Transcript Senate Meeting
April 3, 2012
Ann Beth Presley, chair: I’d like to call the meeting to order. Good afternoon, I’m Ann Beth Presley, chair of the University Senate. Welcome to the April Senate meeting. I’d like everybody to get a clicker and click in to make sure that we have a quorum.
Please do it again. We have a quorum. A short review of the rules of the Senate, senators and substitutes for senators please sign in in the back and get a clicker so that you can vote. If you’d like to speak about an issue go to the microphone and state your name, indicate if you are a senator and state what unit you represent. The rules of the senate require that senators be allowed to speak first, after all comments by senators on an issue are made, guests are welcome to speak.
The first item on the agenda is the approval of the minutes from the February meeting. Larry Crowley posted the minutes and sent a link to all senators. Are there any changes, additions, or deletions to these minutes? Hearing none the minutes will stand as approved.
I now invite Dr. Gogue to come forward to present the president’s remarks. [0:35]
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you, it is good to be with you today. I think for the last 3 years (months) I’ve given you an update on trustees, and all I could give you was the process and I know you are tired of hearing about the process and we are too. Since we last met they actually had 4 people come out at the end of the process. So we had 4 new trustees confirmed. Tomorrow will be a confirmations committee the 5 remaining trustee slots will be discussed tomorrow morning during confirmations committee, if they pass that they could actually go to the floor of the Senate on Thursday of this week. Relative to SACS the requirement is that you have 5 trustees is the minimum that you can have. Certainly with their actions in the last month we have enough to meet SACS requirements.
While I’m on the legislature, I think you may have seen in the newspaper this morning, the ETF funding was up by 4.4 percent was the headline which is good news for us and have heard no discussions of additional proration of the current year. So I feel good about that. One piece of information that depends on your perspective whether it’s good or bad, the supreme court and the state of Alabama threw out the settlement that had been reached with the PACT prepaid college tuition program so that will be back for further discussion. I think as we have talked in the past, the way that was originally proposed, had that gone through the cost for us would have been somewhere around 500 or 600 million dollars. So we’re hopeful that they will go back and come up with a more rational plan for us.
The provost search is underway, my understanding is they are in a position to bring candidates in by the end of April. So, good movement in that search. Relative to the dean of engineering search, last Wednesday or Thursday I was given two names to work with; one is an internal candidate and one is a department head at the university of Florida. Both of those candidates will be back on campus Wednesday and Thursday of this week, hopefully a decision forthcoming.
We also just completed a successful national search for the Vice President for Development and an individual named Jane Parker was selected. She spent about 30 plus years at Emory and had spent the last couple of years at Arizona State, she just started work last week.
Drew anything on SACS that we need to mention? I don’t see Drew. The last that we were briefed last week, all the benchmarks and the data points and the timeline is on track, so we are okay on that particular issue.
Research week, my understanding is somewhere around 1,300 students signed up as a part of Research week. I was there the first day, my understanding is it has gone well and certainly appreciate the input and support of the faculty across campus. I’d be happy to respond to questions that you may have. [3:53] (Pause) Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Dr. Gogue. Please remember, voting opens chair-elect and secretary-elect on April 5 at 8 a.m. and will close on Monday April 9 at 5 p.m. We have one person running for chair-elect. Larry Crowley, a second person has been added who is running for secretary-elect and those people are Judy Sheppard and Don Mulvaney. Please vote, it is very important, it will be an online voting situation. The results will be announced next week at the University Faculty Meeting.
Again a few reminders about the Senate, all senators whether ex-officio or not have a vote and should attend every meeting. If you cannot attend please send a substitute who is not a sitting senator and the substitute has full voting rights. Each senator or substitute senator should have already signed in and picked up a clicker to vote.
The first action item today is a resolution on department heads and chairs to amend and will be presented by Dr. Claire Crutchley, member of the steering committee and immediate past chair.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair and member of steering committee: Good afternoon everyone, you’ve all seen this resolution, now this is the third time. Bill Sauser presented it last time for me, hopefully we’ve clarified a little bit. It was sent back to committee for amendment and the steering committee said we need to explain as opposed to amend and we talked to the person who posed it going back to committee so I think this is okay.
Let me explain what we did. In the Handbook is a piece from the AAUP Redbook on Department heads and chairs and it is not the complete paragraph, it was the selective paragraph so this statement has been adopted by American Council of Education, Association of Governing boards of University and Colleges and the AAUP. So all we are doing is proposing to amend the language to include the whole paragraph as opposed to a piece of the paragraph, which is what was done in the past.
So this is on the powerpoint trying to make it as large as I could. What is not underlined is what is currently in the Handbook. What is underlined is the rest of the paragraph that we propose to be included. Beginning with: who serves as the chief representative of the department within an institution, and after judgment it says, The chair or department head should not have tenure in office that means their tenure resides within a department not within the position of department head or chair. Then we also really liked the last statement that the department chair or head has a special obligation to build a department strong in scholarship and teaching capacity, because that language is not in the handbook and we firmly believe that that is a good principle. So we like this paragraph from the AAUP and simply want to take the small piece that we had and replace it with the full paragraph.
Why add this language? Well the steering committee has a philosophical agreement that heads and chairs do not have tenure in the position of head or chair but only in their department and we like that the department head/chair should build strong scholarship and teaching capacity.
