November 10, 2009
Senate Meeting Transcription
Kathryn Flynn, chair: I’d like to call the meeting to order. I’d like to remind everyone that when you stand up to make comments or ask questions to please go to one of the microphones on either side of the room. When you get there if you’d please state your name and your unit that you represent and whether or not you are a senator. The rules of the Senate require that senators be given the option to speak first. If you are a guest who is not a member of the Senate you’re welcome to speak but we do ask that you allow all senators to have their chance first. I would also like to ask that if you get up to speak more than one time, even though it may seem kind of redundant or inconvenient, if you would please identify yourself each time–at least your names- so that when we do the transcripts we can correctly attribute comments to the right person.
The first item on today’s agenda is approval of the minutes for October 6, 2009. Dennis DeVries, the Secretary, sent a link to all senators and the minutes are posted on the Senate Website. So at this time I’d like to ask if there are any additions or changes to the minutes that were posted? (pause) Hearing none the minutes will stand approved as posted. I’ll have to admit I wonder what I’ll do if someone stands up and says, “No…”
The next item on the agenda are comments from Dr. Gogue, so I welcome him now.
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you and I’m delighted to with you today. I’ve got three things I wanted to share with you. Two of them I think you already know about, but I want to tell you that the Board of Trustees approved the BS/MS Program at their Board Meeting last Friday. And I’d have to say of all the things we’ve done in recent weeks/months, that’s probably attracted more attention and more interest by exceptional students, parents, and high schools than perhaps anything we’ve done. We had talked a little bit about it as we’ve done high school visits throughout the state that it was pending, didn’t know if it would work, but there is an awful lot of support for that so I appreciate very much all of you looking at that. Whether you were supportive of it or not I appreciate the fact that it got approved and it was finally approved by the Board.
Second item was probably six months ago the state auditor came in and found us out of compliance in the way we used the waivers for our own employees that were going to school. Don Large worked with the Board and basically the system that we had been using which in essence allows a dependant to receive that dependant waiver, plus scholarship money was left the way we’ve been carrying it out, so the Board affirmed that, we call it a housekeeping change. It was just a change in the way we were doing business so it was approved, and Don I appreciate you doing that.
Third item that I wanted to mention is, I think it was at the last Senate Meeting when we had a question or two. We’ve had people that are being injured as they cross South College and as they cross Magnolia. We obviously had an individual in the past weekend that was injured very seriously. So I wanted to give you a heads-up, Don and his people have had meetings with the City and there is a follow-up meeting, Dec. 6, I think it’s Dec. 6 in which we’re going to involve people on campus, several faculty members that had contacted us very concerned, are invited to the meeting. I don’t know where that meeting is being held. Do you know Don? We will make sure the Senate knows because I think it would be important for some of you to come if you are in that part of the campus and you understand the traffic and the situation to share your thoughts.
The recommendation on South College that has come from the City at this point is they’re not supportive of crosswalks, they’re not supportive of tunnels. They would arguer that the safest thing to do is to take your post and chains that are now on the side of the sidewalk that keeps you off the grass and move it out to where it’s out right at the curb. So you have that system the entire length to try to force traffic to those traffic lights. So that’s where they are. There will be further discussion because there is some interest in seeing how you can put islands or whatever particularly on South College to see if you could have at least, what do they call it– a refuge zone where you dash halfway and then wait and you try to get the other half. I would appreciate involvement from those that live in those areas or work in those areas and are familiar with traffic. I’d be happy to respond to questions. Thank you.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Thanks Dr. Gogue. We’re now at the point where the chair comments are in order and once again as you notice we have a very full agenda. So as usual I’m going to keep my comments very short. It’s likely, given the number of university committees that are currently working on fairly significant items that our agendas will continue to be ambitious, and I hope you can all bear with me or bear with us. Many of the items that will be brought to the Senate today and in future meetings are items that may significantly affect the academic future of Auburn University. So the Senate leadership would like to encourage all of you who are senators to pleas make every effort to correspond on a regular basis with the faculty that you are elected to represent and make sure that you capture the different viewpoints that are out there in the faculty and use those as you make decisions about items that are brought forward to the Senate as action items.
In addition if there are items or issues of concern that you have that you don’t see being addressed by the Senate, if you’ll contact me, or one of the other Senate officers or someone on the Steering Committee, then we will try to address those issues.
At this time I’d like to invite Bruce Smith who is chair of the Faculty Research Committee to come forward and make a couple of announcements.
Bruce Smith, chair of the Faculty Research Committee: thank you Kathryn, I want to make two brief announcements knowing that we have a huge agenda today. The first is to remind everyone that there is a new faculty orientation sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, tomorrow. If you’re not signed up it’s probably a little late although you could talk to Dr. Mason about that. There is room. What I wanted to emphasize is there seem to be a little bit of misapprehension or misunderstanding about this. The feeling that this was really for hardcore science people, and I wanted to emphasize that it’s not. This is an orientation for everyone, the point being to really get new faculty involved in scholarship at the university to provide them with information on where to identify for instance funding sources, how to handle dealing with the Vice President for Research, all those important issues that come along with conducting scholarship not just working in a chemistry or biology lab, or an engineering lab. So just to make that point real quickly. [8:01]
The second is a discussion that our committee’s been having and I wanted to bring this to the Senate’s attention because I think it’s important that you take it back to your home departments and bring it to your faculty’s attention. This summer when the new fringe benefit rates were discussed here at the Senate, we had a rather lengthy discussion about some of the impacts of those new rates. Those rates are being applied to current pre-existing grants. So a grant may be budgeted at a fringe benefit rate of something like 26% or 28%, but will actually as of October be paying 33%. This will not necessarily come to the attention of the PI on the grant in the monthly cycle because there is a large amount of money, 12 months worth or so of money in that grant, and you’re simply going to be running at a deficit. When you hit the end of that grant it may be problematic. So we’ve had discussions with the University Research Council, with office of the vice president for Research and other individuals involved in this and come up with a basic outline of what we’d like to tell people to do. First and foremost obviously is the PI on the grant is responsible for conducting the research and the finances of the grant, but what we’d like to do is encourage, and this is where you come in, encourage the members of your departments to look at their grants and contracts now. To look at the budget and see what the impact is. There is no magic pot of money as you all are well aware, so we’re not going to create money to fix this problem, really people need to fix it themselves and re-budget their grants if at all possible. If a PI cannot manage that, they need to do the best they can and then work this through their associate dean for research, that’s the appropriate channel to take it to. That individual will then if it is a problem that needs to be examined at a larger university level, take that forward to discussions for how that might be ameliorated. [10:03] There have been some examples already where grants have larger personnel components and no additional funds available to rescue those grants, where there are some concessions or exceptions being made. It’s the responsibility for the PI to do it. I urge you to take that message back to your department to have people who have grants, look at their budgets now with the new fringe rate. I’ll stop there, thank you. Any questions?
