Transcript General Faculty Meeting
October 03, 2017
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Good afternoon. I now call the meeting to order. Thank you for coming today to the Fall General Faculty Meeting. I am Dan Svyantek. As University Senate Chair I also act as chair of the General Faculty.
Our first task is to approve the minutes from the March 7, 2017 Spring General Faculty Meeting. These minutes have been posted on the University Senate 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? Second. All in favor of approving the minutes say aye please.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Opposed? (no response) The minutes are approved. Thank you very much. [:49]
The next item on the agenda is remarks from the President of the university, Dr. Steven Leath. He became President of Auburn University on June 19th, 2017. He has worked to meet all Auburn University stakeholders during the period from his taking the Presidency to today. He has met with many, if not all, governance groups on campus. He has worked with Senate leadership on several issues. I have found that he is an excellent listener, willing to use information provided him, and an individual who will give you his opinions to you and tell you why he holds those opinions.
It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Leath to his first meeting of the General Faculty.
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Good afternoon folks. I appreciate the chance to be with you and talk to you today. I don’t know that I’ll be brief but I’ll make sure I am not long.
I wouldn’t normally start a General Faculty Meeting talking about athletics, so I will make this exception. Let’s hope it is a rare exception. We had some bad news about basketball last week. I issued a statement that expressed my feelings and I think reflected the feelings of the university, the fact that we were shocked, saddened, angry, and frankly we were just disappointed. I don’t think any of us saw this coming. There is an ongoing investigation. It’s unusual in these types of situations to have the FBI be the lead on the investigation, but it speaks to the seriousness. [2:16] We expect to have an NCAA investigation and we have also hired a law firm external to the university to conduct additional internal investigations so we can fully understand what happened, who was involved, these types of things. Don’t have much more information than that right now. If you read the transcripts or read them clearly this was going on for a while. As a new president I am trying to get a handle on this quite frankly, but I do promise to keep the faculty and others engaged in this process as we go forward. [2:55]
Another big thing on campus is the Provost search, the biggest search we could have after mine and we are in the search for a new Provost. For those of you that don’t know, Vini Nathan, one of our deans has agreed to chair the search. I am appreciative to Dean Nathan, she as a search advisor has a committee formed, she’s move aggressively. I want to give you a little bit of background; after talking with Senate leadership as well as others on campus. I made a request of EEO to waive the external search process. My thinking was and Senate leadership was helpful in this, I am from the outside and I am brand new. Some of my key leaders like the CFO are relatively new and from the outside, I really feel like I would be better served by a Provost that really knew Auburn, knew its culture, its history, its people at Auburn and in my assessment and others around me assured me that was fairly accurate. We had a lot of good capable people on campus. So I did ask for a waiver to conduct just an internal search, so that process is underway and I expect to have multiple candidates for the Provost position.
When that comes to pass and we’ve vetted applications and narrowed them down we expect to have what you might call more of a normal/traditional search process where anyone who wants to be involved can be. There will be public forums, the meetings on campus. One advantage of this internal search is I am hoping to have a name to the Board by November 10 Board meeting. So we would have a new Provost appointed as early as before Thanksgiving. Which is a relatively…no a remarkably quick turn around time for a university. But I think in this case these are going to be candidates that Auburn University is going to know well. And we should be able to move this process in that sense.
Another important position, that relates back to the initial topic of basketball, we need a Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) on campus and we need one soon. We have a FAR that has retired from the university, who has been serving in that roll, but I really need a fully active, fully engaged full-time faculty member. There are so many issues with Athletics, regularly, we’ve had more than our share in the 100 days since I’ve been president. So I am going to be moving fairly quickly to get a FAR. I’ve got names from Senate, I’ve got names from Deans, I’ve got names from former members of the advisory council, so I’ve got a pool of names I am trying to go through. The reality is as you’d expect, I don’t know the faculty that well yet, so it is a little bit of a challenge for me to get enough data from around campus as to who can and should do this and who may want to.
I just came from the School of Pharmacy today. I spent the morning at Pharmacy. I have made it to every school or college on campus so far for 4–5 hours at a time with the exception of one, and I will be in Architecture, Design, and Construction Thursday. So then I will have spent a good part of a day in every unit including Athletics. So I am starting to get a better base and feel for the campus and that’s worked really, really well.
A couple of minor things that I’ve been talking about just to remind you, we will still be focused on undergraduate education, we do such an exceptional job. We don’t want the faculty culture, especially as we hire to go away from those priorities, but we are going to try to incentivize research. Just about every unit I’ve been to that faculty seem excited about growing scholarship opportunities and research for them. You are going to start seeing some programs roll out. Thought I saw John Mason come in…there he is right there. John and I will be meeting again soon, we’ve met a number of times. We are going to be rolling out some programs to grow research and scholarship. They will carrots not sticks. So I think that is good for all of us, and for John and I we would rather incentivize you than threaten you.
