Transcript Senate Meeting
February 14, 2017
James Goldstein, chair: Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the 6th meeting of the academic year 2016–17, the second meeting of the calendar year. We have an unusually long agenda today so I hope everyone settles in comfortably.
If you are a senator or a substitute for a senator please make sure you sign in at the back and pick up a clicker. If you are a substitute please remember to print your name clearly in the second column so that we can read your name. Senators only need to initial their name on the sign-in sheet. Since today is Valentine’s Day you are welcome to take a dark chocolate kiss or two from the basket, because the chair wants to insure that any senator or guest who wishes to receive a kiss on this special day will have the opportunity to do so. I don’t do milk chocolate.
For new senators and guests, here again are the Senate rules about speaking. If you’d like to speak about an issue or ask a question, please go to the microphone, wait to be recognized, then state you name, whether or not you are a senator and the unit you represent. The rules of the Senate require that senators or substitute senators be allowed to speak first, then after senators have had a chance to speak, guests are welcome to speak as well. Later during this meeting I’ll explain some additional rules of order.
The agenda today was set by the Senate Steering Committee and posted on the Senate Web site in advance. It is now up on the screen. First we need to establish a quorum, we need 44 senators for a quorum. So please turn on your clicker and press A. Because we will be voting later today on revisions to the Senate Constitution I remind everyone that 57 senators or two-thirds of the total number of senators must vote to approve constitutional changes. So please do not leave early. A quorum has been established. (62)
The first order of business is to approve the minutes from the meeting of January 17. Those have been posted on the Senate Web site. Are there any additions or corrections to the minutes? Seeing none do we have a motion to approve the minutes? (moved) Do I hear a second? (second) All in favor please say aye.
James Goldstein, chair: Opposed? (no response) The minutes are approved.
President Gogue is unable to join us today so we will have to strike the President’s remarks from the agenda . [3:10]
Next we have remarks from Provost Boosinger.
Dr. Boosinger, Provost: Thank you Dr. Goldstein. I appreciate the opportunity to t talk to. I have 2 or 3 things I want to bring to your attention.
One is, if you didn’t know it, we have at Auburn University talked about the need for a childcare center or early learning center or some facility along that line. We have a early learning laboratory in the center of campus and we have and early learning center in Birmingham that we operate in collaboration with business in Birmingham. But we have never had a childcare center on campus. We’ve looked at a number of different approaches that might work for Auburn University. All I want to share with you today is to let you know that we’ve started discussion with a developer and an approach to having a public/private partnership at Auburn University. The thinking right now is that is would be located in the Research Park.
The reason for bringing it to your attention now is because we’re going to start to expand those conversations and I want you to know when you hear about this that we are taking a look at that. We have not made any final decisions relative to exactly where it will be, but it will be a facility that we partner with. We’ll have a commitment to the educational programing, there will be an educational advisory board to assist the operation of the center to make sure it’s of the highest quality, and there will be a director of education probably funded by my office. Beyond that I really can’t answer a lot of other specific questions, but we did not want to go any further with this discussion without letting people know that we’re engaged in that discussion.
You may know that attempts have been made using different approaches in the past that were not successful. We’ve tried to come up with an approach that we think will be successful but it will be affiliated with Auburn University, from the beginning the expectation was that it would be an accredited facility, all of our programs are accredited. It would be a little different because it would have that public/private partnership component. There are developers interested in doing this, helping us achieve this goal, that’s kind of where we are right now. [5:51]
The other topic of significant interest right now for a number of our students and employees has to with President Trump’s executive order and issues around immigration and how that affects us. To put it in perspective we have, if you count undergraduate and graduate students and faculty, we have 2,200 employees (people) on our campus that would be considered as international, with a variety of different visas. Some student and some are faculty. Currently while the courts are debating this issue at Auburn University the situation remains unchanged. International students that are here that we’ve accepted, we know that they were reviewed very carefully. There are students and we should do everything we can to support their success at Auburn University. We’ve had a number of requests in a letter that Dr. Goldstein is going to mention to you in a minute and he is going to talk to you about some of the specifics that are in the letter. One of the things that we are being asked to do is to consider being a sanctuary university. The difficulty with that is that we have to comply with the law. So we’ll be watching to see how it progresses. The current thinking from General Council is we cannot be a sanctuary university, but we will wait and see what happens. Right now there is no reason to make any decisions or take further actions until the courts make a decision about President Trump’s executive order. So that is kind of where we find ourselves right now.
We will be responding to the individuals that have written to us and we will also with the help of Dr. Woodard, Vice President for Student Affairs, and others we have already met with some of the student groups. We will expand our discussions with other groups and reassure them them that we are here to make sure that they can be successful at Auburn University. So that is kind of where we find ourselves right now.
