Transcript Senate Meeting
June 13, 2017
James Goldstein, chair: I call the meeting to order. Welcome to the tenth and final meeting of the University Senate for 2016-17. Here again are the usual reminders. 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 beside their name on the sign-in sheet. 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 your 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. After senators have had a chance to speak, guests are welcome to speak as well.
The agenda today was set by the Senate Steering Committee and posted on the Senate website in advance. It is now up on the screen. First we need to establish a quorum. We need 44 senators present for a quorum. Please press A on your clicker for the count. (45) Quorum is established.
The first order of business is to approve the minutes for the meeting of May 16, 2017. The minutes have been previously posted on the Senate Web site. Are there any additions or changes or corrections to these minutes? Do I have a motion to approve? Second? All in favor please say aye.
James Goldstein, chair: Opposed? (no response) The minutes are hereby approved. [2:45]
Turning now to remarks and announcements we now begin with President Jay Gogue, his last appearance as president before this body.
Dr. Jay Gogue, President: Thank you James. Delighted to be with you today. A couple of items I want to share with you, number one, we had a Board of Trustees meeting last week and there were 2 items that I think might be of interest to you. Number one there were several items on the academic side that went before the Board, they were all approved as I recall. The second item had to do with the framework for the budget for 2018. They approved guidelines for the budget. It does include a pay increase, I think an average of 3%. They showed that tuition increase will generate somewhere over 20 million dollars in new money, spend about 11 or 12 million of that in terms of salary increases. There will also be a one-time supplement in the December period. I can’t remember if it is 2 or 3%; 3%, also as an average. [3:55] They also reserved 6 million dollars to be allowed where you’d be sure in the following year 2018 regardless of what happens there would be an opportunity to have some salary increases also. So pretty good Board Meeting.
This is my last one, I just want to simply say how much I enjoyed working with all of you. I’ve been here 10 years. Some great Senate leadership over the years. Your interest in shared governance was important. I think one of the things I enjoyed the most, and I know I speak for the Provost and Don Large, we had a chance to meet with the Executive Committee prior to Senate meetings and we learned an awful lot and we appreciate everything that you’ve done. You’ve made a tremendous amount of accomplishments, certainly since I was able to watch it. The part that is the most gratifying to me is I want you to think back about 2009, we end up with over 100 million dollar cut in the budget for the university, the ongoing money from the state. We could really have had some difficulties from that, but the faculty and staff at this university figured out how to still make progress through a pretty tough time [5:12] and it would have been very easy to sort of just balk at it and you didn’t. We didn’t have to lay off a lot of people, or furlough a lot of people or abolish programs which is the common thing to do. That’s a real testament to the faculty and the leadership within the units on this campus. So very simply, I appreciate each and everyone of you. Thank you. [5:34]
James Goldstein, chair: Now we turn to remarks from Provost, Timothy Boosinger.
Dr. Timothy Boosinger, Provost: Thank you James. I appreciate the opportunity to talk for just a few minutes. I thought it might be helpful to update you on a few things that would be of interest to you. First, at this time of year we’re spending a lot of time talking about enrollment and I frequently as I go around the city of Auburn, people say, how big is the summer enrollment? So I thought you might like to know our total enrollment for the summer was 11,628 approximately, it’s not an official number right now; and about 8,100 and those students are undergraduates. So it gives you a sense of how many students are on campus through the summer months.
We’re looking right now, this will firm up in a few weeks, but we think the incoming class of students who are attending class for the first time will be about 4,700. That is very close to what we predicted. It is consistent with our model, so we are pleased to see that.
Our goal is to have a ratio of in-state versus out-of-state of about 60% of students being in-state and 40% out-of state. Right now it looks like it’s going to be about 57% in-state and 43% out-of-state. Those percentages fluctuate some from year to year, so that’s not a big surprise.
I was pleased to learn last week that ACHE approved the new department of aviation, it will be located in the University College. So we will proceed with planning for the development of that department. Coincidentally, just with timing, construction will begin this summer on the aviation education center at the airport. If you’ve been out there, that facility will be on the west side of the runway across from the new terminal, and down a little way south of the old terminal. So we’re excited about that.
