Transcript Senate Meeting
January 16, 2018
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Welcome to the January 16, 2018 meeting of the University Senate For those of you who are late and don’t watch South Park, we just proved that South Park knew what to do, totally turn everything off, disconnect it, reboot it, and it comes up. Thank you Mike, for knowing that for this room.
This is our fifth meeting of the 2017-18 academic year, this is the first meeting of the spring 2018 semester and I’d like to welcome everyone back for our balmy spring weather outside. (This is a joke because it is quite cold and snow is expected later this evening.)
First thing we need to do is establish a quorum. We have 86 Senators in the Senate and we need 44 for a quorum. Let the record show that we have 45 present so a quorum is established. [2:20]
I now call the meeting to order.
I would like to remind you of some basic procedures for the Senate meeting.
First, if you are a senator or a substitute for a senator please be sure you sign in onto the sheet at the top of the room.
Second, for senators and guests let me explain the Senate rules about speaking. If you’d like to speak about an issue or ask a question, please go to the microphone on either side aisle. When it is your turn, state your name and 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 and then after they are done guests are welcome to speak.
The agenda today was set by the Senate Steering Committee and posted on the Web site in advance, it’s now up on the screen. I do want to apologize for some issues that went on last week, we experienced a change in software and licensing issues so it took a while to get the agenda and the minutes up. We think that’s solved and will not affect the rest of the spring. And now that we know to turn it completely off, disconnect and reboot we should be okay here too.
The first order of business is to approve the minutes for the meeting of November 14, 2017. These minutes have been posted on the Web site. Are there any additions, changes, or corrections to the minutes? Hearing none, do I have a motion to approve the minutes? Do I have a second? All in favor of approving the minutes say aye please.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Opposed? [no response] The minutes are approved. Thank you. [4:00]
The President and Provost are away from our campus today and cannot attend the meeting. I now have very few remarks for the Senate.
I would to introduce the officers of the Senate and our administrative assistant.
James Goldstein is the immediate past chair, Michael Baginski is the chair-elect [and important member of our technology crew], Donald Mulvaney is the secretary this year, and Beverly Marshall is the secretary-elect: However she is traveling and absent today. James Witte is our Parliamentarian. Finally, our administrative assistant is Laura Kloberg.
First, I would like to note one thing occurred since our last meeting. The Senate Steering committee viewed a new policy on helping the international transfer credit process in late November. This policy is now in place and should help departments with this process.
Second, candidates for Senate officers will be announced at the February meeting of the Senate. The Senate will make sure that candidate statements and brief biographies are available when this announcement is made.
Third, we are continuing on trying to create an anonymous, confidential site for inputting suggestions to the Senate. This may take more work that we thought. We will keep you posted on this.
Finally, as I walked in the front door of Broun today I thought to myself that the wait was worth it. I would like to thank and congratulate all involved with the renovation. The building looks great.
Are there any questions?
We have three information items today.
The first information item is a presentation by Kelley Taylor. Kelley is the Director of Auburn University’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity area. I asked Kelley to come and discuss Title IX issues and the responsibility of university employees related to these issues. This is a critically important issue in all work environments today. I will now turn the podium over to Kelley. [6:11]
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: Thank you for having me here. I am just behind here in Foy on the 3rd floor, back there with Emmett. If anyone wants to come see me I welcome you. I recognize a lot of your faces, glad to see you. I have been in some of your colleges and schools and departments, so if you’ve heard this before I apologize. This is my very short version because I didn’t want to hog too much time. So if you want a lot more information I can give it to you. I will certainly leave time to entertain questions, I have left time for that. Please know that I welcome your input, your comments, your thoughts, and your questions.
So I always start with this. My Office has a funny name Office for Affirmative Action/ EEO, Title IX, and also ADA540, and that is a lot of alphabet soup, but really what it is, is an office for civil rights. That’s kind of an easy way to think of it. So it’s a place where faculty, staff, and students at Auburn University can go to complain of unfair treatment, discrimination, harassment (which is just elevated discrimination), or retaliation for having reported that based on these protected classes (on screen). Today I a going to talk about Title IX because that is the thing that is most going on right now.
We continue to have complaints in many of these categories. All of these are protected classes and anybody can complain. So, all of these groups, while they may have different policies are still protected from unfair treatment on those protected classes so it’s important to know that; although what I am talking about today is sex and gender-based discrimination harassment, please know that you can also refer people to my office to complain about the listed class items.