There were several questions, why don’t we specify a term? We have talked to people about this, or why don’t we say there are only heads or chairs, but there are very different philosophies around the university. Different colleges have different views on this so the steering committee did not feel it correct to impose a heads or chairs or a specific term, instead we believe that the faculty in the colleges and departments should decide the term regardless of the person in there. So if your department decides that the term of you chair should be 3 years and some other department decides 8 years, you are deciding that as a philosophy as opposed to on a specific person. So that is our view and that is why we came back to you with the same resolution. I move to amend the language in the Faculty Handbook, chapter 2, part 5 section B titled “Selection of Deans and Department Head/Chairs”
Ann Beth Presley, chair: The motion is coming from a committee so it does not require a second. Are there any questions for the Steering Committee? [9:31]
Werner Bergen, senator, animal sciences: I just have one kind of question. Any department chair/head that I’ve ever know of is always at the discretion of the dean and the dean at the discretion of the provost. Why is this necessary? The dean can get rid of the department head anytime.
Bill Sauser, chair-elect and professor of management: So the term could read at the discretion of the dean, your appointed as department head for a term at the discretion of the dean. What we’re trying to say here, let’s not get hung up on this term business, that’s simply a statement that the individual is not tenured as department head, but rather tenured as a faculty member within the department. Now how each department/college/school wants to word that term is up to that college or school. This is simply a statement of principle which is not a procedure on how to do things, that can be determined locally. The primary point here and including this language is to state that the department head or chair is not holding tenure in that particular office, in other words you are not a tenured department head you are a tenured faculty member who is appointed as department head. But the various terms of office and specifications of office, those would be made in a letter of appointment and the term could be specified there. Of course this does not apply to anyone who is currently holding the title of chair or head, no term limit would apply. Warner, does that answer your question?
(some other remark here, no microphone.)
I think our current practice and the policy are in complete agreement. We are already doing it now and we simply wanted to state it as a principle there. I don’t know of anyone who holds tenure in an administrative position, but not a faculty position. Thanks Werner. [12:19]
David King, senator, geology and geography: A point I mentioned the last time we discussed this is can we imagine a situation in which an appointment would be made that’s not in conformity with department members judgment? It says “should normally be in conformity with department members’ judgment.” Would it be wise to ever appoint a department head or chair that’s not in conformity with department members’ judgment? I don’t understand why that’s in there and if that comes from AAUP language, do we have to copy what’s written somewhere else? That was the main thing, I also like the other speaker didn’t think it was an issue about tenure in the office, I don’t know that anyone has ever suggested that a department have tenure as chair. I think that concerns have been expressed have been about department heads/chairs that have been in their position too long and a change was needed and there wasn’t a way to effect that change. I’m not sure that these changes really fix anything and I don’t really understand the need to add that language.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Are there any other comments or questions? All in favor press A, all opposed press B. A= 45, B=14. The motion passes.
The next item is for information for pending action and it is the revision of Phase II of the Faculty Handbook. Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee will be presenting it and she may have some help. Before she gets up here I want to thank her because she has spent an awful lot of time doing work on this and I just appreciate all the effort that has gone into it. It has not been an easy task.
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Good afternoon. [15:34] I want to acknowledge the help of a lot of different people, I did not do this by myself. We could not have done it without the help of everyone on the committee. I think there are special people add a compliment and thank and that’s Barbara Bishop who did all the work to created the survey, put it up, and you’ll see it’s on the library page and she was concerned about that and I said that’s fine, it’s great, we love it and we’ll stick with it there. We wanted to make it as user friendly as possible and we were working right down to the wire to do that. I also want to thank Bill for all of his help because past chair and he knows a lot more about this than I do, and of course Emmett because Emmett worked very closely with Bill Rickert, who is our consultant. We did not write all of this ourselves, it would be impossible, but with the help of a lot of knowledgeable people we were able to put this together for you today.
We had a 3 year goal to start with and that goal was to continue this process over a period of time and to come up with a very well written, organized, accurate, accessible–that was really important–manual of academic policies and procedures. And that’s what we are trying to do. This is our Phase II of that particular charge. In Phase I, just a little bit of history, there were no policy changes at all, so the first thing that we did was to eliminate from the Faculty Handbook all of the out of date and irrelevant material because there was a lot there. It had been years and there were some things in there that were really out of date. We wanted to in that Phase just retain the policies that related directly to the faculty. So what you voted on last year was really basically chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 1 is University Vision and Mission and Chapter 2 is Faculty Participation in University Governance. And Chapter 2 really consists of the University Senate Constitution and the Faculty Constitution [18:14] standing committees and things like that. So these are directly related to the faculty and they were already there. So we completed that transitional document in the spring of 2011 and you voted on it and you accepted it. That brings us to Phase II.
