Minutes of the University Senate
October 4, 2005
Broun Hall Auditorium
Submitted by Patricia Duffy
Present: Conner Bailey, Richard Penaskovic, Patricia Duffy, Willie Larkin, Don Large, Debbie Shaw, Dan Bennett, Paul Bobrowski, Stewart Schneller, Michael Moriatry, John Heilman, Bonnie MacEwan, Harriette Huggins, Roger Garrison, Garenetta Lovett, Robert Locy, Diane Hite, Mario Lightfoote, Werner Bergen, Barbara Kemppainen, Charlene LeBleu, Barry Fleming, Raymond Hamilton, Timothy McDonald, Anoop Sattineni, Robert Chambers, Rik Blumenthal, Larry Crowley, DebraWorthington, Sridhar Krishnamurti, Alvin Sek See Lim, Ann Beth Presley, Suhyun Suh, Gary Martin, Juidth Lechner, Sadik Tuzun, Claire Crutchley, Allen Davis, Michel Raby, Larry Teeter, Jim Saunders, Alice Buchanan, Ruth Crocker, Chris Arnold, Saeed Maghsoodloo, Andrew Wohrley, Roger Wolters, Darrel Hankerson, Daniel Mackowski, John Rowe, Robin Fellers, Cindy Brunner, Forrest Smith, Salisa Westrick, Bernie Olin, James Shelley, Francis Robicheaux, Virginia O'Leary, Vivian Larkin, William Shaw, Carole Zugazaga, Scott Phillips, Saralyn Smith-Carre, June Henton, Zachary Bryant
Absent, sending a substitute: Ronald Clark, Charles Mitchell, Charles Gross, Jon Bolton, Richard Good, Joe Sumners, Tom Williams
Absent, no substitute: David Wilson, Dick Brinker, John Tatum, Jenny Swaim, Jack DeRuiter, David Cicci, Anthony Moss, Ken Tilt, Thomas A. Smith, Hugh Guffey, Anthony Gadzey, Robert Norton, Randy Tillery, Howard Thomas, Randy Beard
Conner Bailey called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and reminded Senators to please sign in at the back. He said that he would continue the practice of allowing anyone present from a represented group to ask questions or take part in discussions from the floor. He asked that Senators have precedents if many people want to speak and reminded speakers to go to the microphones and state their name, whether or not they are a Senator, and what unit they represent.
Conner Bailey then called for approval of the September 6 minutes. Rik Blumenthal moved that the minutes be approved. They were approved by voice vote without opposition.
Because President Richardson was unable to attend the Senate meeting, John Heilman provided remarks from the Presiden'ts office.
Remarks from President's Office by John Heilman, Provost
John Heilman said that there will be a specially called Board of Trustees meeting on October 28. John Kuhnle, search consultant, will speak at the meeting. John Kuhnle will be on campus this week (week of October 4) and will meet with various constituencies to talk about the presidential search.
The expectation is that at the November Board meeting, there will be discussion, but there will be no resolution with respect to Academic Program Review and Post-Tenure Review. Provost Heilman said he appreciates the work from the Senate leadership and from the committees on these two subjects.
Questions and Asnwers:
Ruth Crocker asked which constituency groups Dr. Kuhnle will meet with.
John Heilman said he did not bring the list and could not recall the schedule.
Herb Rotfeld said that at an AAUP meeting, President Richardson asked that faculty not be so quick to speak to outside groups. But that at that meeting, someone present said that there was no inside channel. Herb Rotfeld asked what happened to the proposal for the ombudsperson. He recalled that President Richardson said it was a good idea.
John Heilman replied that a conclusion was reached that the appointment of an ombudsman would address symptoms, not problems. He said there is currently no expectation to proceed with the appointment of an ombudsman. John Heilman said that he has taken steps to recruit to staff persons, one for Human Resources and one for budget and that one of these will respond to questions with respect to where to go when problems arise.
Rich Penaskovic said he was surprised and disappointed that the ombudsman position is not going anywhere, when there was a resounding yes on the part of the Senate several months ago.