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Thank you Bruce. And if you provide us with your recommendations, we’ll send them out on the faculty mail list. Before we move on to action items I’d like to ask if anybody has any questions for the chair, I’d be glad to try and answer them today. If not, then I’m going to move to the next item on the agenda, which is an action item. This is related to the shorter semester that was approved at the October Senate meeting. Robin Jaffe, who is chair of the Calendar and Schedules Committee, is here today to present calendars that are revised to conform to the shorter semesters. They’re bringing forward three full year calendars. We’ll consider each one once Robin has made his presentation, we’ll consider each one as an individual issue.
Robin Jaffe, chair of the Calendar and Schedules Committee: Let’s see how well I can do with technology. The committee is proposing to replace two of the calendars, the academic 2010–2011, and the academic 2011–2012. And we’d like to propose the academic 2012–2013.
I’d like to thank my committee, these are the members (showing a list on the screen) for working so hard and diligently at this point, we have been moving really fast. I know there is a time-line to turn over the calendar in the next two days, so this is why we have decided to move so fast. If you remember this was the resolution (showing on the screen) and whereas 75 academic days does not allow for the two days between final exams and graduation and 7 days between the graduation and the beginning of the next semester. This was voted upon by you folks, here at the Senate, and this is what we worked with to create our calendars. These are some of the guidelines that we have tried to follow and work with. The calendars for fall/spring semesters will have 70–73 days, the calendars for the full summer term will have 48–49 days. Two days after finals before graduation, seven days between semesters, the graduation preferred day is either Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Five days for finals, two reading days after classes end in the Fall and Spring semesters and one reading day for each mini-term in the summer and the full terms of the summer.
Here is the first calendar. What we’ve done is we have set it up as a graphic, where green is the start and finish days, blue the light color of the holidays, then we go through, the red being the final days, and the dark blue being the reading days. For August 10 through December we have 72 days, classes will start on the 18th, there’s a Labor Day holiday on Monday the 6th, Thanksgiving holiday will go from the 22nd through the 26th, and the final day of classes will be on the 3rd of December; two reading days followed by the 5 final days with graduation on the Monday. We would come back from the holiday break, start classes on the 10th, have the 17th which is Martin Luther King’s birthday (I know there’s been issues about the holidays on Mondays, so I thought we’d send Obama a letter and try to do a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday schedule for the holidays, but I don’t think that will fly too well.) So, going back to the calendar, we have [problems with the projection, here] now back to January, we have February, the holidays there are none, March break is the 14th through the 18th, classes would end on April 27th, two reading days, and then we’d have the finals on the 2nd through the 6th of May, with graduation on the 9th. This would give the registrars office 7 days again and then we would start this summer calendar on the 19th of May have Memorial Day break on the 30th, go to the 22nd–that is 24 class days for the summer mini-term the first one, we would have a reading day for the first mini-semester and then a final day on the 24th and 25th. The 23rd and 24th would be days off for the full term. This would give 24 days for the first and we’d go into the second mini-term, which would start on the 27th of June, 4th of July is on a Monday, so we don’t have any issues of when we’re having the 4th of July this year. The 29th would be the last day. That would be 24 days for the second mini-term and that would be completing the full term with 48 days. A reading day on the 30th, three final days, graduation on the 6th, with then 7 days after that for the registrar’s office in between semesters.
(to Kathryn) Do we want to present all of them or do we just want to vote on this one?
This is a graphical representation and these are the words that everyone has looked at for years. It basically says the same thing I said without the jokes, goes through the entire semesters and also goes through the summer. So this is what the committee is proposing for the first replacement.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Okay, this is a recommendation by the Calendar and Schedules Committee so it doesn’t require a second. At this time I’d like to ask if anybody has any comments or questions for Robin? (pause) If not then, we’re going to see how we do with a voice vote. So all in favor for the proposed calendar for academic year 2010–2011 say aye.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: All opposed, nay. Motion carries.
Robin Jaffe: Now we’re looking at 2011–2012. The committee basically followed the same documentation that we did for the last calendar. We would have classes begin on the 18th, giving the registrar enough time in between classes/semesters to have their 7 days. Labor Day on the 6th, Holiday for Thanksgiving the 22nd through the 26th. Last day of classes on December 3rd, 2 reading days, 5 final days and graduation on the 13th. This is a 72-day calendar. Classes would then resume on January 10th, holiday on the 17th of January, February, reading the wrong one, sorry. Let’s go back here. Last day of class would be on the 2nd of December, 2 reading days, graduation would be on the 12th. We would start back on the 8th, Martin Luther King’s birthday in on the 16th, which is the federal holiday, break is on the 12th through the 16th. We would finish classes on the 25th, 2 reading days, 5 final days and then we would have graduation on the 7th. This is a 72-day semester. As you notice we’re creeping up on the calendar and there is nothing we can do about that. Classes will begin for the summer term on the 17th we’d have a break for Memorial day on the 28th. The last of the 24 days for the first mini-term would end on June 20th, we would have a reading day on June 21 and 2 final days. As in the previous calendar the 21st and 22nd would be days off for the full term calendar for the summer. We would start the second mini-term on June 25th and 4th of July holiday would be on July 4th on Wednesday. Classes would end on July 27th with a reading day on the 28th then we would have 3 final days with graduation on the 4th. [21:50]
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Once again this is a recommendation from the Committee. Does anybody have any questions or comments on this particular calendar? If not, all those in favor of adopting this calendar for academic year 2011–2012 say aye.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: All opposed, nay. Motion carries.
Robin Jaffe: All right there has been some questions about the 2012–2013 calendar. We are starting on the 16th. As I was saying we keep moving more and more to the beginning of August. We cannot start an academic calendar before the 16th unless the administration is going to pay us more money, so I don’t think that going to happen this week. So on the 16th we start our calendar. Labor Day is the 3rd of September, we go through October, November, the break is the 19th through the 23rd. We end classes on the 30th, that is a 71-day calendar not a 72-day calendar. The reason the Calendar Committee felt we should go with a 71 was to have it stop and have a full week after Thanksgiving and not just have one day to come back to. There has been questions, why are we having 2 reading days on Monday and Tuesday on the 3rd and the 4th, the students on the committee have asked for that. And since we were ending the semester earlier and earlier we thought it would be better to end the graduation on the 14th than the 10th, if we placed it the other way. We have the 7 days for the registrar’s office. We would start on January 7th, I missed the green dot on that one, I’m sorry. Martin Luther King’s birthday is the 21st with break on the 11th through the 15th of March, ending classes on the 24th, 2 reading days, and that makes a 72-day calendar for the spring semester of 2013. Five final days, with graduation on the 6th. We would then start the summer term of 2013 on May 16th, memorial day would be on the 27th, following what we tried to set up in the first two calendars, go to the 24th day which would be June 19th, reading day on the 20th and 2 final days for the first mini-term. Like the other two calendars, the 20th and the 21st would be breaks for the full 48 day term for summer. We would start up again 24th of June, 4th of July is Thursday, go to the 26th of July which would be 24 days and then completing the term of the full term of 48 days. Reading day on the 27th, 3 final days, and graduation on the 3rd. This is what the Calendar Committee has proposed for our 2012–2013 Calendar.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Do we have any questions or comments on this calendar proposal? Hearing none, all those in favor of this academic calendar say aye.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: All opposed say nay. Calendar carries, thank you very much. Thank you Robin.
