Minutes of the University Senate
November 8, 2005
Broun Hall Auditorium
Submitted by Patricia Duffy
Present:: Conner Bailey, Patricia Duffy, Kathryn Flynn, Willie Larkin, Don Large, June Henton, Dan Bennett, Stewart Schneller, Dick Brinker, Michael Moriarty, John Heilman, Bonnie MacEwan, Harriette Huggins, Roger Garrison, Bob Locy, David Cicci, Diane Hite, Mario Lightfoote, Garnetta Lovett, Barbara Kemppainen, Barry Fleming, Anthony Moss, Anoop, Sattineni, Rik Blumenthal, Larry Crowley, Debra Worthington, Sridhar Krishnamurti, Alvin Sek See Lim, Suhyun Suh, Gary Martin, Randy Beard, Judith Lechner, Charles Gross, John Bolton, Sadik Tuzun, Claire Crutchley, Allen Davis, Michel Raby, Larry Teeter, Jim Saunders, Ruth Crocker, Ken Tilt, Chris Arnold, Saeed Maghsoodloo, Andrew Wohrley, Roger Wolters, Hugh Guffey, Darrel Hankerson, Daniel Mackowski, John Rowe, Robin Fellers, Joe Sumners, Cindy Brunner, Forrest Smith, Bernie Olin, Francis Robicheaux, Anthony Gadzey, Virginia O'Leary, Vivian Larkin, Carole Zugazaga, Howard Thomas Scott Phillips, Saralyn Smith-Carr
Absent, sending a substitute: Paul Bobrowski, Ronald Clark, Charles Mitchell, Charlene LeBleu, Ann Beth Presley, Richard Good, Salisa Westrick, William Shaw, Tom Williams
Absent, no substitute: Richard Penaskovic, Debbie Shaw, David Wilson, John Tatum, Zachary Bryant, Jenny Swaim, Jack DeRuiter, Werner Bergen, Raymond Hamilton, Timothy McDonald, Robert Chambers, Alice Buchannan, Thomas A. Smith, James Shelley, Robert Norton, Randy Tillery
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 priority 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 October 4 Senate Meeting minutes. Rik Blumenthal moved that the minutes be approved. They were approved by voice vote without opposition.
Conner Bailey announced that Dr. Richardson had an out-of-town meeting and was thus slightly delayed but that he would be arriving soon to the Senate meeting. He thus started the meeting with remarks from the Senate chair.
Conner Bailey recognized Jack Stripling of the Opelika-Auburn News, who is
leaving the area for a new job. Conner
Bailey thanked him for his service to
Conner Bailey discussed the recent meeting in
He mentioned that the Auburn University Board of Trustees met on October 28th and that Dr Willie Larkin, our faculty representative, was present and able to answer questions. Conner Bailey noted that at this Board meeting, Dr Richardson made brief reference to the report of the SACS Special Committee that visited campus in September. He reminded Senators that he had previously shared with them the written comments provided to that SACS committee by the Senate Executive Committee. He informed those present that the SACS committee report is posted on the AU homepage, and that the Special Committee said AU is in compliance with SACS criteria for accreditation. He further noted that the SACS Special Committee continues to have several concerns, including possible conflicts of interest between certain Board members, and the thoroughness of the Board’s evaluation of Dr Richardson’s performance as interim President. He said there was also a suggestion that AU provide an update to SACS at its December meeting regarding progress made on a presidential search.
He said that at their October meeting, the Board received a report from Dr John Kuhnle of Korn-Ferry International, who was hired to provide assistance in conducting a presidential search. This report has been posted on the Senate homepage and was covered in the local media. Conner Bailey said the report indicated that unless AU is willing to conduct a thorough and public self-examination with the assistance of a competent external professional, and to take action on steps that need to be taken, we will not be able to attract the quality of candidates for President that we require. He said that James L. Fisher will be attending the meeting of Board meeting on November 17. He noted that the meeting is open to the public and urged interested people to attend.