On June 30 a group of us will be, and it’s open to anyone who wants to go, but a group of us will be in Gulf Shores to have a ground breaking for the Auburn Education Center that will be located there in Baldwin County. So that’s an exciting opportunity for a number of programs, including Extension, Agriculture, Aviation, and of course Veterinary Medicine because that will be a big part of it.
There are some other very large projects that are coming to fruition right now it’s pretty exciting. The Mell Classroom Building is projected to be done in July. I think Dr. McEwan is counting down the days, it’s 32 days. We dedicated the Pharmacy Research Building last week. A wonderful turnout, it’s a beautiful facility and adjacent to that building is the new Nursing Facility, classrooms and more. That will be a state of the art facility for our Nursing Program, that is exciting, and is projected to be completed by the end of the summer but don’t have an exact date on that one.
We’ve had, in recent months, a number of lively discussions about fixed price contracts and how we manage the resources associated with those contracts. So a new policy was put in place effective March 1, 2017 and concerns have been raised about pieces of that. We had a communication problem on accounts that were going to be grandfathered in, so we are working on fixing those right now and we will continue to work together with the Senate Officers. We’ve had 3 or 4 discussions with the Senate Officers about how we’ll manage those resources going forward. It’s important to know that everybody involved in this is trying to make sure that we are good stewards of our resources. So we are investing them as wisely as possible within what is considered to be best practice. We will continue to monitor that with the Senate Officers and keep you up to date on that as appropriate.
Then finally, it’s hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about summer graduation and convocations. Convocation is scheduled for 4:15 on August 20. That will be here before we know it, probably before we are all ready. That signals of course the start of classes the next day.
This is an exciting time at Auburn University, we’ve got a few works to get done before the new class arrives, but I appreciate all of your good work and all that you do to help make Auburn University a great institution. I would like to publically add my thank you to Dr. Gogue for all he’s done. I know he’s gotten a lot of praise from a lot of groups, but I’ve enjoyed working directly with him for 6 years. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you, Dr. Gogue.
Any questions for me? Comments? Okay, thank you. [11:02]
James Goldstein, chair: Today is my final meeting as Chair of the University Senate, and it is customary for the outgoing chair to reflect back on the year’s achievements and to look forward to the future. I will not review the highlights of our work together, since they are available on the Senate website—the policy changes, the committee reports, the revisions to the Faculty Handbook, and so on. But I do wish to say that it has been an honor to serve as Senate chair, and I want to thank my fellow officers for their dedication and support: Xing Ping Hu, Secretary; Dan Svyantek, Chair-elect; Don Mulvaney, Secretary-elect; and especially Larry Teeter, Immediate Past Chair. I also want to thank the members of the Steering Committee, who in my e-mails I have addressed in Latin as Gubinatores—those who stand by the helm of the Senatorial ship of state. I also want to thank Laura Kloberg, our hard-working administrative assistant, and Mitchell Brown, the Parliamentarian, who couldn’t be here today. In her absence, Dan Svyantek is serving in that role today. Finally, I want to thank to the two colleagues who were elected to office earlier this year: Mike Baginski, who will serve as Chair-elect next year; and Beverly Marshall who will be Secretary-elect.
When I tell my academic friends outside the university about my experience as Senate Chair, I tell them that it has been my good fortune to be serving during what I characterize as the “golden age” of faculty-administration relations at Auburn University. Thus I also wish to thank all of the administrators that I have worked with closely this year, but most especially President Gogue, Provost Boosinger, and Associate Provost Emmett Winn. They all have demonstrated a genuine commitment to shared governance and respecting the faculty’s unique role in that joint endeavor. As I recently stressed to the Provost, when a policy directly affecting the faculty is under consideration, representatives of the faculty deserve to have a seat at the table. The current administration respects the core principle articulated in the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, which states: “The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.” In promoting the faculty’s role in shared governance, this administration has supported academic freedom.
This, of course, is also the last meeting that Dr. Gogue will attend as president. In reflecting on these matters, I recall speaking directly to Dr. Gogue at the first meeting he attended as our new president, on September 4, 2007. As it happens, it was also my first meeting as senator for the Department of English. In my prepared remarks, I welcomed Dr. Gogue to the Senate, adding that I wished “to express my hope that his presidency will usher in a new era of mutual respect, trust, and cooperation between the administration and the faculty.” Happily, my hopes—which I believe were shared by the entire faculty—were not disappointed. Our incoming president, Dr. Leath, will have an opportunity to do all he can to help maintain the era of mutual respect, trust, and cooperation between the administration and the faculty. The future of Auburn seems bright, indeed.