Any questions, comments? [8:07]
Tom Smith, senator, Human Development and Family Studies: no longer a question, but I would like to say that, halleluiah, it is time for Auburn University to have childcare for its employees and faculty and staff, etc. As you might guess our department is very interested in that process. I am very glad to hear you say in all likelihood as an Auburn University function it will be accredited etc. and would like to volunteer experts from my department to please be on that advisory committee.
Dr. Boosinger, Provost: We will be looking to your college and other colleges that have an interest to play a part in the advisory board, but at this point none of those…everyone wants to talk about the details. In steering… all the sudden we are talking about detail questions that I can’t answer right now. But we didn’t want to go through all that decision making and then surprise you with a final product. I just you to know we’ve begun the discussion are optimistic that we’ll reach a positive outcome. Thank you.
Elizabeth Devore, vice president of Graduate Student Council, substitute for Tenchi Smith: Actually the Graduate Student Council has been doing a lot of work in looking for childcare opportunities for graduate students. We just created a new service that’s called ‘Tiger Sitting Service’ and running our trial this semester and hoping that goes well, so I am happy to hear about that. We actually have a graduate assistantship that we just started this semester. When information goes out about the assistantship, GSC would love to hear it.
Dr. Boosinger, Provost: Can you tell the group a little more about the Tiger Sitting Service? I’m not sure they really know.
Elizabeth Devore, vice president of Graduate Student Council, substitute for Tenchi Smith: So Tiger Sitting Service is kind of a branch off from the University of Alabama’s what they call Sitters for Service. We’ve kind of put our own spin on it and are also trying to abide by what Risk Management has told us thus far, so one of the things that we had to change from what the University of Alabama does is all around the idea of service. As of right now it will be graduate student families who will get up to 30–40 sitting hours per semester whether it be for their research work, whether it be for a date night with their significant other, any of those things. This is based off of volunteer sitters who are undergraduate students. We are targeting specific departments, as of right now again this is a small trial proof of concept for this semester, but we hope to expand it. So that’s why the idea of childcare services is very important initiative with Graduate Student Council.
I know right now with Risk Management our biggest thing has been we actually are going to have 2 sitters per family. That is to meet certain requirements that are now set in place so it’s not one lone sitter alone on their own. This will all be on what we are expanding upon in what Alabama did in working to make it fit for us here. We hope it becomes a system that’s there for undergraduate students and faculty at some point.
Dr. Boosinger, Provost: Thank you.
My last item. At the previous Senate meeting I updated you on the Promotion and Tenure Committee’s work (a university committee). We met last week and finalized the recommendations. Those went to the President and the candidate should have received their letter today. The letters went out this morning. Our practice has been not to make a public announcement on the system until we have finished the appeal process. So it may be a month before we can make a public announcement, for everybody to see, and congratulate the people that have been promoted and tenured.
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Dr. Boosinger.
Now, a few matters from the Senate Chair. I want to begin by taking a moment to remember a former colleague, Kent Fields, who passed away since our last meeting. Dr. Fields was a professor of accounting at Auburn for many years and was chair of the University Senate during the 1995-96 academic year. Although I did not know him personally, I know that he was well respected and liked by colleagues, the administration, and generations of students. His passing is a great loss to the Auburn family, and I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Senate, to express my condolences to his friends and family. [pause]
I have been asked by Todd Steury, chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, to announce—you have already received an e-mail—the 2017 call for proposals for the $30,000 Departmental Award for Excellence in Education. The award’s goal is to recognize a department culture that meaningfully values and advances teaching and learning excellence. The proposal is only 3-5 pp. long. Proposals are due at 4:45 pm on March 9. The call for proposals can be found on the Biggio Center’s Web page. We encourage proposals from departments on campus that value undergraduate education. If you have any questions, please contact Todd Steury.
I also would like to take a moment to draw attention to that letter from a former student, Sarah Pitts, which I received in my department by U.S. Mail yesterday. The letter was co-signed by over 100 students. Because it was addressed to the University Senate, among other recipients in the salutation, with her permission I have made it available to the entire Senate by providing a link in today’s agenda online. The letter expresses concern over the President’s and Provost’s public statement on Jan. 30 in response to the Executive Order by President Trump that bars holders of passports from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. I expect that almost everyone here is aware of this controversy, which is currently making its way through the Federal court system. The letter, which I invite everyone to read on your own, calls for the administration, and I quote, “to move beyond vague statements of support to take a principled stance to declare Auburn University, international campus that it is, to be a sanctuary campus and to follow up with clearly articulated measures set out to keep students, faculty, and staff safe.” The letter goes on to list ten specific actions that the students hope will be taken. In my e-mail reply, I expressed my admiration for the students’ initiative in the exercise of their First Amendment rights and their academic freedom as students. But I also pointed out that, as a general rule, in cases where the University General Counsel advises the President that any particular action would likely be held to be in violation of Alabama statutes, the administration, mindful of its fiduciary responsibilities as managers of a public institution dependent on State appropriations, would refrain from such actions. I also informed Sarah that I would place the students’ letter on the agenda of the next meeting of Senate Executive Committee, and that the Senate leadership would discuss the letter with the administration. I recommend that everyone here read the letter online, and I would welcome any feedback that you wish to share with me or other members of the Senate leadership.