A couple of other things I want to touch on. To put some things in perspective, maybe because I’m new I’ve been looking at some historical data. For the last 10 years a number of our sister schools have not been fairing that well, cuts in budgets, some cuts in salary, many with no pay raises, large cuts in budgets. As a mater of fact, Auburn lost about a third of its state support over the last years and it’s not been restored. So I got to say when I got to Auburn I was very pleased to see that despite all these constraints, all these budget issues the university has been managed very, very well. We’ve held our cost low on benefits. Our benefits have gone up a little bit, less than 5%. Most of our sister schools are double digits in terms of raising the cost of benefits to faculty and staff. We’ve been giving pay raises, we gave pay raises again this year, including our end-of-year supplement, so I want you to hear from me and someone who came from somewhere else, folks have been well managed. I know it’s not as much as everybody would like and year to year these raises don’t seem that large, but cumulatively over the last 5 years you are not only catching up you are getting way ahead of some of your sister schools. We’re not going to give up and say that’s it, we’re going to try to do better in the future. I was really pleased, that was really a bright spot when I got here. So we have had permanent raises for the last 5 years and that is tremendous. And we have had 6 on the supplemental raises. [8:47]
A couple of other things I wanted to mention quickly. When I talked to the Board the other week, if you weren’t there, I did tell them that one thing I did want to change in the culture here was to instill a greater sense of urgency. This is a great university and that is part of the problem. We have had a lot of successes so it is easy to be comfortable with those successes, but if we all really want to go to a higher level and raise our national and international profile, raise the opportunities for our faculty, we have to gear it up a notch. So you’ll see this whether is has to do with students, whether it has to do with faculty, whether it has to do with staff. Physical plan is certainly seen this message come through loud and clear. WE are going to do it in a way that I think is good and a lot is not going to be a case of yelling and screaming to do fast, we are going to try and streamline a lot of our processes. The fact that I am like the sixth or seventh person to sign some documents, that kind of stuff needs to go away. We get in our way a lot and it’s been my initial observation that as we put in new policies and change ideas is that we often don’t remove the old ones. So we’ve gotten to be fairly cumbersome in the way we do things. Jim over here is nodding, he sees that in IT. So when I talk about a sense of urgency, I want people to have a sense of urgency but I want you to know too that as administrators we are going to do our part to make this more streamline so it will be a lot easier to get things done here on campus.
With that I am going to stop. Do you want me to take questions? If there are any questions I will try to address them, if not I will stand aside. Oh, Yes.
Michael Stern, Economics: I am not picking on you President Leath, I used to do this to Jay Gogue all the time. It’s nothing personal.
In August when you came to Senate meeting you made the comment that you didn’t repeat today, that you didn’t see anything broken here at Auburn University and I was wondering if you still hold to that opinion?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Well there are some things that I don’t know if the wheels are off the bus anywhere but there are some things that certainly need some serious revamping, yes.
Michael Stern, Economics: Good. And I mentioned that you had just witnessed one of the things that was broken, there is a fundamental lack of shared governance at this institution and the example I pointed out is the appalling turnout that you were going to receive at the next fall Faculty Meeting, and here it is.
Dr. Steven Leath, President: It is lighter than I anticipated.
Michael Stern, Economics: In fact it’s probably an all time record low. Most of the people here I know actually have administrative appointments and they are here because of that, as I am myself, and a faculty member from my unit, but I do have an administrative appointment. So this really isn’t a faculty meeting even though it is the only one that the university has. So there is no shared governance at this institution. And you mention another falling out in that regard, the lack of an FAR and that’s been true long before Mary Boudreau
Dr. Steven Leath, President: We do have an FAR, I just need another one.
Michael Stern, Economics: Who is not actually a faculty member here, right?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Correct.
Michael Stern, Economics: So it is not a faculty athletics representative, which is the point, there is no shared governance with the faculty. I don’t know if you know about the individual that preceded her and his status in regards to being a faculty member?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Nope.
Michael Stern, Economics: So it’s nothing new. You are new here.
I wanted to check to make sure that Jay Jacobs is still the Athletics Director. Is he?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Yes.