Robin Jaffe: Thank you everyone. [26:04]
Kathryn Flynn, chair: I’d really like to thank the Calendar Committee because they had to kind of go into overtime to prepare these for us for today. We have three information items on today’s agenda. The first is an update from the Core Curriculum and General Education Committee (CCGEC). Linda Glaze, who chairs that committee, is here today to prevent… present this information. Not prevent, present information. The plan at this point is that recommendations from this committee with consideration of feedback from the Senate today be brought to the next Senate meeting for a vote.
Linda Glaze, chair of CCGEC: Hopefully I won’t have as much trouble with the PowerPoint. The committee prepared a document that we distributed before the meeting and today I’m just going to go over some of the major points. The document that’s been distributed has a summary of what the committee has been doing over the last two years and also provides you the full documentation of several reports so that you will be able to review them with your faculty.
As you recall (trouble with the PowerPoint) the General Education Taskforce made 3 basic recommendations concerning our core curriculum. One was to change the structure of the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, Two was to structure the Core Curriculum so that it aligns with the AGSC Agreement, and three to align the student learning outcomes to the current courses. At the September meeting of the University Senate the structure of the Core Curriculum Committee was changed to become a Core Curriculum and General Education Committee and the charge was modified slightly. The charge of the committee is as follows: The committee will have the responsibility of recommending goals for general education, that was the real addition in the core curriculum and monitoring the university’s effectiveness in fostering student achievement of these goals. Toward this end the committee shall oversee the assessment of student learning in the core curriculum including the evaluation of courses and may recommend to the University Senate changes in the core curriculum and general education. And that’s why I’m here today, to inform you about those changes.
The second recommendation dealt with the aligning our current core curriculum to the AGSC Agreement and since as I have found in working with the new committee, it’s a very confusing agreement, I thought I would give you the outline and I also gave it to you in paper as I walk through it. Basically the statewide agreement is as follows: and according to state law all public institutions in the state of Alabama must have this format; 6 hours in written composition, 12 hours in humanities and fine arts–and they can be distributed, 1 course in literature, 1 course in fine arts the rest of the 6 hours are options as I’ve listed here for you– area 3 is natural sciences and math it requires a 3 hour math course at or above the pre-calculus algebra level, and 2 courses in science with a lab; area 4 is called history, social, and behavioral sciences–it requires 3 hours of history, 6 hours of social science, and then the other 3 hours can be either another history course or another social science course. The other element is an area that is called what is 2 or 4, students must complete one sequence in either literature or history.
When the General Education Taskforce made the report they had 3 recommendations, they had 3 explicit and one implicit recommendation related to that structure. First of all they recommended that we reduce the two required sequences, one in area 2 and one in area 4 to one required sequence. As they stated, basically it goes, instead of requiring both a literature and a history sequence we would require only one. The second recommendation form the committee was to make philosophy an option in the arts and humanities area, because the AGSC Agreement, as you have on your piece of paper, does not require philosophy per se. And the third explicit recommendation was that we bring the science requirement in line with the AGSC which means basically that we no longer require a sequence in science, but allow for two courses, two 4-hour courses in lab science. What they did not state in the report, but we have members of the taskforce on our committee, was that they also recommended that we no longer group the social sciences into what we call group one and group two. So that would add more flexibility.
We have met quite frequently at 8:00 in the morning and we’ve come with our recommendations relative to those recommendations to you. And these are the recommendations from the new Core Curriculum and general Education Committee. And they are that instead of requiring both a sequence in history and in literature we only require a sequence in one or the other. Just so you would understand what that means in terms of this jigsaw puzzle, which is the articulation agreement. For example if a student opts for the sequence in literature then he/she could potentially take either another history or a social science course in area 4. The second recommendation form the committee is to allow other course options in area 2 of the AGSC menu in addition to philosophy. That means the possibilities for students would be they could actually take another philosophy course, they could take another literature course, the could take a fine arts course, foreign language, speech, or religion. The third recommendation form the committee is: in area 4, that we no longer organize the social sciences choices into two groups, but collapse it into one. In other words a student can pick among the social science for those 6 hours. There was a forth item that we voted on and the committee did not recommend that. The committee did not recommend to no longer require the science sequence, that it was the sense of the committee that students can acquire scientific literacy better through the in-depth study on one science, and so therefore we’re not recommending what the General Education Taskforce recommended. [34:19] In terms of the science requirement
So then, what is next is as Kathryn has said we will return for a vote on each of our three recommendations once the Senate has approved the revised structure, assuming that you will take our recommendations, then the committee will issue an RFP a request for proposals for new course work. There’s been a question, existing core courses will also be part of that resubmission because the third recommendation of the General Education Taskforce is that we align our core to our student learning outcomes, and that particular document was approved by this body two years ago and it is referenced in your 2-page summary of the work of the committee and basically what the committee will be asking the departments to do when they propose their courses is that they will…departments will identify their course to one primary student learning outcome. That they will provide an assessment plan, in other words, what type of evidence in student work that the committee can use to make sure that we are living up to what we say we are in terms of our general education program and because our core must fit within the umbrella of the AGSC then we also the courses must address the issue of the standards of the AGSC for general education.
So with that I will take questions. There are many members of the committee here today. I’ve given you a list of the committee members so that as you discuss the issues, this is a very important issue in terms of what our students are going to be taught and learn during the next years, so if you have any questions in terms of the work of the committee. Everyone has a representative. You have their contact information and I would also be happy to meet with your departments if you have questions. That’s why we do have a committee that’s comprised of representatives from all of the colleges and schools. [36:33] Any questions? And I may defer them.
James Goldstein, senator from English: At an earlier stage in the discussions I recall that the anticipated request for proposals would have the courses proposed with one or two of the general education outcomes, and I notice now it’s been reduced to one. And I was wondering if you could comment on that?
Linda Glaze: Sure, again for the purpose of a PowerPoint and not to be too complex, it’s one primary and one secondary, because if you look at the alignment study that the committee did some courses say that they do all of them and some areas we have no alignment. [37:29] So the recommendation from the committee is one primary, that’s what we’re really looking for, that they have to do one primary and if they feel there is a secondary that’s great.