I also would like to remind everyone that the spring meeting of the General Faculty will take place in this room on Mar. 7; an agenda will be posted on the Senate Web site by the required date. I hope this year we can have a decent attendance by faculty.
Finally, I want to make some clarifications about parliamentary order, which is the chair’s responsibility to uphold. Because we have action items on the agenda that may generate vigorous debate, today seems an opportune time to explain some basic rules of order. Although we don’t have a Senate Rule XIX in this body, we do have a parliamentarian, Dr. Mitchell Brown, to help us make sure we follow Robert’s Rules of Order. Under normal parliamentary rules, all comments are addressed to the chair. However, it is the custom of this body for the chair to turn the podium over to presenters when there is a pending action item or when a motion is on the agenda. These presenters, usually committee chairs, respond to questions from the floor. In order to ensure good order, the rule that I intend to enforce in these cases is that in the first instance, senators (or guests after senators have had an opportunity to speak) may approach the microphone to ask questions of the presenter. Because this is the University Senate, not a faculty senate, senators include elected senators from departments, ex officio senators, and a number of administrators. After the presenter has provided any information and clarifications requested from the floor, the presenter will then take his or her seat so that formal debate, if there is any, can begin. During this stage of deliberations, the chair will recognize speakers from the floor in the order in which they approach the microphones, first starting with senators and then guests, and all speakers will address the chair, not other speakers. If the original presenter wishes to respond to any comments from the floor during this debate, the presenter may take a place at the microphone. No senator or guest can speak twice to an issue until everyone who wishes as spoken once, and twice is the total number of times per issue that a senator or guest can speak to the issue. By long standing Senate custom, speakers are limited to five minutes, and if there is no objection we will continue to follow that rule. This orderly process will ensure that the presenter does not occupy a position of special advantage or favor on the podium during parliamentary debate, or (perish the thought!) inadvertently take over the functions of the chair. I am clarifying these rules because in the past I learned of concerns about the manner of conducting debate in the Senate. I wish to thank our parliamentarian for her advice about the rules of order.
I also wish to remind senators of some other basic rules of order. All comments must be directly related to the question before the body or they may be ruled out of order. If a Senator wishes to introduce an amendment and it is seconded, all debate must be on the proposed amendment, not the main motion, until a vote is taken on the amendment. After the disposition of the amendment has been determined, debate then returns to the main motion, either in its original form or as amended. Amendments are welcome during the formal period of debate after the presenter has left the podium. However, if a motion for amendment happens to be made during the preliminary informational exchange, the presenter must step away from the podium so that formal debate on the proposed amendment can take place. I would be happy to take any questions.
We turn now to our first action item, the proposed revisions to the Senate Constitution from the Faculty Handbook Review Committee. Before turning the podium over to the committee chair, Ralph Kingston, I want to draw your attention to the addition of a third document in this package since our last meeting, one concerning the Library Committee. This new proposal was added at my request, with the agreement of the Executive and Steering Committees of the Senate, in consultation with the chair of the Library Committee, the dean of the library, and senior library staff. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who facilitated this process, especially to Ralph Kingston. Because of the extra obstacles to revising the constitution (the two-thirds rule), I wanted to avoid having to do this all over again a second time later this semester. Ralph will explain the new recommendations during his presentation. [20:54]
Ralph Kingston, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: This is where I see how I measure up to my better (self?). I am not going to go into as much detail as I went through last time. We have 3 documents ahead of us. They respond to a charge we were given last fall to the Handbook Review Committee. The first review was quite technical. First of all we wanted to solidify what exactly the Senate Constitution meant by schools and colleges. [21:30] We wanted to make sure that when it refers to schools and colleges in terms of the composition of Senate standing committees in particular, that it referred to what schools and colleges have traditionally had representation. So we did so by adding the adjective academic before schools and colleges. To designate schools, colleges or other academic units that has their own dean, degree programs and dedicated tenure line faculty. It excludes the Graduate School, the Honors College, the University College or any other school or college that does not meet one or more of these criteria. It was, in effect, basically a way of making clear what was already the practice.
The second charge we had was to clear up the language on the Libraries. We did so by removing, the Constitution used to refer to Auburn Libraries, the Library, AU Libraries, throughout we basically changed out all of those to Libraries in the context in which the Libraries exist should be evident from the fact that it is in the Auburn University Senate Constitution. So that’s the first document.
The second document effectively takes account what is now the practice in terms of documentation and archiving of Senate documents. Now basically the administration maintains the Faculty Handbook. It keeps a running list of revisions at the end of the pdf copy that is online. The other thing it does is it give a change to the role of the Secretary of the Senate in the Senate Rules Committee. I am told that, as I have told you before, this has been basically the role of the Secretary since at least 2004 and now the Constitution is going to reflect it.