Michael Stern, Economics: Good. I printed out before this meeting something that is on the university’s Web site, recent news. It’s in regards to when Jay Jacobs was named the athletics director of the year. And this is from the university’s current Web page that has all kinds of glowing quotes about him and one of them that caught my eye was a statement from March of this year (2017) that President Gogue made and I wanted to know if you agreed with it. He says, “This well deserved award is a tremendous credit to Jay (Jacobs) and all he has meant to Auburn throughout his career. He leads the department with integrity and I am pleased how he represents Auburn so well.” Gogue said end quote. I was wondering if you agree with that characterization?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Well, I think Jay (Gogue) certainly meant what he said. And Gogue certainly knows Jacobs far, far better than I do, because I have been here less than 100 days. Jay Jacobs is widely respected amongst his peers and athletics from around the country, that is why he got the award. If you want me to comment on personnel matters in a public session that ain’t going to happen.
Michael Stern, Economics: I didn’t think you could. Okay. My understanding of your background is that you spent some time in the University of North Carolina system. Is that right?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Correct, 27 years approximately. [13:51]
Michael Stern, Economics: Are you familiar with Dr. Holdon Thorp?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Yep, I know Holdon well, he’s now at Wash U in St. Louis as Provost.
Michael Stern, Economics: And you are familiar with the difficulties UNC has had with their scandal related to athletics and academics?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Very familiar.
Michael Stern, Economics: Well, in February of 2015 I was reading an interview that Dr. Thorp gave to the Charlotte Observer and I thought I’d ask you about it because you spent time in the UNC system and now you are the Auburn President. It’s just a paragraph I’d like to read to you and get your reaction to it. It says, “ Its’s difficult to imagine the University of North Carolina avoiding stiff NCAA punishment for the systematic and enduring academic fraud outlined in last year’s Weinstein Report. Already the school has become an exemplar of breaking faith with its basic educational mission in order to maintain athlete's eligibility to compete.” Quote “We thought we were different from Auburn, but now we know that we’re not.” Says Thorp. “That’s a hard thing for some people to absorb.”
So you know him, you know the North Carolina scandal; what do you think about when other universities around the country are involved in these big scandals, interfacing athletics and academics that Auburn University is used as the yardstick against which they are measured?
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Well, I’ll say a couple of things. One, Holdon is certainly not an expert in intercollegiate athletics and it cost him his job. So he is probably living in the past when he was comparing UNC to Auburn, plus I’ve never seen Auburn history where we’ve been involved in clustering fake classes to this extent. So it is a bad comparison, but the fact that it’s out there is, obviously, disappointing and we have to get past that. We’ve not had a serious NCAA infraction in the last 12 to 14 years, which is really good for athletic program this size. So, that’s really unfair coloring, but it’s a couple of years old too.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: I just want to make sure, typically we allow 5 minutes. Are there any other questions?
Michael Stern, Economics: Okay, just one final thing. I’d like to mention in regards to your search for Provost as well as the FAR which you addressed; if it is essential that we have a change from the culture of this institution which I’ve heard you stated in a number of ways, I would hope that for both of these positions that we do not turn to an individual that has a record of fitting in very well with Auburn’s culture. That is, I would hope to see individuals that had real problems fitting into the culture as it were of Auburn University if we are to in fact move forward in changing that culture.
Dr. Steven Leath, President: Well, you’ll certainly have a chance to engage in the process just as everyone else in the room will. So feel free to speak your thoughts. Tell me what I need to hear, not what you think I want to hear.
Anything else? Thanks folks. [17:22]
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you very much, Dr. Leath. Dr. Boosinger is not here. I have some brief remarks.
First, let me introduce the University Senate officers. James Goldstein is the immediate past chair. Michael Baginski is the chair-elect. Is Michael here? Michael had knee surgery today, he told me he was going to try to make it, I laughed at him. So he did not make it. Donald Mulvaney is the secretary this year. Beverly Marshall is the secretary-elect. James Witte acts as the Senate’s Parliamentarian. Finally, our administrative assistant is Laura Kloberg. She is the “glue” that holds these meetings and the activities of the University Senate together.
Second, one of the requirements for the election of officers described in the Faculty Constitution is the creation of a nomination committee to be formed early in Fall semester. The charge of this committee is to recruit two candidates for the two offices up for re-election in the Spring semester. These offices are the University Senate Chair and University Senate Committee. This committee has been formed and will begin the process of finding individuals willing to run for these two offices.
Announcements about these nominations take place in February and elections are held. Traditionally, the results of these elections are announced at the spring General Faculty meeting.
I would like to ask you to think about volunteering for service as a Senate officer or volunteering to serve on one of the many Senate or University committees dealing with governance issues at the university. We always are looking for people interested in serving.
Third, the third event in the Critical Conversations speaker series is Thursday, October 5. If you have not read it on the Web site the site has been changed to the Auburn Arena and it will begin at 5 p.m. Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager will speak on diverse perspectives on women leaders.
Are there any questions?
