Minutes of the University Senate Meeting
14 February 2012
Broun Hall Auditorium
Larry Crowley, Secretary
A complete transcription of the meeting is available.
Present: Ann Beth Presley, Bill Sauser, Larry Crowley, Robin Jaffe, Claire Crutchley, William Batchelor, Bill Hardgrave, Betty Lou Whitford, Chuck Savrda, Calvin Johnson, Ann-Katrin Gramberg, George Flowers, Timothy Boosinger, Bonnie MacEwan, Andrew Wohrley, Michael Baginski, Robert Cochran, James Bannon, Sondra Parmer, Scott McElroy, Dean Schwartz, Paul Swamidass, Bob Locy, Sushil Adhikari, Steve Duke, Robert Agne, Daniel Phillips, Sanjeev Baskiyar, Wi-Suk Kwon, Jada Kohlmeier, Michael Stern, Thomas Baginski, James Goldstein, Xing Ping Hu, Harris Hollans, Rusty Wright, Adrienne Angelo, Larry Teeter, David King, Ruth Crocker, Fenny Dane, Ellen Abell, Jerrod Windham, Jerry Davis, Jared Russell, Pambanisha King Whaley, Peter Stanwick, Herb Rotfeld, Tin-Yau Tam, Doug Rosener, Stuart Pope, Suresh Mathews, John Freeze, Vicky van Santen, Brent Fox, Wesley Lindsey, Guy Rohrbaugh, Mike Bozack, Steven Brown, Lewis Baker, Jill Meyer, Emily Myers, and Ralph Henderson
Absent, sending a substitute: Rebekah Pindzola (for Laura Plexico), Robert Gross (for Winfred Foster), Zdenko Krtic (for Gary Wagoner), Darren Olsen (for Mark (James) Taylor), and Dong Joo Kim (for Bart Prorok), Daffny Pierce (for Joe Fetsch), and Adrienne Wilson (for Chase Bringardner)
Absent, no substitute: Gregg Newschwander, R. Lee Evans, Kirby Turnage, Steven Clontz, Nakeisha Janigan, Seth Humphrey, Nedret Billor, Norbert Wilson, Werner Bergen, Jocelyn Zanzot, Eduardus Duin, Prabhakar Clement, James Witte, Forrest Smith, Yasser Gowayed, Shelly McKee, Scott Copeland, and Richard Fox
Call to Order:
-- Ann Beth Presley called the meeting to order, confirmed a quorum was present, and reviewed the rules of the senate.
-- Minutes from the January 10, 2011 meeting were accepted as posted without change.
-- Dr. Presley invited Dr. Gogue to provide his remarks.
Remarks and Announcements:
Dr. Gogue (Office of the President) shared the following:
1. Provost search is moving forward with a reconstituted committee. The committee has made contact with the search firm and the expectation is that a selection will be made by the end of the current term. The only change in the process is the current Interim Provost will be allowed to be a candidate. June Henton remains the chair of the committee.
2. Engineering Dean search committee has completed airport interviews and identified four candidates – 1 internal and 3 external. On campus interviews will be conducted over the next couple of weeks.
3. Update on legislative issues concerning Auburn.
-- Trustee selection process has been ongoing for about nine months to fill 9 potential positions on the Board. Questionnaires were completed by about 170 people expressing interest in these positions last fall. In most cases 3 candidates were selected to be interviewed for each open position. In total, 38 individuals have been interviewed by a committee made up of the Governor, two members of the Alumni Board and two members from the Board of Trustees. Last Monday the committee named a candidate for each of the nine positions and Thursday the Governor has sent those names to the Senate. These individuals named will be considered by the Senate Confirmation Committee first and then those passed through that committee will go to the full Senate.
-- Discussion of staggered terms for trustees is ongoing in the State Senate and would require a constitution change. The university is reluctant to get involved in that issue.
--Educational trust fund that partly funds the Auburn University budget is seeing growth. October brought a 11% increase with increases in December and January as well. A bill passed during the last legislative session set up a rainy day fund requiring a portion of the available funds to be reserved in order to target a multi-year average funding level. Therefore, more money going into the trust fund may not mean more being used to fund current budgets.
-- Patents and Intellectual Property at state universities is the subject of a bill introduced last week in the state legislation. The concept behind the legislation is that if state universities are running on only state dollars (which is not the case), then intellectual discoveries should be owned by the state. Vice Presidents of Research in the state have commented on this issue.
4. Commented on President Obama’s recent remarks about a desire for tuition reductions and concern about increases. Legislation would be required to implement this and it seems unlikely to occur. He mentioned he visited last week with the Alabama delegation to Congress, both senate and house members, and there is not a great deal of interest in this issue. In Alabama, state universities get roughly $5200 per student from the state. Other states provide as much as 10 to 12 thousand per student and thus the rate of tuition increases in those states would be much less.
