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Jun 03, 2009 Minutes

Members present: Senators Feakes, Furney, Bond, Brown, Martin, Caldwell, Hazlewood, Keeley (for Conroy), Melzer, Morey, Shah, Stone, Wilson.

Guests: Dix, Sipler, Stern, Bourgeois, Thyberg.
Meeting called to order at 3:00.
1. The Chair requested that Senators serve as table hosts at the New Faculty Orientation, scheduled for August 24 in Alkek 105, beginning at noon.
2. The Chair requested volunteers to serve as Mace Bearers at summer commencement ceremonies on August 14. Senator Stone volunteered, and more will be recruited in the following weeks.
M&O Allocation formula: At the Senate's request, Associate Provost Bourgeois offered a detailed overview of both the history and workings of the allocation formula for distributing M&O funds to departments, which replaced the former system using course fees. Since the new system was instituted two years ago, roughly $750,000 in new money has been added to M&O allocations. Dr. Bourgeois explained that the system was developed to stabilize and make equitable departments' M&O budgets, and to make expenses more traceable in case of audits.
Although both Dr. Bourgeois and the Senate feel that the new system is a major improvement over the course fee system of the past, the Associate Provost noted that refinements have been made to insure the formula works as efficiently and fairly as possible:
1.   The name of the process is now called the "DOE Formula Allocation," DOE being an acronym for Department Operating Expenses.
2.   Discrepancies or anomalies in how funds previously were recorded in particular departments and colleges were resolved and the new processes standardized.
3.   The Delaware Study data will no longer be used because of inconsistencies in how other universities cited in the Study report and categorize expenses.
4.   The formula was refined to make it less sensitive to annual variations.
Dr. Bourgeois will provide to Senate with the allocation formula in the next few weeks.
Committee Assignments: The Chair asked that we check with our Senate appointees on University committees to make sure there are no problems or complaints. Additionally, she noted that there are a few vacancies, and so she would like Senators to offer names for possible appointees.
Development Leave Process:
The Chair summarized the suggestions of the subcommittee charged with offering revisions to the Development Leave process. The subcommittee offered the following refinements:
1.   Send all faculty an email announcing the beginning of the application cycle, and urging potential applicants to seek assistance from their Senators.
2.   Send a letter to applicants explaining the review process, as well as the nature of the presentations to the Senate.
3.   Send a letter to all faculty near the beginning of the fall semester identifying faculty awarded Leave, as well as those awarded the supplemental funds from the Provost. In this letter, urge faculty to consider applying for Leave.
4.   Update the Leave webpage to reflect new dates and guidelines.
5.   Do not report Senate rankings of applications to applicants.
Senators will vote on these suggestions at the July meeting.
An ongoing issue regarding the Leave process concerns the current Senate rule that Senators cannot apply for Leave while serving on the Senate. Among the arguments for changing this rule to allow a Senator to apply in her third year are that such a Senator could remove herself from the review process in that year's cycle; that any applicant from a Senator be ranked lowest, if the application is deemed acceptable; and that many faculty on Leave still do university service and so Senators also might be able to do both. Those arguing against the change feel it is a conflict of interest for members of the body tasked with reviewing applications to also be applicants themselves, and that performing service while on Leave weakens the quality of the Leave itself. The Chair has asked that a vote on this requested change be taken at the July meeting.
New Business:
1. John Davis, Chair of the Committee on Committees, will visit the Senate in July to outline their recommendations for committee appointments.
2. A few Senators would like the Registrar's Office to discuss the reasons behind the course drop date recently instituted.
3. There is some concern that workloads for Lecturers and Senior Lecturers are being altered so that full-time L / SL have to teach six courses to be considered as 100% FTE. The Senate is worried about this possibility, and will investigate.
4. Senators would like to know what caused the emergency signs in classrooms across campus to malfunction in late May, and why the emergency process did not seem to function as it should.
5. Honors Council update: Senator Shah reported that the committee working on changes to the Honors Council guidelines had a few questions. First, does the Senate think there should be more than seven trained faculty ready to serve on the Council, even though the guidelines only require this number? Second, is the two-year term for faculty acceptable? To both questions, Senators said yes.
The minutes of May 6 were approved.