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Faculty Senate

April 5, 2017 Faculty Senate Summary

Sample for AU 2030

Senate Chair Todd Eisenstadt encouraged senators to remind colleagues to vote in Senate elections. Bryan Fantie reported that the Grade Inflation Committee plans to reach out to other universities in developing action items.

Todd Eisenstadt introduced the following resolution:

Resolution Documenting Role of Faculty, Staff, and Students in 2016 Presidential Search and Seeking Greater Representation in Future Searches

The Faculty Senate seeks to document, through this resolution, the procedures used for the participation of faculty, but also other campus constituencies, in the 2016 presidential search. We do not endorse the faculty participation in this process as optimal, but we do wish it to be a starting point when future presidential search committees are constituted by the Board of Trustees.

The 2016 AU presidential search committee was constituted by some ten members of the Board of Trustees, but also included the Dean of Academic Affairs on behalf of the administration, three faculty including two elected through campus-wide voting by full-time faculty and one selected through the Board of Trustees’ undisclosed criteria. The search also included a representative of the staff chosen through the Board of Trustees’ undisclosed criteria. The three faculty members on the Board-appointed search committee and the one staff member, as well as the Board’s Student Trustee (representing undergraduates), a graduate student representative, and the Alumni Council chair were all voting members of the search committee.

In addition to the formal search committee members, three “satellite” interview committees were formed. The faculty “satellite” committee was constituted of one faculty member elected from each teaching unit (and three from Arts and Sciences). The faculty satellite committee totaled about a dozen members. The staff also formed a “satellite” committee consisting of a half dozen staff representatives recommended to the Board of Trustees by the Staff Council. The faculty and staff satellite committees conveyed their preferences to the Board of Trustee search committee through the search committee’s representatives from that constituency. A third “satellite” committee of alumni/alumnae and students was formed, with those members reporting to the three search committee representatives of that constituency.

We hereby express the hope that all these institutions be integrated into future presidential searches, and that three additional steps be taken:

1) That the Faculty Senate will play a central role in coordinating faculty participation in any presidential search, including in selection of search committee faculty representatives;

2) That additional “satellite” committees may be created to facilitate greater constituent input; and

3) That further opportunities be made available for interested faculty to meet presidential search finalists before the Board of Trustees’ final decision is made.

A motion was made and seconded, and the resolution passed unanimously with a 21-0-1 vote.

CFA Chair Steve Sylvia introduced the following resolution:

Resolution Proposing “One-Time” Adjustment to Rebalance Senate Committee Membership

Membership turnover on several Faculty Senate committees has become unbalanced. The result has been instances of substantial turnover from one academic year to the next, which has posed a threat to the effectiveness of senate committees. In order to remedy this situation, the Faculty Senate asks senate committee chairs to propose to the senate leadership a plan to rebalance membership turnover on their committees during the 2017-18 academic year. A rebalancing plan may include one-time adjustments in the length of individual committee members’ terms. The senate leadership must approve a rebalancing plan before it can be implemented.

A motion was made and seconded, and the resolution passed unanimously with a 22-0-0 vote.

Todd Eisenstadt introduced the following resolution:

Resolution to Express Faculty Appreciation for Neil Kerwin and His Presidency

The Faculty Senate acknowledges the tremendous leadership of Dr. Neil Kerwin, to whom American University owes much of its rise over the last decade, from a regional university to a national and international one. We hereby commend Dr. Kerwin’s steady hand and creative management of the university’s core missions of research, teaching, and service. We note that under your guidance our institution has improved in national rankings with regard to research productivity, national and international projection, and improvement in the quality of students we enroll but also in the value we add while they are here. While we cannot thank you enough for your tremendous dedication to your alma mater’s continuous and continuing trajectory of improvement and vision of excellence, we hope this resolution at least offers a start. We the faculty take comfort in knowing you will be joining us and that your strong commitment to American University will continue.

The resolution was affirmed by the Senate.

President Kerwin presented his annual and last report to the Senate before his retirement. He reflected on the achievements of his presidency and the challenges AU will face in the future.

Provost Scott Bass reported that Vicky Wilkins has been named Interim Dean of SPA. The tenure files for the year are outstanding. Conversion events are crucial for undergraduate recruitment.

CFO and Vice President and Treasurer Doug Kudravetz presented a financial report for AY2017. Revenue challenges are evident in tuition from graduate, SPExS, and non-degree courses. It is expected that RiSE will eventually raise revenue via undergraduate retention. Tuition will be raised by 4% for undergraduate and graduate students, and 3.5% for WCL students, for the next two academic years. The Board of Trustees has approved balanced budgets for FY2018 and FY2019.

In other business, Steve Sylvia presented a tribute to former Faculty Senate chair Gary Weaver, who passed away recently. VPUG Jessica Waters presented a first-year graduate regulation change that was approved. Vice Chair Andrea Pearson presented names for a transition committee on term faculty, which will develop bylaws for approval by the Senate in F2017. The Senate affirmed the annual CFA letter presented by Steve Sylvia. Proposed changes to the Faculty Manual were approved.

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