John Heilman agreed that there was strong support, but said that ultimately all resolutions from the Senate are recommendations to the president. He said there was not support for this position. He said he believed it was appropriate to say that the decision (not to go forward) was made during a meeting attended by Don Large, Virginia O'Leary, Conner Bailey, and Ed Richardson.
Virginia O'Leary said that she left that meeting before this determination was made and that she had not heard it before now.
Don Large said his understanding was that Lynne Hammond was at that meeting and that she had a number of contacts and was going to bring in a person who was nationally prominent in that area who could advise the group; we would then evaluate what we had in mind for a two-year appointment and what we identified as the problem. He said we could look at options. He said that Lynne Hammond is trying to confirm a meeting with this person and hopefully he will be here within a month or so.
Announcements from Senate Chair Bailey
Conner Bailey said that the Board of Trustees met Sept 15 and 16th . He said that Dr Willie Larkin, our faculty representative on the Board, was here and able to answer questions.
Conner Bailey said that at their September meeting, the Board approved the budget and spent some time on the Strategic Plan. He noted that Dr Bill Sauser is here to provide an update on developments on that subject later on the agenda.
He said the Board approved a recommendation
by Mr. Jack Miller to engage the services of Dr John Kuhnle
of Korn-Ferry International, an executive search
firm. He said that Dr Kuhnle has a copy of the Gerber report adopted by the
Senate last January. Conner Bailey said
that Dr. Kuhnle is familiar with
Conner Bailey said that a Special Committee
of SACS was in town immediately after the Board meeting and that one of that
Committee’s concerns had to do with the Presidential search. He
said that the Executive Committee met with this Committee and that he (Conner
Bailey) shared with all Senators notes from that meeting. He said that the Committee struck him as
perceptive, well prepared, and fully aware of concerns many of those in this room
have had over the years. Conner Bailey
said he anticipated that the Committee will make a number of suggestions regarding
governance issues at
Conner Bailey said the Board will meet on October 28th. He said that the agenda has not yet been set but may he include a visit by Dr. Kuhnle to discuss the best time to conduct the presidential search. He said there may be some discussion on the Strategic Plan, but that remains to be determined. He said that at the last Board meeting our faculty were well represented. He put up a list of faculty representatives to Board Committees. (Click here for Auburn University Board of Trustees Committee Assignments.)He noted that these faculty members were all new representatives and that they did well. He said that the Senate Executive Committee met with this new group and invited Steve Williams of Building Sciences, perhaps the most active of the out-going faculty representatives, to talk to this group about his experiences. Conner Bailey thanked the faculty who had previously served on Board committees for their service.
Conner Bailey announced that the Senate Executive Committee had appointed the Nominating Committee, which will be responsible for developing a slate of candidates for the positions of Chair-elect (to follow Rich Penaskovic) and Secretary-elect (to follow Kathryn Flynn). Dr Jim Bradley, former Chair of the University Senate, has agreed to serve as the convening chair of this committee. (2005-06 Nominating Committee)
Conner Bailey noted that the Senate Chair and Secretary both receive salary supplements and opportunity for sabbatical leave, and that there is also a budget for an administrative assistant and for other purposes. He said he has shared with Dr. Bradley the details of these accommodations, and mentions them here to encourage greater interest in Senate service.
He said he would like to announce that tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in Thatch 202, the AAUP will host a campus-wide forum on Post-Tenure Review. He said he anticipates the topic of Post-Tenure Review also will be discussed at the October 18th meeting of the University Faculty. He said the Senate Steering Committee has been working on two different models of Post-Tenure Review. He said that minutes of the meetings are posted on the web. He said that Steering is not making any decisions for anyone, but rather developing coherent options that can be thoroughly debated.
He said the Senate leadership has been busy on a number of other fronts, meeting with the Alumni Board and with the Committee on Non-Tenure Track Instructors. He said there were issues with non-tenure track faculty in the Alabama Cooperative Extension System whose positions are being reclassified as A&P, affecting their rights and status.
