Transcript Senate Meeting
October 18, 2016
James Goldstein, chair: Okay, I think we can start. Good afternoon, welcome to the 3rd meeting of the University Senate for 2016-17. I now call the meeting to order. Using a brand new gavel that the President gave to the Senate yesterday, from Toomer’s oak. I express some concern that the old gavel, which was a gift of the local chapter of the AAUP might feel jealous to be forced out, so I can’t guarantee I will always use this one. First love is always special.
There is going to be no voting today, that’s why there’s no clickers up top, so you don’t need to worry about that. A few reminders, if you are senator or a substitute for a senator please do make sure you do sign in. If you are signing as a substitute you need to print your name legibly so we can tell who the substitute is. Senators only need to initial their name on the sign-in sheet because we know who you are.
Let me reintroduce our assistant, Laura Kloberg, who helps keep everything running and is grateful not to have to bring the heavy bag of clickers today when we don’t really need them. 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 microphones on the aisles, when your recognized, 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, guests are welcome to speak as well.
The agenda today is very short, this may be a record short meeting. You can stop off on the way out to pick up some toilet paper to roll one of the small trees outside of Broun Hall to celebrate the shortness of the meeting if the spirit moves you.
The Senate agenda was set by the Senate Steering Committee and was posted on the Web site in advance and you see it there now. We still do need to establish a quorum because we are going to approve the minutes, but I checked the roll a few minutes before starting time and we already had the requisite 44, so a quorum has been established.
The first order of business is to approve the minutes of the meeting of September 20. Those have been posted on the Senate Web site. Were there any additions or corrections to the minutes? Do I have a motion to accept the minutes? (moved) Do I hear a second? (second) All in favor please say aye.
James Goldstein, chair: Opposed? The minutes have been accepted. That is your only official act for the day.
We turn now for remarks from the President, Dr. Gogue. [3:26]
Dr. Jay Gogue, President: Just a couple of items that I want to share with you. Not much since we had our General Faculty meeting about 2 weeks ago, but number one I wanted to make sure that you are aware that in the November general election in the state there is a Constitutional amendment change that affects Auburn. It has to do with the Board of Trustees. It’s an effort to, in essence, to try to make sure that when there is turnover that there is not massive changes at one time. So it’s a sequencing of allowing a little bit more structure in the way they change trustees. There have been several articles that have come out in the paper that imply that it is changing the age limit, that is not accurate, so when you read Amendment 1 there has been no change in the way that age was addressed originally in the Constitution relative to Auburn Trustees.
Second thing, we don’t yet have our agenda for the November Board of Trustees meeting, the deadline is for tomorrow, so we will be able to report what will be on that meeting at our meeting in November. I will also just a final thing to mention, Admiral Johnson will be here on campus. I think most of you are aware he’s the head of the National Security Agency, 4-star Admiral, graduate from our College of Business, I think in 1982 or so. He will be on campus, an open presentation in the Hotel at 3 p.m. on Friday. I appreciate all of you being here today. [5:02]
James Goldstein, chair: Now a few remarks from the Senate Chair.
The Senate leadership, as I announced at the General Faculty Meeting for those of you who weren’t there, had an opportunity to meet with Trustee Raymond Harbert, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Mr. Funk of the search firm to discuss what qualities the next president should have. I stressed that from a faculty perspective it was important that the future president have an academic background. Someone with and earned doctorate, who pursued an academic career and earned tenure in an academic department and rose through the professorial ranks before turning to a career in administration. I also stressed that the president should be someone who understands and supports the concept of academic freedom and who understands its relation to the system of tenure. The job advertisement has now been posted on the Auburn Web site and I noticed that it states, “Candidates in academia, business, industry, and other sectors are encouraged to apply.” In my opinion, which I believe is widely shared by the faculty, a future president who has an academic background is more likely to receive the respect of the entire faculty than a candidate who comes from a non-academic sector.
We still have a call for volunteers for people who might be interested for running for Senate Office. An e-mail will go out on the faculty list serve soon. If you are interested in running for either chair-elect or secretary-elect you could contact the chair of the Nomination Committee, who is Laura Plexico or the current secretary of the faculty, Xing Ping Hu, but you will be getting an e-mail reminder of that call shortly.
Although we don’t have any action items today I wanted to assure everyone that the work of the Senate still goes on in the background. For example, the Senate leadership has given special charges to a number of ad hoc and standing committees and deadlines for their reports will be brought to the Executive and Steering Committees in the near future. We have charged the Academic Standards Committee, chaired by Lisa Kensler, to investigate the possibility of introducing a plus/minus grading system. A brief online faculty survey was sent out late last week, which I hope that both tenure line and non-tenure track faculty will take a couple of minutes to fill out. If you haven’t already done so it is a very short survey and won’t take much of your time.