So we have different policies, but the same protections for all groups on campus, including visitors. So if somebody is visiting feels that they were not treated fairly because they are disabled or whatever, it thye are a camper or someone coming to an Ollie Program, they can complain too.
So our sexual and gender-based misconduct and other forms of interpersonal violence policy is actually quite lengthy. I am going to really, really, really, trim down this to the bare bones so I am not doing it justice, but I know you’ll be glad I am not making you read all of it, although you are welcome to. It has about 20 pages of definitions and descriptions of activities and prohibited conduct and then it has about 20 pages of procedures right down to how many working days between this report and that report and that sort of thing, so it is really, really, really detailed. Essentially our policy, which we revised about a year–18 months ago really, prohibits these things in particular; sexual harassment of students and employees, which is unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature. It could be a peer it could be somebody in authority, but sexual harassment is unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile environment or that abuses the authority relationship. Sexual assault, certainly is one of the things that you are reading about a lot in The Chronicle and those places. Sexual assault by one community member to another; dating violence or domestic violence between campus community members. We have seen a surprisingly large number of reports in this area, that has been something I was surprised by a little bit, although I shouldn’t be. Stalking by one campus community member against another, and retaliation against a person who either complained of unfair treatment under the policy or participated in an investigation in any way, so a witness, somebody we interviewed for some reason; all of those people are prohibited of being retaliated against.
When I say one campus member to another, I mean faculty, staff, student, all that stuff.
So, Here’s the biggie. All responsible employees, which includes you, at Auburn University must report potential Title IX violations to the Title IX Coordinator, which is me, when they become aware of them. So that would be the sexual harassment, sexual assault, those things, either by phoe, e-mail, or our Web site which is auburn.edu/titleix, Title IX. It has a place where you can click on report and it has a fillable form. So all responsible employees must do that and responsible employees include faculty, staff, and graduate students in their GA roles. I am sure some of you thought, I didn’t know I was a responsible employee. And you probably didn’t until this very moment. And this is why we are trying to take our show on the road.
We have been taking it on the road a lot, but we need to do it more and will probably be doing it more and more electronically although last year we did 87 in person workshops for various audiences. Some GA, some faculty, some staff, you know, different groups. We are proud of that because we have a small staff.
Exceptions to the responsible employees are; my friend the Ombuds, licensed counselors and the Student Counseling Center, Doug, your people, and employees of Safe Harbor, the Advocacy Center at the student Center on the first floor. Everybody else is a responsible employee under this policy. That’s important to know.
One thing as faculty, I don’t know if we have anybody from Liberal Arts, but even if you are not in Liberal Arts, if you assign a homework assignment and something is revealed in a class writing, that does not count. So this only applies to someone who comes to your office hours and says, “can I talk to you about something that is bothering me and can you keep it confidential?” And the answer is, “I’m sorry, I can’t keep everything confidential. Some things you can, but some things you cannot so it is best to say that you cannot promise confidentiality, I may be able to, depending on what you tell me.
Ed Youngblood, Senator, Communication and Journalism: I just want to make sure, if you have someone writing a response paper about critical issues in their life or something like that, and they say, this happened, there is not an obligation to report?
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: No.
Ed Youngblood, Senator, Communication and Journalism: I am assuming that’s because it’s a violation of…
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: It’s because it’s part of their assignment. If they tell you this in person, or if they tell you as an excuse for why they had to miss a test or something like that by e-mail or something like that, but the OCR, Office for Civil Rights the Department of Education has ruled that writing assignments do not count.
Ed Youngblood, Senator, Communication and Journalism: Okay.
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: Now, that said, we can help them get in touch with some wonderful resources. If you feel like you want to report it please know that we will not assault them, we do not call them up and demand that they show up in our office for a meeting, that kind of thing. We reach out with resources and offers of assistance which they can turn down.
Ed Youngblood, Senator, Communication and Journalism: So just to clarify, we can report but we are not obligated to report.
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: Yes.
Ed Youngblood, Senator, Communication and Journalism: Thank you very much.
Tracy Witte, senator Psychology: I have 2 questions about this. One, you said that there is an exemption for licensed counselors at Student Counseling Services. I am in the Psychology Department, we also have psychological services center there and we see community members, but also students and staff. Is there an exemption for us?
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: If you are functioning in the role of licensed counselor at that time then you are exempt in that role. If you are being faculty member or teacher then no. Yes if you are acting as a licensed counselor…
Tracy Witte, senator Psychology: So it is not specific to the agency, it’s more what your function is?