In Phase II I want you to understand that there were no policy changes in Phase II either and our charge was basically to add to the Handbook existing policies, because there were policies that were out there that had not even been put into the Handbook yet, or had been put in the Handbook but had changed. We placed these policies in their entirety. I will mention to you that there are 12 full policies stated in full version in the Handbook as an information item today. So what we had to do was to go out and find the policies and the guidelines that exist on other Web sites as well that are not controlled by the Senate, because there is a lot of information out there that is useful to the faculty, not necessarily related directly to what we do here in the Senate, but important information for the faculty to have at their fingertips. So what we wanted to do was to create links to those policies and then locate those links in the appropriate chapters. So that when you want to find some information, if you know where the chapter is that has that particular information, and you can find that in the table of contents, then you can go through and find the link. And the hope is is that those Web sites will be kept up to date. [20:02] In the past we couldn’t do this. This will make the Handbook a really usable document because it should be currently be up to date at all times.
This is what we will present to you today. I wanted to show you just a few examples of the full policies that are in this Phase II of the Faculty Handbook. Oops the first one isn’t supposed to be there. Anyway this 4.2 is in chapter 3 is Distinguished University Professor, but we didn’t have a description and we thought you’d like to have a full description that’s right under the criteria which is a link that can tell you even more about it. Also the section 5.1 in the 3rd chapter are Guidelines for Establishing and Filling Positions in the Lecturer Title Series. And as you know that’s very new, just finish working on that. So that’s kind of hot off the press. 7.3 is Post Tenure Review Guidelines, those were initiated some time ago, however they’ve been evolving over time. So what we have here now is the most current version of the Post Tenure Review Guidelines. Those are all in Chapter 3 and I used those as my examples today.
I also wanted to put in there examples of links because the links are to information that would be interesting to you, but we don’t create and we don’t control. So these are examples in Chapter 5, which is Curriculum and Academic Standards. Chapter 5 is really a series of links, 1.1 for example is Enrollment Policy for Auburn Campus, so obviously we don’t create that, but if you want to know about that and it’s constantly changing I’m sure you can go there and click and find that information. Or Program Review and Assessment you can go to that site and find that information. [23:00] Those are the kinds of links that are all through the document, Chapter 5 is mostly links because of the nature of that particular chapter.
We will have a Phase III, which will be a continuing phase. In Phase III we will continue to review the Handbook, we will eliminate inconsistencies and conflicting language, add whatever you create here in the Senate–new polices, whatever new policies come up, revisions of old policies and those will be reviewed and put into the Handbook. So this is going to be an ongoing phase.
I’m going to encourage you and then I’m going to show you this site. I want to encourage you to go back to your faculty colleagues and ask them to go to this site and to enter their comments in the google survey there so that you can help us to tweek this a little bit if it needs it, either before we vote on it or later on in Phase III. Were hoping to get a lot of input from all of you. [23:30] Unfortunately we do have a timeline and that is April 14, I know that’s only a few weeks and it says this on the survey. We need this timeline because we also have to compile all of that information and have it ready before we come back to you with any kind of a motion. Could you put that up for me? http://libguides.auburn.edu/phase2comments
[25:30] Problem with the link (somehow the latest version did not load to the agenda)
What you’re seeing here is the proposed Faculty Handbook, Phase II. On the left you will see all the different chapters, the names of the chapters are over here on the right that will help you find them and the pdf file for all of the chapters are on the left. So the deadline for getting all your comments into us is April 14 and is clearly marked. After you read what you want, scroll down, in a chapter and you want to make a comment on it, you can enter a comment on the particular sub section of the Handbook (in the area provided).
So I know some of you have some specific things you want to look for, we hope this is user friendly and you can find quickly what you want to look at, and that you encourage your faculty colleagues to do the same. We’re hoping to get a lot of comments.
Finally, this is our anticipated motion: to accept the revised document (Auburn University Faculty Handbook, dated May 1, 2012) as the official Handbook of the Auburn Faculty, replacing the May 10, 2011 Handbook now in effect. I am ready for any questions that you may have. [28:19]
Vickey Van Santen, senator, pathobiology: The link is wrong to the survey, you said. What is the link?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Larry said that he will send it out. Any other questions?
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, philosophy: I was wondering if it would be possible, on that site, to just post a list of the changes. The prospect of scrolling through every chapter to see what the new things are seems daunting. I wondered if it would be possible to separately post just the list of things that will be added.
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: I can be sure that Larry gets this. Everything that’s been added is listed here in this summary. I will send you this file and that way you can scroll through…
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, philosophy: That would be very helpful, thanks.
James Goldstein, senator, English: I’m still a little unclear, if the Phase II changes are just incorporating existing policies into the text of the document, what is there to comment on?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Some of that is, they are not new policies, but they weren’t there in their entirety before and they may have been there incorrectly. So this language, whatever is in there now is exactly what has been passed through the Senate and corrected and that’s the appropriate wording. Right now, all those chapters I showed you were taken out. The transitional Handbook that you voted on last year in 2011, only had Chapters 1 and 2. We are putting this all back and it’s in a different format and there are links, it’s not the same as the old. Do you want to say something Bill?
Bill Sauser, dept. of management and chair-elect: James’ question is an excellent one why would we ask for comments for things that are already existing and of course we don’t anticipate lots and lots of comments on the existing policies and so forth, but we wanted to see if there were any people had the chance to put them in before we move for adoption next month. The primary purpose of the survey is to give everyone a chance to read all the policies and to comment on them so when we move to Phase III, which has to do with revising language, we’ll have a pretty good feel for what our faculty members are concerned about that might need revision during the 3rd phase. So we’re trying to get a head start rather than waiting until next year to move into it. Thank you James.