He noted that one issue in Dr. Kuhnle's report caught his attention, the statement
that: “Questions exist whether the
current Faculty Senate speaks for the majority of the faculty.” He said that given
that faculty representatives on the Senate are elected by their home
departments, he was not sure how to interpret this comment. He said that the only faculty group with
which Dr Kuhnle met was the Senate Executive committee, and that this group did not raise this issue. He said that it could be the case that the
issue raised by Dr Kuhnle refers not to the Senate as a whole but the
leadership of this body. He noted that this concern was not voiced by
the Senate Executive Committee, but that there are always good reasons to
question whether the Senate leadership is doing a good job in representing
faculty interests. He mentioned the
example of post-tenure review. He said
that the majority of faculty may be opposed to the concept and believe, as he does,
that post-tenure review is both unnecessary and dangerous at this point in our
institution’s history. He noted that there are many faculty members who
either are unworried or who think that post-tenure review would be a good thing
He said that as the Senate Chair, he needs to maintain a posture of neutrality to ensure fair and open discussion. He said he looks forward to discussions this afternoon and in the next University Faculty meeting, and to informal discussions with colleagues in the weeks and months ahead. He said he will try to keep an open mind during these discussions.
He noted that issues about the changes in payroll have come forward, and that Dr. Don Large is here today and can address those questions.
Questions and Answers for the Senate Chair
Jim Saunders said that he was interested in the comment about the Senate not being representative and also about the Alumni Association (leadership) not being representative. He noted that for Senate officers we have a selection committee and an election. For the Alumni Board, there are many candidates and an election process. He said that democracy is representative, and that these remarks are not supported by facts.
Conner Bailey responded that Kuhnle was reporting what he heard.
David Cicci asked a question about the new payroll system. He said that faculty members were upset because of the change to 10 equal payments rather than the current method. He asked why faculty wasn't informed earlier to set up personal budgets, rather than having a smaller paycheck starting in January.
Conner Bailey called on Don Large to answer.
Don Large said that we are in the midst of several conversions of systems, more extensive than in many years. He said that we are working through problems with Banner and that over the next few weeks and months, any problems will be fixed. He said the Human Resources system is also being changed and that the changes will go into effect on January 1. He agreed that they did not do a good job on communicating the change. He said that about September it became obvious that they would need to change the way we pay. He apologized and took responsibility for not getting the news out sooner. He said the reason for the change was that 9 month faculty members receive two half-month pay checks plus 8 additional checks. For the new system, it is highly impractical to give half checks; thus we would need 10 equal paychecks or 12. Over time, he said, that those who prefer 12 checks may be able to arrange it, but having the pay system as it was before (with 2 half-size checks) is not possible. He also mentioned that changes in the systems will eventually do away with the use of SSNs for identification of students.
David Cicci asked whether summer pay would now be given in two equal payments in June and July. He also asked whether the new system can handle the increased amount in these checks or whether there would have to be a limit on summer earnings.
Ronald Herring answered the questions. He said that there would be two checks over the summer and that the system could handle it that way. He said that (under the old system) some people were getting two sets of summer checks in one year, which affects their retirement calculations. With the new system, summer pay would be in one year only.
(Secretary's Note: Ronald Herring expanded on these remarks after the meeting to clarify them: The retirement year runs from July through June. If someone teaches a mini term in July and the next year teaches a mini term in June and is paid for the full amount after each term, that faculty member would receive two summer pays in one teacher-retirement year and effectively improve his or her retirement benefit by having a higher salary in that particular year. Ronald Herring said that the Retirement System wants only one summer's summer pay per teacher-retirement year.)
Herb Rotfeld said that with this change of schedule, faculty would lose money because pay-raises don't go into effect until after the start of the year, so we lose part of our pay-raises on the full month's check. He asked if we could start our pay raises at the beginning of an academic year.
Don Large said that this is something the budget advisory committee could look at.