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: Right. [16:34]
Tracy Witte, senator Psychology: My second questions is, if a research participant discloses some sort of sexual assault we don’t have to report it?
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: Those are also exempt. Although I would hope you would help them get in touch with resources, I’m sure you do.
Tracy Witte, senator Psychology: Right.
Kelley Taylor, Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity: You are a resource.
Those are good questions. I’ve got room for more.
So I said, don’t promise confidentiality. Promise discretion, promise need to know only, whatever your phrase is that you like, use that phrase. And you can throw the hand up and say before you start talking. But do know if you have to report and you feel guilty, you can say to them, “I have an obligation to report this, but you don’t have an obligation to respond to them.” They will reach out to you with offers of assistance, resources…my first overture is an e-mail that has a list of things of places where one can get help; like Student Counseling, like Safe Harbor, like Rape Counselors of East Alabama, like all these places, but beyond that it does not say that “you are commanded to be in my office this Thursday at 2” or anything like that. I would never do that.
If it makes you feel better tell them, they will keep reaching out to you but you do not have to go and talk with them if you do not want to do so. I just have to report it and they just have to reach out to you. We will try at least 3 times. A lot of times it makes people feel better if you can convey that.
This is our Web site and the main reason I wanted to show it to you is that it has pull down menus, and the 4 big boxes; report, talk; support, learn all go to more information. Over on the right where it says ‘quick exit’ (in green), that box will follow you around just like the help chats on sites, but the ‘quick exit’ button follows you around because if you are with your abusive partner and you don’t want somebody to know that you are looking on the Title IX Web site for how to get help, just click ‘quick exit’ and it goes to the AU home page. But the other thing is, the small report an incident button on the top right takes you to that completable form. So if you cannot get me on the phone or don’t remember by e-mail, there’s two Kelley Taylor’s on campus, one, god bless her soul is a Vet student, so don’t write her, please. She has gotten a few of my e-mails and I think it scared her. But this is a completable form you can do 24 hours a day, it comes to me anytime day or night. Then you are done with your obligation.
Also these are my extras that I throw in when I talk to faculty and your administrators and faculty ranks. Faculty, staff, and Gas are forbidden by different policy from dating, making advances toward, or romantically pursuing students or employees they teach or directly supervise. That means your direct subordinates only, if you are a supervisor. Or if you are teaching, only those people in your classes. Even if the relationship is consensual. This is one thing we’ve been trying to hit home with the Graduate Assistants in particular because their ages are so close, and they sort of feel like peers. I don’t know if you all know but all graduate assistants are required to go to our training in order to continue getting paid.
They have shown up in really good numbers now. Surprisingly, when you hold that paycheck, George Flowers said this will be required to get and assistantship and it is now. That is why we’ve done a whole bunch of classes.
We have a separate policy that prohibits consensual relationships. If something is going on and it’s early on and there is a mutual attraction and we want to head this thing off at the pass, let’s do that. Let’s go to somebody in authority, not if it is somebody in your class because you can wait until they are out of your class, but if it’s somebody you supervise you can let us know and we can reroute the reporting relationship, as we do when we have spouses or partners.
Also, Title IX regulations require universities to accommodate pregnant students in class and other activities. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but we have more and more pregnant students. They are reaching out to me regularly for assistance. The main thing you need to know about accommodating them is just work with them, but you cannot have a strict absence policy that is not forgiving if they have a note from a doctor that says they were absent and exceeded your limit and it says it is pregnancy related, you have to excuse the absence. And you have to let them make up the work even if you have an ablsoute only 3 or only 2 or whatever your rule is. This has been tried and found to be true. The other things they might need are; if you are in Haley and the one-unit desks they will probably need a table and chair after a while. Usually the building manager is real good to get that going on quickly, but if you have trouble with your building manager and they are not helping, let me know. Call me and I will help you. Some of this is we are figuring this out together as we go. We are building this plane as we fly it as we try to accommodate pregnancy needs. In some classes it’s not a big deal. Where there is a lab, it is a huge deal if somebody is going to have their baby, this semester we had a student who was due in the middle of the semester and she had a class with a lab–she elected to drop that class this semester and take it next semester because she did not want to figure out how to make up the labs after taking an incomplete. It is difficult to find alternative work for a lab for make-up of missed time. So we are figuring it out as we go.
For assistants this the regulatory guidance from the Department of Education about pregnancy and accommodating pregnancy. It is helpful.