Steve Brown, senator from Political Science: I just have a quick question and then a comment. Am I understanding correctly that the AGSC does not require that the two groupings in social sciences to be folded together, that’s just something the committee decided?
Linda Glaze: The two groupings in the social sciences was an arbitrary decision made by us. The agency does not divide the social sciences into groupings. That was an internal Auburn University decision when we went from the quarters to the semesters.
Steve Brown: All right, may I make a follow up comment to that?
Linda Glaze: Sure.
Steve Brown: I’m from political science, obviously we have a vested interest in the political economy class that we teach as well as the American government and multi-cultural world, but I find it amazing that this could now become now optional for students to graduate from Auburn with a 4-year degree with no class in American government, no understanding of global economy and it just strikes us as very interesting. There is only a single social scientist on there, I believe Elizabeth Brestan-Knight, so we’re wondering if…
Linda Glaze: There’s actually a second. [38:43] That person from Geology and Geography is from geography and social science.
Steve Brown: All right, at any rate there’s been a lot of debate and concern here recently about the lack of civic education in our citizenry, Justice Sutter who just retired from the Supreme Court now is going around the country and one of his tag lines is that “two-thirds of the nation cannot name the three branches of government.” I tell my students, I teach constitutional law here, but the surveys show that more people can name the 5 members of “The Simpsons” than the 5 guarantees of the first amendment. And even here I can see people saying Marge, Bart, Homer, and maybe can’t get to the first amendment. It’s very, very important that we educate our citizens, educate our future citizens and I think that squares with the strategic plan to have them leave Auburn ready to roll in the world, in our country, and I just don’t see how that can be optional not to take that course.
Linda Glaze: In terms of that as what actually if you look at the student learning outcomes, one of the major student learning outcomes is that we want our students to be engaged and informed citizens. It will be the task of the Core Curriculum and General Education Committee as the courses come through to ensure that our student will receive all those outcomes. The committee has not figured out how to do that yet, but the first step is to have the framework, then to have the courses, and what may very well happen is that we’re looking at the student learning outcomes and the assessment piece or at the program level, but we could also very much require–the committee has not decided that, we really need to see what courses come forward–that I could envision very closely that at the program level, the program has to identify the student learning outcome, but the student may very well have to demonstrate that he/she acquires all those student learning outcomes, that decision has not been made by the committee given the short time that we’ve been allowed to meet. [40:43]
Steve Brown: Thank you.
Werner Bergen, animal sciences, senator: On this area 3 with the 8 hours of science with lab, now the articulation agreement says that it can be in two different fields that means either biology or chemistry. Now we voted against that. What I would like to know is what thinking is it at Auburn that is so significantly different than the wizards of Alabama, UAB and so on. What is the reason, my department has it as a requirement to take both of those so it’s not an issue with me, but why is it that we don’t want to align with the articulation agreement?
Linda Glaze: I will…yes Mary…if you would, member of the committee if you want to come forward, I’m going to defer to the scientist on the committee.
Mary Mendonca, committee member of CCGEC: What we did is we took a poll in COSAM, we asked all the departments to have their faculty input into whether they felt they needed a sequence or whether it would actually be better pedagogically to have maybe the diversity of having a biology and a geology, say. And then there was a meeting of the department chairs and the dean and this was greatly discussed, and what the consensus opinion of just about everybody was that science, you spend kind of the first semester developing terminology, building blocks of concepts and it’s really hard to cover everything plus the integration and the reinforcement–it’s really kind of a two-semester sequence where you keep reiterating and showing how the principles interact with one another and building on basic understanding to kind of expand more the intricate understanding. Also it was pointed out that when you look at scientific literacy the learning outcome, scientific literacy it actually says that the fifth goal or principle that scientific literacy should show would be significant knowledge in a field, so in a single field. So it seemed to everybody that the two-semester sequence actually addressed the learning outcome (the scientific literacy) as it was defined. And also that you really need that second semester to really build upon, because if you just had one semester of two different courses, you would probably just get kind of the glimmerings of the building blocks, but you might not understand how it all fits together in the big picture. And so that was the discussion and that was what was presented to the committee, and the committee voted to support the recommendation from the COSAM people. If the Alabama people say that’s the way to do it I don’t know if that’s really what we want to do, it just seemed like we would want to really get them so that are requiring the needed amount of scientific literacy.
Linda Glaze: (Addressed to Werner Bergen) Is that okay? (he replies something inaudible)
Mary Mendonca: Okay the difference is if you look at the definition of scientific literacy as a learning outcome one of them is history of science knowledge, there were a couple of other more general things like experimental methodology, but the fifth one is to have a significant knowledge in a particular field, I think it’s the way it’s articulated–one area of science, okay. So just meeting the definition.
Linda Glaze: Thank you.
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator department of philosophy: Two sorts of questions I want to ask; the first is to make sure I’m understanding what the recommendation is. If I’m tracking the presentation today you’ll come next month and ask us to approve the idea of…how’s it put here…among other course options in area 2 menu in addition to philosophy.
Linda Glaze: Right.
Guy Rohrbaugh: But not any specific list and that the committee will be considering what to add to that list later, but the committee does not plan to come back to the senate at some later date with a more specific proposal. They will simply just go ahead and pick the classes that seem best to them, is that my…am I tracking this?
Linda Glaze: That is the charge of the committee. In other words the framework and the structure is determined broadly, but the reason that the Senate has a Core Curriculum Oversight Committee is to review specific proposals. So the committee, based on the RFP will review specific proposals on how the courses will line up with the student learning outcomes. That’s the charge of the committee.
Guy Rohrbaugh: You could possibly see that and think that the committee would then recommend things to the Senate or at least something more specific. I just wanted to make sure I was understanding what you’re asking for next month, and I think I do. But this is the last time we would see this issue here?
Linda Glaze: That will be dependent upon the Senate leadership. [47:08]
Guy Rohrbaugh: All right. The second sort of question…. I guess I find it enormously helpful if someone from the committee could make clear, so to speak, Why do we want to do this? We do it a certain way right now, we exceed the legal minimums, I think I understand why we do in certain cases, interesting proposal, we don’t have to do it that way we could just require what the articulation agreement requires. That sounds like an interesting idea, but I still kind of feel like why noone has ever told me why that’s good. Or why Auburn University wants to do that or why it benefits our students. And if someone could articulate that for me I guess I would feel a lot better when it came time to vote for it. I mean I understand the whole history of how we got here, but I’m not sure people have ever very successfully articulated the rational for putting forth the proposals. Something along the lines of like, “it will save us money and here’s how…” or “it’s going to get us these learning outcomes and here’s how…”; that’s the part I need someone to tell the Senate, I guess. Why should we do this?
Linda Glaze: Why should we make the Core Curriculum more flexible?