5. A review of the strategic plan was held on Monday with those having leadership roles in elements of the plan. Impressive progress is being made across all goals even in the face of tight budgets and difficult economic situations.
6. Key dates of the upcoming SAC’s accreditation visit were provided by Drew Clark, Director of Institutional Research. Our compliance certification, which takes the place of the old self-study report, is due on September 10th. This document makes the case Auburn remains in compliance with all the standards. A separate 75-page document is submitted in early January covering our quality enhancement plan (QEP) for a key project. Our project is the use of digital portfolios to enhance student communication of their learning. The visit is scheduled for March 26-28 of 2013 and the vote will be taken on December 2013.
At the close of Dr. Gogue’s remarks, he offered to respond to any questions that might be asked. Mike Stern (Senator from Economics) stated concerns with salary compression and now even inversion with recent assistant faculty hires having salaries as much as 10% higher than early promoted associate professors. He referred to other universities that have been able to keep salaries going and asked if there are plans at Auburn to address this problem.
Dr. Gogue responded by saying the SREB data indicates Auburn’s average is only about $800 per year less per faculty across all ranks than that of others is the southeast regions If one were to remove the high salaries paid by Delaware, then Auburn would go above the average. In addressing salaries, Auburn has provided a couple of one time salary supplements, as well as, a 2% salary increase that really is a substitution associated with the recent increase in employee retirement contributions. We have tried not to move into the mode of reducing the size of the workforce on campus. Some schools that have given larger pay raises have had reductions in workforce and are now going back into hiring. Another issue that needs to be considered when comparing salaries is that many schools are in a furlough situation. They report true salaries, however faculty are being furloughed one day a week or two days a month and thus their actually take home salary would be less.
Auburn is considering tuition increases to address the salary issue in part. One of the most important ways of addressing this would be to allow the trust fund to grow and set allocation based on 2008 base level funding with the excess above that going into the rainy day fund. With that happening we would have an opportunity to see some increases in salary. Another way we increased pay to 96 faculty was is the professorship program. This didn’t show up as a permanent base increase but added 5 to 7 thousand to each named faculty.
Bob Loci (Senator from Biological Science) thanked Dr. Gogue for coming to the senate meetings. Then he expressed his concern with dangerous driving habits on campus and asked if there was anything that we could do to help with the safety of our students when driving on campus.
Dr. Gogue agreed with and shares those concerns about safety. Safety is a topic covered in Camp War Eagle. Noted that the number of instances along Magnolia have dropped with the provided crossing improvements.
No questions followed.
Ann Beth Presley, Chair offered the following remarks:
1. The election of senate officers is coming up. Voting will open on March 8 and run for two weeks. The nominees are Larry Crowley for chair and Judy Sheppard for secretary. Faculty members are encouraged to vote.
2. This semester we are implementing the new administrator evaluation process approved by the senate. The new process has three parts. First, the Senate Administrator Evaluation Committee will conduct its usually evaluation survey of central administrator. Second, the old evaluation surveys for deans and chairs by the University Senate Administrator Evaluation Committee have been replaced with an anonymous annual online evaluation survey of all deans and department heads/chairs. All faculty, staff, administrative professionals, and students will be surveyed using instruments approved by the Senate Administrator Evaluation Committee. Results of the dean surveys will be shared with the provost and the department head/chairs surveys will be shared with the appropriate dean. The surveys will be administered by ORIA. Third, this semester eight of the longest serving heads/chairs will receive a more comprehensive review by a committee that is made up of a chair selected by the provost, a senate representative, a student representative selected by the SGA and Graduate Student Association and representatives from department faculty, staff and administrative professionals. Once fully implemented, all heads/chairs will be reviewed every three to five years.
3. Reviewed the rules of the senate concerning attendance, substitution, and voting.
At the close of Dr. Presley’s remarks, a question was asked
Herb Rotfeld (Senator from Marketing) asked why assistant and associate deans are not included in the Administrator Evaluation Process. The resolution passed by the senate on April 5, 2011 does not specifically exclude these administrators.
Dr. Presley’s commented that their review would be included with the Dean’s review.
Herb Rotfeld followed with the fact that program leaders and chairs are named in the resolution and are often assistant/associate deans.
Dr. Presley responded by say that will be looked into and then moved to the action items of the agenda.