Since I last talked to you we realized that in the description of the Rules Committee we had to make a change to reflect the change that we made to the description of the role of the Secretary of the Senate. So there is an additional change at the very bottom of this document in terms of the Rules Committee which basically reflects the swap over of the Rules of the Secretary of the Senate as chair and as a chair as a member of the Rules Committee. Again this is not substantive change what so ever, it’s just that we recognized we had to change the description of the Rules Committee as well. And this is how it has been since 2004 anyway.
The last thing in the aftermath of my last appearance before you, let’s just say the Senate Leadership entered into a discussion of the status of the Library Appeals Committee. The Library Appeals Committee, and this will surprise you I assume, has not actually met in quite a long time. Seemingly the Library is so generous with it’s forgiveness and basically no one has felt the need to appeal a library fine in a long time. The debate that arose in the Senate Leadership was about the staffing of the Library Appeals Committee. It’s normal for the Rules Committee to organize the staffing of Senate standing committees, this is an exception to that. It’s a sub-committee of the Library Committee and is essentially is therefore its composition is determined by the Library Committee. What the Senate Leadership decided was that having a sub-committee of a standing committee as a standing committee was in fact an anomaly. And removing it as a standing committee would basically bring clarity to what turned out to be quite a murky situation. We would continue provision as it stood, the Library Appeals Committee would be formed out of the Library Committee, the Library Committee exists exactly as it was, it’s chaired by a faculty member, that faculty member, the chair of the Library Committee would form, create, and bring together a Library Appeals Committee when and where it was necessary.
This would mean effectively that if somebody does appeal a library fine it can happen quickly and efficiently. What you see here effectively the provision for appeals is within the Library Committee and it allows for composition of a 3-person Committee to review appeals against fines. It is effectively the same provision as the one we deleted except in one way. The former Library Appeals Committee had 5 members, this has a minimum of 3 members. We reduced that partly again so that it would be easier to form an appeals committee and did not think the reduction has a substantial effect because we added a provision that one of the 3 members should be from the same patron group as the appellant, so that there is an automatic representation of your patron group in this appeals committee. If you are a faculty member, there would be a faculty member on the appeals committee; if you are a graduate student a graduate student would be on the appeals committee, etc., etc. etc.
Because the Library Committee does not include a representative member of staff you will see that we made particular if the appellant is a staff member that we actually pull a staff member onto the Library Appeals Committee formed from the Library Committee. We’re insuring that if the university comes to a stage in which the Library is heavily prosecuting library fines and we need an appeals process, there is a sturdy and functioning appeals process readily and available to use. I think that’s it.
Last time I ran straight out the door, this time I will wait for questions. If there are no questions, then I am going to assume that it was not a controversial item to which I referred earlier. Thank you. [28:32]
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Ralph and your surmise was correct. I should also mention that the old Library Appeals Committee dates back to before there was online renewal of library materials. I think that is important context too.
In that case we can begin the formal debate if there is any. If anyone wants to speak in favor or against this packaged deal, now is your time or forever hold your peace. I think that’s the Robert’s Rules formula. In that case are we ready for a vote? Okay, if you approve…remember we need 57 aye, for this to pass. The good news is the Board of Trustees doesn’t have to approve it. You might remember that has been changed. So if you are voting in favor please press A. It’s all 3 together unless there’s a motion to divide the question (which time has expired since voting is in progress now). We have to do it again, I am informed. Now do it again [vote] A=70, B=2 The motion carries. We just amended the Constitution.
The second action item is a package of proposed changes to the previously approved academic calendars for 2017-18 and 2018-19; and approval of the calendar for 2019-20. Just for clarification in the light of the question I heard from the previous motion, it would be possible if anybody thinks it’s wise to make a motion to divide the questions so that we could vote on these 3 things separately, but unless anybody makes such a motion that is seconded and approved we will vote on these as a package deal.
I give you Robin Jaffe, Chair of the Calendar and Schedules Committee. I am extremely grateful to Robin and his committee for all their hard work trying to please as many constituencies as possible while remaining within the guidelines for calendars previously approved by the Senate. It is a very difficult job. [32:08]
Robin Jaffe, Chair of the Calendar and Schedules Committee: thank you James. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody. What we are bringing from the Calendar and Schedules Committee today are 3 proposals. One is a change to the 2017–18 academic calendar, one is the change to the 2018–19 academic calendar, and the complete 2019–20 academic calendar.
I wanted to let everybody know that all of our proposals presented today had the full consensus from all the members of our committee. Here are the members of our committee, and we have representation from the faculty, the A&P representative, the staff representative, and 2 members of our SGA. We also had invited guests of Jesse Westerhouse, a former member of the Calendar and Schedules Committee, and Kevin Holt, the director of university housing and residence life. So when we spoke on everything these people were there for those meetings.
