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Faculty Senate Chair, Vice Chair and Past Chair

Summary of Faculty Senate Meeting, December 6, 2017

Senate Past Chair Todd Eisenstadt proposed, and the Senate approved, new language related to votes of no confidence for the Senate By-laws. The new language is as follows:

XIII Votes of No Confidence in Administrators
"The Faculty Senate recognizes the "vote of no confidence" as a procedure - to be used in extreme cases only - through which faculty may freely express extreme discontent with administrators. Academic units should exercise their own discretion in submitting confidential ballots to the provost to contest the continuance of a highly contested dean. The Faculty Senate shall serve as the body through which campus-wide votes are taken to contest the continuance of the provost, university vice presidents, or the university president.

Regarding unit deans, the faculty of an academic unit may undertake a vote of no confidence and submit this directly to the provost if it seeks to contest the continuation of a dean. The Faculty Senate affirms the right of units to undertake such processes, but will not participate in validating the process. The Faculty Senate strongly encourages units to conduct balloting via anonymous, fair, and inclusive means, and to give voice to all eligible faculty, according to the established norms and customs of each unit. Regarding a no confidence vote in the provost or members of the president's cabinet (i.e. the university's vice presidents), the results of this vote would be transmitted by the Faculty Senate Chair to the University President. Such a vote would be convened by the Senate, in executive session, with 2/3 majority support required of all senators (after a "real time" meeting where the merits of calling for such a vote are deliberated, even if the actual vote is conducted remotely). If a "no confidence vote" motion receives the support of 2/3 of the senate, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee would convene an anonymous, fair and inclusive balloting procedure, giving the opportunity to vote to all full-time faculty with at least three years' of continuous full-time service at American University. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall validate that balloting was conducted via anonymous, fair, and inclusive means, and that all eligible faculty had an opportunity to participate, before the Senate Chair transmits the results to the University President.

Regarding a no confidence vote in the president, the results of this vote would be transmitted by the Senate Chair to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Such a vote would be convened by the Senate, in executive session, with 2/3 majority support required of all senators (via a convened "real time" meeting where the merits of calling for such a vote are deliberated, even if voting is conducted remotely). If a "no confidence vote" motion receives the support of 2/3 of the Senate, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee would convene an anonymous, fair and inclusive balloting procedure, giving the opportunity to vote to all full-time faculty with at least three years' of continuous full-time service at American University. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall validate that balloting was conducted via anonymous, fair, and inclusive means, and that all eligible faculty had an opportunity to participate, before the Senate Chair transmits the results to the Chair of the Board of Trustees."


These procedures supplement the Senate's practice and right - in extreme cases - to conduct its own votes on these and related issues.

Caleen Jennings, chair of President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI), Jeff Rutenbeck, co-chair PCDI, and Bridget Clooney, project manager PCDI, summarized the PCDI's work thus far and presented their roadmap for future work. Much of the work is underway and will continue in the future.

President Sylvia Burwell apprised the Senate about the process and goals for her 5-year strategic plan, which includes developing a new missions, vision, and values statement. Faculty provided feedback on initial drafts of the vision and mission statements.

Public Safety Assistant Director of Administration and Transportation Will Sowers and Police Lieutenant Rima Sifri updated the Senate about new practices and policies within Public Safety with an emphasis on a larger police force and crisis management care.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jessica Waters presented, and the Senate approved, undergraduate regulation change for math.

Senate Chair Andrea Pearson presented, and the Senate approved, faculty guidelines for guest speakers in the classroom.

Senate Vice Chair Elizabeth Worden reported that the Senate ITS/SET Working Group has refined and condensed the SET questions and these will be discussed at the February meeting.

Provost Scott Bass Report reminded the Senate about the call for proposals for team teaching. He informed that Senate that "early decision 1" applications and campus visits by prospective students are up this year. He also noted that an AU senior has won a Marshall scholarship.

Senate Chair Andrea Pearson updated the Senate that the new Term Faculty Affairs Committee has met and Maria Gomez is the chair.