I often tell friends that I am proud to be the first faculty member from the Department of English to be elected chair of the Senate since 1989. But as far as I am aware, I am the first medieval scholar to serve in this role, even though Auburn is a land-grant institution. You may ask yourself, what am I doing here? One way to answer why a medievalist is standing before you today may be found within the Morrill Act of 1862, which first created land-grant colleges. That law stipulated that in addition to advancing “agriculture and mechanical arts,” land-grant colleges would also include “other scientific and classical studies.” The mission of the land-grant colleges would be “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.” By statute, liberal education is thus at the heart of the land-grant mission. However, it took much longer than it should have for all citizens of the State of Alabama to be afforded the opportunity to study here, and we still sometimes struggle with that historical legacy in our efforts to advance diversity and inclusion.
As a medievalist, I am trained to take a very long view of history. As I often remind friends and colleagues, the university is an institution that first came into being during the Middle Ages. When I look at our own university, I recognize that the seven liberal arts continue to be taught in some form at Auburn. The seven liberal arts were inherited by medieval scholars from the ancient world. The seven liberal arts formed the core curriculum of medieval universities in such centers of learning as Paris, Oxford, and Bologna. The three verbal arts of the trivium—grammar, rhetoric, logic—and the four numerical arts of the quadrivium—arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy—each of the seven liberal arts continues to be taught at Auburn University. However, I am happy to report that we no longer rely on the standard medieval textbooks or teaching methods in the twenty-first century.
Because I am a student of medieval intellectual history, I also aware that the struggles over academic freedom and shared governance that have occasionally taken place, even at Auburn University, are part of the modern world’s inheritance from medieval universities. Although the University of Paris was not formally chartered until the thirteenth century, during the twelfth century Paris was already an internationally renowned center of higher education. Early in the twelfth century in Paris, the philosopher Peter Abelard, without a doubt the most brilliant mind of his day, offers an early example of the conflict between a professor and the governing body of an institution of higher learning. In his autobiographical account, The History of My Misfortunes, Abelard describes what happened because of professional rivalries that arose in large part because he gave radical new answers to traditional academic questions. His main rival prevented him from taking up a chair in philosophy that he had been promised. Instead of being discouraged, what did Abelard do? He took his school outside the city, to the Left Bank of the River Seine, and began teaching beyond the reach of his superiors. The students came in droves to hear his lectures—because without students, professors cannot teach. In the following century, the University of Paris was formally created on the Left Bank, in part because of Abelard’s pioneering effort. In short, the struggle for academic freedom and the faculty’s role in shared governance is a very old story. As long as our faculty cares about these fundamental values, there is a chance that they will continue to flourish at Auburn University well into the future. But nothing is guaranteed: the faculty must always remain vigilant. That also means that we will always need volunteers to serve on committees, and dedicated faculty leaders willing to run for office. Although I have worked hard during the year, it has been a blast. I hope other capable faculty members will be willing to try it too. It also means that those who have tenure have a duty to do all they can to support our non-tenure-track colleagues, since they do not enjoy the full benefits of academic freedom and due process without the protections of tenure. In the meantime, it has been my privilege to serve this year as Senate chair.
We have two action items on the agenda today. The first will be presented by Xing Ping Hu, Senate Secretary. This is another vote on members of Senate Committees. [19:53]
Xing Ping Hu, Senate Secretary: What you have if front of you is a lot of hard work from Rules to finish find the remaining slots of the last 3 groups of the Senate Committees. You have on screen the list of the nominees which has been posted on the Senate Web site and hopefully you have had a chance to review it. [20:34] These nominees come from a standing Senate committee so it does not require a second. Before I ask you for a vote, I will take any comments or questions if there are any. Hearing none, take your clickers, if you approve of the names press A, if you do not approve press B. A=48, B=1. Thank you very much, the motion carries.
James Goldstein, chair: The next action item is the proposal on the eligibility of certain non-tenure-track faculty for emeritus status, presented by Barbara Brumbaugh, Chair, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Committee.