Wesley Wright, senator, fisheries: So there are policies for example from the Provost’s Office or that were on the Provost’s Web site that weren’t necessarily in the Faculty Handbook that have now been incorporated? Is that correct?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Yes that’s correct.
Wesley Wright, senator, fisheries: Will this also have to be passed by the Board of Trustees, because of the language in Chapter 3?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: I can’t answer that, maybe somebody else, Emmett can you answer that?
Emmett Winn, professor of communication & journalism and associate provost, member of the FH Review Committee: As I currently understand it, Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook is the chapter that the Board of Trustees is primarily interested in approving, because it is related to faculty policies related to personnel and procedures. We work very closely with general council on these matters. Since everything that has been placed in, in Phase II, currently exists and has been through the proper approval process. I can’t answer the question whether or not Chapter 3 as it exists in Phase II has to go to the Board of Trustees or not. But my feeling is that it probably does not since it will only contain policies that currently exist at Auburn University. [34:30]
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Does that answer the question?
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Did you say that May 10, the last Phase we only changed Chapters 1 and 2?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: What we did is we took everything out except those two chapters. What you voted on was those two chapters. But basically that’s what was there because we want to streamline it, we want to put things in the right places, we wanted to be sure that the wording of everything was correct and up to date, so that was the procedure that was the charge to the committee.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: I seem to remember being a Chapter 3, particularly on the Tenure and Promotion. When I look at the may 10 one the Provost Office Web site that update was different than the prior one, in regards to Chapter 3 of tenure and promotion.
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: To my understanding this is the most current, right Emmett? What’s in here now is…What we are proposing today is the most current wording for promotion and tenure.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Right, but we’re not doing…what are we doing in Phase II?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: That’s what we put in in Phase II, there is the Teaching Evaluation you all recently voted on that had changes in wording, it’s been edited several times, that’s in here. There are other things besides what I showed you that are in here that are new.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: I thought Phase II was putting the policies we already have from the Provost in there, no changes in that regard but I thought in Phase I there were changes to Chapter 3 on Tenure and Promotion policies. I don’t know if those were voted on, I’m stretching my memory but I noticed a lot of changes to Chapter 3 in Phase I, if I recall.
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Bill was the chair of the committee last year I would prefer that he answer your question. He is probably better able to state absolutely correctly what we did.
Bill Sauser, dept. of management and chair-elect: Michael is correct, of course not only were Chaper 1 and 2 looked at the entire document was looked at, it just turned out that the primary focus was in Chapters 2 and 3. We looked at the entire Handbook during Phase I, we took out a whole lot of irrelevant stuff and what was left was what now appears on the Web site as the Faculty Handbook. You might also recall that last year we were also in the process of making some real changes in the promotion and tenure policy. You recall that that was going on. Those have also been incorporated in this latest version. So this new version adds to it things that were passed by the Senate last time. But Michael is correct, there were more changes than simply those two chapters.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: I just want to follow up on that a little bit. I’m not sure what the voting procedure was last time for the Phase I revisions, May 10, 2011, maybe we don’t remember, maybe we voted on the aggregate document, the one that was posted for May 10. I just remember seeing language particularly language, the final sentence about collegiality in Chapter 3 that’s in the May 10 version.
(The correct date for this action referenced was March 1, 2011, the Phase One Handbook action was on May 3, 2011.)
Maybe I missed it but as a member of the senate I had never seen it before until I saw it in the Handbook that was posted on the Provost’s Web site. So I know there was a lot of discussion on that last time, I’m not sure what we ultimately voted on or didn’t vote on, but I know I saw statements on the Phase I revision, May 10, 2011 that I personally hadn’t seen before maybe I just missed it. [38:59] But I’m not exactly sure what the process is in terms of changing the Handbook in regards to whether it has to be, all language has to be approved, voted on by the Senate and aggregate piece wise or what the procedure was, but I was surprised by at least one element that showed up after the, I guess, Phase one revision in the May 10 document. So I don’t precisely what the procedures are.
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: You’ll have the opportunity to put all those comments in when you go in and do the survey and we will certainly look at everyone’s comments carefully. I’m sure that you’ll find some things, everyone that looks might find something that you think can be improved. Some of it might be things that are related to pagination, or who knows what, but that’s what we are inviting you to do is to go in an give us those comments.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Senate does have to vote on all changes?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Voting on this document that we are presenting as an information item today, we will be voting on that at our May meeting, that’s the anticipated motion.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: On the new Handbook and aggregate, the entire thing?
Sue Barry, chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Is that correct, am I saying the right thing? I think so, yes. So this is the presentation of the new Handbook as it stands at the end of Phase II. And that’s what we’re asking you to comment on and that’s what we are going to present in our motion in May, for you to accept or reject.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Did we have that aggregate vote last time? On what was posted May 10? Okay.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Yes we did, we had a full vote on that.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Document, outline or just the full Handbook? Full document, okay.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Sue for all your hard work.
Now as an information item we have a presentation on Sustainability by Michael Kensler who is the director of the Office of Sustainability.
Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability: Thanks for having me here today. I know you haven’t heard from the Office of Sustainability in at least 14 months and appreciate the chance to come and talk to you a little bit.
When I met with the executive council to prepare for this they said that you all would want to know 2 things; one, what’s the office doing? and two, how’s it going to affect you? So in putting these comments together I decided that I’m going to talk about that and I’m going to go through a checklist of things that we’re doing. Kind of have to think of this as skipping a stone across the water. I’m going to touch on a few things in a hurry. There’s a lot more to say about all of this and a lot of other things I’m not even going to mention. What I want to do is create a little context by reminding us about the commitment that the university has actually made to sustainability. Talk about the reorganization that’s happened in the office, tell you some of the things that we’re up to and what they might mean. I like to think of that less in terms of this might impact you as rather in how we can all play a roll in creating the kind of future we want here at the university and beyond. That’s really the opportunity I am going to mention at the end it will take me about 15 minutes and I’ll be happy to answer any questions, if you have any. [42:33]
Well, you know, the university’s strategic plan, when I read it for the first time through the lens of sustainability, I was really impressed by the number of times it was referenced. This is a quote right from the strategic plan. Rich Penaskovic, when he was chair of the University Senate had a lot to do with making sure that that commitment was articulated as clearly as it was throughout the document. So it is a clearly stated thing in the strategic plan.
Last December the university actually adopted a policy about sustainability. This isn’t the kind of policy that says, okay we are not going to drive 15 passenger vans any more, this is more of an aspirational policy; a statement about how we want to operate and what we hope to achieve, so it’s a commitment to infuse sustainability in everything we do as a university. To declare that it is a core value of the university and through our continuous actions of assessment and improvement we’ll get better and better. We’re framing this in terms of sustainability, but really means getting better and better at creating a climate and atmosphere of practice of excellence in everything we do. [43:51]
In terms of the office, when Lindy Biggs who founded the office stepped down a year ago in February, I was hired as the full time director of the operations side of the office. And I work with Matt Williams, who many of you know, the program manager and Jennifer Morse, our communications and outreach programs person. We have 7 interns this year that have done a lot of good work and I’ll tell you about a couple of their projects in a minute. Last May Nannette Chadwick was hired as the director of the academic sustainability programs person. That is a .6 FTE position because she still has an active research agenda, but in practice you can imagine that turns out really to .9 FTE in both those positions so she is very busy. Nanette deals with the minor curriculum, faculty training, and developing more sustainability related integrated research across campus. I’ll tell you a little more about that in a minute.
In terms of our mission, we spend a lot of time talking about this and there are a lot of ways you can frame it, but we really see our mission as to help the university cultivate an ethic and a practice of sustainability. Behind ethics are values and we really think that what lies behind the whole sustainability movement are the most closely held views that we have as a society, so the ethic and practice. [45:21] We really want to do a good job sending sustainability practioners out into the world so that they can do their part to create a flourishing future. [45:32]
In terms of our approach, we are not the sustainability police. I think in terms of organizational development, organizational change, team learning, that aspiration, collaboration, networking, building relationships and talking about what’s possible in terms of that future that we want to create is the best approach we can take to make the most expedited progress that we can make. In terms of some of our core messaging this isn’t a lesson in sustainability, this is transparent explanation of some of the core messaging that we use when we talk about sustainability. Because really we believe it really is about the future we want to create, because the decisions we make every day, intentionally or not, create the future. I like to use the bald eagle as an example of that. You all may remember that in the 1960s we came this close (indicates a small amount) to loosing eagles, ospreys, all birds of prey because of the impact of DDT. At the time biologists were counting the remaining breeding pairs of bald eagles in North
America. So Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring which was published in 1962 and because of that DDT was banned in the late 60s and eagles have rebounded. When she wrote Silent Spring she was wondering what the world would look like in 50 years. So the future she created 50 years ago is our present and so when those eagles are released from the upper deck of the stadium and fly down to the stadium floor we can thank Rachel Carson for that because we came this close to never experiencing that in real life.
We feel like the Office of Sustainability it’s really important for each of us to remember that we can have the same kind of individual and collective impact, in fact we do, on creating the future and we can be intentional about making sure that the future we do create, we are leaving the kind of legacy that Rachel Carson left.
There are lots of different definitions of sustainability. More or less they all kind of cover this, it’s about meeting human needs and this fair equitable just piece is very important, in a way that allows future generations to meet their needs. And a part that’s often left out but is sort of parenthetically there is that we need to make sure we do it in a way that the global ecosystem is healthy and intact and survives, because that’s essential if we want to continue to survive on the planet. This is a classic way that sustainability is described, it’s the intersection of these 3 circles. It’s not just about being green as important as that is but it really does embrace and incorporate both the social and the economic. These aren’t traded off, they aren’t balanced, they are all optimized together in what is the optimal integration of all three of these things (social, economic, environmental).
There’s another way to look at these circles that we talked about and this is actually a better model of the way the world actually works. They are actually nested circles. The all-embracing circle is the global ecosystem, within that is the social system, and within that is the economic system. From the perspective of sustainability when we get into debates about balancing the environment vs. the economy what we’re doing is, not understanding this relationship. One reason sustainability exists is because the economic system is currently chewing through the social and ecological system that supports it. So this is a very important concept in terms of understanding the underlying premise of sustainability. And we spend a lot of time talking about that.