Selected guidelines considered by the Calendar and Schedules Committee, fall and spring semesters are from 70–73 days, calendar for the full summer term are 48 to 49 days; 7–10 days between semesters; graduation on the preferred day of Saturday for fall and summer, graduation on the preferred days of Saturday and Sunday for spring; 5 days for finals for fall and spring; 2 reading days after classes end for fall and spring; at least 1 reading day for each mini-term and full term in the summer; fall break will be 2 days unless 72 days aren’t available then the fall break will be 1 day. So we have a lot of guidelines, a lot of rules and we have to fit this all in one sneaker.
Item number one is the change to the 2017–18 academic calendar. Basically it is to move t the starting date from August 18, Friday, 2017 to August 21, 2017, changing the number of classes from 73 to 72 days. This will help the students and the families overall, allowing them to move in over the weekend and enabling Housing more time to setup. We are also adding a third graduation date on May 7, 2018, which would be a Monday. We have more people graduating so we need more graduations. This year we are going to have one on the Monday because the College of Liberal Arts has accepted to do that, so we are trying to that in the calendars from now on.
As you see this is the calendar where we are changing from the Friday, August 18 to the Monday, August 21 and we are adding the May 7 graduation day. Are there any questions to this item? [35:20] I will go on.
Item number two is the addition of a third graduation day on the 2018–19 academic calendar on May 6, 2019. Basically, if you watch, we are just adding a graduation day so we have 3 graduation days on this calendar. Are there any questions for this item?
Alright, here comes the big one. This is our proposal for the 2019–20 academic calendar. We will start on August 19, 2019; we have Labor Day on 2 September, we have fall break on October 10 and 11, Thanksgiving break is November 25–29, and fall semester is over on 6 December with finals following and graduation on Dec. 14. Classes in the spring semester 2020 will begin on January 8. We have Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, spring break March 9-13, classes will end on Friday, April 19, and finals going through May 1, 2020, graduation on May 2, 3, and 4.
One of the things that has come up in conversations is that we’re having conversations with the realtors of Auburn, AL regarding people staying in their apartments and need to stay through graduation, through the first week of August and most of the contract are through the end of July. So we are trying to work that in and discuss that. SGA is working on surveys and how many people are affected by that. So we changed the calendar in the summer to try to alleviate some of those issues. We’ll start on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday and we’ll go through the 24th day of the calendar for the first mini-semester and the halfway point of the full summer semester on June 23. There are no classes for the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for that 48 full term at that point. That’s when they have a reading day and 2 finals days. Then we’ll have classes start on June 29 for the second mini-semester and the second half of the 48 and go to the end of July. We will have reading days on Saturday and Sunday, finals on August 3, 4, and 5 and have 2 days break before we have graduation. Graduation has to be on Saturday, according to the guidelines in the rules and even if we did push the starting date to May 18 we would still end up having graduation on August 8 because of the rules. This is the 2019–20 academic calendar, are there any questions for this? [39:00]
James Goldstein, chair: A model of clarity, no need for questions. Now would be the time if anybody wants to comment either in favor or against any of these proposals or to separate the question if anybody thinks that’s a good idea. Seeing no one at the microphones…and since this comes from a standing committee of the Senate it needs no second. Now we are ready to vote.
If you are in favor of all these changes and the new later calendar, please press A. A=71, B=2. The motion carries. Thank you everyone. (much laughter) Let the minutes record that there was a delightful animation projected on the screen.
That does conclude our action items for today. Now we turn to our pending action items to be voted on in the March meeting. Our first pending action to be voted on next month I present Xing Ping Hu, the Senate Secretary, who will now call for nominations from the floor for new members of the Rules Committee. [41:00]
Xing Ping Hu, Secretary: Good afternoon. Happy Valentine’s. This year 3 people serving on Rules Committee will be rotating off. We will need at least 3 nominees from among the current senators to serve on this committee for a 2-year term. The Senate Constitution requires the members of this committee to be members of the Senate at the time of the election, and the nomination should come from the floor at the February Senate meeting, that is today’s meeting. So now I shall call for nominees. When you speak, please go to the microphone, state your name, the name of the nominee and which college they are serving.
Larry Teeter, immediate past chair: I would like to nominate Anwar Ahmed, Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering.
Lisa Kensler, College of Education: I would like to nominate Jung Won Hur, College of Education.
Dan Svyantek, chair-elect: Ming-kwo Lee, COSAM. He is a Geoscience senator this year.
Xing Ping Hu, Secretary: Thank you.
James Goldstein, chair: Now that we have official nominations their bios will go up on the Senate Web page so that you can see who these people are. [43:05]
Our second pending action item, a resolution from the Faculty Research Committee, will be presented by Robert Ashurst, chair of the committee.
