of a department chair would be considered in the evaluation. PPS 1.10 does not require signed comments, in part because the evaluation process for obtaining faculty opinion was derived, in part, from the Faculty Senate survey that is currently being administered by the Provost’s Office. Dr. Bourgeois indicated that the Provost’s survey of faculty perceptions of the chair have been made available to deans, including anonymous comments, so that faculty actually had the opportunity to make anonymous comments regarding their chair. A question was also raised regarding input from students and staff in chair evaluations. Dr. Bourgeois indicated that most deans met with departmental staff members and many convened student groups to express opinions of chairs. Dr. Bourgeois indicated that the response rate for the Provost’s survey of department chairs was more than 75%.
Faculty Grievance Policy: Dr. Bourgeois asked about the status of discussions with University Attorney Fly regarding the grievance process. The Chair indicated that a compromise proposal was in the works. Also, Dr. Bourgeois agreed to include language indicating the Grievance Committee was a standing committee with permanent revolving membership.
Faculty Development Leaves: Discussion of the Faculty Development Leave process continued. It was decided that the entire Senate should rate leave proposals and that the college Senator or a group composed by Senators should be available to assist applicants in making their applications as persuasive as possible. Discussion finally centered on how more time could be made available for leave presentations. The Chair will form a new subcommittee to bring specific policy language at a later date. A new idea was to consider an after-leave symposium where selected leave recipients would present their leave accomplishments to the faculty.
Piper Professor Policy: Recommended changes to PPS 6.04, Piper Professor Award Recognition, are essentially done and will be considered at a later meeting.
Sexual Harassment :The Faculty Senate has reviewed UPPS 04.04.42, Prohibition of Sexual Harassment. On the EEOC web-site (, sexual harassment is defined as follows: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” There is no distinction between the authority figure and the subordinate.  The primary concerns expressed by the Senate are related to 03.06 entitled “Consensual Relationships.”  The Faculty Senate recommends that this title be changed since the very definition of Consensual Relationship is not congruent with the topic of “Sexual Harassment,” and recommends alternative language such as “Conflicts of Interest Arising from Consensual Relationships.”  Additionally, there are concerns regarding subsections a and b of this same paragraph.  In both paragraphs, there is an implication that sexual harassment can only be achieved from the direction of the person in authority to the subordinate.  The Faculty Senate recommends that the protection from sexual harassment should be in either direction and that appropriate wording be included to address a situation where the sexual harassment is perpetrated by the subordinate against the person in authority.
PAAG Agenda:  Agenda items for next week PAAG were discussed. The agenda follows:
  1. Phased Retirement: Many policy and procedure statements have been under review this past year, including thepolicy regarding phased retirement, UPPS 04.04.51. The Faculty Senate has made aproposal to modify paragraph 04.04 to include the potential of a one to five year contract, as opposed to a one to three year contract. Although this modification has not been accepted, the Faculty Senate believes strongly that this option should be made available. With the current financial status, a five-year option would be more appealing to those faculty considering the phased retirement option. The Faculty Senate would appreciate hearing your beliefs on this proposed modification.
  2. Nepotism: The Faculty Senate continues to be concerned about nepotism on campus. Although theadministration has made attempts to alleviate the direct reporting between couples,conflicts of interest appear to remain and the Senate continues to receive concerns from thefaculty. Given the seriousness of some of the concerns, the Faculty Senate wouldappreciate hearing your opinions on this matter.
  3. Development Leave Recommendation: The Faculty Senate has been working on potential revisions to the current development leave process. One recommendation for the process is to have the President’s Office sponsor a development leave symposium at the end of each cycle where approximately 3 faculty members can present their results to the University community. The Faculty Senate would appreciate any comments that you have on this proposal.
  4. Legislative Update: The Faculty Senate would appreciate an update on the legislative session.
New Business: For consideration next week: Development Leaves and Piper Professor.
Minutes: Minutes for 04/01/09 were approved as amended.