Senate Steering Committee Minutes

January 12, 2017, 3:30-4:30
Samford 206

Present: James Goldstein (Chair), Dan Svyantek (Chair-Elect), Larry Teeter (Immediate-Past Chair),
Donald Mulvaney (Secretary-Elect), Emmett Winn (Associate Provost), Lisa Kensler, Jared Russell, Timothy Boosinger (Provost), Emily Myers, Lucretia Tripp

Absent: Xing Ping Hu (Secretary)

The first item was approval of minutes from December 1, 2016.

Procedural deviation of the order of the agenda was a suspension of parliamentary procedure to receive comments from Provost Boosinger regarding the Professional Improvement Leave (PIL; aka: sabbatical) opportunities for faculty at Auburn University. An approved PIL provides salary, departmental release time and funds hire temporary replacement. A leave proposal may be submitted in the fall as faculty accrue one semester of eligible PIL/five years of service. Discussion included the high level of value of the PIL to faculty, application rate by faculty, and possible explanations for low participation. Possible explanations offered in discussion included:  a need to look at the schedule for announcement, the rule that suggests or favors relocation (from AU), challenge of maintaining housing in two locations and possible low representation of faculty on the PIL Committee. It was suggested that stay-at-home sabbaticals, while valuable, tend to be less productive compared to those involving a relocation. It was mentioned that the SEC has travel grants (~$10,000) to allow approved faculty to work on group projects at other schools. While discussion about hybrid models is warranted, the PIL discussion was suspended to move forward with the agenda.

Announcements from Chair Goldstein included the construction of Broun Hall which will close normal entrances for the Senate meeting, a postponement of action on a draft resolution for  College level P&T Committees until after the Provost’s discussion with deans on January 20th, and the update that the chair of the Senate Nominating Committee reports that there is a full slate of candidates for officers of next year’s senate. The candidates will be announced at the Feb. Senate meeting.

The next item on the agenda was a preview of a report from an ad hoc committee chaired by Dr. David Held, Associate Professor College of Agriculture, charged to examine concerns by faculty holding 9 month appointments that fringe rates are charged on salaries during the summer months. A presentation will be made at the full senate with rationale and conclusions indicating fringe rates must be paid and are deemed appropriate by the committee.

The next item was an preview of a planned senate presentation on This Is Research (TIR) made by Dr. Jennifer  Kerpelman, Associate Dean for Research, CHS.  She was accompanied by Dr. Lorraine Wolf and Dr. Steve Taylor. The presentation indicated a continuation of the TIR program in a similar approach and framework as the past.  It was noted the student symposium is April 13, 2017 with awards on April 20th and the faculty symposium will likely be September 22nd. Having approximately 300 undergraduate presentations last year, a plea was made to have the senate encourage more faculty to serve as judges for the student poster evaluations.

The last preview presentation was made by Dr. Ralph Kingston, Chair of the Faculty Handbook review Committee. The report indicated suggested changed are mostly dealing with consistency, codification of standard procedures and represent no major alterations. Suggestions were made in the use of the word academic in Article 4, uniformity of the term library in the document, a specific change regarding the membership of the library appeals committee and a clarification that the senate secretary shall chair the Rules Committee.

Another informational item was brought forth by Jennifer Morris, Office of Sustainability. The Steering Committee previewed a brief presentation about the Spirit of Sustainability Awards.

The last item of the day was the approval of the Senate agenda scheduled for January 17. 2017.

The meeting was adjourned by Chair Goldstein.

In absence of Secretary Xing Ping Hu, the minutes were prepared by Secretary-elect Mulvaney.