Robin Jaffe, the chair of Calendar and Schedules Committee will be meeting with us later in the month about possible changes to the academic calendar in response to problems that our current system creates for some students and their families. The ad hoc committee on summer fringe benefits, chaired by David Held, following up a motion that came from the floor in the June meeting, will be meeting with us next month to report their results. The ad hoc committee on annual leave sharing, chaired by Larry Teeter, is continuing its work. The ad hoc committee on competency-based education, chaired by Constance Relihan, will deliver a final report in March. Finally, there has been a reorganization of the Office of Compliance and Privacy and a new Institutional Compliance Committee has been created, for short the ICC. The ICC will comprise key distributed compliance leaders from across campus. I recently met with Kevin Robinson, associate vice president for audit compliance and privacy, who asked if the Senate wanted to have a representative on this committee. You can imagine what our response was. I am pleased to announce that Dan Svyantek, chair-elect, who is not able to be with us today, will be the Senate representative on the committee for the year.
One final announcement. You should have heard that the Library will be closed for construction over the semester break. If you need Library materials during the break, please arrange to get them ahead of time. Don’t wait ‘til the last minute to get those materials.
Are there any questions for me? Excellent. We now turn to our one information item. I’d like to introduce our new Chief Information Officer, Mr. Jim O’Connor, who will give a brief introduction to his plans for the near future. After his presentation we’ll hear from Bliss Bailey about revisions to IT policies that we should all be aware of. [9:57]
Chief Information Officer, Jim O’Connor: First thing I probably should say having been here 17 days, plans for the future is probably a little fuzzy at this point, but what I did want to do is sort of introduce myself and talk a little bit about the kinds of things I’ve seen in Higher Ed that probably influence where we as an institution are going to need to go from an IT perspective and from a service delivery perspective. Then perhaps just a little bit about some very general areas where we might pursue in the future and how we might go about doing this.
(trouble with the slide advance [was not yet turned on]) I am clearly IT challenged. Good, thank you.
So for those of you who actually teach classes, a lot of what’s on this slide is probably intuitive. You’ve seen it happen every day, I won’t go into all of the specifics here, but the students we see these days are the digital natives. They grew up with a cell phone in one hand a game controller in another and then cell phones and 400 channels on TV, it’s a technology intensive environment that they grew up with. So they come to expect that when they come to college. The expectation is the service is 24/7 and works like electricity. The expectations are for faculty members; you could be getting e-mail any time of the night perhaps with expectations that they are going to get an answer right away. We’ve had students in some of the foreign engagements at Georgia Tech, engagements in London for example and China where students are up by a 24/7 clock and professors only live in one time-zone. So it makes it a little bit difficult and levies a whole new paradigm the education component.
Then we have the other things that are going on in Higher Ed. The big MOOC craze, that sort of fizzled a little bit but it did cause a great deal of disruption for about 2 years in the Higher Ed space. As we look to how do we deliver these kind of courses and professional education to perhaps 40 or 50 thousand students at the same time. It does levy upon faculty and researchers a whole new requirement of support from the IT environment. So what we’re really trying to do over the next couple of years is understand where you all are, where your students are, what you need from the IT environment in order for you to accomplish the things you want to accomplish as educators and researchers.
A couple of underlying principles I wanted to mention. Everybody hears about cyber security these days. You hear about it in the news, you hear about it on campus, you hear about it at home. There’s a real issue right now in balancing cyber security, privacy, and delivering service to people. So one of the things were going to have to focus on and one of the things I am going to ask all of our colleagues to do is help us find a sweet spot between those 3 things. We could have absolutely perfect cyber security. We could pull all the network cords out of everything, we could shut down all the cell phones, stop the discs from spinning, stop the light from flashing and 99% of the time that would prevent anything bad from happening. I don’t think we want to do that. So what we are trying to do is find that sweet spot between providing the right amount of security, giving you as the faculty and senior researchers some privacy in the work that you do but at the same time establishing the protection we need to establish. [13:56]
My job is to find a balance between those things, the IT organization provides you the underlying infrastructure. That infrastructure changes on a regular basis. Ten years ago people had cell phones, but some of them were about this big (indicating a size), now you have more processing in a cell phone than some of us had in online systems 20 years ago. A lot of capability brings a lot of challenges to the IT organization in terms of delivering you service, keeping that service updated and keeping it functioning. The cost of that service is also fairly significant these days. My job is to help facilitate between the faculty, the researchers, the students, and the IT communities. My job is really to be a business bridge for all of those things.
So the agenda for the forthcoming year; again I have been here all of 17 days and what I can tell you right now is pretty general, but that’s basically what we want to try to do. Everything I’ve heard so far, and I visited perhaps three quarters of the colleges so far, communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. We have to communicate in ways that people on campus understand it. We can’t say to you IP addresses, machine names, technical jargon and expect people to understand what we are talking about. So part of our goal is to try to be a little more communicative in ways that make sense to all of you.