Okay, that was the real, quick, quick, quick version of Title IX and the new sexual harassment and discrimination and assault policy for the university. Is there anything else I can do for you? Help you with? If you don’t want to ask if front of everybody but want to ask me, feel free to e-mail or call me. Happy to talk to you about it.
I appreciate you support very much. Thank you.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Kelley, thank you very much for your presentation.
Our second information item is a presentation on the new Presidential Awards for Interdisciplinary Research. John Mason, VP for Research and Economic Development at Auburn University. John, the podium is yours. [25:46]
John Mason, VP for Research and Economic Development: Good afternoon. Daniel, thank you for the invitation. I want to make 2 general comments before I get started. One, this program that I am going to provide an update on. If you can remember some of these words; it’s new, it’s inaugural, that means it’s evolving over time, and whenever we do something new I like to approach it from a continuous quality improvement. That might be the preface to me saying this is still open for some dialogue or making modifications. So, what I am going to show you in part of the presentation is that which is currently on the Web site. And that’s the information we had as of 8 o’clock this morning, but earlier today I met with one of the 2 faculty forums. There was a faculty forum that we hosted this morning and there is another faculty forum on Monday. So, what I’ve also included in this presentation are some modifications based on the input that I received earlier this morning.
My goal will be, hopefully by the middle of next week, we will have had the input that we needed from the faculty and various constituencies and then we can move forward with the first version. What I am trying to do is put it in the right framework, just because it’s there, you can say that’s not what was written last week, I will agree with you because we are trying to accommodate input as we receive it and keep modifying as we go forward. So that’s one thing I’d ask your understanding on.
The other component, there is a program that already exists when I arrived in 2008, the intramural grants program. I keep referring to it as the internal grants program because in reality it is internal funds and actually at the unit level they also participate financially. So, it’s almost a one for one match. Currently the internal grant program is continuing as we speak right now and in my discussions with Dr. Leath, it’s my anticipation for next year the internal grant program hopefully will continue. My fingers are crossed because everything is a budgetary decision, so just to be sure that which is in place now with internal grant program is continuing. The proposals and the activities that have gone in, that is continuing, and my advocacy is that it will continue in the future. So you can be sure that I’m trying to be as convincing as I can that’s a good thing to continue.
What we might see as a slight modification with the internal grant program; I will be working with the ADRs (Associate Deans for Research) and the Faculty Research Committee of the Senate, and that is as we move to this type of program, and this is an add on type of program, that that may allow the internal grant program to be a little more disciplinary in nature, although interdisciplinary work would always be encouraged. But right now, the internal grant program was a way of trying to get some faculty to team together. So, we might have the benefit of continuing to do some deeper dive in the disciplinary area, encourage faculty to collaborate, and then if this program is successful and the President decides to continue it, this may become more of the manner in which faculty teams are built to continue their scholarship and maybe seek some external sponsorship. So, I want to have those as kind of the bookends that it’s evolving, some changes have been made, I’ll share that with you, but it is also not in lieu of or taking away from other activities. It’s actually in addition to. If the time permits, I have one or two other announcements, but I don’t want to jeopardize that at this point in time. [30:12]
Some of you may have seen this information, were present, read it or heard it. When Dr. Leath made one of his first presentations to the Board of Trustees he laid out some things in context and I think the document has been distributed on several occasions. It was pretty clear that on his 3-legged stool of activity one of the interests is certainly to move forward in increasing our research and scholarly activities of Auburn University. And by maintaining a solid academic environment, continue with the research and scholarship, the third leg of the stool would be that the reputation of Auburn University would continue and would be enhanced moving forward.
My zone is perhaps in that second leg of the stool and that is to position Auburn University. Some of the operative words that I’d like you to focus on as the faculty decide to develop proposals and participate in this area is the word partnership. The idea is not only to partner internally, but externally. That could be with other institutions, with other universities, you may have gifts, grants, contracts partnerships and that you might want to leverage those and indicate that you are pledging that activity as you move forward in this relationship. So, the idea is definitely not only to be inwardly focused, that is important to get things started or to excel, but for those that already have various other relationships.
Very specifically the intent is not to send Auburn University to someone external. So, it would be great to be partnering, teaming with various groups that we already work with, but they should bring their resources to the table in that thematic area and then together bring collaboration in that fashion. I think it has a sense of practicality and pragmatism that before we start sharing our funds with others we’d rather see them all partnering together add it all up to everyone’s benefit.