We will now move on to the remaining items on the agenda. First if no one disapproves I am going to make a slight change in the order. I am going to have Jacqueline Keck go first. Jacqueline is the president of the SGA, primarily she is going to go first because she has to go run her own meeting.
Jacqueline Keck, SGA President: Okay guys, [20:04] a couple of things, students have been really excited about the Mell Classroom Building. I’ve heard rave reviews of that being a study space but also it being an interactive learning space So just you know students are loving that and they are also attending Critical Conversations at a number that we were not expecting. Which has been really cool and students have really engaged in those conversations inside and outside of the classroom. Student leaders have gotten together and carried on those conversations. SGA and the Black Student Union will be holding forums and town halls that continue those conversations. So if you all do see publicity for those please feel free to join. We really respect you guys and really appreciate you guys and would love to have your wisdom in those conversations so please feel free to join those.
And, join us for Hey Day on Wednesday. It’s the best day of the year. We will have nametag stations throughout campus, you guys should have nametags delivered to your departments as well. There is going to be Krispy Kreme donuts if you need something sweet in the morning, come and join us it is a really great way to promote the Auburn Family. And it started to welcome home World War II veterans about 100 years ago, not quite 100 [actually 68 years ago].
A couple of things that really affect you all that we are working on is a Faculty/Student lunch program. Essentially what this does is it gives a student a voucher to take a faculty member to lunch to carry the wisdom outside of the classroom. Dr. Kam gave the SGA a little bit of money to start that program. We are figuring out the logistics of that. To kick that off in December we are going to host a Family Friday’s for students and faculty. Essentially you just bring your lunch to the green space or an indoor space because it will be December and you just kind of congregate with students and build those relationships that really define the Auburn Family.
Another initiative we are working on is the OERs, the Open Educational Resources, as well as a textbook reserve. This is to give back to students to help them save money on textbooks you will have 2 ways. You can adopt an Open Educational Resource for your classroom or if you buy a textbook that you use for your class and you have an extra copy you can donate it for any length of time to the textbook reserve. Essentially you can just go into the Library, check a book out for up to 4 hours, and that really helps our need based students and students that are working to pay their way through college. So instead of having to pay a couple of a hundred dollars for a textbook, they can go in (to the Library) and use it as a need be. So if you have those textbooks and you want to donate them or anybody in your department does please feel free to do that. That is run by the Libraries. The SGA executive officer of initiatives will be reaching out to you all about OERS and promoting an event at the Bookstore to get that off the ground.
Lastly, if you would like to join our Senate, it’s at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. There is an open time before that you can all come and speak your peace, or if you just want to kick it in the back with me and just observe what’s going on in the student body please feel free. Do you all have any questions for me? [23:14]
Dr. Stern, don’t get me now, come on. (laughter) Only 5 minutes, did you hear that?
Michael Stern, Economics: Jacqueline, I have been really impressed with your leadership in Student Government. I mean, I really have and I was just wondering what your major was?
Jacqueline Keck, SGA President: (laughter) Economics. (more laughter) And the Economics has upgraded to Miller Hall.
Anything else? Thank you so much for you time. Sorry I have to skirt out, but look forward to seeing you guys around campus. Thank you.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair
We have three other information items on the agenda today. Our next information item is a presentation of Proposed Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Transparency. The presenters are James Goldstein and Allen Furr. [24:23]
James Goldstein, English and Immediate Past Senate Chair: Good afternoon. I think we will keep it fairly brief, but I just wanted to explain what this is and how it evolved.
For those of you who haven’t been here very long, just a brief little history lesson. The previous Provost, Mary Ellen Mazey, about 7 or so years ago had thought that it would be a good idea for every academic unit to work out in writing their standards for promotion and tenure and also to promotion to full professor. So, for a better part of a year all the departments did this and then at the urging of the local Chapter of the AAUP they went onto the Provost’s Web site so everybody could see what the standards were. But there was no mechanism for repeating this exercise. Theoretically they could remain in that form for the next 100 years.
So, in discussions that I’ve been involved with for a long time, first as and AAUP officer and then when I switched to being Senate Chair and Immediate Past Chair, I was part of a lot of discussions with the Provost and we mutually agreed that it would be a good idea to have some way periodically to have all of the units review these. On the other hand I always took a very strong position in that ultimately it’s up to the individual departments and units to decide what their standards should be because those are the area experts who are in touch with the discipline and their peers and so on because I would have to be taken kicking and screaming to cooperate in a system where it was a top down the administration decided what you needed to do to be promoted and so on.