Remarks from Interim President Ed Richardson
President Richardson apologized for arriving late, saying he just got in
President Richardson discussed the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting on November 17-18. He said he anticipates several issues. First, he said he anticipates that Dr. Fisher will be present to describe the process he will use to compile his report. He said he believes that this presentation will be made on Friday morning. He said that on the Thursday afternoon before regular board meeting, John Heilman will present to the Board the criteria associated with academic program review and post-tenure review.
He mentioned the ribbon cutting for the research park on 10 a.m. on November
17th and said that it relates to the legislative agenda that we will have
later. He said that research funding
will be a major emphasis for
He discussed the strategic planning inititive. He said Dr. Sauser did an excellent job with the internal review. He noted that many thought that the Board had usurped the process, but that is not the case. He said he anticipates that we will start to interview three people who have been recommended who could provide the Board with a review of the external factors affecting the university. He said he believes a consultant will be selected by the end of this month. Then, he said, the consultant will be scheduled to come in March to make himself available to faculty committees or other campus groups. Then, President Richardson would ask for a three-hour workshop with the Board at the April meeting. He said he anticipates that this external review process will be complete in April. Upon receiving the consultant's report, he said, he will ask faculty committees, probably starting in the fall of 2006, to blend the internal report and the information from the external review. He said he sees the strategic plan being finished sometime next year, depending on the length of the review plus the length of the search for a new president.
At the February 2 and 3rd meeting, which is in Montgomery, he anticipates that Dr. Fisher (the consultant hired to prepare us for the presidential search) would have completed his work and would be able to describe to the Board what structural or institutional changes are necessary to initiate a successful search for a new president. He said that Dr. Kuhnle's comments reflected the comments from people with whom Dr. Kuhnle met. He said he anticipates an aggressive report from Dr. Fisher on the 2nd or 3rd of February.
At the April meeting he said that we would have a review of the external
factors from the strategic planning consultant.
He recommended that (at this meeting) we consider the Ag Initiative (also
called the Initiative for
He said we are continuing to work very closely with the
He discussed the legislative agenda as it relates to research. He said revenues in the educational trust
funds are exceeding that which was predicted.
He said it is anticipated that there will be substantial money, some of
it one-time money. He said he anticipates
that the legislative agenda will not generate as much cooperation as it did
last year. He said he believes
He said that at the June meeting, the final Board meeting of the year, the Board will elect officers. He said this year for the first time there will be formal report of the presidents of each campus. He said the reports will deal with specific questions as to whether or not targets were met. In addition, he said, each president will report on athletics. He noted that the June meeting is the one at which the budget is normally finalized.
Questions and Answers for President Richardson
Cindy Brunner asked about the material that Dr. Heilman will be presenting on academic program review and post-tenure review. She said she didn't think that either issue has reached a point of settlement yet.
President Richardson replied that the presentation is mainly a progress report, and that nothing is being presented for Board approval. He said the report is designed is to indicate that progress is being made and to keep the Board informed. He said that obviously there are some criteria. He asked John Heilman to elaborate.
John Heilman said that the work on academic program review and post-tenure review represents the positive influence of shared governance. On academic program review, he said he worked with the Senate Academic Program Review Committee and that a lot of work had been done. He said the Committee has looked at criteria and discussed them. Within the framework President Richardson has described, he said, it is reasonable to start speaking with the Board on these issues. On post-tenure review, he said he worked with the Steering Committee and will be relying on material from the Senate webpage.
Harriette Huggins asked President Richardson about his remarks on strategic planning. She said that faculty committees had been mentioned. She asked if A&P and staff would also be involved.
President Richardson told her that staff and A&P would be involved and that the previous wording was an oversight on his part.
Anthony Gadzey said that at a recent faculty meeting in his department (Political Science) one of the members present expressed strong reservations on inviting Fisher to provide an overall recommendation on governance of the institution. Anthony Gadzey said that those who read Fisher's book are not attracted to his vision of shared governance at a university.
