The May Senate meeting began with good news about enrollments from Provost Scott Bass: We have the highest yield ever, at 1900 students, for this fall's freshman class. And groups such as racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, and Pell-eligible students have all increased in number, too. This summer, the deans will meet to discuss ways to address the challenges that an unusually large freshman class will pose. The Senate also approved minor changes to the Senate Bylaws that clarify some election-eligibility and term-length issues, as well as revisions to the Undergraduate Academic Regulations concerning internship policies and hours, and Deans' List and academic probation and dismissal policies. In addition, the Senate approved the merger of the library faculty manual and the main manual, with an appendix for the section on continuing-appointment lines. A faculty subcommittee presented a revised document outlining procedures for reporting conflict of time commitments;these new procedures draw directly on language from the Faculty Manual, and the Senate approved them. Finally, the Senate's standing committees reported on their activities from this past academic year.
April 2, 2014 Meeting Summary
At the April meeting, the Faculty Senate heard yearly reports from President Neil Kerwin and from Athletics Director Billy Walker. President Kerwin discussed the recent visit from the Middle States team and characterized their initial response as “positive.” As the next budget cycle begins, AU will begin to set new objectives and budget priorities, keeping in mind the Middle States recommendations. In addition, President Kerwin described the general condition of the university as “sound” and said that we will end the fiscal year in balance. Dr. Walker also had good news in his report: The average GPA for student-athletes is 3.34, and he noted that multiple students were honored as Patriot League Scholar-Athletes of the Year in their individual sports. Provost Scott Bass then reminded the Senate about his upcoming Provost’s Report and said that he’ll discuss the ways that AU is a “transformed institution” since the last Middle States review. Finally, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Lyn Stallings presented changes to the undergraduate academic regulations; for the most part, these changes involved issues of consistency and clarification, and the Senate approved those changes. Vice Provost Stallings will be leading discussions on internship requirements and will bring revised academic-regulation language for internships back to the Senate in May.
March 5, 2014
At the March Senate meeting, the Senate dealt with four main issues: CFA/DAA guidelines, university learning outcomes, the conflict of time commitment procedure, and voting rights of emeriti and emeritae faculty. After some discussion of communication between unit committees and the CFA, the Senate approved the CFA’s revised guidelines for submitting files for action. The Senate then took up the draft of the university learning outcomes, with members of the Committee on Learning Assessment and representatives from the Office of Institutional Research on hand to answer questions. These learning outcomes will be part of the Middle States report, but they will also be further revised over the next year as assessment measures for the outcomes are developed; COLA will bring the revised outcomes back to the Senate next year. Finally, the Senate continued its discussion of the conflict of time commitment procedure. Senators raised concerns about the administration of this procedure, including the questions that would appear on the reporting form and the scope of activities and time covered. The Provost also reviewed the policy dealing with conflict of commitment in the Faculty Manual. The Senate asked the committee that originally dealt with conflict of interest and conflict of time procedures to work on the current procedure document and bring it back to the Senate at the May meeting. Finally, the Senate approved revised Faculty Manual language that limits the voting rights of emeriti and emeritae faculty to personnel issues with the Budgets and Benefits Committee.
February 12, 2014
The February Senate meeting began with the approval of Larry Engel as the Senate Vice-Chair for 2014-2015. Senate Chair Candy Nelson also announced the formation of a committee to revise the current SET forms and to explore other ways of evaluating teaching; this committee has representation from across the university. Provost Scott Bass discussed undergraduate applications and admissions for fall 2014; although the application processes for special programs are particularly rigorous, applications have skyrocketed. The Senate then discussed voting rights for emeriti faculty, as outlined in the Faculty Manual; there are concerns about emeriti faculty who are no longer involved in units voting on personnel matters or on issues that substantively affect the work of the unit. The Senate voted to table this issue so that appropriate Manual language could be developed. Next, after the Senators' questions were addressed by representatives from the library, the Senate voted to approve the library's new faculty manual; the revisions to the manual bring it into alignment with the main Faculty Manual and create a new category of "continuing-appointment line" faculty. Finally, the Senate heard from the Committee on Learning Assessment, who presented a draft of university-wide learning outcomes. Senators will take this draft back to their units, and the Senate will discuss it further at the March meeting.