Guy Rohrbaugh: Yeah. I understand that there are legal…
Linda Glaze: The charge that was given to the General Education Taskforce was to look at how to make the current core more flexible. That was their charge. This was the mechanism that was decided, basically given the limits of the articulation and general studies agreement this was the mechanism. There would be two ways, one that the departments that currently offer courses in the Core would be able to give more courses or that you also open up the menus to additional courses. There’s also been I would say since I’ve chaired this committee in terms of the number of…the fact that the Core’s been very limiting has been a consistent criticism of the Core. When you look also when you say the student learning outcomes, based on the alignment study that was conducted last year, there are several areas of student learning outcomes that we do not address very well with our current offerings. There are other courses that are in the menu, especially in area 2 that may very well help address those, so that is why we are where are at right now. [50:06]
Guy Rohrbaugh: I guess maybe, here’s another way to put the question. I understand that this charge appears somewhere between the strategic plan and the constitution of the taskforce, and I guess I never heard actually anyone say, why we want… the words are… sort of have a positive valence…flexibility, but I feel like somebody needs to actually say to the Senate or the body in charge of the curriculum, why we want that, how we benefit. I believe that we all might but somebody actually needs to say other than saying, “Oh, it’s just the charge.” Why do we want that? What’s the plus? I could make the arguments for you, but I’d like to hear the committee explaining to us why those are good things.
Linda Glaze: I think the real issue is that the current core and the current requirements that we have in place are, came into place in 1990–1991, and so I think the world has changed a little bit and it’s time to look at what we are requiring from our students to prepare them for the future. And this was the thinking of the General Education Taskforce, it was the recommendation that came to us from them, and it was the consensus, it was not a majority vote but on all of these issues this was well over the majority on each of those issues, the committee felt that it was time to add more flexibility. [51:47]
Guy Rohrbaugh: all right, but you see why I keep asking why? I see the recommendations…
Linda Glaze: You’re in philosophy.
Guy Rohrbaugh: No, no, that’s actually not, I’ll stop after this, but I think the faculty’s in charge of the curriculum in the body of us, and why is not a relevant question for philosophers. I take it we expect our students to get certain things out of it and feel like that question never gets successfully answered.
Michelle Sidler: I just joined the core curriculum this year, I was not on the Taskforce I came to this late and I teach a lot of writing and I think about students a lot. So I had to learn all this very quickly, and what I learned very quickly is that the goal of the general education outcomes is to layout what we want our students to know, what they learn, what skills they acquire, the value added to those students (to use the sort of terminology) by the time they graduate. So the next question is: Are we doing that? And frankly the alignment studies showed us that not all cases are we doing that. So the goal of this is to let students take courses that impart the skills and knowledge that we say they should have. That’s number one. Number two is to give students more flexibility in what they take according to their interests and their goals and in their scheduling. So in my mind what we’re doing is taking a curriculum, that in some ways has been administratively driven, and make it more student driven.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Thank you Linda. Thank you everybody for your questions and I would comment that the Senate has been presented with information on the general education taskforce activities and we voted a couple of times, so I’d encourage you to go back and look at the Senate Web site. You can look at some of the conversations we’ve had in the Senate that should I think help answer some of your questions.
The second information item that we have today is a presentation on the draft Lecturers/Senior Lecturers guidelines. These were developed by an ad hoc committee, chaired by Emmett Winn, who will present the information or the report from that committee, this is in response to the resolution approving the concept Lecturers/Senior Lecturers that was approved by the Senate in October, I believe. The plan at this point is that these recommendations revised as appropriate based on input from the Senate will be brought back as an action item at the next Senate Meeting. [54:40]
Emmitt Winn, chair of ad hoc committee: I was going to say that this is the first time I’ve ever used a Powerpoint, doesn’t appear that it’s arrived, but I’m here anyway…(fixing the overhead).
Hi, I’m Emmitt Winn and I chaired the wonderful committee that developed the guidelines for the proposed Lecturers/Senior Lecturers. At the September meeting the Senate approved the resolution stating in part “Auburn University established the faculty title of Lecturer/Senior Lecturer and appoint a faculty committee chaired by the Associate Provost to establish the procedure to hire, evaluate, terminate faculty members in these positions.” Working with the Senate leadership the following committee was formed (shows list), and all of those wonderful people have joined us here today, thank you.
At the suggestion of the Non-tenure-track Instructor Committee we used the clinical title series guidelines as a working draft for our guidelines. We also incorporated [56:52] into our guidelines some information that we’ve gotten from peer institutions who’ve used this Lecture title series for many years. I sort of put a rough draft together and the committee voted unanimously to accept the working draft at our first meeting and then set a out the task of crafting it into a set of guidelines. Our final draft was completed on November 3 and the members voted unanimously to submit the document to the Senate as an information item, so here we are today.
In preparation for the Senate we asked all the Deans and the Associate Deans for Academic Affairs to forward electronic copies of the documents to all faculty including part-time and full-time instructors. We also sent the document out via e-mail to all faculty and encouraged to give feedback to their departmental senators. So hopefully that worked out. [57:50] Since the document has been out there for about a week now I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time talking about the specifics of it in this presentation so I thought I would just present 3 key points.
The first. The document endorses the AAUP guidelines for total instructional percentages at the institution. Secondly, establishing such a position requires a proposal that must be approved by the tenured faculty in the department. And third the document provides for promotion from lecturer to senior lecturer position. We welcome your feedback and questions. They asked me to be brief and I think we have the pdf of the actual document too…we’ve got that if you need it.
So with that really poor PowerPoint presentation, my understanding, Kathryn, correct me if I’m wrong, that this would be presented as an action item at a following Senate meeting.
Steve Brown, senator from Political Science: I’ve got a couple of questions and I wondered if I could just ask one initially. My department has so many concerns about this. It cannot possibly be funneled through me at this meeting at this time, I’m not sure if e-mail is always the best way, it there even a remote possibility of having you all have a meeting with whoever wants to come and discuss some of the things Provost Mazey has done with a lot of people who want to come share their views on this., It’s much, much larger than the Senators, I think. We have to prove it obviously, but is that a possibility at all?
Emmitt Winn: I think it’s fine with me, sure.
Steve Brown, senator from Political Science: Okay. One of the other concerns that I have personally and my department also recognizes, you all keep citing AAUP Guidelines. That actually is almost a verbatim quote from the Red Book relative to if you have to do this, everything else on either side of that quote says “we just don’t do this” contingent appointments simply are not approved, except in emergency circumstances and special situations and one-year multi-year contracts seems to violate everything AAUP stands for with regard to protection of faculty and everything else. I know there are a lot of other issues here but I personally don’t think that’s completely honest to put that in. They say if you have to do it, that 15%/25%, but the whole intention of the whole rest of that chapter says we’d rather you not do it at all. Any comments about that?