-- Larry Crowley, Secretary, came forward and provided a brief background on the Rules Committee--its charge, membership, and qualification for election. With that background, Ann Beth Presley, Chair, opened the floor for nominations to the Rules Committee. The following nominations were made. Andrew Wohrley (Steering) nominated Steve Duke. Michael Baginski (Steering) nominated Forrest Smith. William Sauser (Chair-Elect) nominated Robert Cochran from School of Accountancy. With no further nominations being offered from the floor the nominations were closed and the comment made that voting on nominees will occur during the March Senate Meeting.
-- Bill Sauser (Chair-Elect and member of Steering Committee) brought forward a resolution from the steering committee clarifying language in the faculty handbook to stipulate instructors are not eligible for de facto tenure. It was brought before the Senate as an information item last month and was available for comment over the last month. The text of the resolution was read and he moved it for adoption. The text is available at the following http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2011-2012/Feb12/ResolutionClarifyingInstructorIneligibility_for_DeFactoTenure.docx
Questions/Comments prior to voting
Rebekah Pindzola (substituting for Laura Plexico, Steering) asked for clarifications on whether or not the AAUP changed its stance that instructors are tenure-accruing, even if not initially appointed as tenure track. The other question is if we remove the de facto tenure issue, then in what way is an instructors different than a lecturer.
Bill Sauser responded that AAUP has not changed their stance. Not certain of how they differ, but do know that Senior Lecturers and Lecturers are budgeted slots and the appointment must be approved by the Provost and are continuing positions. Instructors that are now employed will not be affected in any way.
David King (Senator from Geology/Geography and President of the Auburn chapter of AAUP) expressed a concern that we are heading toward more contingent faculty and fewer tenure-track faculty.
Bob Loci (Senator from Biological Sciences) expressed a concern about the legality of declaring these positions as not eligible for de facto tenure.
Bill Sauser answered by saying the faculty handbook has been reviewed and accepted by Auburn’s legal counsel and thus this provision would have been considered at that time.
Herb Rotfeld (Senator from Marketing) stated that de facto tenure happens when there is a mistake. Removing instructors from the possibility of de facto tenure seems to open them up for more potential abuse.
Bill Sauser responded that the current language in the Faculty Handbook describes instructors as a non-tenure track position. Elsewhere in the faculty handbook, there is a statement that instructors must go up for tenure after their sixth year, so there is a discrepancy in the language that is being clarified here.
Without further comments/questions the items was passed by a vote of 44 yes, 10 no, and 1 abstain.
-- Claire Crutchley (Immediate Past-Chair and member of the steering committee) presented for information on behalf of the steering committee language of a proposed resolution adopting AAUP governance language defining the positions of heads and chairs. The text of the proposed resolution was read and is available at the following http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2011-2012/Feb12/Resolution_DeptHeads&Chairs.pdf .
The principal difference from current handbook language is the termed appointment requirement for heads and chairs and the statement where heads/chairs have special obligation to promote instruction and scholarship.
Comments and/or questions.
Mike Stern (Senator from Economics) commented that he would like to dispense with the different titles of heads and chairs at the University and just use chair. He also didn’t like the use of the word “special” when dealing with the obligation of the chairs and heads toward instruction and scholarship feeling it was an obligation of all faculty.
Guy Rohrbaugh (Senator from Philosophy) stated he was not clear about the language and what would be different from the current language.
Claire Crutchley responded the main difference is that the head would now have a term.
Bob Loci (Senator from Biological Sciences) asked about the administrator hiring procedures passed by the senate but not approved by the provost. Is this distinct from that procedure?
Claire Crutchley said a separate policy will be offered dealing with administration hiring
Guy Rohrbaugh (Senator from Philosophy) asked if this would overrule the department terms and lengths.
Emily Myers (Senator from Curriculum and Teaching) asked the rationale for removing the stipulation of terms from departmental level.
Claire Crutchley stated it was the sentiment of the steering committee that there should be more uniformity across campus in terms of department heads/chairs.
Emily Myers (Senator from Curriculum and Teaching) followed with asking why it would be considered a strength to be more uniform?
William Sauser (Chair-Elect) noted that the language does not specify a uniform term across the university and the particular length of the term would be up to the units.
Russell Wright (Senator from Fisheries) stated that the resolution should have a maximum term in order to bring meaning to the resolution.
Claire Crutchley asked for clarification from Russell Wright as to whether he was suggesting a maximum length of the term or the maximum number of terms.
Russell Wright responded that it would stipulate a maximum length of term.
-- George Flowers, Dean of the Graduate School, presented a proposed revision to Tuition Fellowship Program. A copy of the presentation is available at the following http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/senate/website/agendas/2011-2012/Feb12/ProposedRevisions_TuitionFellowshipProgram2-10-12.pptx .
The chair called for any unfinished business.
The chair called for any new business.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:21 pm.