Thankfully this draft keeps in the notion that nobody is going to tell the individual departments that their standards aren’t tough enough, because that would be inappropriate abuse of power, I think.
so we got assistance from Emmett Winn, the Associate Provost, at an early stage because he was involved in the original time this was done in reading all of those standards and it was a very difficult process to get those approved. He made suggestions for kinds of process that would help. The short quick version of this is that these guidelines, which by the way have not yet been approved by the Provost, but they are Provost guidelines so the University Senate and others have assisted in the drafting of these, that there would be a new university committee who’s sole job would be to read the guidelines. One of the problems is not to do it all in the same year, all of the different departments. That is what made the first time so difficult. So they would be staggered and over a period of several years. Eventually each department would have an opportunity to do this and they would take about a year to review their standard. If they think they are perfectly fine the way they are and couldn’t be made any clearer for candidates then they can report that. If they are making alterations then this university committee could read them, not to say we don’t think your standards are good enough but could there be more clarity in the way they are articulated? Could there be more transparency than there is because the idea is that a candidate for promotion and tenure should not be surprised to find out “what do you mean I’m not going to be tenured? I thought I was doing everything you expected me to do.” So this would increase transparency. That university committee would be able to make suggestions; oh, we think in this particular bit we don’t really understand what you are saying, could you make it a little bit clearer? And they could get feedback in that way. [29:01]
So that’s basically the philosophy behind this and the process so at a more recent stage Allen Furr, who you will hear from in just a moment assisted on this and he was the one who drafted the actual template for the things that individual departments could have. So right now since there isn’t an existing process for periodic review it’s very uneven across campus. My own department of English last year actually did go through the process of reviewing them and revising them and tweaking them and so on, but my understanding is that this is not uniform across campus. So this would create some kind of system so that everybody would do it periodically.
Okay, I will turn it over to Allen. Unless there are any questions…maybe we should hold questions until we both had a chance and see if there are any and figure out who would be best at answering the question.
Allen Furr, Sociology and Faculty Fellow for Transformational Leadership: I don’t have too much to add. I wanted to go through a little bit of the process of where the document came from. This summer when I was asked to take this on, the first thing I did; I read every units (P&T) Promotion and Tenure guidelines. It was a lot of reading. There are some units that have documents that are very few pages and some that are very long. The idea was to find out what units request, again not in terms of tenure requirements but to get a sense of what is all of the different dimensions of Promotion and Tenure. Not how many articles or presentations, but how units interpret and define what is meant by papers and presentations and so forth. Could add as a side note, what this document also does is it addresses a couple of other issues that are in play, for example: department chairs, deans, provosts, many of the complaints and conflicts that they deal with come from unwritten and unspecified aspects of P&T policies and guidelines. Where we didn’t know that something was important. Or we were not supposed to do interdisciplinary research as an example. So we hope to address some of the conflicts that come about in personnel also addressing some of the COACHE data issues in terms of communicating Promotion and Tenure requirements to faculty.
After I read all of the P&T guidelines on campus I put together the template that is fairly inclusive. And what we are asking units to do is primarily cut and paste from their existing guidelines into this document which will be standardized across campus and where you do not have information, if it’s relevant, to go ahead and say here’s how we feel about interdisciplinary research, is it valued or is it not valued? If it doesn’t apply to your unit, you just put “does not apply or n/a.”
So, the goal was to create a comprehensive template of everything that units find important so that individuals who are applying for promotion or tenure will know exactly where the units expectations are, and they can plan their work accordingly. [32:39]
James Goldstein, English and Immediate Past Senate Chair: Since I didn’t have notes I forgot something I me ant to say. Just one other thing about the whole process, this is not a Senate matter. Those original guidelines for P&T standards were not something that the Senate needed to approve, so we thought that since this specially concerns faculty that the General Faculty Meeting would be the appropriate venue for this, but between the time of the draft first being drafted and this presentation the university P&T Committee did have an opportunity to review the guidelines, a university rather than a senate committee. So they’ve had a chance to look at this too. There seems to be a widespread agreement that it would be a good thing to have a regular process for reviewing these, and that’s what the idea of this is.
Did anybody have any questions for either me or for Allen? Good.
Mike Stern, Economics: I didn’t want you to feel left out James.
When I read this, are you creating a separate committee for guideline review?
James Goldstein: That’s correct.
Mike Stern, Economics: Okay, so it’s not going to be the university P&T Committee?
James Goldstein: Right, because they have a pretty heavy workload as it is.
Mike Stern, Economics: Now, you are not talking about the Senate to create a committee, you are going to have to change the Senate Constitution?
James Goldstein: No, because this would be a university committee. So it would go into the Faculty handbook, but it’s not a Senate Committee.
Mike Stern, Economics: So, you can put it into the Faculty Handbook without running it through the Senate or no?