By the way, you’ve probably heard on many occasions, this announcement has been made both on campus, externally, we’ve been trying to share with the community at large in some media, and as I know Dr. Leath has been traveling. He references as one of the investments that he would like to make. So my discussions with Dr. Leath, we arrived at the opportunity to invest 5 million dollars that would be expended over the next 3 years. That’s the simple summary, to take internal funds and start this as an initial activity. We don’t need to do the math, we don’t have to divide 5 million into 3, the idea is that we are going to be seeking these proposals in these categories I will be talking about and there would be this pool of funds. Then over a 3-year period they would be expended.
The fact that it’s new also means we don’t really know how many proposals of what type and what category, so we may have to have some flexibility there. I will talk about one of the items to be determined as we go forward, but I’ll give you one indicator; there were some discussions this morning; “Well suppose I only need x for this year and I am right on the cusp of making something happen would that still qualify?” And my answer is Yes. So, it says over a 3-year period and up to a certain dollar amount as some general guidance. But many of you that might be seeking external sponsorship from agencies or other people interested in working with you, after you submit something they say, we’ve got so many we’ve got to modify the program. And we know what that translates to…you ask for x, we don’t have x because we want to do more, and we have to modify it. People also said suppose you have some ideas and there’s 2 proposals that might be strengthened by bringing them together, but those 2 teams didn’t know about each other, could we do that? And my answer is Yes. But the issue is how are we going to do that and When are we going to do it.
So, I guess what I am trying to convey is, while we have some directions on the Web site, we are trying to be specific and clear. In doing this we may have to have a little bit of elasticity because if some good ideas pop up how do we adjust for that? We are trying to not make it so rigorous and so specific that what we are actually doing is following the rules, but we are missing an opportunity. So, that is going to be hard to articulate and how do we manage that? Please keep that in mind that in the interest of being flexible, sometimes we cannot say and absolute yes or no.
Certainly, the ideas are to bring faculty from across the university into a collaborative manner in a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary mode. Questions already; I’m in Chemistry I have a colleague in Physics we have been in work together in this particular thing. Is that multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary? Yes. But then there’re also the opportunities for people in various colleges and schools that have not worked together across the whole campus, and likewise that fits that definition. It’s going to depend on the scholarly activity that you’d like to advance. [36:05]
The vocabulary that we’ve used is to try our best that is ubiquitous, that we are looking across all academic elements and units of the university. The creativity and the innovation will be based upon those faculty coming together and advancing some idea in that domain. So, it’s not one domain versus another, it's not a particular center of excellence.
The initial documents were reviewed. We had a faculty work group that we started with a few faculty to help us get some words on paper. We then had some other vetting groups where we worked with the associate deans and the Faculty Research Committee and some of the faculty that had joined us recently in the strategic hire, so there was a readying of several forms to get the information started.
As I said then if you were to go on the Web site now, as of this morning these were the categories and the vocabulary that has been used. If you can stick with me for just a few minutes I will show you some of the track changes modifications that we are already seeing that would be helpful. So, initially the idea as the groups were discussing and Dr. Leath and I were exchanging ideas, we thought of some categorical areas to provide some guidance that maybe some faculty that are relatively new or early in their career or new to the academy, they would like to have some way of providing some funds to continue their scholarly work and build a team. So, we called that ‘early career award’. Another one is a group of faculty that have definitely been working as teams, they have already has some successes as an interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary teams, may have some sponsorship of all types that are from the external world and they have certain types of grants that they would like to position themselves to go after, so we provided some examples. Then the third category would be what we might call, these are very competitive at a national level, something like an NSF, and my background is in engineering so, I apologize that I use an engineering example, the NSF Engineering Research Centers quite often take multiple years to assemble teams and multiple attempts at doing that.
In my former life we actually ended up and last year had to release a faculty member for a year in order to bring the entire team together and get all the resources and get all the faculty lines and a new building had to come online. You don’t do that in one month. So, for a Tier III it may take several years of investing in the growing of the knowledge base and building the teams to be successful in those very, highly competitive national activities. That we call Tier III.
I want to go to one more box and then show you the editorial changes. The funds are principally independent to support teams, but take notice, it is integrative, undergraduate, graduate students, faculty. Whether they are primarily research faculty and those that are working in other areas that might be an outreach component that really has some breadth associated with it to taking that work out. Or maybe some intellectual property has the opportunity to be capitalized through a patent or commercialization. So, the breadth is very, very broad in what we are looking at.