President Richardson said that when a search for a president starts, the current president goes to the sidelines. He said that Kuhnle recommended Fisher, and that is the process we have followed. He said that Fisher will make recommendations to the Board, but the Board is not obligated to follow all of his recommendations. He said that rejecting Kuhnle's recommendation out of hand would not set a positive tone for the search.
Anthony Gadzey said that the issue is not whether we need a review, but that the person whom Kuhnle has recommended does not come with universal approval. He said he believes there are enough experts around the country for other choices.
Herb Rotfeld said that in 2004, the journal he edits, the Journal of Consumer Affairs, had a special issue on identity theft and other issues. He pointed out that it has been a decade since a faculty committee recommended we end the use of SSNs as ids. He asked when we will finally see this practice end.
President Rcihardson said that Banner system will allow alternative ids instead of SSNs. He asked Don Large to elaborate.
Don Large said that with the implementation of the new Human Resource system on January 1, many uses of the SSN will go away. He said there are four different phases of implementation from June of next year through most of the following year. He said that students may not be fully free of the use of SSNs as ids until September 2007. He said by that time there will be a new nine digit number for everyone.
Rik Blumenthal said that he believes he saw in a newspaper that Ed Richardson said that the Senate and its leadership do not represent the faculty. He said he polls faculty in his department on important issues and that he is insulted that Ed Richardson would make that comment.
President Richardson replied that the comments from Kuhnle did not come from him.
Rik Blumenthal responded that President Richardson has said such things in the past.
President Richardson said we should not be too concerned, that this is one of the issues used to justify the need for a review and the review should improve the situation.
Rik Blumental said that by his recall, strategic planning came about as an initiative from the president. He further said that an important part of the president's job was to set boundaries between the Board of Trustees and the President. He said that the Board has hijacked the strategic plan and that this is micromanagement. He said that now he hears that we have a presentation to the Board of ideas for post-tenure review in November. He said that post-tenure review should not be presented for to the Board before it is presented to the institution. He asked why post-tenure review is not first being talked about with the Senate, rather than the Trustees.
President Richardson said that he announced last June that there would be different initiatives and he had set November for presentation on post-tenure review. He said he had asked John Heilman if he would be ready in November and John Heilman said he would. He said that John Heilman has worked with faculty committees. Further, he said that strategic plan has not been usurped. He said if strategic planning doesn't come back together, we could stop it.
Herb Rotfeld asked about the status of the ombudsman.
John Heilman said that Lynne Hammond has invited an expert on this topic to come here and the visit is scheduled.
Conner Bailey added that he believes that the visit is scheduled for December 1.
Jim Saunders suggested that the one-time research money could be spent on equipment.
President Richardson said that was a good point. He said his job was to secure the money, and it was up to the John Heilman and others to figure out how best to use it.
Caroline Glagola spoke about the SGA blood drive. She encouraged everyone to participate in the November 16 and 17th blood drive at Foy Student Union.
Report on Teaching Evaluations
Gisela Buschle-Diller, chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, gave a report on faculty views of the student evaluation process. The report concerns the eight questions put together by the Teaching Effectiveness Committee in 1988 and implemented in 1990. A survey of faculty about the validity of the questionnaire was conducted in 1990.
Link to presentation:
Link to the report:
Conner Bailey encouraged people to talk to faculty in their departments about this issue.
Darrel Hankerson noted that a proposal came up some years ago to do teaching portfolios. He said his department would be against it. He said that although the current evaluations may be useless, they don't cost us much time.
Ginny O'Leary said there is a vast literature nationally on evaluating teaching. She notedit was expensive to do it properly. She asked about the institutional commitment to do these evaluations correctly.
John Heilman said he recalls that in 1976 Dean Hobbs of A&S organized a teaching evaluation committee to put together a precursor of this form. He said that a member of the English department observed at that time that they will tell you that this system will be used to improve teaching, but just give it time and it will be used in your evaluation. John Heilman agreed with Ginny O'Leary that a meaningful evaluation process will take time, effort, and investment of resources.