Robert Ashurst, chair of the Faculty Research Committee: Thank you all for the opportunity to present this draft resolution. The elements of my talk are here for you to look at. This presentation has also been posted, hopefully you’ve had a chance to peruse it. A little bit of background about how this draft resolution came to be, about a year ago in April there was a meeting with the Assoc. Deans for Research and various representatives involved in research who drafted a report which contained, near the end of it, 14 key action items. That report, I believe in its totality, is listed with the files agenda link here. Dr. Goldstein charged the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) to take a look at that report and consider those 14 key action items for draft resolutions to be presented to the Senate. That committee looked at those action items, considered them for a couple of meetings with discussion over those. The general consensus from the FRC is support for all of those 14 key action items. However, there was only one that we felt needed to be brought as a resolution to the Senate.
This is that key action item verbatim, pasted in from the ADR report, here for reference only. I will mention that this key action item involves changing the timeline for promotion and tenure for both elements of tenure and promotion from assistant to associate and also for promotion from associate to full.
The next step in the process here, we looked at the issue, drafted a resolution which only really addresses the promotion from assistant to associate and tenure. That draft resolution was presented by me to the University (Faculty) Research Committee in mid December. It was also presented to the Senate Steering Committee earlier in January. I understand from Dr. Goldstein that the resolution has also been examined by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and they received it and are in general support of it.
What specifically we did in the FRC to look at this was pull data form Southern Regional Education Board in the Southeastern Conference peer institutions to look at what information they had regarding their timeline for tenure and promotion as we could find it. There is a supporting document spreadsheet with that information. It is also available for you guys to look at (linked on today’s Senate agenda).
What we found looking through the information there was general support for a norm of 5 years of full service before promotion of assistant to associate, what we did not find was a general consensus or a timeline for promotion from associate to full. As a result, our draft resolution leaves that part of the key action item out. Also note that the proposed resolution is still consistent with the AAUP 1940 guidelines on the principles of tenure.
Our recommendations in short are that we have the norm of consideration be 5 years, don’t make any comment on promotion on associate to full, and that the flexibility for early promotion and tenure remains (no changes to that part), and I also understand that if this resolution is approved there will be a provision to grandfather in people who are already in the pipeline on that.
That’s it in a nutshell. Talking about basically extending the norm for promotion and tenure from what it typically is now, which is around 4 years, we are talking about extending that to 5 years.
The actual resolution is there (on screen).
Mike Stern, substitute senator, Economics: Just a little comment. So years ago we moved to all departments writing some specific tenure and promotion guidelines that went up and were approved and on the Web site and whatnot. So I would be a little bit careful about people who have existing guidelines that were calibrated to a 4-year window would probably need to be changed or recalibrated if it’s now a 5-year window. So be careful about going into effect on anything prior to review of anybody’s policies that have been calibrated to a 4-year window.
I presume that if it’s 5-years for some unit that used to use 4 they will have to up the standards a little bit, in terms of the written policy. But it doesn’t affect this if you want a 5-year, but I do know some must have been on a 4 which is why you are trying to shift to a 5-year norm, but you may have to revisit some of the departmental guidelines in relation to this. [51:13]
Vicky van Saten, senator, Pathobiology: Will this affect the possibility of people going up twice? Trying twice?
Robert Ashurst, chair of the Faculty Research Committee: No, they will still have 2 opportunities.
James Goldstein, chair: Since I’m the one who contacted the National Office of the AAUP just to check into this. So they go up in their 6th year let’s say they’re denied, they will get a letter that says that this is their year notice that unless the successfully come up for tenure in their seventh year, this is you notice of one year and then out. That does conform with the AAUP standards. As long as that letter in the sixth year is clear that “this is notice” unless you are successful in the seventh year. They still have that opportunity. There is still no room for misinterpretation and the AAUP is fine with that. [52:22]
Thank you very much. So this one we will be voting on next time.
We now have three informational items. The first item is from the Ad Hoc Committee on Competency-Based Education, whose final report will be presented by Constance Relihan, Associate Provost of Undergraduate Studies. I want to thank Constance and her committee for all the hard work and dedication they put into the assignment. The full report, as I have already told her, is one of the most impressive committee reports presented to the Senate in recent memory, and we all owe them an extraordinary debt of gratitude. The full report is available for everyone on the Web site. So, Dr. Relihan. [52:33]
Constance Relihan, Associate Provost of Undergraduate Studies: Thanks. If you remember about last spring, Lisa Kensler, chair of the Academic Standards Committee, reported that the Academic Standards Committee had looked briefly at competency based education and it recommend that an ad hoc committee be formed to look further. So volunteers were sought to form an ad hoc committee. We received our charge early in the fall. We were to determine if we thought Auburn should pursue competency based education and if we did we were to recommend programs that we thought would be good for it.
