Minutes of the Auburn University Senate Steering Committee
Oct. 10, 2013
206 Samford Hall
Present: Larry Crowder, Chair; Patricia, Chair-Elect; Judy Sheppard, Secretary; Gisela Busch-Diller, Secretary-Elect; Laura Plexico; Larry Teeter; Mike Baginiski; Don Mulvaney; Provost Tim Boosinger; Associate Provost Emmett Winn.
I. The committee unanimously agreed that the confusion over the University Student Communications Board could be accomplished with a memo to Jon Waggoner, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and a senate vote to amend the Faculty Handbook to move the Comm Board from the university committee listings.
II. The committee discussed the agenda for the fall General Faculty meeting on Oct. 29.
(a) The president and the provost will make remarks.
(b) Dan King, associate vice president, would be asked to present a report on the current construction and campus master plan.
(c) John Mason, associate vice president for research, will be asked to discuss two goals in the University Strategic Plan: research support, problems that the faculty and university are facing, and promising multidisciplinary initiatives.
III. The committee also set a tentative agenda for the Senate meeting on Nov. 5. Suggestions:
• a presentation by a Huron Consulting Group on the possibility of a new budget model for the university.
• a report on the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
• an update on the core curriculum
• a presentation by Associate Provost Constance Rehlihan on the new Summer Academy, designed to recruit extraordinary students at the rising junior and senior levels in high school and enroll them in courses for college credit.
IV. Patricia Duffy then asked about concerns with the reporting of animal testing.
V. Larry Crowley then asked the committee to give him ideas about the questions to be asked in the meetings with the dean. These included:
Perception of dwindling faculty but increased mandates.
Lack of sabbaticals, compensation for overloads, inadequate pay.
Conflicts within departments – sometimes vindictive in nature – could call for more training for mediation of faculty.
Accommodations for faculty day-care needs.
Lack of both motivation and recognition of long-time faculty members. Support for “stars” leaves full professors and long-time faculty feeling overlooked, especially given salary compression. (Suggestions included having tiers to full professor level, specific awards and honors for this group, etc.)
More real respect for teaching and service.
More recognition for collaborative work (as in co-PIs, etc.) and more consistent rewards for teaching percentages
More support, particularly for women, at the associate professor level.
Encouragement for multidisciplinary teams, even centers, where faculty can work on exciting projects
More professional assistance with grants, perhaps a university service to proof and improve grant applications.
Mike Baginiski asked for a definition of faculty vitality. Bill Sauser provided the list of factors that affect faculty morale and performance.
4. Supervisor (often No. 1)
5. The work itself
6. Working conditions
7. Opportunities for development and growth
VI. The committee, with Provost Tim Boosinger, discussed the process under which AU’s budget model will likely be changed. He said the perception “brain drain” was incorrect. Emmett Winn said the current budget model gives deans ability to reward faculty without links to achievement. Larry Teeter asked about the evaluation of deans; Dr. Boosinger said it is very similar to faculty evaluations, on annual basis.