One other frame that we use based on our training we had last spring and one that we use in our work together is you can parse this out and think of it as a compass, Nature, Economy, Society, Wellbeing of individuals. So that really creates 4 systems conditions for a sustainable world. We have to live within the laws and limits of the global ecosystem. We need a vibrant and inclusive economy. We need a social system that creates connectedness, vibrancy where everybody who wants a seat at the table has a seat at the table. And individual wellbeing is an essential piece of this and you can really kind of split it out to providing everybody the opportunity to feel the sense of wholeness, inclusiveness, wellbeing, safety, and all those kinds of things.
Over the last 25 years a whole science has developed around sustainability. This was a study that was just published last year talking about all these disciplines now that are contributing to the literature on sustainability and how they all tend to work together in a more interdisciplinary way than ever before. This is usually where I’ll take 10 or 15 slides to make the case for sustainability talking about the many ways in which we are as a society kind of eating through the social and ecological fabric that supports us. I’m not going to do that but I do want to remark a little on Thomas Jefferson’s comment that “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.” Well, again the reason for sustainability is that laws and institutions in society have not gone hand in hand with the progress. That this last 25 years and actually what happened long before that about actually how the world works because we are not making that progress that’s why something like sustainability is so important and why we need to create learning organizations. Organizations where we learn to actually do a better job creating the outcomes we want to create and we learn better to see the whole together. Another principle of sustainability as you know is that parts only make sense in terms of their context as they fit into the whole and that we have to see the whole to get together, that’s why interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary work is so important. We spend a lot of time talking about that. [51:56]
What are we up to and how might it affect you? I mentioned the minor in sustainability it’s grown a lot over the last 3 years. You can see the number in graduates, you can see the students from 34 majors and 9 colleges. I don’t think Nanette meant for you to read this, but to give you a sense of the wide diversity of student majors that are involved and some of the popular courses that people who are in the minor take with and invitation to you to add your own class to the minors as well. She wanted to make sure that you knew, and reminded about the sustainability workshop that she’ll be doing next month, it’s actually I think full for this year there are 20 people registered. I don’t know if she has a waiting list but if you are interested in participating this year or next contact Nanette and let us know, we will put you in touch with her to help develop sustainability aspects to your classes.
I think you know about the climate action plan. A number of faculty members played a key role in making sure this was on the university’s agenda as well. There was a year and a half process to go through and develop a climate action plan. Matt Williams spent a lot of time assessing our greenhouse gas emissions and as you can see from this chart 92% of it is between transportation energies. So our actions, trying to address our greenhouse gas emissions will focus on energy and transportation and some of these other things that are on this pie chart will be addressed in other ways in terms of sustainability. Climate action plans are an important part but only one piece of what we are doing in terms of creating a sustainable campus.
In what I read about sustainable this is the forth year we’ve done a project with students in the residence halls, 4,000 students, 30 buildings and our goal this year was to have every hall reduce energy use by 10% and water use by 10%. You can see we did pretty good on energy on all but 6 residence halls reduced energy use by at least 10%, some a lot more than that. In terms of water reduction most exceeded a 10% goal, a few didn’t, and a couple actually used more water. Now we know that not every student in every residence hall is fully committed to sustainable, but even with a level of commitment that we have, students saved about $13,000 this month in utilities, because of what they did with sustainable. It just goes to show the impact, the behavior change can have on the resources we use the impact we have on the environment, the resources we make available for other at the university.
Actually the first year of sustainable led the facilities department to set a number of goals in terms of energy use and energy reduction and they did this primarily to save money. Dan King deserves a lot of credit for his leadership on this. If you go to the facilities Web site you can see them all. One goal is to reduce the number of purchased energy by 5% from a 2010 baseline by 2020. In the lower graph is our goal of 15% reduction in energy intensity, which has to do with the efficiency of our energy use. Reducing it by 15% with 2004 as a baseline and you can see we are actually doing a pretty good job at this. This is one way that what the Facilities Department does might impact you. Motion detectors in hallways and in restrooms are a way to save energy, set-backs for energy when the building is normally not occupied from 6 at night to 6 in the morning, instead of having a 3 degree temperature range–I know if you are in Haley or Funchess it’s a lot more than that– but if ideally the goal is to have a 3 degree temperature range it might go to 10 degrees. The good news is if you are working on weekends or working late there is a reset button you can punch to quickly bring the air back into the 3 degree range that you normally work in. It’s a way we can conserve energy and still work in a comfortable work environment. [17:39]
In partnership with Facilities, Dan King gave us $50,000 to do two prototype projects in February we installed solar panels on the stadium parking deck on two of the stairwell towers. They provide enough energy to recharge the electric vehicles that are stored on the first floor there. We think this is pretty cool and it’s just sticking our toe in the water of what we can do with renewable energy. There are actually some biosystems engineering students that are coming up with a proposal to put solar panels on the entire roof of this structure. The other project we are working on is a storm water management, a rain management chain, green roof, to cistern, to rain garden. Storm water is a big issue. We have state and federal requirements we have to abide by, this is more mimicking the way nature works. This project hasn’t gone as fast because we are having a hard time finding a roof that’s not going to cost us 300 or 500 thousand dollars to retrofit to support a green roof, so we are still look in how we can implement this project. We at least know we are going to do the cistern to rain garden approach and then study how well that works. These are a couple of prototype projects that we have going on. There are a lot of other things going on across campus that people are doing, some we are actively involved with, others we are not that are really contributing to our knowledge and practice of sustainability.
