Minutes of the Senate Meeting
May 2, 2006
Submitted by Kathryn Flynn
Present: Rich Penaskovic, David Cicci, Kathryn Flynn, Ann Beth Presley, Conner Bailey, Debbie Shaw, Paul Bobrowski, John Heilman, Bonnie MacEwan, Drew Burgering, Roger Garrison, Ronald Clark, Diane Hite, Charles Mitchell, Barbara Kemppainen, Charlene Lebleu, Barry Fleming, Raymond Hamilton, Anthony Moss, Rik Blumenthal, Larry Crowley, Alvin Sek See Lim, Gary Martin, Randy Beard, Judith Lechner, Charlie Gross, Jon Bolton, Claire Crutchley, Allen Davis, Michel Raby, Alice Buchanan, Ruth Crocker, Thomas A. Smith, Saeed Maghsoodloo, Andrew Wohrley, Roger Wolters, Darrel Hankerson, John Rowe, Robin Fellers, Joe Sumners, Cindy Brunner, Salisa Westrick, Bernie Olin, Francis Robicheaux, Anthony Gadzey, Robert Norton, Tom Williams, Carole Zugazaga, Saralyn Smith-Carr
Absent, sending a substitute: Larry Teeter (Yaoqi Zhang), Chris Arnold (Tsailu Liu), Ken Tilt (Raymond Kessler), William Shaw (Patton Pickens), Scott Phillips (Thereza Oleinick)
Absent, no substitute: Don Large, June Henton, Dan Bennett, Stewart Schneller, Dick Brinker, Michael Moriarty, George Stegall, Zachary Bryant, Maurita Walker, Jack DeRuiter, Garnetta Lovett, Bob Locy, Winfred Foster, Mario Lightfoote, Werner Bergen, Timothy McDonald, Anoop Sattineni, Robert Chambers, Debra Worthington, Sridhar Krishnamurti, Suhyun Suh, Sadik Tuzun, Jim Saunders, Hugh Guffey, Daniel Mackowski, Richard Good, Forrest Smith, James Shelley, Virginia O’Leary, Vivian Larkin, Randy Tillery, Howard Thomas
Rich Penaskovic called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: The minutes of the April 4 Senate meeting were approved without opposition.
Remarks and Announcements:
Remarks from Senate Chair Rich Penaskovic
Rich Penaskovic reported that his request for $250,000 for sabbaticals is still under consideration. He said that information is being gathered by the Provost’s Office on sabbatical leave at other universities.
Rich Penaskovic announced the death of Dr. Norman Doorenbos, recounted highlights of his career and called for a moment of silence.
Rich Penaskovic then announced that the Presidential Search Committee has been formed and the first meeting would be held on May 4th in the President's Board Room in Samford Hall. He said that the committee consists of 9 members: 5 trustees (Mr. McCrary who serves as Chair, Mr. McWhorter, Mr. Franklin, Ms. Newton, and Mr. Miller), a student (George Steals, SGA President), one alumnus (Ms. Hill), and two faculty (Conner Bailey and Cindy Brunner). Rich Penaskovic stated that he would like to have seen more faculty on the committee, especially someone from the AUM faculty.
Rich Penaskovic then announced
that he and David Cicci, Chair-Elect, have met with the SGA President (George
Steals) and the President of the Graduate Student Organization to discuss
mutual concerns. Rich Penaskovic said
that the international graduate students are feeling the pinch because of a
requirement that they pay an insurance premium of $1,000 in one lump sum. He said that this is a requirement not of AU
but of the
Rich Penaskovic announced that Isabelle Thompson, Chair of the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Committee, would present the results of a survey on NTTF at the June meeting. He said that there are a number of NTTF on campus who are facing recategorization of their positions from NTTF to A&P. He said that there is a principle at issue: just as faculty had a central role in the original decision to confer faculty status and rank on NTTF, so should the faculty have a central role to play in the decision to remove this status. He said that this is a particular issue for a number of Extension Specialists who are not housed in academic units. He further stated that it is the position of the Senate leadership that people in these positions be "grandfathered" and the positions reclassified as the current individuals retire and are replaced. He said this is especially true because some of these people have been classified as faculty for 20 years or more.