The ultimate goal is to what, not only build a scholarship and a reputation, but the return on that investment is that they’re aligned then for other opportunities to support their work in the future. It has to be somewhat visionary and strategic and showing growth on that vector.
Now, from a point of clarity and if all the slides are correct; from the input this morning there was a feeling that rather than differentiating by where you are as a faculty member in your career, that we would say Tier I might be for new teams. I’ll give you an example, there was a tenured senior successful scholarly faculty member that raised their hand and said, “This is great, but there’s some new transformative work and I just need to reassemble some teams,” and our response was, “maybe you don’t need to be a non-tenured faculty or maybe a tenured faculty that wants to move in a different direction.” So, we stat to say maybe Tier I doesn’t require the same amount of investment, but a tenured faculty member should still be able to participate.
If you read the other one it said you had to be on the non-tenured track very early in your career. So, we went away from Young Investigator Award type mindset to something that is a little more. The other thing we changed, I was getting a lot of questions over the weekend,…well, I’m a certain faculty member that is more clinical in nature or I do this or I do that, so I went back to staff very quickly and said I know there is a definition of what is an acceptable principle investigator at Auburn University and they align mostly with the sponsoring agencies that says if you have this credential and you operate in that fashion that means you can be a principle…so I said why don’t we just adopt that. Whatever the Auburn University policy is for being a principle investigator would be consistent with that. So, that was 2 major changes that says what does a principle investigator mean? I’d say whatever we have been doing, right, which is also very commensurate with what sponsors usually define as how can one be a principle investigator or the lead investigator. You can have co-investigators, with multiple faculty on it.
Then the other one is to clarify that Tier II be more of the already established team, whether they are tenure track, non-tenure track, clinical faculty, primarily research faculty, whatever. You’ll see that we made those changes already so as of 3:30 today we’ve made some changes out to the associate deans for research. There is another meeting on Monday, another faculty forum. Maybe there will be some other suggestions of how to provide additional clarity or to simplify the presentation. [42:52]
I will note for you, there’s 2 items that are in my to be determined category. One is if you look at Tier I it will say maximum of $100,000 annually. Remember, some people said, well maybe I don’t need it over an extended period of time and do we have to limit it because once you start doing it annually and you make those pledges, those funds are encumbered for that period of time. Maybe some of the proposals we get may not need that amount of money every single year for 3 years, so we may have some residuals that we might want to reinvest back into the program. So we need some flexibility with that. I know that Dr. Leath is not here today, but I want to surprise him, we have come to some agreement about some of the terms and conditions, the idea is to make a significant investment over an extended period of time. But I am pretty sure if I talk to him about here are some other ideas. The other one is the dollar amount. Do we have to go up to the maximum? No. So the other part of this if maybe for the activity, as long as the scale of the activity is commensurate with the dollars that you’re asking you don’t have to feel compelled because there is some fear that maybe some people will be building larger teams that really aren’t needed to do what we need to do. That’s a good idea. Imagine a category 3 is, the way it’s written, $500,000 every year for 3 years, right? That absorbs 1.5 million dollars of the 5 million that have been set aside to do that. We may need some flexibility and let’s see what types of input we receive.
The initial group to do the first review or assessment of the proposals that come in will be the associate deans for research. So, the ADR group will take these proposals and take a first look at them. Some of the complexities there are going to be will be potential conflicts. They might be an associate dean for research and they may be on the proposal so we cannot have them reviewing that.
The other area might be, there is not enough expertise in that domain because all the faculty are on that team. So I may have to find some external reviewers to make sure the intellectual content is there and that which they are advancing saying that this is going to be a great thing, have some externalities weigh in on that. That’s another part of what we are going to have to work through. It’s not going to be a simple as saying we know these are the 10 people that are actually going to do that.
The criteria will be traditional, what you’d expect on an externally competitive award that has to have some clarity in the narrative, has to have strong argument, and the element of the cost sharing is not a dollar for a dollar, but it might be we are going to pledge an undergrad or graduate student, or we are going to release a faculty member for x amount of time, or I am receiving a gift in that or already have a grant in that area. So, it’s not the dollar for dollar match, it’s the idea of leveraging and partnering some of the resources in order to show that this is a focus. This is the thematic areas we want to move forward on. [46:09]
Once again we are going to have another opportunity where you all can come and join us at one of the faculty forums. Have direct input through that mechanism. Another mechanism is through your associate dean for research and another mechanism is to call me, find me, e-mail me and we can take your input and dialogue. W are trying to move this forward. Those of you that had the opportunity to have dialogues with President Leath, there is a sense of urgency to try to move these types of opportunities forward, so we are still targeting proposals due on the 2nd of March. I have a range of conversations ready. Some groups of faculty have been working together for an extended period of time and many years. They are ready to tell me what we need to do. Then there are some others saying, boy I’ve got some ideas, just met these new faculty…
I think again, the proposals, as long as we are in the right Tier it could be a new idea and a new group, that should be very different from someone that’s ready to go after some of those very highly competitive. So it will have to be a faculty determining what is the appropriate area.
