Minutes of the University Senate Meeting
7 April 2009
Broun Hall Auditorium
Dennis DeVries, Secretary
(for a complete transcription of the meeting, go to http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/transcripts/TrScrpt2008-2009/transcript_04_07_09.html)
Present: Kathryn Flynn, Claire Crutchley, Dennis DeVries, Russ Muntifering, Robert Locy, Richard Brinker, Paul Bobrowski, R. Lee Evans, Anne-Katrin Gramberg, John Mason, Mary Ellen Mazey, Jacob Watkins, Judy Woodrow, April Staton, Larry Crowley, Ruth Crocker, Andrew McLelland, Norbert Wilson, Charles Mitchell, Werner Bergen, Barbara Kemppainen, Michael Clay, Christopher McNulty, Paul Swamidass, Anthony Moss, Yifen Wang, Paul Holley, Larry Crowley, Laura Plexico, Sanjeev Baskiyar, Carol Centrallo, Michael Stern, James Witte, James Goldstein, Robin Huettel, Claire Crutchley, Allen Davis, John Mazaheri, Larry Teeter, Jim Saunders, David Carter, Raymond Kessler, Ellen Abell, Howard Goldstein, Constance Hendricks, Claire Zizza, Jim Wright, Daniel Parson, Jan Kavookjian, Bernie Olin, Guy Rohrbaugh, Mike Bozack, Robert Voitle, Chris Correia, Peggy Shippen, Scott Lewis, Jon Segars, Del Epperson, Emily Myers, Gwen Thomas, R.D. Montgomery
Absent, sending a substitute: Bebra Worthington (for Brigitta Brunner), Jitendrak Tugnait (for Michael Baginski), R. Bartlett (for Shea Tillman)
Absent, no substitute: Larry Benefield, Timothy Boosinger, Barbara Witt, Jeff McNeil, Bonnie MacEwan, James Winfield, Joe Molnar, Bill Hames, Winfred Foster, Sondra Parmer, Ronald Neuman, Rik Blumenthal, John Saye, Mark Fischman, Robert Bulfin, Andrew Wohrley, Casey Cegielski, Edith Davidson, Steve Stuckwisch, Bart Prorok, Don-Terry Veal, Changhoon Jung, M. Scott Phillips
Call to Order:
Kathryn Flynn called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.
The minutes of the 3 March 2009 University Senate meeting were approved without change.
Remarks and Announcements:
Kathryn Flynn (Faculty Chair) invited Dr. Jay Gogue, President for his comments.
Dr. Gogue noted that there were several actions at the last Board of Trustees meeting.
1) Approval of a federal grant for an intermodal facility to house 400-800 parking spots (depending on configuration), located by the Student Health Center and Forestry Building. Bids will happen in the next several months.
2) Foy Union will be opened in the fall with food services, housing a number of new venues. There is just not enough space in the new Student Center.
3) In 2004 Auburn bonded for a new Information Technology Building, which was needed then, and they are still spread around a number of buildings. The board approved a new IT facility to be located near the new intermodal facility.
4) The board also approved a program in the Research Park that deals with MRI research. The state provided $20 million new dollars for this program. This will touch a lot of departments. There will be two magnets- one available for clinical use and one for research use.
5) The board spent more time last meeting on academic issues (which is where time should be spent). Drew Clark gave a nice presentation on the collegiate learning exam and NSSE, and the question is: How do we know we are adding value? A very good discussion was held.
--Unrelated to the board meeting-- in 4 years, SACS accreditation review will occur. In 2 years, we will begin gathering self-study materials. Everyone must see the importance of this and understand the culture of an assessment.
--Relative to budgets, work is ongoing in Montgomery, with nothing tangible yet. Likely it will be mid-May before we hear anything. There is still a lot of discussion of the PACT program. We are still early in the federal legislative process. The state of Alabama is still $800 million short in tax dollars. The Governor has about $3 billion in stimulus package monies, and he will not spend any until next year.
Questions for Dr. Gogue:
--There were no questions.
Kathryn Flynn noted that Bill Sauser will serve as the Senate Parliamentarian during her term as Senate Chair. She then called Dr. Mazey, Provost, forward.
Dr. Mazey reminded faculty that as per the Tiger Cub on religious holidays, all that is required is for students to notify their instructor in writing ahead of the planned absence. Faculty cannot require something such as a church bulletin.
Kathryn Flynn said she is looking forward to the coming year and asked that if anyone had ideas, that they pass them on to her or one of the other officers. As far as Auburn's financial situation, she noted that Auburn is in a relatively strong position, we have a new President, a new Provost selected by a national search, and that there is a feeling of team work. The Budget Advisory Committee is looking for ideas for cost savings. We all have to be open to new ideas, and to consider things like development of an overload policy, etc.