Cindy Brunner said that the current system is not cost-free. She said it costs
class time and costs students some time if they are conscientious. She noted that Jim Groccia, director of the
Conner Bailey said that Jim Groccia serves on this committee.
of Initiative for
John Heilman gave a progress report on the Initiative for
Conner Bailey encouraged everyone with interest to spend some time and provide some feedback.
Conner Bailey said he has an extensive set of comments as a preface to the topic, which he gave at the October Faculty Meeting. But in the interest of time, he said he would condense these comments. He said the goal of post-tenure review is to be supportive, not punitive. He said it is our hope that post-tenure review will not undermine academic freedom. Also, he said that we are looking for ways to reward exceptional performance as well as to mitigate poor performance.
He said that in the process of developing models for post-tenure review, we have found some problems with annual evaluations. He said that we have had discussions with President Richardson in the last couple of weeks, and he had thought, based on the discussions, that we might wait until spring of 2007 to pilot post-tenure review. From comments he heard today (from President Richardson), he said he believes that this may no longer be the case.
He said there are two models on the Senate website. One has a trigger mechanism, so that only those with low evaluations over some time period would be obligated to undergo post-tenure review. Under the other system, the universal system, all faculty members will go through it. In the universal case, annual performance evaluations will also be used as the basis for the review.
Questions and Answers on Post-Tenure Review
Herb Rotfeld said he wished to ask about the earlier comments that every
university except the
Conner Bailey said that Ed Richardson's remarks pertained to universities in
the SREB. He said that at the meeting of
Senate chairs there was no indication that the
Anthony Gadzey said that one of the views expressed at the Political Science faculty meeting is whether we could believe post-tenure review was not meant to be punitive. He does not see why, if the goal is to help people who are not doing well, we can't identify them and give them help without post-tenure review.
Conner Bailey said that at many other universities, the post-tenure review process does not seem to have a punitive dimension, but that the devil is the details.
Cindy Brunner said the faculty in Pathobiology voted not to accept either of the two proposals. They requested that Dr. Richardson explain to us the problem with our current system of evaluation. She asked whether it is a problem of perception that faculty members are not working hard or whether we have a substantial amount of deadwood among the senior faculty. She asked why, if there is a problem with the dismissal process that we currently have, we could not fix them. She said we may need to revise our dismissal policy as the verbiage now deals only with fitness as a cause for dismissal, not lack of performance. She said the faculty in her department feels that we don't need to burden the tenured faculty with constantly reviewing their tenured colleagues. She said they believe that what is being sought is a way to identify underperforming faculty and deal with them.
Rik Blumenthal said he agrees with the Pathobiology Department. He said he would recommend that we resist this effort and not go for some plan because it is the lesser of two evils. He said that we could modify the existing dismissal policy to deal with deadwood. If we must have post-tenure review, he had a faculty member in his department say it must not be by trigger.
Conner Bailey said his understanding of the process from here is that the University Faculty will discuss this matter one more time and there will be votes taken. The first vote will be yes or no on whether we should have post-tenure review. If the vote is yes, we will vote on the model.
Charles Gross said he has polled the faculty and they have had numerous conversations. He said it can be argued that we already have post-tenure review. Every faculty member has an annual review and prepares an annual report. Annual evaluations are used for merit raises, to correct deficiencies, and to give feedback to tenure-track faculty moving toward tenure. He says post-tenure review is a solution to a non-problem.
Sadik Tuzun said he has also been discussing post-tenure review in his department. He noted that when Ed Richardson came in as president, he had six initiatives and post-tenure review was not one of them. Sadik Tuzun said that Ed Richardson said post-tenure review came from political pressure, but now it appears that there is no political pressure. He noted that tenure was initiated in the Sorbonne in the 1600s to protect freedom of achievement and freedom of thinking. He said there is no need for another layer of evaluation and his faculty is against it.