Rich Penaskovic stated that he welcomed comments and questions from the audience, with Senators getting the first opportunity to speak. There were no questions for the Chair.
Remarks from Provost John Heilman
John Heilman had no prepared remarks but opened the floor to questions. There were no questions for John Heilman.
Resolution honoring the women and men’s swimming and diving teams for winning the 2006 NCAA Championships (Conner Bailey, Immediate Past Chair)
Conner Bailey came forward to introduce a resolution honoring the men and women's Swimming and Diving Teams for winning the 2006 National Championships. He also acknowledged the Women's Equestrian Team Championship that was won subsequent to the last meeting during which the Senate leadership was asked to draft this resolution. Conner Bailey stated that this resolution recognized championships won by both the men’s and the women’s swimming and diving teams and the academic achievements of many members of both teams. He introduced Curt Cady who was present as a representative of the teams, the rest of whom were at practice in the pool. Conner Bailey mentioned that Curt Cady was an Engineering major, a graduating senior and that he has a 3.7 GPA. Conner Bailey mentioned that the swimmers undergo rigorous training and also are great performers in the classroom. Conner Bailey then read the Resolution (LINK) and stated that, because it comes from a standing Senate committee (the Steering Committee) it did not require a second. There was no discussion of the resolution and the Resolution was approved without dissent.
Resolution on the 1966 Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (David Cicci, Chair-Elect)
David Cicci came forward to present a resolution adopting the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities. He stated that this Resolution arose from comments in the Fisher Report in which this statement was sited several times as one of two statements considered essential to shared governance within an institution. He mentioned that this same Statement was later referred to in comments made by Mr. McWhorter at the last Board of Trustees meeting in which Mr. McWhorter stated that he was curious as to why the Senate had never adopted this Statement even though the 1940 Statement had been adopted. David Cicci said that the primary purpose of the 1966 Statement is to delineate the responsibilities of faculty, boards and presidents. David Cicci then reviewed the major points of the 1966 Statement using a power point presentation to summarize the document. David Cicci then read the Resolution and called for discussion. He noted that this Resolution was introduced by the Steering Committee and did not require a second. The resolution passed without discussion and without opposition.
Calendar and Schedules Committee Report (Thereza Oleinick, Chair, Calendar and Schedules Committee)
Thereza Oleinick then came forward to present the calendars for Fall 2007 and 2008 and Spring semesters of 2008 and 2009 for approval by the Senate. She briefly reviewed the calendars and noted that there were 75 days for both fall and spring semesters as previously requested by the Senate. She further stated that there were 13-14 complete weeks per semester, 6 days rather than 5 for final exams, and that Spring Break had been moved up by two weeks. She noted that contractual appointments begin on August 16 and classes cannot begin before that time. Thereza Oleinick also noted that it was not possible to have a fall break because of the need for complete weeks in the schedule. She said that Commencement could be scheduled for Friday, Saturday or Monday under the proposed calendars. She also noted that the Registrar’s Office needed two days between the end of final exams and Commencement in order to complete grades for graduation. She also reported that schedules for summer 2008 and 2009 were still being developed. She said that there were problems with the amount of time available for summer session and that one solution might be Saturday classes. She said that the shift to semesters created a problem with getting an equivalent amount of instruction in the summer session as in the regular semesters. She asked for comments and suggestions for making the summer calendar work.
Once her presentation was completed the floor was opened for questions and comments.