--Approval of Senate Appointee to the Steering Committee: Dennis DeVries, Secretary, noted that because Claire Crutchley served as a Senate-appointed member of the Senate Steering Committee, and now has been elected Chair-elect, and will serve on the Steering Committee in that role, her previous seat must be filled. The Senate Rules Committee nominated Larry Crowley to fill that vacated seat. The motion from the Senate Rules Committee was for Larry Crowley to replace Claire Crutchley as one of the Senate appointed members of the Steering Committee.
--There was no discussion, and the motion passed unanimously.
--Nomination for Rules Committee: Dennis DeVries, Secretary, opened the floor for nomination for the Rules Committee. This is typically been done in February, with voting in March, but we will be voting in May. There were 3 vacancies, with nominees having to be members of the Senate at the time of their nomination. The floor was opened for nominations.
--David Carter (History) nominated James Goldstein (from English); seconded
--Jim Wright (Pathobiology) nominated Gwen Thomas (from Polymer/Fiber Engineering); seconded
--Alan Davis (Fisheries) nominated Larry Teeter (from Forestry); seconded
--no other nominations were made. Biographical information will be distributed with the May meeting agenda and these nominees will be voted on at the May Senate meeting.
--Report from the General Education Task Force (Bonnie White, Task Force Chair and Professor, Curriculum and Teaching)
--link to PowerPoint presentation slides: http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2008_2009/Apr09_agenda_items/GETF Presentation Handout 04 09.pdf
Questions re General Education Task Force Report:
--Norbert Wilson (Ag Econ/Rural Soc) asked if freed up hours would go back to the departments for their majors. Drew Clark (Institutional Res/Assessment) responded that they will remain in General Education and the list of courses from which to choose will be increased.
--Guy Rohrbaugh (Philosophy) asked about the General Education Task Force versus the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee (CCOC)-- who will they report to? Bonnie White responded that the Task Force will report to the Provost. The Senate will look at the recommendations, and develop action items. Guy Rohrbaugh asked if different parts of the recommendations might go to different areas on campus. Dr. Mazey responded that they will go to the CCOC..
--Mike Stern (Economics) asked if staffing or funds will be changed relative to enrollment. Dr. Mazey responded that they have the Task Force recommendations which will go to an expanded General Education Oversight Committee, with a focus on learning outcomes, then look at resources. Mike Stern asked if they will look at curriculum changes versus the flow of funds before or after one another. Dr. Mazey responded that they will be examined simultaneously.
--Report on Collegiate Learning Assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (Drew Clark, Director, Institutional Research and Assessment)
--link to PowerPoint presentation slides: http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2008_2009/Apr09_agenda_items/CLA-NSSE Update Senate 20090407f [Compatibility Mode].pdf
Questions re CLA/NSSE:
--Bob Locy (Past Chair) asked if scores were tightly distributed around the mean, couldn't we be benchmarked toward the top 10%, but be below the average? Drew Clark responded that it depended on the year of the students and the metric.
--Howard Goldstein (Music) asked about cultural offerings. Drew Clark responded that was not in their data, but there are NSSE data out there with some discussion of cultural information in questions in some form.
--Guy Rohrbaugh (Philosophy) asked about data for CLA for individuals not going to college as a control group. Drew Clark responded that those data do exist, but are not yet published; right now the control group is from the military.
--Update on the Writing Initiative (Sharon Roberts, Co-Chair, Writing Initiative Task Force Associate Professor, Biological Sciences)
--The Writing Initiative Task Force reported to the Senate in fall 2008, and money has been allocated to establish a writing center. Currently there are two projects underway.
--link to PowerPoint presentation slide: http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2008_2009/Apr09_agenda_items/Faculty Senate slide-April2009 [Compatibility Mode].pdf
Questions re the Writing Initiative:
--James Goldstein (English) asked about decreasing freshman English class size. Sharon Roberts said that she could not answer that, and that Sharon Gaber was looking at it. Dr. Mazey said that that was in the task force report, but the current budget situation would not allow it right now.
--Charles Mitchell (Agronomy and Soils) noted that with the number of hired administrators and increased space, what would they be doing. Sharon Roberts responded that there were two answers-- the writing center expands support for writing in core courses, and Isabelle Thompson's appointment was increased from 75% to full time. Also, the new Writing Program Administrator is a full-time administrator following a model from NC State to help us as disciplinary experts to better teach our student writers.
--Tony Moss (Biological Sciences) asked for a web site for the NC State model. Sharon Roberts said she has the available documents.
--Mike Stern (Economics) said in one core course with 320 students per class, how can you develop writing tasks. Sharon Roberts said that this may not work for all classes, and there may be ways to use this to explore. Mike Stern said that if the goal is to increase writing skills, then courses must be smaller, and we need a commitment of resources. Without that, we will not be able to help students to write better. Sharon Roberts responded that we cannot help in all courses. Currently this is being used in English Composition and World Literature, with hopes to expand beyond that but it may not include every class.
There was no unfinished business.
There was no new business.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:23 PM.