Our core systems have to be evaluated. So over the next few months we are probably going to bring some folks in and help us do evaluations of our core systems, make sure they are up and running and secure, that they are resilient. And when I talk about resilience; we are in a tornado zone, what happens if we get hit with a tornado? Can we still bring classes up?, can we still get people paid? Those are the kind of things we will have to look at. So in the process of doing these evaluations I want to emphasize a point that I’ve made to the folks in OIT. These outside analyses and the help we are going to get is not a search for the guilty phase. It is not to show what we haven’t done. This is for us to learn how we become better and better and establish ourselves as an organization that has focus on continuous improvement.
They did this at Georgia Tech about 18 months ago. Fifty-five items they gave us that would move us down the chart and make us a better organization, it ranged in topic from infrastructure to staffing issues. So again, we are going to ask all of the people on campus to be part of these evaluations. Be honest, tell us what you think and we will come back to you when this is done and give you some feedback on what have we heard, how does that influence our strategic plan and then again engage the campus to get a strategic plan in place.
One of the things I think is really kind of important; we are going to look at a 3- to 5-year planning horizon with 3-years is a little bit solid, 5-years gets kind of fuzzy. Cyber security has got to be at the center of those things and it has to be something that we address pretty actively and immediately. And I’m not just talking about at Auburn. The things that we are going to present, the ideas that we are going to give you, it’s part of normal life now. If you do your banking, get a message sent back to your cell phone, “is this really you?”; people use VPNs, all of these kind of things we are going to ask you to do, the things we are going to try to put in place for you are just a normal part of life, not just here at this institution but anywhere you go. We hope you will embrace those things, help us get them implemented, it will help protect you, your intellectual property, your class materials, as well as your private life when you are doing your banking and paying the bills and things like that.
This needs to be a process of engagement. This is not OIT on Mount Olympus lording over the masses, telling you all how this happens. We need to engage the campus, we need to engage faculty groups to understand what your needs are, the distributive support folks who are supporting the faculty understand their unique environments, you need to understand what the capabilities are of OIT and where we need to transition that and where we need to go, then we need to mix that all together and come up with a strategic plan that supports the mission of the institution.
So that’s really my story, it’s pretty general at this point. We will be able to come back to you later on and give you the results of some of the analyses and engage you in some of these things, but for the time being we want to keep it general and figure out how things work here. Happy to take any questions, thought, comments? It is a really interesting time to be in Higher Ed. And I mean that in a very positive way. It’s fun here. Thank you very much for the time, I really appreciate it. [18:55]
James Goldstein, chair: And now Bliss Bailey on IT policy revisions.
Bliss Bailey, Exec. Dir. OIT: All right, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…because nobody loves anything more than an IT Policy review.
So, technology changes, the world changes, and in our case, and Jim certainly hit on this pretty hard, the security environment changes. And after the world changes, the regulatory and legal environment limps along after it. And in our case the policy environment. So we’re playing catch up here.
I’ve got 4 policies that I want to talk to you about today. We’re talking about them because reviewing these policies and updating these policies is just a standard part of what we need to do. Our insurers require that, our regulators require that, and increasingly our accrediting bodies feel better about that and we are beholden to, particularly when it comes to protecting personally identifiable information, we are beholden to 50 states attorney generals around the country, they all like it when we do that. So that’s why we are here talking about these. The 4 policies we will talk about today are; The Appropriate Use of Information Policy, An Eligible User Policy, Electronic and IT Accessibility Policy, and Employee and Student E-mail Policy. Most of these are just updates, just a little bit of fine tuning, but there are a couple of substantial issues. I am not going to go through the full body of the policies, those drafts are posted online.
The Appropriate Use of Information Policy, this is sort of the top of the pyramid for IT Policy on campus. It basically says that any individual who had granted access to university systems needs to use those systems in order to serve the mission of the institution. That’s the guts of it, that’s the meat of the policy. It also says you need to follow the law and follow university policies. Basically this means that; you are serving the mission of the university, you are following the law, you are being nice (brevity is a tough thing for me, so I may have over done it a little bit here, but be nice is spelled out in a little more detail on the policy. I worked with Kelly Taylor, our Title IX coordinator, to make sure that we had appropriate language in there that I’ve summarized as, be nice.), no commercial use–so you can’t run your own personal business out of university IT resources, don’t hog resources–so you can’t have it all, you have to share, and colleges and departments may create their own additional policies. Best example I can think of is the Vet School has a whole additional set of policies that are associated with managing their resources because they are running a hospital, they are running clinics.