Then, Tony Ventimiglia is in the back of the room, so is Bob Holm, again there might be some need for some support from those groups to be looking at putting together some proposal activities and quality proposals, some external information. Then the application and review process will be done through our normal routine where we do our internal grant programs, so none of those processes are changing, it should be pretty common.
And with that rapid fire, that’s where we are with this activity at this stage. Comments? Questions? Concerns?
Winie Laney, senator History: I just had a quick question. I know this is not what you do but if anybody could tell me how people here at the university actually come together? Because one of the things I find very difficult is finding other people to work with, finding out what exactly they do that maybe we could work together with. I think there are ways that the university could facilitate that, but I don’t see us doing that. I was just wondering if we do.
John Mason, VP for Research and Economic Development: A couple of comments. One, the decision was to look at some of the strategic hiring areas, in the cluster hire area. There was a greast self assembly of faculty that came together with their ideas, they shared it and decided on what kind of cluster areas they like and then there was vetting process. It was the process of the faculty, we created the forums and the venue for the dialogue to occur, but the faculty were making presentations to other faculty and saying this is what I do and this is what you do. We also have the faculty research symposium that Dr. Taylor is going to be talking about, where faculty and students come together and are sharing their work and they get to meet each other in that environment. [49:38]
The other thing we are trying to do in addition to these forums is, again if Tony Ventimiglia sees it, several faculty are saying, I am interested in this area, he is reaching out and saying here are some other faculty that you might want to contact. So, I would say there are a couple of mechanisms that we are using. By all means they are not solving all the issues and problems, but I think there are some venues from time to time and we might want to do that in this activity also. [50:09]
With that pause, I am going to give 2 more pieces of information.
One, flipping the subject to something very practical. We went through some evolutionary changes of whether Auburn University Central Administration participates in cost sharing on external proposals. If there’s an external sponsor that mandates cost sharing in order to submit your proposal, what has been the practice, that we are revisiting again, that two-thirds of the cost sharing will come from local unit. That would be college or the school, then one-third, now in my budget I have a line item for committing university cost sharing when it is mandated or stipulated in the request for proposal. It’s not just, oh man, if I had a couple of extra bucks, I’d love to go there, my advocacy is there, but I am not authorized to do that. I would say to be clear that on some of these items that teams might be pursuing, particularly if they are mission-oriented agencies, when they put out some future opportunities, quite often there is a cost sharing element. I am saying the university also ready to reinvest on those. Like the NSF major research instrumentation the MRI, right now, Dr. Taylor I think I sent it back to you in 5 minutes that that answer is yes. If there is a competitive proposal that needs to be matched, I have now been authorized to abide that match. [52:00]
The very last element. My office has been working with the ADRs and the Faculty Research Committee, we are going to be doing a survey and focus groups with faculty on looking at the services provided across the university to support the scholarly and research work of the faculty. An example, I was in a faculty group meeting and someone got some new instrumentation and had some issues with the Risk Management, insurance, and Facilities and when they can get it all done. So, we were there to get them in touch with the right people, but we need to recognize it’s not just making financial investments in the research enterprise, there are other activities. We will be conducting some surveys of the faculty across about 40 different areas. Are you satisfied, very satisfied, dissatisfied, I don’t know. And then we are going to bring faculty groups together with the operating units of the university to have a dialogue about those issues that they are having concerns about. You will see that rolling out in the next few weeks. That’s trying to get an assessment of the support that’s available for faculty to pursue their scholarly work.
Thank you all. You can find me or call me. Have a great day.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you very much for that presentation, John.
Our third information item is a presentation by Steven Taylor, ADR for the College of Engineering. Steven will present on “This is Research: Student Symposium” program at Auburn University. [53:50]
Steven Taylor, ADR, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering: Good afternoon. This will be a fairly quick update for everybody. I think most of you are familiar with the series of symposia that we sponsor each year “This is Research.” I will give you an update on that and focus on the student symposium that’s coming up and give you up front the take home message.
