Transcript Senate Meeting
September 13, 2011
Ann Beth Presley, chair: I call this meeting to order. Good afternoon, I am Ann Beth Presley, Chair of the University Senate. I welcome you to the September University Senate meeting. Please turn on your clickers and press A so that we can see if we have a quorum. A quorum is 45 senators.
I’ll review a few rules of the Senate for those of you that were unable to attend the last Senate meeting. Senators and substitutes for, Senators please sign in at the back of the room and pick up your clicker so that you can vote. If you would like to speak about an issue, go to the microphone; state your name, whether you are a Senator and the unit you represent. The rules of the Senate require that senators be allowed to speak first; after all comments are made by Senators are made on an issue, guests are welcome to speak.
The first item on the agenda is the approval of the minutes from the August 23 meeting. Larry Crowley has posted these minutes to the Web site. Are there any addition, changes or deletions? Seeing none, the minutes stand approved as written.
I would now like to invite Dr. Gogue to come forward to present the president’s remarks.
Dr. Gogue, President: Thank you it’s good to be with you today. I want to mention 4 things to you.
Number one, last Friday the Board of Trustees has approved the budget for the university. I call your attention to two items in the budget, one on October 1 merit increases of 3% that are permanent and also in December there will be an additional 2% available that will be a one time increase in terms of salary.
Second thing I want to mention is the Board of Trustees selection. Since we last met the selection committee for the Board of Trustees met in Montgomery on August 30. Their purpose in going through the 170 names, they decided at that meeting to develop a questionnaire that will be sent to all 170 people that have expressed interest in serving on the Board, they will receive those in the fall and will meet and do their selections of one or more people, I think 3 for each of the vacant spots. They will go through an interview process and then submit those names to the Senate for conformation, ratification, whatever the correct word is.
Third thing, that I mentioned last time, the area in Foy that had been used by Faculty for many years and when we opened the new student center the faculty area in Foy was closed down. If you have been over [there] Foy has reopened and we are serving a lot of food over there. The original area has been redone; carpeted, cleaned-up, repainted and will serve as a faculty area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don tells me it will be completely ready in a couple of weeks, so I wanted to share that with you.
Final thing, I want to say thank you to the whole campus. I know all of you were not involved and I’m sure some of you probably got ruffled feathers at times during this process, but we had an effort to remove chemicals that were toxic and hazardous, or had expired, or nobody knew what was in the bottle. So maybe your sandwiches in the refrigerator will be safer. But the amount that was removed was just unbelievable to me. Six thousand containers and nine tons of actual chemicals, so some effort’s been made to get that stuff off campus. I’d be happy to respond to any questions.
Andy Whorley, steering committee, senator: We’re into the semester a good bit right now and I haven’t heard anything about the number of enrollment.
Dr. Gogue, President: Enrollement, I’m sorry I should have mentioned that. Enrollment for this fall is 25,400, somewhere in that range. The freshman class was 4,200 students.
Andy Whorley, steering committee, senator: Thank you.
Dr. Gogue, President: Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: I would now like to invite Provost Boosinger to make a few comments.
Dr. Boosinger, Interim Provost: I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you for just a few minutes and show you 5 or 6 PowerPoint slides about our strategic priorities.
The first slide, to bring everybody up to speed of what we’ve accomplished in our first 3 years and we’re entering our forth year in this strategic planning process, we’re very pleased with that. In 2007 we began a process and we asked almost every constituent group that was interested, maybe everyone, what they thought were some opportunities for Auburn University in the future. From all of those recommendations we developed 59 strategic objectives, and as we enter into this forth year I thought it might be useful to let you know that based on the success rubrics that we used we completed 60% of those so now we are going to focus our attention on the other 40%. Before I go to that I thought I’d run through 7 bullets to give you an idea, it’s not comprehensive–we have a very comprehensive report on the progress we’ve made but I thought you’d be interested in these 7 points.
We have significantly elevated our academic profile. Since 2004 we have increased the average ACT scores of incoming students from 24.9 to 27.2 this fall. National merit finalists have increased from 28 in 2007 to over 150 this fall.
We revised our general education program. We are currently implementing the revised core curriculum and we have added 20 new additional courses to the core’s menu.