Barbara Brumbaugh, Chair, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Committee: I did the longer version of this presentation last time so I will keep this fast. I want to remind you that this proposal was unamously supported by everyone on our committee. The committee does include department chairs and tenure-line faculty as well as representatives from the various groups of non-tenure track faculty. Also many other research universities do offer emeritus status for lecturers and some of the other groups of non-tenure track faculty who would be covered by the new proposal.
Just a brief reminder, again, for the groups of non-tenure track faculty in question the primary advantage is people who wanted to continue to do research and publish after they retired would be able to do so more easily if they could continue to use the university Library and the Libraries databases. The advantages for the university is that such faculty members did continue to publish after they retired and list their status as emeritus from Auburn, the university in its research mission would get a certain amount of publicity when they did that at a very low cost and it would help generate goodwill among non-tenure track faculty members. Some people might be more likely to stay here until they retired because of this benefit. Does anyone have any questions? [23:44]
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Barbara. If there is no discussion, then are you ready for a vote? If you press A if you approve of the motion, B if you do not approve the motion. A=45, B=5. The motion carries. That concludes the action items on the agenda today.
We have two information items today. The first is a report about the year’s activities by the Faculty Research Committee, presented by Bob Ashurst, chair of the Faculty Research Committee.
Bob Ashurst, chair of the Faculty Research Committee: Thank you Dr. Goldstein. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the Senate about some of the things that our committee has been up to over the past, approximately a year or so. Briefly, the Faculty Research Committee(FRC) is a standing committee of the University Senate, it’s made up of faculty who have strong connections to research at Auburn. The members are listed on the Senate Web site for you to look at. The membership is comprised of faculty who have a stake in research at Auburn. We meet monthly and have pretty lively discussions. During the past year we formed 2 sub-committees within the FRC that were formed to investigate 2 broad topics; research in metrics is focused on identifying research in scholarship products their impact and how to best capture their impact in productivity. Ultimately this sub-committee will produce a document with examples of research scholarship products. This is not meant to drive policy, it’s meant to be informative and broadly useful as a resource.
Scholarship incitivization is another one of these broad topics that there is a sub-committee in the FRC to look at. Given the recent cessation of the SIP that everyone probably already knows about, our committee is looking for ways moving forward to try to incentivize faculty to engage in quality scholarship. Earlier this year a survey was made available to faculty to get input from the AU faculty at large. That was lead by Dan Henley. We received a large number of responses to that survey and that sub-committee is working to compile those data and we will be making some report on that soon.
In addition to the larger, broader topics that tend to take a long time to discuss, we’ve also looked at some very much focused topics. The tenure and promotion timeline was something we were charged by Senate Chair Goldstein to look at from the 2016 Associate Deans of Research Report. You guys all saw that and the resolution passed, thank you for that.
We’ve also been looking at the issue of tuition remission policy, which is basically how to cover the cost of tuition for our graduate students when it’s available from external funding. This is a policy that there was a working group formed and the Chair of the FRC was responsible for reporting the FRC’s consensus to that working group. The working group has made a recommendation and that is being considered for a policy revision.
Finally, we’ve also looked at this notion of the fixed price residuals policy and Dr. Boosinger has already pretty much addressed that one, so thank you for that. That’s basically all I have prepared to discuss. I’ll be happy to take questions. Thank you very much.
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Dr. Ashurst.
Our last information item is a brief report by Allen Furr on his first year as the Transformational Leadership Faculty Fellow.
Allen Furr, Transformational Leadership Faculty Fellow: Thank you James. James asked me to report on basically what I’ve been up to in the last year in the role as Faculty Fellow. The position was created a year ago in response to an item in the strategic plan that called for more training and development opportunities for heads and chairs. I took the position, and very happy to do so and I set a couple of goals in the position primarily the goals center around finding ways to improve workplace climate in departments by providing heads and chairs with both administrative assistance and ideas on improving interpersonal relationships among faculty and staff. My first step was to conduct a needs assessment. I offered to interview and meet with all 62-64, I forget how many there are, department heads and chairs, directors of schools. I met with 33 and I was able to get their ideas on what I could do to help with situations they may be encountering as department heads and chairs and also what they wanted me to do in this position.