He said that leadership has been studying a set of issues related to patents, inventions, and licensing agreements and are considering the need for a committee of faculty to conduct an independent assessment of this important area.
He called for questions from the floor. There were none.
Presentation by David King on Uncompensated Summer Work
David King, past chair of the Welfare Committee, was invited to present report on uncompensated work performed by 9-month faculty.
Conner Bailey asked if there were any questions for Dr. King. There were none.
Update by Provost Heilman on Agriculture Initiative
Provost Heilman said that on
September 1, 2005, he convened a working group to address questions concerning
agriculture and related areas of activity at
Some key agreed upon goals emerged from the meeting:
2) A funding pool is needed to support the implementation of the vision and its associated goals.
3) An organizational structure is needed to direct the funding pool to projects and programs that will help implement the vision and its associated goals.
To prepare recommendations on how to achieve these goals, Dr. Heilman said he made a series of concurrent assignments, identified task leaders, and identified deadlines:
1) Vision for "the initiative at Auburn University" for example - what is the vision for future-oriented work at Auburn in food, fiber, fuels, aquatic and other natural resources? He asked Tim Boosinger and Mike Moriarty to lead this visioning.
2) Direction for Agriculture, Agribusiness, and Related
3) An integrated vision -- this report will offer a vision that incorporates the input from campus constituents (#1) and external constituents (#2). John Heilman will lead this effort.
4) Organizational structures for the initiative -- what
exists elsewhere? What has previously been proposed at
5) Funding strategies for the initiative -- where are the resources coming from, and what are the implications of alternative answers to this question? Hehas asked Don Large and Sharon Gaber to lead this area.
6) Establishing a website as a source of information and a means of communication. Steve McFarland is in charge of this.
With respect to task 1, he said that a broad-based process of gathering faculty input on the content of a future-oriented vision and focus for agriculture and related areas has begun. Charles Laughlin, who has served as a dean of agriculture, experiment station director, and USDA administrator, led two brainstorming sessions. The results have been made available to the university community for broad-based input.
With respect to task 2, four small task groups have formed to assess issues related to the future of agriculture locally and nationally. The issue areas are: natural resources, environment, and land use; agriculture production systems for the 21st century; rural development systems; and, innovation.
With respect to task 4, the working group is looking at how peer universities have organized their units and programs related to agriculture, the life sciences, and related disciplines.
The group has identified the following peer universities with organizational models that may merit consideration:
The group is also discussing models based on centers and institutes or research/ public service teams.
The group also has tentatively identified ACES and AAES administrative functions that might be integrated and suggested how they might fit in a new organization.
Questions and Answers on Ag Initiative
Conner Bailey said he appreciates the effort to make this more open and campus wide.
Conner Bailey said the initiative will affect at least 20 percent of faculty on campus and probably more than that because other faculty may be able to get support for research and outreach activities.
John Heilman said there is a sense of urgency in doing this. He said there has been a lot of work on previous reports and no closure.
Tom Sanders from Library (not a senator) said there was concern that this will be another peaks of excellence program --rob Peter to pay Paul. He asked if this effort leads back to efforts from Board to direct university to undergraduate and agriculture and away from the broader model adopted in the 60s and 70s.
John Heilman said the purpose is for strength of programs. He said it is the notion of an entity that is able to direct resources to an agreed-upon agenda. He said that a connection to the Peaks of Excellence has not been made in any discussion he has been part of.
Update on the Strategic Plan
Bill Sauser gave an extensive report to the Board on September 15th. The presentation is posted to the Strategic Plan website. It has a lot of detail. There is a three phase process. The first phase is to determine the proper questions to ask. He said there was a lot of participation. He said he appreciates the work of the Senate. He said over 100 people were involved. He said that 15 key questions were identified, with sub questions. The questions are posted on the web.
He said the second phase is the one we are now completing. He said they have collected data on answering the questions. He said there was lots of participation in this process. He said there was a series of six forums earlier in semester and the web survey was also available. He also took responses by email. He said there were 200 pages of ideas. He said there is a process of focusing responses. He said he has about 50 pages. He said he will work with Vern Hurr, the consultant, to get the final list.