We have enhanced the learning communities. The learning community program has grown from 6 learning community cohorts in 2005 to 46 in 2011.
Enhanced academic space utilization. Since 2007 we have increased the number of technologically enhanced instructional spaces to 500, with 32 new projects in progress including planning and design of a new central classroom building. We had an open forum about the future of a new centralized classroom facility and you’ll start to see more about that. There’s and additional forum as the planning committee develops their recommendations. We successfully renovated Langdon Hall into 310 seats, state of the art lecture hall and we have opened up a 100 seat plus facility for computerized testing that’s in Biggin Hall and it’s available for multidisciplinary use.
We’ve enhanced the research enterprise. The total number of proposals submitted in 2010 was 17% above our 3-year average. Last year we hired a director for the Huntsville Research Center, we established the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation 501C3 and completed construction of the first building in the Auburn Research and Technology Park in 2010.
We exceeded our initial goal of creating 80 new endowed professorships by securing private funding for 96 new professorships.
We have improved the Promotion and Tenure Process thanks to the leadership provided by this group. The colleges and schools have significantly enhanced their promotion and tenure guidelines and steps have been taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the selection process.
So that’s a real quick overview of some of the accomplishments that have taken place in the first 3 years.
So now if we look at this material, you cannot read it, but it is available to you online–this summarizes our objectives for the coming year and I’m going to go through and hit the highlights of a few of these where we are going to focus our energy. [10:23]
Graduation rates, the six-year graduation rate increased by 2.3% in the past three years. With the 2002 cohort we were at 64.1% and for the students that began in 2004 were at 66.4%. We should be proud of that and also remember that this will be an ongoing priority, and certainly won’t be completed this year and will stay in our planning for a long, long time.
We’ve implemented a new degree audit system called (Degree Works) to lhelp the students and their advisors work on their career at Auburn. We continue to monitor the use of mid-term grades to assist students and we have made a significant investment in improving the advising process.
Graduate student enrollment grew approximately 4.0% this fall reaching a current enrollment of 4,000 students if you do not include the pharmacy and veterinary students in that total.
Distance Education, as of fall 2011 we are developing targeted distance learning core curriculum (high-demand courses) with plans to develop more in the spring and summer of 2012. Once completed the Distance Education additions to the undergraduate curriculum will add 500 seats and assist with capacity issues in that area of the university’s mission.
Again we will focus on building the university’s enterprise, we will continue to invest energy in developing internal and external interdisciplinary research opportunities. We are continuing with 2 taskforces developing important recommendations on Health Science initiatives and Energy initiatives.
During it’s inaugural year the Intramural Grant Program funded 53 proposals distributing over 3 million dollars and awards across the campus. All colleges and schools benefited from that initiative and we expect to see that program continue and hopefully grow during the next academic year.
We’re building on our outreach efforts, just one example, Auburn University continues it’s outreach efforts within the region by implementing the K–12 initiative in Notasulga and Loachapolka. The goal is to help students in these schools improve their academic performance and improve their success rate with the application and admissions process for college.
Honors College assessment and size; significant time and energy is being invested in developing a recommendation on how large our honors program should be and striking the right balance between resources and capacity. A recommendation on that will be forthcoming.
Grow the undergraduate research programs; this year we plan to increase the student participation in the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and Creative Scholarship Forum. Currently we have 25 funded Undergraduate Research Fellows, proud of their participation. They receive a stipend of about $4,500 per year plus an additional $1,400 for project support. We’ll be hosting a Research week in early April to showcase the students research. We are going to complement that activity with activity related to the Common Book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder and that book interestingly deals with the application of research in global medicine and all the issues related to poverty and all the things that have been worked on in Haiti and other countries. [14:39]
We began today, the president with the implementation committee that began work on the recommendations that came out of the Efficiency Taskforce. The plan is to go through those 82 recommendations from the taskforce, look at the ones that are feasible to implement at this time, some will be relatively easy others will be more challenging and my take months or years to fully implement. The committees charge is to begin work on the implementation, part of it. We’ve got a great group, 30 individuals, a great cross-section of the Auburn community. [15:22]
And finally SACS compliance certification and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), as you know we are due for an on campus site visit by SACS in 2013, there will be an off-site review earlier than that in the fall of 2012, so many people in the leadership, Drew Clark is helping organize that process and preparing for that important accreditation process.