So up on the screen you’ve got not only an excerpt from the charge, but also the list of the people who were on this committee. Remember these were volunteers, these were presumably the most enthusiastic people on campus dying to know more about CBE. If we were going to find advocates for CBE, they were going to be in this group. [54:50] We had people from a range of departments as well as academic assessment, the writing program, Extension, so we had a range of kinds of people with kinds of interests. We met every 2 weeks during the fall at 8:30 in the morning, start the day off right. (Which maybe means never agree to be on a committee I’m chairing, because I like those morning meetings.)
We had a lot of work to do to really learn what competency based education might mean. So before we go further, just a little summary…CBE, competency based education is as I say there outcomes are performance based, personalized and adaptive, and fixed definitions don’t really exist yet, it’s still in flux as people explore it more. But for those of you who may not be familiar with it, you might think of a competency based education undergraduate major for instance might consist of instead of having a student successfully complete 120 credit hours in a certain pattern, might have to say a student demonstrate mastery in 95 specific outcomes. So the student wouldn’t be signing up for courses they would be demonstrating competency in these outcomes.
There are a range of ways in which competency based education is employed. Direct assessment is a kind of program is what I just referred to. All of the programs material is assessed by student mastery of outcomes. In order for this to work well you have to have very well defined assessment, whether those are tests or projects or however you are assessing those outcomes, you have to have real confidence in the reliability of those assessments. You can have other kinds of programs that involve CBE but aren’t full on CBE. You can have a blended approach which might consist of something like a student coming into a program might have their competence up to this point assessed so you can determine at what point in the program they start. Currently when students transfer into programs we judge where they need to start with our course work based on the coursework that transfers in from other institutions. If you wanted to do a competency based assessment you might give them tests. And then you might say, “Ah, you need to start at the 3000 level, or whatever”
You can have the use of competency based outcomes while maintaining the traditional Carnegie unit course. In other words, you can have a program that is 120 credit hours, but you may have some individual courses in that program that have a grade for instance entirely based on student completion of specific outcomes. None of the grade is based on the ability of the student to turn work in on time or show up to class, it’s completely based on the ability to master those outcomes.
Then there is sort of a smaller use of CBE to provide digital badges or micro credentials. These tend to be small certifications for certain skills, certain masteries that frequently aren’t necessarily linked to credit hour production or to a larger certificate or degree.
As you might expect there are pros and cons. Some of the same things can be both pros and cons to CBE programs. We did a lot of reading, we talked to a number of people and we did a lot of serious thinking. CBE programs can be good for students because they can be flexible. If most of these or online a student who is motivated can go through a program quickly, certainly can go through the program on their own schedule, that can definitely be an advantage, and if the student is the right student for the program they can save money. Some institutions do things like saying you pay us one fee; pay us $6,000 and you get 9 months of access to all of the materials for this program. So if the student is competent and sophisticated and self motivated, maybe they could complete nearly all of the degree program in that one 6 month payment. Obviously there’s a flip side to that as well. Those students are maybe not so easy to come by and for the student who is unprepared, they can end up spending more without getting what they are paying for, or what they think they’re paying for.
One of the things that’s in the literature is that CBE programs can provide nice links with industry or future employers. They can be very useful for majors that have very specific learning outcomes already and that might be trying to meet the specific needs of a particular set of employers. So that’s one potential advantage. And we kept coming across this term “unbundling” which, I’m in English, I like words…unbundling of faculty responsibilities. In other words, this could be a positive thing. If you have faculty involved in the creation of the course, but then other people are perhaps involved in the administering of the course, the mentoring of the students, it takes a lot of mentoring and following up with these students to make sure they are staying on track, then conceivably your tenure line faculty member, once the course is crated, will have more time for research. The flip side again on the cons is that this can be seen as a diminution of the traditional roles of faculty as the faculty become distanced from the courses they create and the academic coaching and mentoring and advising and all of those support functions get shifted onto other individuals as well. So again, positives and negatives.
At the end of our work on this we decided to recommend that we do no think Auburn should move forward with pursuing CBE full on at this time. One other reason that I need to mention before I move to the recommendations is that the regulatory environment is pretty strict on this. And we would have both, very substantial sets of criteria. We would need to meet both with SACS and with Department of Education in order to offer such programs and for our students to be eligible to be able to receive Federal financial aid for competency based education. So we don’t recommend moving forward with a full on approach at this point. [1:03:45]
In it’s purest form it would create complications for accreditation and financial aid eligibility. We also did not find any demonstrated need. We did not find evidence that students in competency based education programs learn the material better. And we didn’t find programs or faculty on our campus who want to move forward. Remember the people who are on the committee were probably the most motivated and even they ended up feeling that they could do what they wanted to do without going to a complete competency based non-Carnegie hour approach.
However, we did think there might be some ways for some programs to think about some aspects of CBE. In particular, maybe to think about some ways to use prior learning assessment to help students. For instance, there might be some programs that might be interested using CLEP tests more or something like that model where you let a student take the final exam in a course and if they perform at a certain level perhaps they get credit for the course. Which is a form of competency based approaches to education, but we didn’t want to push anyone in any direction. We thought that CBE seems to work best for short programs like certificates or workshops for experienced learners, graduate students more than undergraduate students and that those might be good places to think about CBE possibilities.