Emmitt Winn: Basically the Senate voted to establish the Lecturer/Senior Lecturer position. The committee, correct me if I’m wrong, the Senate established the Lecturer/Senior Lecturer position and we were asked to develop guidelines for that position. It was our understanding that it was going to be a position like the research and the clinical positions that we’ve had at Auburn since 1999 and in fact Non-tenure-track Instructors committee suggested that we use the clinical title series as sort of our starting point for this and so we developed guidelines based on that idea. So that’s what I can give you Steve.
Steve Brown: But in terms of the one-year/multi-year, and again there’s other concerns and questions I have, maybe I’ll take some more time at this meeting or maybe later but it just seems to violate everything AAUP. The protection for the faculty member currently as I understand it there are 3- or 5- or 6-year appointments or whatever, now it’s every year. Every year they come up again, there seems to be less protection in a way, by the way it is written in this proposal is it not?
Emmitt Winn: Again, speaking for the committee, we were asked to develop the guidelines sort of based on the same sort of things we have for the research and the clinical title series. [1:02:09] So that’s what we did, that’s what we were asked to do, and that’s what we did, Steve.
Steve Brown: Thanks. (some discussion off mic about the mic being of low volume)
James Goldstein, senator from English: I hope you can hear me. I wanted to follow up on some of the things that Steve brown just said and I’ve prepared a statement that I can get through in under 5 minutes.
First I’d like to express my appreciation to Dr. Winn and the other members of the Lecture committee for their hard work, especially for their efforts to develop policies that will improve the working conditions for the new series of non-tenured-track faculty while remaining sensitive to AAUP concerns about safeguards to academic freedom. I would also like to thank the Senate leadership for and the Steering Committee for allowing the proposed policies to come up for a vote in the Senate. In my view there are many positive features to the document in its current state such as the role played by faculty in the hiring and promotion of Lecturers, and especially in the provision of due process for a Lecturer dismissed for just cause. So there’s much I can support in the document. However, there are still a number of specific ways that the document, if implemented in its current form, will risk exposing the university to AAUP censors stated at the Senate meeting on September 1 before we knew the details of the proposal.
At my request Greg Schultz, a senior staff member of the AAUP in Washington has written a letter to me commenting on the proposed policy and identifying major concerns. If there’s no objection I’d like a copy of his letter to be entered into the minutes of this meeting, so that’s a motion for unanimous consent. I will not read aloud the entire letter obviously but to highlight some of the problems he identifies. As Mr. Schultz states; “The most obvious departure from AAUP recommended principles and procedural standards is the establishment of indefinitely renewable full-time appointments with no possibility of tenure.” He goes on to observe, while some due process protections are provided on contracts terminated during the contract term or when a faculty member who’s appointment is not renewed alleges a violation of academic freedom, we note with concern, that dismissal can be, quote “effected for lack of funding apparently without any affordance of due process, and that there appears to be no provision for faculty members facing non-renewal to petition a faculty grievance committee alleging inadequate consideration or discrimination.” [1:04:53]
To his first point I understand that realistically the administration is not prepared to go as far as to create a tenure-able Lecturer series. We understand the need for flexibility and staffing especially during these difficult budget years, but to avoid exposure to AAUP sanction we need to give non-tenured-track who complete 7 years of full-time service due process protections equal to those that come with tenure. Schultz’s letter points to a realistic compromise, as he observes, “Full-time faculty members in their first 7 years of service, whether the university considers them to be tenure-track or not, should be afforded the same due process protections as their colleagues and tenureable appointments. Similarly full-time faculty members who’s service has extended beyond 7 years, regardless of whether the university considers them tenured should be afforded the same due process protections as their tenured colleagues.”
One of the changes to the document that would bring it closer to conformity with AAUP standards would be to include a policy that in case of financial exigency, a Senior Lecturer is not discontinued in favor of retaining a Lecturer, or that a Lecturer is not discontinued in favor of retaining a full-time instructor with fewer years of creditable service. Indeed, in order to meet the Provost’s stated objection providing more job security to our non-tenured-track faculty some kind of seniority system needs to be included so that we do not treat them all identically as though they’d all been hired at the same time. Many years of successful service should provide greater job security for Senior Lecturers than that enjoyed by more recent hires. Within a few days the local chapter will be submitting to Dr. Winn our recommended revisions to the document for consideration by his committee before the policy is returned to the Senate for a vote. We will attempt to address the AAUP concerns as far as possible, including adding due process protections to Lecturers who are not renewed because of financial exigency. Such protections would parallel the Faculty Handbook, Chapter 3, Section 17.
Because Auburn has been sanctioned by the AAUP in the past for issues related to the dismissal of a non-tenure-track faculty member, we must proceed with cautions so that we don’t face a similar experience in the future the document presented today does not meet that standard. Thank you.
Emmitt Winn: Thank you, James.
Kevin Yost, senator from the Finance department: I received some comment from somebody in my department that I wanted to share. One was, it states in a couple of places that instruction cannot exceed 25% of the total instruction for the department or some guidelines along those lines, but it doesn’t say how total instruction is measured. Is it courses or is it student credit hours, so it probably needs more clarification on how total instruction is defined.
The other question that was raised is, could the non-tenured-track faculty then have service responsibilities in addition to instruction? And then the third comment was in relation to the one-year term, and if we look at somebody that may be relocating for the purposes of one of these positions is it possible to have a two-year term or something longer than just a one-year term? Thank you.
Tony Moss, biological sciences, senator: There were a few concerns that came back regarding the suggestion, and all of them were centered on what appear to be fairly vague wording considering how safe tenure-track positions are relative to the new positions that would be brought in. Now I realize that these positions are being voted in and discussed at the department level before they are submitted for consideration by the committee, is that correct? So a lot of those decisions would be made within the department.
Emmitt Winn: That’s what the proposed document says.
Tony Moss: Right, but there are still concerns by faculty and also by our chair that there is enough leeway in the verbiage that it would allow for perhaps substitution of tenure-track positions with Lecturers down the road and so this is only a tentative possible rewording but it was suggested that the wording of line 5 might be changed to indicate that a lecturer title series cannot supplant or replace an instructor series which might already be in existence and of course it may have additional discussion inside our department on exactly what that would mean also, but we still have this as a concern. But also that in line 7 perhaps a minor rewording there too that the Lectureship series would not replace existing tenure-track lines. But please understand there hasn’t been enough time to really discuss this among our departments, since these guidelines only came out last week and since I’ve been basically out of touch for most of the week, but these are the concerns that came forward. There were other concerns too, but they basically built off that set of concerns, several faculty replied to me regarding this. And the chair is also concerned about this. Thank you.
Emmitt Winn: Thank you. [1:10:19]
Bill Trimble: Are there any other senators? I don’t know what the protocol is here, should I let Steve go first? I am not a senator.
Steve Brown: I just have one other thing, Emmitt, if I could, a comment that was just made about how quickly, I’m sorry, how little time relatively our departments have had to consider this. The fact that this is an information item now, does that automatically go on the agenda for next month as an action item?