Ginny O'Leary said that this is a distressing issue that we have been struggling with for some months. She said that perhaps the problem is semantics. She said we conduct post-tenure review every time we conduct an annual evaluation, since it is a review of a tenured faculty member. She said the process may be imperfect and need some attention, but that the current system could be improved to make it a better system.
Bob Locy said that at the outset of post-tenure review, the Steering Committee, discussed most of what has been said today. He agreed with the other speakers that it is a problem of perception and that we already do post-tenure review. He said that the current process of review is not adequate to be convincing in terms of perceptions, and that in politics, perception creates reality.
Cindy Brunner said the model her department is proposing has a name, the Michigan State Model, where post-tenure review was implemented through several existing policies and procedures contained in the faculty handbook.
Holly Stadler said she has a different point of view. She said that in academia, we give a lot of attention to developmental milestones that occur before tenure, but not after tenure. She said that milestones after tenure may need a broader review than just the annual review. She said that under annual reviews, a great amount of power and decision-making authority rests in the hands of the department head, and that faculty get limited feedback on their development and no feedback form their peers in a structured way. She said that post-tenure review looks at a career developmentally and that it would take out of the hands of the department head a large amount of power over the faculty member's career.
Conner Bailey agreed that this is the one issue that is positive about post-tenure review, the check on the power of an individual department head or chair over the annual evaluations.
Sadik Tuzun said that SACS found no problems in academics at AU, but that problems were found with the Board. He said that instead of spending money and time on another layer of review, we could have more sabbaticals or more development seminars. He said that maybe in the future we can talk about post-tenure review, but for now it is more destructive than helpful.
Gary Martin said that Holly Stadler did a nice job describing the potential benefits. He asked a procedural question: What will be the connection between the upcoming faculty votes on post-tenure review and Dr. Heilman's presentation to the Board?
Conner Bailey said that his hope is that at the next Board meeting, John Heilman will present the current status of thinking on post-tenure review. He said we can have a special called meeting before the end of the calendar year, but because of the timing of the semester, it may be better to have this meeting early in the next semester. He said he believes there will be two votes, the first on whether or not to have a post-tenure review system, and if that vote passes, there will be a second vote on the model.
John Heilman said he does not see his presentation to the board as a report. He said he sees the presentation as connected to the work that has been done by the Academic Program Review Committee and the Steering committee. He said that the views of this body and the views of this faculty matter a great deal. He said that as a practical matter decisions about tenure are made by the administration. He said that is how he views post-tenure review and that the views of the faculty will carry weight. He said that if the faculty were to vote not to approve post-tenure review, that would not prevent him from making a recommendation to President Richardson.
Clifton Perry asked whether post-tenure review would lead to shorter processes toward dismissal.
Conner Bailey said any post-tenure review model he can imagine developing would not increase the issues, the causes, or the criteria that might lead to dismissal. He said post-tenure review packets would be reviewed by one body and there could be an appeal body to which someone who felt that evaluation was mistaken could appeal. He said that there are also grievance policies. He said there would not be any reduction in processes.
Clifton Perry asked about other punishments such as reduction in pay or loss of rank.
Conner Bailey said there would be appeals processes. He said that under models of post-tenure review being developed on our campus, there is no automatic trigger of the dismissal process, but a policy developing at AUM does have that sort of provision. Conner Bailey said he would oppose this.
Judith Lechner said her faculty does not like triggered methods. She said a well-structured process could stem abuse of junior faculty and protect their autonomy. She said that if it is not structured well, it could extend problems from the junior faculty to the senior faculty
Sadik Tuzun said there cannot be a set criteria applied universally to each faculty member. He said he appreciates John Heilman for being faculty-oriented. He said he is concerned that if we open up the subject to the Board, the Board will get excited and want something. He asked if the Board can be told we are studying other institutions.
Conner Bailey said that Steering will look at the
The meeting adjourned at 5:30.