January 15, 2014
The January Faculty Senate meeting began with a report from Senate Chair Candy Nelson, who highlighted the new emergency care service; she also urged faculty to complete the survey on work/life balance. In his report, Provost Scott Bass spoke about the loss of Don Myers. He also mentioned the work on East Campus, which will include a "technology innovation building," and a recent million-dollar gift to support student work in community-based research. Finally, Provost Bass discussed campus learning outcomes, a draft of which was presented at the Ann Ferren Conference for discussion by faculty. A revised draft will come to the Senate's February meeting for discussion and for eventual approval before the Middle States visit in March. The rest of the Senate meeting was devoted to discussion of the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time Commitment procedures. Jon Tubman described the implementation process for COI disclosure, which will include town halls and other informative efforts. The Senate then discussed the proposed COTC procedures, including who should be required to participate in the process, what kinds of activities would be covered, and the reasons for the disclosure procedures; the Senate voted to table the proposed procedure document for further revision.
December 4, 2013
The December 4 Faculty Senate meeting began with discussion and approval of a number of Faculty Manual revisions, including the addition of SPExS to the Manual language, new language covering joint appointments, changes to the delay of tenure language, expansion of the right to appeal a personnel decision to certain term faculty, updated language for the CFA responsibilities, and deletions of policies and procedures for adjuncts. The Senate also approved some changes to the Senate bylaws, including policies for convening the Senate outside the fall and spring semesters, clarification of the budget process for the Academic Budgets and Benefits Committee, and clarification of the procedural relationship between the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the General Education and Honors Advisory Committees. Finally, the Senate approved a "fast-track" process for certificate programs, which was proposed by SPExS. For the rest of the meeting, the Senate discussed the draft of the Middle States Self-Study, particularly the chapters on faculty and undergraduate education; the senators offered suggestions for such areas as salary levels, recognition of different types of faculty productivity, level of rigor, and alumni feedback.
November 6, 2013
The Faculty Senate met on November 6. Senate Chair Candy Nelson provided an update on CTRL's work with SETs, including upcoming research into SET measurements at other institutions and continued exploration of other ways of evaluating teaching performance. Provost Scott Bass praised the Middle States Self-Study Report draft, discussed the new Honors Program, and described a possible initiative with a donor interested in "intensifying community-based learning." He also said that because of the widely reported problems with the Common Application, we don't have precise information about applications and admission. Following these reports, the Senate approved the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Information Services that student photos be provided with course rosters and that student photos be available to student advisers. The Committee on Information Services will work with OIT to implement this recommendation. The Senate then heard from the co-chairs of the Middle States committee, who introduced the self-study draft and described outreach to campus constituencies, as well as channels for comments on the draft. Next, Dean Carola Weil of SPExS presented a proposal for procedures for fast-tracking the approval process for Graduate Certificate Programs; the Senate discussed this proposal and asked for some revisions. Finally, the Senate continued its discussion of revisions to the Senate by-laws.
October 9, 2013
At the October 9 Senate meeting, Senate Chair Candy Nelson provided an update on emergency family care; emergency care will probably start in January of 2014. Provost Scott Bass then described some of the talks at the recent Board of Trustees' meeting, particularly a discussion of directions in higher education. He also discussed retention, which is still a concern and a priority for the university, particularly with more vulnerable student populations. The Senate then reviewed and approved language for the Senate By-laws that would establish faculty oversight of student athletes' academic performance as required by NCAA. Finally, the Senate reviewed revisions to the Senate By-laws, most of which were reorganizations of sections to create consistency and reduce redundancy; the Senate voted to accept the bulk of the changes, with a few sections to be brought back for further discussion.
September 18, 2013
The Faculty Senate's first meeting of 2013-2014 was held September 18. Senate Chair Candy Nelson updated the Senate on initiatives proposed by the Family Work-Life Balance committee, such as lactation rooms (now available) and emergency child care (in progress). The Senate also voted to eliminate printed handouts for Senate meetings. Provost Scott Bass then discussed enrollments for the current semester; undergraduate enrollments and online enrollments are on target, but there are shortfalls for graduate and transfer enrollments. Provost Bass also described five long-term challenges to work on over the coming academic year: diversity and inclusion, learning outcomes and skillsets (including quantitative literacy and writing skills), problem-centered learning, interdisciplinary research (as in AU 2030), and high-impact research. Next, the committees of the Senate reported on their activities over the 2012-2013 academic year. Finally, Naomi Baron presented CTRL's report on the usage of SETs in evaluation of tenure-track faculty and CTRL's "Beyond SETs" initiative; her comments were followed by energetic discussion among the senators about SETs, learning outcomes, and evaluation.