If a department wants to go forward, we’ve got a few things we think you should do. First make sure that the program that you want to implement is central to your mission and the university’s mission because it’s going to take a great investment of time and energy and commitment and you need to make sure that it’s going to be something that you are going to want for the long haul. Understand that the on and off campus approval process will be long and complicated, multi-year and frustrating. But what isn’t? Happy Valentine’s Day. You need to consider whether you have a market. Consider the needs of your prospective students. It’s probably good to talk to industry employers in your area in your field to see what they might encourage you to do. Make sure that faculty are in control of the program. Beware of the unbundling. And these are expensive. There’s a lot of up front costs in terms of curriculum development, but then there’s ongoing cost as well, because the programs that seem to work have a good number of people hired to be student coaches, mentors, following up with students online and by phone to make sure they are staying on track. These don’t really seem to be saving universities great amounts of money, or generating large amounts of revenue.
And then understand that this is an area that is developing rapidly. So you need to do your homework, do your reading, be aware of what’s going on. When we were writing our report, which I thank the chair for his kind comments about that report, it is a thing of beauty I will say. It has a bibliography that’s several pages long. I would encourage you to make use of it. We tried to pull together as many resources as possible because we thought that this could be a document that might be of use to people as they move forward. And that is my report. If there are questions I would answer them.
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you very much.
The second information item is on the Engagement Scholarship Conference, presented by Chippewa Thomas, Director Faculty Engagement in the Office of University Outreach. [1:09:10]
Chippewa Thomas, Director Faculty Engagement in the Office of University Outreach: Good afternoon and I appreciate the opportunity to provide a report from the office of Faculty Engagement in the division of University Outreach.
For context, in 2009 Auburn University became a member of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, ESC, and it’s now comprised of 37 member institutions committed to evidence based community engagement. I’d like to share with you all a video because Auburn University will be hosting the next ESC Conference that will draw more than 500 individuals, engagement professionals from all over the globe. [1:10:20]
Link to video presentation on the 18th annual conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium follows.
As you all can see how this is going to be a great opportunity for not only engagement professionals here at Auburn University to showcase the scholarship and exemplar work that we do in partnership with community, certainly right here locally, but all over the state of Alabama, certainly the region of the U.S. and abroad. I’d like to ask each of you to share this information with your colleagues in your unit. As the conference chairperson presenting our local planning committee here at Auburn University we really want to have a nice cadre of individuals representing the model scholarship and engagement work that’s produced from Auburn University showcased at the conference. That being said, I’d like to request that you share the call for proposals with your colleagues which will be open until March 15. We will be promoting this information as we continue with certainly our trek toward September 24 through 27.
Additionally, we’d like to share with you all the competitive outreach scholarship grant recipients are typical presenters at the ESC Conference and in a number of different ways. There are a couple of pre-conference activities that staff who are engaged in outreach work actually participate in. There is also an emerging scholars workshop for those folks who are new to engagement work. We certainly want to highlight to you that for those of you who are interested in attending in addition to submitting a proposal to present, the registration will open on April 3 and probably extend through August. So please visit the call for proposals.
These Competitive Outreach Scholarship grant recipients that were announced recently are certainly colleagues of ours that we would like to celebrate. You can certainly visit our Web site to look at their work, but more importantly and to the conclusion of this presentation we’d like to invite each of you and your colleagues, before Friday, to RSVP to attend a luncheon recognizing these colleagues for their achievement and not only that the community partners that help us make this engagement work possible in the community.
If you will simply click on the link to RSVP, I will be happy to have you. Certainly if you’d like more information about the luncheon we can provide that for you by contacting us at the office. At this time if there are any questions I will be happy to answer, from anyone. Thank you.
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you very much.
We finally turn to our last information item for the day, it will be very brief and then you can finally get out of here. The announcement of the Slate of Candidates for 2017-18 Senate Officers will be presented by Xing Ping Hu, Senate Secretary.
Xing Ping Hu, Senate Secretary: I am delighted to announce the slate of candidates for Senate Officers, a one year term of 2017–18. The biographical information and the statement by the candidates are available on the Senate Web site under News. You will receive an e-mail from me calling for an online vote on March 2 and you will have 5 days to cast the vote online. The result will be announced at the General Faculty Meeting on March 7. The election rules are based on the Faculty Constitution.
The last item I want to announce is this year we will have about 20 senators who will be rotating off. I have sent those people and e-mail last week and I appreciate and thank those who have responded. For those that haven’t had time to respond I look forward to hear from you as soon as possible. Thank you very much.
James Goldstein, chair: That concludes the agenda items for today. Is there any unfinished business? Is there any new business? In that case this meeting is adjourned.
Please remember to return your clickers in the back, and to have another kiss from me. [1:21:12]