Our office was asked last fall to organize a sustainable landscape forum where everybody on campus that’s got one interest or another, researchers, practioners, folks in facilities, students, could come together once a month and find out what the heck is going on, who’s doing what, establish collaborative ideas for how we can do things on campus, both in terms of research and practice when it comes to landscape.
We are right smack in the middle of conversations about what kind of a green building we want to have. There is actually a revolution in the way buildings are thought of, designed, and operated. This is a fast moving target, if you will, now at the cutting edge people are talking about living buildings. Not only carbon neutral buildings but carbon negative buildings that contribute more in terms of energy than they use. So we are in the process right now of deciding what kind of standard we want to have in terms of buildings. These buildings are more efficient they are easier to operate, more cost effective, healthier, result in more productivity and there’s a lot of evidence from higher education and other organizations around the country that have built these buildings that have shown the benefits of them. Right here on campus we have several LEED certified buildings, with I think 10 more in the process of certification. We are already doing this. The policy will codify what we do and why we do it.
One of the projects our interns are working on is a sustainable office certification program. The name they came up with was SOAR, sustainable offices achieving recognition. What we’ll do with our office staff is work hand in hand with the offices to help them assess their energy use, their other resource use, purchasing, and develop more sustainable practices and then we’ll certify it. We will recognize it. We feel that’s a really great way to engage with offices around the campus and help people contribute to the university’s commitment as it continues to move toward excellence in every area.
Another project the interns are working on is a sustainability awards program, a green carpet award. We want to make this festive, celebratory, there are a lot of people doing things worthy of acknowledgement on campus and we want to make sure that we are acknowledging those. So next year about this time we’ll be announcing the first winners of Auburn’s Green Carpet Awards, I don’t know it that is what they will be called but that’s what they’ll be.
One other way we are doing that is starting something that is like Take 5, we really want to have a short biographical piece calling sustainability and action. The first one a couple months ago was about Becky Bell and her personal commitment and story and what led to her decision to engage with our office to do sustainable, which had a number of positive benefits as a result. We are going to do this on a continual basis. We hold a campus conversation once a month where the idea is to engage the community around some topic of interest. If you’ve got a topic you’d like to convene a conversation around, let us know and we will be happy to host it. 1:01:14] Rather than a presentation with Q&A presentations are a little shorter and then we engage in small groups around a particular conversation. The last one we had was about hunger and some students from the committee of 19 who went to a summit in Honduras and came back and engaged the group of 30 people that were there about how can we take the lessons we learned there and apply them in our work right here at Auburn. It was a very generative conversation. I think the committee of 19 felt like they got a lot out of that.
Finally we’re officially certified as an affiliate of the Atkinson Group, which is an international sustainability consulting firm. A number of us including some folks in this room participated in a 3 day workshop last spring where we learned the techniques and tools of the Atkinson Groups, so we are fully qualified to do on campus and off campus sustainability training, planning, decision making process and we think this is a way we can really add value to what the university does, both on and off campus.
This is a very important thing we’ve got going on, we are currently assessing the university’s practice of sustainability on campus. This is a year long process that the technical manuals to do it, is 300 pages. These are the categories that we are covering; Education and Research, Operations, Planning Administration and Engagement. And you may be hearing from us about helping us acquire the data that we need to gather so we can do a good job defining exactly where we are. This will put one stake in the ground in determining what our current performance is.
The university’s strategic plan is also called for the establishment of long-term sustainability goals. So what’s our long-term goals in terms of purchasing, waste diversion, energy use, water, human resources policy, investment policy, across the board what are our long-term goals. Well once we have set the stake in the ground about our current conditions we want to start a process to establish long-term goals to create our desired future that we want to create. [1:03:26] [-10:35]
Having put those two stakes in the ground we can really develop and integrated campus sustainability action plan. Because there are so many things going on now they will all plug into this plan, but we really want to develop a strategic integrated cohesive plan to get us from where we are to where we want to be in the future. Again we will really want to work with you closely because we’re not going to establish those goals, we will facilitate the conversations to establish those goals.
The last two slides. One of the things the policy says is that “it’s our aspiration to be acknowledged as a national leader when it comes to sustainability,” in terms of teaching, research, outreach, and practice. We think not only is that an honorable aspiration, it’s an achievable aspiration. I’ve been at Auburn for 4 years, I have more than 20 years of experience working in this field so I can just say from my own perspective for whatever it’s worth, I’ve been so impressed with the amount of talent, the commitment, the intellect, the engagement that I found among faculty, staff, administrators, and students here that it is certainly possible for us to become the kind of leader we strive to be. You look around and there are some real outliers out there that I would say are ahead of us, but Auburn University is right smack in the middle of the leaders of folks who are making the plans and initiating the programs to become sustainable. And back to my point at the beginning about this being about creating the future, if we really think about reimagining, reassessing, reconsidering an aspiring future we want to create we can do this.