There are 2 things; encourage your students to sign up for it and encourage your faculty to sign up as judges.
As you know, we sponsor 3 events during the year. In the springtime coming up in a couple of months, will be the student symposium where undergraduate and graduate students present their work. Then in the fall annually, there is a faculty symposium where we have been in the last few years inviting specific faculty to give keynote or almost like TED talks. Then there are poster sessions as well as some other round table, we’ve had different formats on that. How to bring faculty together and talk about new initiatives.
The student symposium is coming up on March 26. The faculty symposium has not had a date set yet for that this fall. The other event, the Creative Scholarship Showcase will be scheduled this fall, that’s and every-other year event. 2018 is our year for that this time. We’ve got some dates we are looking at, but essentially it will be mid-September through early October. That’s an exhibition that goes on for about a 3-week period.
Student Symposium, that’s really the one to focus on today. Again, most of you are familiar with that. It is designed to allow your undergraduate students and graduate students who have participated in research to present their work. [55:52]
You know, it’s one more chance to get them in front of people to present either a poster or an oral presentation. It’s a great way to get them practice for a professional meeting that might be coming up later in the year. And it’s a great way to get them exposed to other students and potentially other faculty here on campus to share their work.
The important message there is highlighted. The window for students to sign up or to submit abstracts for their work, it opened January 11 and will be open through February 1, so that window is open right now. Go home to your department faculty, let your students know let your colleuges know. Hey, bug your grad students, bug your undergrad research students to sign up for this. They have a couple of weeks here to be able to submit abstracts for that.
The symposium itself is March 26, it’s an all-day-event. Then we will have an awards ceremony a few days later, April 3.
So, the first take home message is encourage your students to sign up for this. Second take home message is now to encourage faculty…for the student symposium we present awards, there are oral presentations, poster presentations, undergraduate, graduate, then there are STEM and non-STEM disciplines humanities and social sciences, the creative disciplines, there are awards in each of those categories. To
develop the scoring information to present those awards we need faculty help. That is probably one of the most critical things about this and probably one of the most stressful aspects of the symposium is to be able to find enough judges to orchestrate all that. To collect scores, develop a nice rubric for scoring that’s fair, but it’s very critical to get faculty involvement in this. It’s a way that faculty shows the students that we care about them and interested in their work. We care enough to spend some time over there that day.
So, the second take home message is to encourage your faculty to sign up as judges. We don’t have a qualtrics thing yet for faculty to sign up, we will have that fairly quickly and send that out to you as soon as it gets available.
The last thing is just to let you know, other people that are on the committee leadership, I am serving as a chair. For a long time this was one of those things that Paula Bobrowski served as chair for a while, Jennifer Kerpelman has chaired for a while, we developed a mechanism now to transition leadership for a 2 year term. Jennifer is still serving providing excellent leadership as a past chair. Henry Fadamiro in the College of Agriculture will be our incoming chair and I’ve been serving as chair last year and this year. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
For the student symposium especially, I want to acknowledge Dr. Lorraine Wolf, she’s the Director of Undergraduate Research for Auburn, she spends a tremendous amount of time on the student symposiums. Please, when you see her pat her on the back and thank her for all the effort she puts into this.
The Showcase coming up this fall, the Creative Showcase is designed for the arts, applied art and design, creative writing, all kinds of other creative disciplines. It is a nice exhibition format to allow different disciplines a chance to display their work. [59:39] So, Fereshteh Rostampour, in the Theater Department has agreed to coordinate that event for us this year. She is working hard on planning that now. So again, if you have questions about Showcase coming up feel free to contact me or Fereshteh. If you have questions about the Student Symposium, contact me or Lorraine Wolf at this point. And the faculty symposium, we are still picking a date for that. Again, if you have any questions feel free to contact any of us.
Again, remember the two take home messages, go home encourage your students to submit abstracts and encourage your faculty and colleagues to be ready to serve as judges. There are awards and they have a cash prize that goes with it.
Any other questions? Thank you all.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you very much for that presentation, Steven.
This concludes our formal agenda for today. I don’t know if the air conditioning is on or the heat is off, but it is cold in here.
Is there any unfinished business?
If you did not hear that, there will be a message coming out. Campus will close at 6 p.m. and be closed tomorrow all day.
Hearing none on unfinished business, is there any new business? Hearing none, I now adjourn the meeting, so we can all go home. [1:01:48]