James Goldstein: That’s correct. But the descriptions of the charges of university committees doesn’t belong to the Senate that can be changed and has been from time-to-time ultimately on the President’s authority. Sometimes they make those changes without it going in front of the Senate.
Mike Stern, Economics: You are going to run the creation of the committee through the Senate, then change the Handbook?
James Goldstein: I wasn’t anticipating that, but I am no longer chairing the Senate, so I might not be the right person to ask.
Mike Stern, Economics: So I have to be consistent, prior on record I remember opposing there being a university Tenure and Promotion Committee, I don’t think it is appropriate, I think it is a waste of time and therefore I would also oppose a university level committee related to P&T guidelines. I don’t see the value of having people with no academic credentials related to a discipline reviewing and commenting on the guidelines of a discipline. Okay, just being consistent. There should be a review of tenure and promotion guidelines, but I already think we have way too many committees. There’s a lot of people involved in stuff that don’t have any expertise, that adds a big extra layer of time and absolon of noise as we would put it, I don’t see any reason why the Provost in combination with the units in question cannot periodically review their guidelines. I don’t see the need for another committee of individuals who will only have their own expertise that doesn’t relate to the unit in question typically. That’s just my thoughts.
James Goldstein: If I could just reply to that. [36:15] Just to make clear, the nature of the review of this putative committee would be making would not be on the disciplinary expertise or the content of it, it would be more the language, is this language that is understandable.
Mike Stern, Economics: I would assume the faculty unit in question and the academic office within the unit can easily make that judgment as well. It’s just more layers of, and more and more people involved in review that I don’t think is really necessary. It’s the same with every paper work we submit. For me to send them a bill for fifteen cents (.15) there’s 16 approvers before whatever happens, right? I’ve supported the units writing guidelines because they need to communicate with their faculty and so forth, I support them reviewing it and so forth, but I think they should do it among the faculty experts in question together with the administration’s administrators that they report to. I don’t know about further layers of committees, then are colleges going to form P&T guideline committees too then and they are going to want to take a look at it before the university does? Because that’s the same kind of sprawl we have on P&T, the thing takes a whole year and outside of the people in question, in most cases, I see a bunch of copying going on when I look at what people just downstream just do. But yet we have to wait for them to copy exactly. I can look at the letters I write in P&T process and watch everybody downstream copy it. Yet the candidates have to wait all of these months and all of these peoples labor, you know, so I would hope we could be more efficient than creating more and more committees of people that do not have any direct standing in the issue.
James Goldstein: Thank you.
Daniel J. Svyantek, Chair: Thank you Allen and James.
Our third information item is a presentation by Jim O’Connor, Auburn’s Chief Information Officer. If you were at the Senate you probably started having nightmares after that one, but I asked him back because cybersecurity is a growing issue for all of us. Please give your attention to Jim. [38:33]
James O’Connor, CIO: First, thank you for the time to speak with you. The second thing I wanted to say is you have an absolutely courageous Steering Committee for the Senate. This is the third time they’ve heard me speak and they are still sitting here. So that tells me this give me room to scare you off some more. Lock those credit reports
I want to change track a little bit here because I’ve heard some feedback from the faculty, I want to try to address some of that. What I’d really like to do is have more of discussion or answer questions for you than go through a bunch of slides and that sort of thing.
I just want you to see some statistics to kind of point out why we are so concerned about the cybersecurity issues. In the month of August we processed 231 million e-mails that were coming into the institution, of which only about 5 or 6% were clean, that means no viruses, no malware of any type, we didn’t have to screen them off, that’s a lot of stuff we are blocking at the boarder and yet you are still seeing a lot of things get through, so 92% is probably the low point, typically it’s around 94% or 95% but that’s still a lot of spam and malicious activity coming into the institution.
Blocked 350 viruses, all sorts of things. That’s some pretty ugly stuff that would steal you credentials and things of that nature, so we are trying to block that stuff out as best we can. The ones that bother me, we have seen an increase in the number of compromised accounts. There were 120 in August. I wish Ms. Keck was still here, I’d like to talk to her and the students about some of that. Typically, you do see a spike in August because the students come back and are not quite on board yet. We will be talking to the student government. They’ve been very supportive in helping us by they way.
You see the trend here in terms of issues that we’ve experienced. There has clearly been an uptick in the kind of incidents we see attacking the campus. What may also be true is we are looking a lot harder these days. We have intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, we have e-mail scanning and things of that nature going on. We may just know more about what’s hitting our institution than just seeing a complete uptick, but it’s still worrisome and we need to pay attention to it.
Credit card fraud, CNBC says it may cost Americans 16 billion dollars this year. There is a British company that works out of London that thinks that number is a little bit closer to 24 billion dollars. And that was before we saw the Equifax deal. I am not going to specifically talk about Equifax, if anyone has any questions, please let me know at the end and I’ll tell you what we know.