Student Academic Grievance Policy (Sabit Adanur, Chair, Student Academic Grievance Committee)
Sabit Adanur, Chair of the Student Academic Grievance Committee came forward to present the latest version of the Academic Grievance Policy with the goal of having this policy presented for approval at the June meeting. He stated that the revision of the policy had been in the works for more than a year and had been through a number of reviews and revisions by the committee and the SGA. He further stated that he had only served as Chair since January so much of the work on this policy had been done prior to his tenure as Chair. Sabit Adanur stated that many of the changes were minor. He then outlined the major changes using a power point presentation. He stated that the major changes include: defining limits to the authority of the Committee, delineating who students should contact in the event of a grievance, establishing a policy prohibiting contact between participants in a grievance and committee members other than the chair, detailing distribution of materials to people involved in a grievance, changes in evaluation of the process each Spring, and a restructuring of the committee membership. He stated that the Committee was recommending that the membership be limited to 9 full members and 5 alternates.
The floor was opened for discussion.
· Sabit Adanur was asked if having the meetings closed to anyone other than members of the committee and complainants violated Sunshine Laws and if the University Counsel had reviewed the policy. Sabit Adanur stated that he would have to check on this.
· Another Senator stated that the new section prohibiting contact between anyone involved in a grievance was problematic given that there was a good chance that co-workers, friends or neighbors might end up being prohibited from talking to each other. Sabit Adanur stated that the intent of this passage was to prohibit discussion regarding the case. The Senator stated that this needed to be stated explicitly in the policy because the current version reads as if any conversation is prohibited. The Senator suggested adding “about the case” or “on matters relevant to the case” to this section.
· Sabit Adanur was then asked what happens if students bypass the steps outlined in the policy. He stated that the point of the policy is to try to solve problems at the local level first and that if a student bypasses the steps he or she should be sent back and made to follow the procedure.
· Another Senator pointed out that in Section 184.108.40.206 the new wording about representation discusses A&P and NTTF as if they are one group when in fact they are not. It was noted that this could result in 5 faculty members on the committee if a NTTF member and not an A&P person were put on the committee. Drew Burgering, new Chair for A&P, stated that he would have to consult with Harriett Huggins to get more information on the A&P position on this issue. Drew Burgering further stated that he believes the group wanted only someone actively involved in instruction to be named to the committee. Sabit Adanur stated that Harriett Huggins had been present when the wording for the A&P/NTTF representative had been proposed but that he did not know who actually made the proposal.
· Sabot Adanur was then asked about the removal of the Rules Committee from involvement or oversight of this committee. He stated that the Student Academic Grievance Committee would review policies rather than the Rules Committee.
Rich Penaskovic thanked Sabit Adanur for his presentation and mentioned that anyone interested in editing the revised policy should contact Dr. Adanur.
Survey of Faculty Views on the University Senate (Conner Bailey, Immediate Past Chair)
Conner Bailey presented a report on the recently completed survey of faculty views on the University Senate. (LINK TO POWERPOINT PRESENTATION) Conner Bailey began by thanking Dr. Heilman for funding the survey developed by the Rules Committee and administered by the Center for Governmental Services. He mentioned that comments in the Fisher Report pertaining to the Senate were the impetus for the survey. Conner Bailey reviewed the demographics of survey respondents and noted that it was a little over-weighted towards older faculty and under-representative of those who have been on the faculty for less than five years. Conner Bailey mentioned that the total number of individuals classified as faculty varies significantly but that anyone who could vote in Senate elections had the ability to respond to the survey. He stated that there was no way to know if most of the respondents are in academic units are not. Conner Bailey reported that a plurality thought a Faculty Senate would be better than a University Senate. He noted that those respondents who had served as Senators thought that the University Senate model was the best. Conner Bailey said that a major revision of the Faculty Handbook was probably on the horizon and this question could be addressed at that time. Conner Bailey also stated that the verbatim comments are as important as the numbers and that the mixed results should cause us to look carefully at the comments. Conner Bailey concluded by stating the need to identify where we can do better at representing very diverse groups.
The floor was then opened for comments and questions:
Rich Penaskovic asked if there was any old business. There was none. He then asked if there was any new business and there was none.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.