Every picture here is an example of exactly that point. I’m sure you recognize the San Antonio River Walk. At the turn of the twentieth century the city fathers wanted to put that river underground, it was a muddy mess, it flooded. Some hometown hero had a vision of what that could mean to the city and because of that vision and that persistence, what’s San Antonio know for? The Alamo and the River Walk. Central Park is the soul of New York City, but at the time it was proposed there was a very great debate about whether we should waste that land that had such high economic value. What would New York City be without Central Park?
Last example and my last point; when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he was well aware of the democratic practices of the native American tribes around him including the Iroquois who had among their great laws that we need to think seven generations ahead. That’s where that term comes from, the great law of the Iroquois. As I’ve heard Bill McDonough, environmental architects say, well aware of the great law of the Iroquois and he was thinking about the seventh generation. Well there are people in this room that are part of Thomas Jefferson’s seventh generation, so the sense of responsibility he felt, the sense of commitment to the future is I think something very natural to us as an institution of higher learning, where our job it to turn out leaders of tomorrow. We are not embarrassed about making this point, this is a really important point for us to remember when we go about our individual and collective work every day that we really can have this kind of an impact on the future. We’re happy to play in your sandbox and create a big sandbox together to make this happen. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and play a part in this. I appreciate you giving me the time to talk and if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them. Anything I don’t know I’ll call Matt up and he’ll tell you what’s really going on. [1:07:30]
Dan Phillips, senator, communications disorders: Thank you for your work and your presentation. Just a comment and a question, I suppose you want us to turn our lights off when we leave our room.
Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability: good idea.
Dan Phillips, senator, communications disorders: The other question I have, walking by the arena I often notice that the monitor is always on. That may be beyond your domain, but it seems to me that that is a waste of electricity. Do you have an answer for that?
Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability: A couple of answers. One we don’t want to be the sustainability police running off and saying hey turn off your monitor. I got an e-mail from somebody in the College of Business who talked about the same thing, monitors running constantly; I think we want to take the more systemic approach. One of the things we want to do in talking about and going from college to college and department to department talking about sustainability policy what it means it to ask questions about ways they might contribute and stuff like this will come up. So we don’t want to go tell but we want to lead through inquiry and ask what could be done? What about these monitors, do they need to run 24 hours a day or is there a way we could put them on timers or something, and get to it that way. That’s probably the next one or two levels down from where we are in terms of introducing the policy, describing what we are doing around campus, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that when we start implementing on a full scale basis, the certified office program, we will be having exactly that kind of conversation.
Rusty Wright, senator, fisheries: I have an Extension appointment and I see things on campus all the time that very frustrating; here we are in Extension trying to convince people to do certain things and our facilities aren’t following the same recommendations that we are telling the public to use. So it is very frustrating. Also, could you tell them not to water the sidewalks and the streets? There was a Web site that had all our energy use by building and it was broken down into per square foot, that hit home to me in particular because Swingle was always one of the outliers of worst in that category, so it kind of helps and let’s us see about ourselves too.
Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability: To answer that last point first. Facilities, and Matt’s been working closely with them, are developing the capacity to have a dashboard system for every single building so you can actually track, look at energy use over real time, track it over time and compare it to other buildings. That kind of a dashboard, it’s like looking at your speedometer, will be really helpful in making people aware of this and modifying behaviors that allow us to do things in smarter different ways. And that really in a lot of ways what sustainability is about is doing things differently, getting the same result but using different methods.
In terms of facilities, kind of reminds me in my experience when I worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia, we worked with that entire community on integrating economic developments, social wellbeing, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay. We had an advisory committee and the admiral of the Norfolk Navy Base, which is the largest Navy base in the world served on our advisory committee and he had a real commitment to sustainability, he had an environmental ethic, and he always expressed frustration in those meetings and to me personally about how his leadership position and his desires and even his mandates take a long time to change organizational culture. That sailor down there on the decks sweeping that stuff off the deck instead of collecting it and disposing of it properly, it takes a long time to filter down.
Based on my experiences and my conversations with Dan King, who’s been here about 3 years, I feel that he reminds of Jake Torbet a lot, in terms of having the same commitment. I can tell you Dan is a real player with us, he just offered up a 100 thousand dollars to do a couple of projects that are really benefiting us as a campus and helping us as an office to make our case. So some of the stuff we see, there’s a gap between Dan’s commitment and aspiration at this point, but leadership is changing in different places in facilities. There’s some new folks coming on and I think you will see, and I do see right now change happening across the board and change as you know is a slow and messy process. But the good news is that it’s happening.
Thank very much.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you. Is there any new business?
Is there any old business?
Bill Sauser, Management, chair-elect: Just one quick announcement. I’d like to ask everyone to consider participating in the Faculty/Staff Campaign, I know it’s underway. It’s not how much money you give, that’s not the major metric, what we’re interested in is having everybody participate. Because when our development officers go looking for funds to help us they are often asked, well what are the faculty and staff doing? Are they giving of their money? If they can say 87% or 92 % have done so, that’s a lot more impressive than saying well about 12% of them do. So please do participate. Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: If there is no other business then this meeting in adjourned. Remember to drop your clicker off on your way out.
Thank you. [1:13:57]