What we are trying to do to combat it are these programs; the 2-factor, that’s where you try to log into something and it sends a code to your phone, and you put the code in. For those of you using online banking and insurance companies, investment companies, whatever, you are seeing that happen in the market place now almost everywhere because the fraud is so prevalent.
The old data clean up is where we really need your help. We probably have had 4 or 5, I’ll call them small incidents over the course of the last few months, where we’ve had old data that contains social security numbers, student name and grade and things of that nature that are FERPA protected. Somebody has had their account compromised through phishing or those sorts of things, we don’t have any specific evidence that somebody looked at that file that has the e-mail addresses or the social security numbers and whatnot, but we have to assume that it was exposed so we report those incidences. We got to get rid of the old data. My hope is that everybody will look through what they have in their e-mail, get rid of the stuff you don’t need. If you do need to keep it talk to your department IT people and get it put on a server someplace where it can be protected and scanned and those sort of things. But the inadvertent disclosure of old data is really the thing that’s been giving us serious problems over the last 4 or 5 months.
We have delivered some tools to your IT staff for patching and those sorts of things that helps with the process of updating. Again, I am going to ask you…I am going to beg you for some help here. Your IT folks need time to do those things and they do their best to be efficient at it. We have terrific IT people on the campus, they just need time to do that work and get those things patched. I can guarantee you if you give them the time to patch, in the long run it’s going to save you trouble.
You will see a lot of education and awareness campaigns coming from us. A lot of them will be targeted at the students because phishing is probably the number one thing that gets to them, they compromise their accounts and that’s a pretty serious problem. 2-Factor will help us address that. We’ve put out a number of articles if anybody wants some of these we can certainly get them back to you. These are the things we’ve been putting out over the course of the summer.
I want to address one more thing. [43:37] I know that as we implement more of the security if feels like convenience and a lot of things is going away, you are absolutely right, it is. I wish I could tell you it’s going to get better, I wish I could tell you it’s going to get easier, it probably isn’t. we are going to need everybody to be vigilant. I don’t know if I am going to paraphrase this quite right, but if you heard the President speak before, one of the things we want to do is let everybody know what this institution is capable of doing and the impact that we have. We are going to paint a larger target on the radar.
So, vigilance, don’t click on e-mails that you don’t understand, pay attention to the cybersecurity not only here but at home as well. You are going to see the same things happen there. Just need your help to pull this off. We’re going to work as hard as we can behind the scenes to stop as much of this as we can. It’s an ongoing battle.
The other great thing about me going in the slot is Diane is going to have a much more uplifting presentation and that is really nice at this point in time.
Any questions from anybody that I can answer? You all locking your credit reports these days? Equifax updated yesterday it’s no longer 143 million, it’s 145 million, if that’s size number who cares? Thank you fro the time, if there’s anything we can do to help with this, please give us a call. I am more than happy to go attend faculty meeting, staff meetings, whatever to get the word out. Thank you.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Jim, thank you very much. The first time I tried to log onto AU Access form my computer in my office I found out that I didn’t have phone reception, so I have to go outside to get my text number to put back in any time I get into AU Access. But it’s secure and at least I slept that night.
Our final information item is a presentation by Diane Boyd. Diane will discuss the Mell Classroom. [45:43]
Diane Boyd, Director, Biggio Center: For those of you who were here in August I apologize because some of this will be familiar to you. We tried to seed in some updates available to us at mid-term. For those of you, I know there are some new faculty in the room, so I wanted to say thank you for taking the time out of your day to come be a part of faculty governance.
I wanted to start with this image of the Mell Classroom Building as you come through the Library into the space. How many of you have been in the Mell Classroom Building? That’s good. I didn’t want to say how many of you have not because if figured that would be the smaller number and I didn’t want to call anyone out.
Just take a minute to absorb the expansiveness of this space. We hear from Jacqueline how much students are embracing the space and I wanted to give you an update on how faculty are making the space their own even though there are no offices, well there is one office in this space, almost not yet, your learning spaces faculty coordinator Wiebke Kuhn, who I will introduce more formally later has a space in the very bottom of the Mell Classroom Building because it is her charge along with her graduate assistant and her cadre of learning assistants to make sure everything is running smoothly related to instruction in the space. That room is not completed yet. It’s got carpet now, but one office and it is yet unoccupied.