Eligibility for Auburn University user accounts, again, a variety of different types of people get accounts on our systems and they need to use those systems, they are entitled to access to those systems. The overriding deciding factor whether or not you have access to our systems is: does your use of the system serve the mission of the institution? There are lots of different classes of users; employees, students, alumni-who are graduates I should say who have been migrated out of the on-campus system into the office 365 system, our retirees, we have lots of people we collaborate with, visiting scholars, research partners, we have a dozens of different types of affiliates (they may be contractors working with us in a variety of different ways, but lots of different classes of affiliates), campus ministers, contractors, all sorts of different types of folks. It’s important that we have a handle on when you have access, what you have access to, and how long that access should last. [23:42] Now with employees we understand how long your relationship with the institution lasts, with students we can track your affiliation with the institution, but for a lot of those affiliates, we need an annual review. We work with the folks who sponsor those accounts, who sponsor those affiliates and we contact you on an annual basis and ask you to tell us, do we still need to maintain this account as active or not or can we let this account expire?
The electronic and information technology accessibility policy, there are really 2 big pieces to this. One this policy is to let us know that we all have a part in making sure that the materials that we make available are accessible to people with disabilities. That’s a responsibility that spreads across the entire institution. The other piece of that, and this is a little bit more operational in nature, really what that means is that we will procure and deploy electronic information technology software, hardware, and services that have been designed and developed with accessibility in mind. That is a legal requirement and that is a rapidly changing environment so the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 508, has general requirements for what this means. Those requirements are gradually being refined and every month there’s another settlement. The case law that’s building now we are getting a clearer picture of what the Department of Education, the Office of Civil Rights expect, what does 508 compliance mean? What does the ADA really mean? It’s an old law, but the technical details are really embodied in the case law that is being developed. Just today we got notification of a settlement with University of Miami, of Ohio had fantastic detail in that settlement, but the obligations are fairly high and its something that we are going to have to expend a lot of resources on. To that end, Dr. Boosinger, Dr. Large have come up with funding. We have funded a position within the Office of Information and Technology collaborating closely with the Office or Accessibility to make sure that the systems that we have online are accessible.
We know a lot of them need work. We’ve licensed a system called Site Improve. We are using Site Improve to audit the systems that we have online and we will be working with distributed IT providers and also with faculty members and administrators directly to make sure that we are doing what we need to do to be diligent in bringing these systems into compliance. There is a lot of effort associated with that, but your IT folks are plugged into that effort and the Office of Accessibility is plugged into that effort, it’s a very close partnership.
Again, no commercial use. We would like for you to avoid bulk e-mailing without coordinating with us, we can work with your IT folks to make sure that that can happen. Again, the be nice clause is there. The same language in the e-mail policy is the language that was used in the Appropriate Use Policy. And would like for you to keep your official e-mail between Auburn University employees and faculty and Auburn students within the Auburn University e-mail system.
There are a couple of issues, one in particular, right now we have a few users (not many), but a few users who take all of their e-mail and automatically forward all of their e-mail out to a 3rd party off campus system. We want to keep that e-mail on campus. If it’s a university e-mail account, we want to keep that university e-mail which often contains university records, important correspondence related to academic relationships related to research relationships, we want to keep those on university managed servers. So, we will be prohibiting the automatic forwarding of e-mail to off campus 3rd party servers. That doesn’t mean you can’t forward individual e-mail. If the e-mail use is evolved over time, like me, you have this university e-mail account that you’ve used for many years and used for a lot of personal purposes, as things have changed and that world has evolved over time, I’ve created a separate personal e-mail account and all of my e-commerce and personal traffic I am gradually pushing over to that personal e-mail account. When I am ordering stuff from LLBean all that correspondence goes to my personal e-mail account and all my university business stays in my university e-mail account. But sometimes that’s not perfect, I have some personal stuff that comes to the university e-mail account, I can forward that, you can forward that to your personal e-mail account, that’s fine, that’s no big deal. What we are trying to avoid and get past is forwarding all e-mail by default out of the university systems to 3rd party systems.
Are there any questions? I given you a lot, 4 different policies here,
Rusty Wright, senator, Fisheries: There’s a lot there we actually need to start tearing through. That’s some pretty dense language on some that, so I can’t really comment on those. I did have a question about our remote distance software coming up that we are getting ready to shit away from Scopia?
Bliss Bailey, Exec. Dir. OIT: Yes. Zoom.
Rusty Wright, senator, Fisheries: So that has been chosen for the university?
Bliss Bailey, Exec. Dir. OIT: Yes.
Rusty Wright, senator, Fisheries: That’s all I need to hear, thanks.
Bliss Bailey, Exec. Dir. OIT: Okay. If you come to Tech Talks tomorrow, you will see some demonstrations of it. Other questions? (none) All right, thank you. [32:20]
James Goldstein, chair: Well that’s all we’ve got for today. Is there any unfinished business? Is there any new business? We are now adjourned. [32:57]