I cross referenced the information I received from chairs with the most recent COACHE data and with those 2 sources of information I created a program for last year and this year. We took 2 general directions to address the issues that did come from the interviews and COACHE data. The first direction was to create a Web site that’s housed at the Biggio Center. It’s a quick reference how to check list of tasks that department heads and chairs often encounter so that they can have a place to go quickly to see how to handle special situations. One for example is the condensed version of all steps necessary to recruit and hire a faculty member.
The second direction that we’ve taken is a series of workshops that are designed to handle more complicated administrative tasks and interpersonal relationships. The fall programs primarily address the needs of new heads and chairs and in the spring created programs that all chairs were invited. So in the fall semester we have introductory program for our session for general leadership for new heads and chairs. We had a session on how to reinterpret budgets and a session on faculty annual reviews. In the spring we have programs of dealing with stress among colleagues, dealing with interpersonal conflict. We have a program on gender and stereotyping issues. For that we brought in an outside expert who gave a very good program on that topic. The program for 2017 and 2018 has already been generated and we have someone scheduled to do almost all of these. We are going to have a repeat program on budget training, we are going to also have more peer sharing and colleague coaching this year. We have 2 sessions with panels on annual reviews and another session called “Things I Wish I Had Known When I Became a Department Chair.”
Other program will be on stress management and mindfulness. Kevin Coonrod is going to lead a program called “Identifying Underlying Interests–Tips from Nature, History, and the Cinima.” All I know is that he is going to include the scene of where they say “There is no crying in baseball.” So that’s going to be good.
We are also going to have a program that will be on inclusion and diversity. We’re also planning a program to identify folks who have interest in administrative careers. We will plan a program around that in year 3 of the Fellowship to find ways to introduce folks to leadership to prepare them for leadership at the department level.
If anyone has ideas for a workshop or areas of need to be addressed through this Fellowship working with department heads and chairs, please let me know. I’m always looking for ideas. If you want to volunteer to participate in a session if you are a current or former chair, please let me know that too. Thanks. [34:42]
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Allen.
That concludes our regular business for the day. Is there any unfinished business? Is there any new business? Ah, I see that there is.
Lisa Kensler, senator, Steering Committee: I do have a bit of new business today.
I have a resolution to propose today. I’d like to read it. You can read it up above (referring to slide projection).
A Resolution of the Auburn University Senate
June 13, 2017
Whereas, Dr. Jay Gogue assumed the presidency of Auburn University in July 2007, after a challenging period in the relations between the faculty and the administration; and
Whereas, President Gogue began to repair injuries to the state of academic freedom and shared governance by meeting regularly with the Auburn University Senate leadership and the executives of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors and has continued to maintain good relationships with these bodies throughout his term as President; and
Whereas, President Gogue has demonstrated his respect for the system of shared governance by faithfully attending meetings of the University Senate and approving its recommendations in nearly every act; and
Whereas, President Gogue has further demonstrated his respect for shared governance by working closely with other representative bodies on campus, such as the Student Government Association, the Administrative and Professional Assembly; and the Staff Council; and
Whereas, President Gogue has demonstrated wisdom and exemplary leadership over Auburn University during the entire course of his ten-year term of office; and
Whereas, President Gogue, as he prepares to pass on the leadership over Auburn University to his successor and enter the next phase of his life with his AUsome wife Susie Gogue,
Be it therefore resolved, That the Auburn University Senate hereby offers to Dr. and Mrs. Gogue its heartfelt gratitude for a job well done and best wishes for the future.
James Goldstein, chair: Thank you Lisa. Do I hear a second? (seconded) If there is no objection I would like to have us vote on this by voice rather than clickers. All in favor of the resolution please say aye.
James Goldstein, chair: All opposed? (no response) It passes by unanimous consent. I have a copy already prepared for presentation to Dr. Gogue.
Dr. Gogue: Thank you.
James Goldstein, chair: Is there any other new business? In that case we are ready to adjourn. I forgot something. Sorry. I got distracted.
Although the official change of Senate officers will take place quietly on July 1, it is now time for the outgoing chair to pass the gavel onto his successor, Dan Svyantek, whose first act as the presiding officer of the Senate will be officially, to adjourn the meeting today.
Dan Svyantek, chair-elect: This meeting is adjourned. [38:45]