The 3rd phase is to draft the plan, which was scheduled to take place in October and November. He said a draft was to be given to the Board in November for action in February. He said a progress report was made to the Board on Sept 15. At the conclusion of the report, the trustees said they wanted an external perspective. That process, seeking external perspective, will take place before we move to phase 3.
John Heilman commented that the Board heard results of phase 1 and that Bill Sauser is putting together information from phase 2. Having information on what are the questions gives the Board a basis on which to become engaged. John Heilman said that if Boards are to do two things those things are select presidents and make strategic plans. He said the Board is engaging a consultant and that once we have the results of the Board's thinking, we are positioned to do what Bill has described. He said the key to the Strategic Plan is to do the operational planning. He said he expects Bill Sauser to continue his leadership role.
Rik Blumenthal asked what is meant by external perspective. He asked if this concerns other universities or state interest groups such as the Cattleman's Association?
John Heilman responded by referencing SWOT (e.g. "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, which takes a look at the external environment. He said that the focus in environmental scan in his understanding.
Hearing no further questions from the floor, Conner Bailey handed over the gavel to Rich Penaskovic to ask questions of his own.
Conner Bailey asked if we need to look at external affairs, which is not a bad idea, what made the Board think that we are not already looking at larger environment of which we are a part? To the extent that we have not adequately focused on external affairs, he asked, why could the Board have not asked us to do so?
John Heilman said that by the terms of how this was set up, the external environment was not a major part of the discussion. He said he can't speak to why the Board sought a consultant. He said there are members of the Board with experience in strategic planning in the private sector and that this experience may have lead them to believe it would be helpful to have a consultant, but that is speculation on his part. He said he cannot speak for the Board.
Conner Bailey said that President Richardson has justified his second year of presidency with the need to develop institutional control. He asked Dr. Heilman if he could tell us how the change in the control of the Strategic Plan reflects institutional control.
John Heilman replied that Strategic Planning is something that boards do. He said he knew that the Board would get involved. He said he doesn't think things are running counter to what Ed Richardson is trying to do because this (Strategic Plan) is an area where the Board has constitutional and constitutive authority.
Rik Blumenthal asked if Dr. Heilman, now that the Board is taking its own initiative and hiring its own consultant, whether faculty time invested in the process to date will remain meaningful
John Heilman said that Ed Richardson will retain a consultant but that he (John Heilman) would be surprised if the consultant writes the Strategic Plan. He said he thinks the information that Bill Sauser provided to the Board has begun to enter into Board members' thinking. He said that at the meeting, one Board member quoted specifically from what was in there. He said he believes there will be meaningful use of the information gathered to date.
Cindy Brunner says she has been troubled by the process since its outset. She said she wished that the material Bill Sauser had taken to the Board had more clarity. She was concerned that there was no filter to bring thoughts together. In exchange for that offering the Board has said "that's okay, we'll take care of it. Since it's our job anyway to develop strategic goals, don't worry about it anymore because we are going to handle it.'" She would like to see some joint effort beyond this point such that the Board develops strategic goals and brings them back to the faculty and asks if we agree that these are the directions AU should take. She said she fears we will be reading about our new Strategic Plan in the newspaper 6 months from now.
John Heilman said that Bill Sauser was attempting to tell the Board that we are in a multistage process and here are the results of stage 1. He said there were hundreds of pages of comments that were wrapped up in what Bill Sauser reported. John Heilman said he believes our constituencies will continue to have an important voice. He said there was one additional point concerning part of rationale for the Strategic Plan, that the Strategic Plan will raise questions of governance and roles. He said it would describe where the institution is headed strategically so that presidential candidates could know what it is they are expected to do and whether that is an agenda interesting to them. He said we can use the Strategic Plan to assess qualifications of candidates to carry them out.
There was no unfinished business or new business.
Conner Bailey moved to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded. The motion passed on voice vote without opposition. The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.