The ways faculty are using this space, when you go in you’ll see, and we wanted to get some hard data on it, lots of faculty are hanging out in these open areas. You might see the blonde wood there. Wiebke created a survey, 111 people received it, 76 responded and of those about 14% are meeting their student intentionally in this space. So holding office hours in the Mell Classroom Building, which is good on 2 counts; it is convenient for the faculty say they have an hour in between their classes they can have their office hours there and students can feel more connected to their instructional gurus by using this space that way.
Oh, I was hoping the construction noise would keep going, because it’s kind of like we just finished building this building so it’s form and function (you guys can here that right?). One other thing I wanted to mention that we are doing in this space that I did not mention in August is that we’ve got several different scholarship of teaching and learning research projects ongoing right now. So faculty are teaching classes in the Mell Building and the same class not in the Mell Building and we have some active research on the impact of that on their students and their students learning as well as impact on faculty who have been teaching in the spaces, so that we can use this data to make informed decisions about the next building. I know that’s not exactly approved yet, but when it is we will have some more data to improve the design of that space.
A little bit about how we prepared the humans to interact in this space. This is what we did intentionally to help faculty. Think for a moment, be mindful about their pedagogy in the particular spaces that the Mell Classroom Building affords knowing that there are many seasoned teachers who do not need active learning pedagogical assistance, we made a lot of it available and about 80% of the instructional staff, faculty, graduate students have taken some form of educational professional development related to teaching in the spaces. That if pretty significant, I am not aware of any other large scale classroom building having that kind of attendance. That number of faculty excited about teaching in the space so excited that they took the time to learn about it.
Then we also included welcome week sessions for students so they understand how to prepare for class differently and completely. This number 7,017 is kink of dirty messy data, what we know is there are 7,017 enrolled seats in EASL classrooms, what we don’t know is are some students, we don’t know individuals yet and we haven’t parsed out graduate and undergraduate courses, but that’s what we know since August about the number of enrolled seats in EASL classrooms. That’s not a small number.
Now, just a second about the different spaces and then we will open it up for you questions. This is a full EASL room, EASL stands for engaged active student learning. On the left you can see we’ve created the space with the idea that participants can interact with the technology on their own terms. And also, participants can bring their own technology, so on the left a graduate student is annotating the monitors behind a piece of glass. This is just a glass board that will be erased. Which you can see for all different disciplines would have some usefulness in terms on annotating diagrams, and then students take pictures of those annotated diagrams or solving problems in real time. So, on the right hand side, this is new faculty orientation which is one of the first large scale things that happened in the Mell Classroom Building. You will see our colleague from Vet Med here on the lower left using her phone to respond to the tool mentimeter, similar to iClicker or reef. We want the space to encourage learning both meeting people where they are in terms of using the technology as well as bringing their own.
Finally a second space and I wondered, I might get in trouble for saying this, but I did wonder if we had faculty meetings in the Mell Classroom Building, would more people come? I don’t know if it humanly possible but I just wondered. So anyway, this is the large lecture hall, it seats 160 people and you can see here that it’s easy because of the way the tiers are set up for participants/students to turn around and quad up without significant pain. So if you are lecturing and you want students to consolidate what you’ve been lecturing on, you can pause for 5 minutes while they work a problem together and that according to some cognitive science research allows that learning to stick more than if we keep lecturing, which is what I am doing, which kink of pains me.
So here is a picture of the first day of class, things are moving there is not too many traffic situations. This is also the first day of class, this is your former Senate Chair, James Goldstein’s class on the very first day. What is also pretty remarkable about the space is its attention to wellbeing through the use of light in the classroom, so trying to help people learn by making it a comfortable space.
Here is where you learn more. There are several different ways faculty are getting geared up. We’ve already begun scheduling. Scheduling is pretty much done for the spring. E-mail Wiebke, and if you are interested in learning more there are several different ways you can. We have an upcoming longish, 3-hour plus lunch, EASL retreat and you can go to the Biggio Web site to sign up for that next week. We also have a Canvas course, if you are just not a joiner and don’t want to hang out with others talking about teaching, you can ask to be enrolled in the Canvas course and work through some information that we hope and based on what we’ve seen faculty do, we know that it helps them with getting prepared to teach in EASL spaces and we have a digital badging program, so if you want to go the extra mile and showcase your, I almost said a bad bleep teaching style, then you can put it in you linked in page. Or we are working to make the digital badges visible on you Canvas page as well, so your students would know that you had invested significant time in your pedagogy.
That is just a quick and dirty mid-term on you update of the Mell Classroom Building. If you have questions related to instructional use, I am happy to take them, me or Wiebke. (pause) Okay, great. Thank you so much.
Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Diane, thank you very much.
This concludes our formal agenda for today.
Is there any unfinished business? Hearing none, is there any new business? Hearing none, I now adjourn the meeting. We will meet again in Spring, 2018. [54:48]