Emmitt Winn: I think that would be the Senate’s decision.
Steve Brown: Okay. Is there any, again as you mentioned your willingness to have a more open meeting to discuss this with the faculty at large. Is there anything on your part that you could give us in terms of information as to when that might occur? The next two weeks, the next month, before the next Senate meeting? Anything like that, that you might be amenable to scheduling?
Emmitt Winn: I think that would like to do it before the next Senate meeting, absolutely. I’m going to be out of town Thursday and Friday so that’s out, but otherwise yeah, I’m open. We like to have as much of the committee there as we could, but understanding scheduling issues, sure.
Steve Brown: Great, thank you.
Bill Trimble from the history department, not a senator: I am also a member of the AAUP Executive Committee, chapter executive committee. I want to also add my thanks to the committee, Emmitt Winn’s committee for the work they’ve done on this. This is one of those committees that has really thankless, when you’re hit by trucks going in both directions. I just want to say a few general things about where AAUP comes from on this and some personal ideas that I have as well. In an ideal world, and I’m told by my wife and even my colleagues that this is not an ideal world, where you don’t get everything you want. In an ideal world what you would have clearly here and at other universities would be probationary tenure-track faculty as well as tenured faculty. Clearly what’s involved here in terms of the institution of tenure is not something that is simply viewed as lifetime job security, but it’s something that’s an institution that guarantees academic freedom and due process. And that’s something that AAUP clearly believes in and has stood for since 1915, and all of us here should keep in mind when we revise this policy. We also understand in AAUP and Steve brought this up, that this is the real world and that there are issues of budget, finances, and flexibility that have to come into play and we also recognize the importance of guaranteeing some of these due processes and procedures to people who are not tenured or tenure-track. So we recognize how important that is in terms of what your committee has been doing.
At the same time there is a danger involved in this in terms of possibly eroding that institution of tenure, and that’s really why AAUP is so concerned about making this as rare as possible, that’s why you get the 15% overall for the institution and 25% for individual departments. And think about how this may go if this proceeds to 70–80% of the faculty and what that means in terms of academic freedom goes and what the institution of tenure means within that institution. So you need to think about that in terms of where you go with this. I can see if this proceeds where you’d really have a two tiered system where you’d have a teaching underclass and then you’d have the tenured and tenure-track faculty are doing the rest of the things professors do, and loosing that integration that’s so important with what we do as professors in the academy. [1:14:04] So I commend what you’ve been doing, and the AAUP certainly commends you and especially how we’ve been able to work back and forth with you on a formal and an informal basis. As far as Steve is concerned, some of his concerns about having that dialogue. AAUP had a forum on this issue and some of the members of your committee were there and we had a very frank give and take about some of these issues. So please keep in mind what’s involved with this in terms of the larger issues relating to academic freedom and tenure and making what ever final decisions are made.
Emmitt Winn: Thank you Bill. Maybe I’ll offer as a suggestion to the Senate leadership that perhaps as well as the open discussion that Steve has suggested, that perhaps the senators could also throw forward comments and suggestions to the Senate leadership and to be passed on to the committee. Maybe you guys could work out a deadline that you think is reasonable for that and just let the committee know. Okay, thank you so much and thanks to this wonderful committee.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Thank you Emmitt. I think that Emmitt’s suggestion is a good one and what we’ll do is send each of you a notice of where to send comments and a deadline for receiving those and we’ll make sure that the committee gets them prior to whatever open forum is held.
We have one final information item on our agenda it’s a report from Jim Wohl, who is the ombudsman for the university. Some of you may recall that the Senate worked very hard over a couple or three years to get the ombuds position established and we have a two-year trial period. Jim completed the first year in September and is here to give the report, actually started his second year in September and he’s here to give a report on the first year’s activities. He was on the agenda for the October meeting and we ran a little late so he was gracious enough to postpone his presentation until this afternoon.
Jim Wohl, ombudsperson: Good afternoon, thanks for the time today to present and what I’m going to present is an overview or a summary of the annual report. Both the annual report and the summary I’m going to share this afternoon is online connected to the agenda for this secession and also on the Ombuds Web site as well. As Kathryn said the Ombuds Office is a two-year pilot project, at which time at the conclusion of the second year, some point during the second year a decision needs to be made whether to continue with this office or not, and some form of assessment needs to occur so I am going to try to interject notions of assessment and how to do that assessment as I go through that, but really this report is just one way that can be made if we could just keep that in mind.
I’d like to preface remarks with four points. The first is that Ombuds Office is designed as an independent and neutral resource for all employees on campus and all employee classifications on campus, so that’s faculty, A&P employees, and staff employees. As the office is designed and as I’ve been carrying it out, it follows the standards of practice and code of ethics of the International Ombudsman Association, which I’m a member of and have gone through the basic and advanced training for. And a copy of the code of ethics and standards of practice are included in the report that you can link to online.
There are approximately close to 200 Ombuds offices at other colleges and universities across the country. There’s been a 35% increase in ombuds office at colleges and universities in North America since 2004 and although this really is only one of three types of ombuds offices formatted in this way in the SEC, Arkansas, LSU has a comparable office, and Florida has an office too and some of those offices and really it’s just Auburn and LSU that has an employee focused ombuds where the other two have students as well. [1:18:36]
Last comment I’d like to make as a preliminary remark is that it’s been a privilege for me, at lest the first year so far, to serve in this roll and also I want to reiterate that the cooperation I’ve received from both administrators, leaders on campus, and the folks who have visited the office has been terrific and it’s been a great way to meet people and forge some relationships on campus.
What I’d like to do is go over some of the data that I have for you after the first year of the office. What we have on top here is, my sense as best I could tell of the overall employee population at Auburn University. These are people housed at the Auburn main campus as well as individuals in the Extension System as well as the Experiment Station as well, so roughly around 5,000 people. What I’d like to reiterate here is as we talk about the visitors profile to the office is that this is not in any way a representation of all the sorts of conflicts or all the sorts of individuals that might be experiencing conflict at Auburn, but rather those who are choosing to voluntarily engage with a confidential and independent source to discuss a workplace problem. So it’s a voluntary notion not at all designed to describe all facets of conflict that may or may not be existing on campus. [1:20:05]
So when we look at the population, of our employee population here, there were 125 visitors to the Ombuds Office in the first year, which is about 2.5% of the work population that the office served. I am hopefully going to pepper my presentation with benchmarking notes or what I’ve learned from reviewing other ombuds reports from other institutions that are similar to Auburn, and the range of utilization of the service population if you will, ranges from 1 to 5% and our 125 is about 2.5% this year. As you can see of our 125 visitors 43% were faculty members, 24% were staff, and 27% were A&P. So more than half of the visitors to the ombuds office were non-faculty members. Several time throughout the report I’ve split out faculty vs. non-faculty statistics, and the purpose for doing that is not to accentuate any difference between faculty and non-faculty employees, but because of our bifurcated personnel system with HR in charge of the personnel management of A&P and Staff employees and the Provost’s Office in charge of the personnel management of faculty employees there are times throughout the report where I split out that information in hopes that would be helpful to those administrative bodies to review the data.
When you look at faculty members that the male and female ratio pretty much is on target with the overall faculty population within a percentage point. But when the non-faculty visitors to the office there was an overrepresentation of female visitors compared to the overall population. That’s actually something that’s borne our in other ombuds reports as well. This mechanism of having an independent confidential resource to express of voice out or explore different options for addressing workplace conflict seems to be more utilized by women than men in a variety of ombuds offices, but also in a lot of other conflict-management systems and other settings besides academia.
The second piece of information or third piece of information I’d like to share with you has to do with my activities of the ombuds office in response to those 125 visitors and on the “Y” axis here we have percentages of visitors and the response that the office or that I took with the office. And we can see that far and away the most common interaction with the visitors who come to the ombuds office is in individual consultation or problem solving. By the way in all these categories I’ve kind of fleshed out what those activities look like if you are interested that’s all in the full report. 32% referral to a policy or a campus agency or referring to a policy, described as kind of a traffic cop roll; 13% working with groups, either through what is sort of like a mediation or working with multiple groups, multiple parties in trying to address a concern that’s brought. The other major category is an inquiry into a campus office on behalf of the visitor, where the visitor didn’t feel comfortable themselves to reaching out to collect information. That’s a service the office can provide, to collect that information in protecting the anonymity of anyone visiting the office.
One of the other statistics that I recorded during the course of the year was, at least from my perspective as someone who works in conflict resolution, what was the nature of concerns that were brought to the office and were they in the realm of being either pre-dispute issue or a post-dispute issue. So the distinction here is whether or not a formal action had already been taken or there had already been engagement with one of the regulatory compliance offices on campus or some formal had already been taken and the concern that was brought to the ombuds office was in response to that formal action, a post-dispute issue, versus a pre-dispute issue the concern was raised prior to any formal engagement with an office or prior to any type of action. You see approximately 87% visitors were in the pre-dispute phase of their concern and I think that’s important information regarding the intent of the office and as well as the utilization of the office. [1:24:50]
The issues raised, and I mentioned that the office complies with the standards of practice of the International Ombudsman Association, that organization provides reporting categories for practicing ombuds people to record concerns that visitors raise in the office. They fall in 9 different categories. A copy of the reporting categories is included in the full report. They are broken into 9 categories with maybe 10 or 12 subcategories in each of those 9 larger categories. And as you might guess it’s very rare that one person has a very discrete issue that just touches on just one of those entries on the concern. So in total there are 870 issues that were brought to the concern in the ombuds office by 125 people so essentially the way to take that information is when someone visits the ombuds office at least in terms of the reporting categories, about 7 of those get touched on during a conversation or exploring an issue. And about 50% of those concerns fall within the realm of category 2 on this reporting category whichis issues or concerns that arise in evaluative relationships, between an individual and someone who is in an evaluative position of them, whether that be a department head, a dean, a supervisor, someone who’s making an evaluative relationship—and going both directions, but primarily it’s the person in the less powerful position that’s raising the issue but not all the time. That is also something that’s been borne out in nearly every ombuds report I’ve seen. That range is from 40% to 65% of the issues raised arising out of those sorts of relationships and in our report this year was about 46% of the concerns that were raised bore out of evaluative relationships. That’s essentially it in a nutshell and in the interest of time of the information I had. There’s more information including a delineation of the subcategories of concerns that are raised as well as splitting between faculty and non-faculty as I mentioned. And it’s up online for you to review.
I hope this report is used as one piece of the assessment of the ombuds office over the course of the two-year period. I’ve been asked several times and I thought I’d make the comment here that, that assessment, the report serves as a benchmark or utilization is it doing what we intended it to do? Is its activity comparable to the activity of an ombuds office at another institution? A second category might be interviewing or asking the questions of people and administrators, people in regulatory and compliance offices on campus as well as anyone in a supervisory position just what their thoughts are about the whole endeavor or enterprise of an ombuds office in conjunction with the report. The idea being that these would be the individuals who must deal with unresolved conflicts that arise on campus. So that’s a second category of assessment that’s a potential.
The third category of assessment might be just asking the employee population at large, in kind of an anonymous survey of instrument, maybe administered by the Senate. What are your thoughts on it? Have you used the ombuds office, if we can insure anonymity in a survey like that? Have you or do you know people who have thoughts about it, can you give us feedback on it to help this body make this decision. Thanks, and I’d be happy to answer any questions anyone might have.
Barbara Kemppainen, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, senator: I’m just curious of the pre-dispute ones. Do you feel like a lot of them avoided the dispute from happening?
Jim Wohl, ombudsperson: Yeah, I think when we look at assessment that’s a very difficult assessment to make and the question I believe, Barbara, was essentially can you tell how many conflicts you resolved, right? Or how many loses did we prevent or how many conflicts or grievances were filed or that sort of thing. It’s very difficult from my perspective to assess that for a variety of reasons, but that might be something we may be able to glean at least an impression of at least through one of those two other categories of inquiry that I mentioned. Part of the reason it’s difficult from my standpoint is because of the confidentiality and anonymity that’s involved. One I’d have trouble figuring out how to report that in some generic way, that’d be difficult. And two, frankly, many times I don’t have that information. So I meet with somebody, we explore options, maybe even make a plan or discuss different approaches to an issue that might be, and I may not have follow-up and as a principle I, and this is true for most ombuds people, don’t specifically go out and do follow-up with people but rather leave the door open for them to return if they need assistance because of the nature of the work that I do. [1:30:06]
Bob Locy, immediate past chair of the Senate: Jim, as one of the people who was on the Senate leadership at a time when we pushed hard to get an ombudsperson and as one of the people who I guess was the chair of the Senate at the time you were hired, I’d just like to give you my personal thanks for doing such a marvelous job of setting up the ombuds position. That in and of itself, not to mention all of the good things you had in your report, in my opinion, constitutes a great service to this university and I’d like you to know that at least as the person was involved that’s here at the microphone to speak at least, I really am appreciative of the fine job that you’ve done and there’s a lot of things about your report that I really like and I hope that we’ll find a way to continue the ombuds position in the future as an important part of our university. It’s nice to see that it helps us to resolve conflict. Thank you.
Jim Wohl: Thank you, Bob and you’re welcome.
Kathryn Flynn, chair: Thank you Jim. I’d like to add my thanks to what you do, it’s been good.
That completes the formal agenda for this afternoon. So at this time I’d like to ask if anybody has any unfinished business that they’d like to bring forward? Any new business? If not, (I always forget the little hammer) the meeting is adjourned. [1:32:06]