As you know we have already decided on a concept for the QEP, which is enhancing student learning with the e-portfolios and that likewise is moving forward in a timely manner. Right now as far as SACS compliance we are on the path to meet those timelines.
I have one other topic, but before I move to that I ask if anyone has any comments or questions that I can address? The PowerPoint’s available to you and I encourage you to look at the strategic plan for next year with the 23 priorities that we are going to focus on.
Changing topics, I wanted to talk to you about the spring graduation in 2012. Following numerous discussions, I’ve lost track, with multiple groups on how we should conduct the spring commencement exercises in 2012, we developed a recommendation that – first of all for those of you who were in the stadium last spring, it will be in air conditioned space, which means it will be in the arena – we’ve come up with a consensus recommendation that commencement should take place over 2 days. So, as currently proposed, there will be 2 sessions on Sunday, May 6, one at 2 p.m. and one at 6 p.m. (subject to change, minor adjustment) and 2 on Monday, one at 10 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. On Tuesday the professional schools; College of Pharmacy will have their commencement in the morning and the College of Veterinary Medicine will have their commencement in the afternoon on Tuesday. So there will be graduation exercises taking place in the arena over 3 days.
This recommendation has the support of the Senate Leadership, Graduation Committee, SGA Leadership, the Alumni Association, the Associate Deans for Academic Affairs, the Office of the Registrar, and the Provost’s Office. In order to implement this recommendation we need to make an adjustment in the Academic Calendar so I am going to turn the podium over to Robin and let you and your committee discuss how to approach that change. [18:30]
Robin Jaffe, immediate past chair of the Calendar Committee and Secretary-elect: You took all my jokes, you took over the presentation, that’s fine.
Basically what we are trying to do is make this work this year. The Graduation Committee has asked us to set this up and the Calendar Committee has approved this as well as many others, so it needs to be voted on and the motion is to add an additional day of graduation on May 6, Sunday for the spring 2012. This will have no effect on the academic calendar and it will have no effect on when instructors need to turn in grades. So we’ve covered all of those points and I’d like to ask for the vote.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Since it is a recommendation from a committee it does not require a second. Is there any discussion? All in favor push A, all opposed B—nay.
Anthony Moss, biological sciences, substitute for Bob Locy: There was a question that came up from our department. They were concerned about whether all graduate students would be graduating at the same time. I got this on the fly so that is as much of the question as I have. Will that be correct that graduate students be graduating at the same time?
Robin Jaffe: No that is not, my belief is that College of Liberal Arts will have a graduation, College of Business will have a graduation, and then the other groups will have their two graduations. So graduate students will be at their appropriate graduations. Vet school and Pharmacy will have their graduations on Tuesday.
Anthony Moss, biological sciences, substitute for Bob Locy: Thank you.
Anna Gramberg, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, senator: I have a question, somewhat weird for a northern German to ask, but having lived in Alabama long enough will we not have a problem with church and Sunday graduation?
Robin Jaffe: I’m going to let Pam talk about that.
Pam Ulrich, co-chair Graduation committee: Theresa, do you have any results? I would like to add Theresa Whitman-McCall who is director of events for communications and marketing, she and Dale Colman and I working closely in tandem in planning graduation and the system anecdotal desire expressed by families is to have graduations on weekends, Saturday or Sunday. So we discussed Monday vs. Tuesday and Sunday vs. Monday and had a strong feeling that they would not be happy about adding Tuesday, because there is more work lost. We also then, the SGA leadership express their belief that their families (parents) would far prefer to be coming on the weekend in this case is would just be Sunday. We then surveyed both parents in the last few weeks and the response rate that Theresa just showed me is that 85% preferred Sunday and Monday combination over Monday and Tuesday.
So I think that’s the answer. We are doing it, 75% preferred 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. over 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. We gave them those 2 options and the Sunday/Monday vs. Monday/Tuesday. So a large majority prefer Sunday afternoon. We also talked with some folks that are affiliated with the university who are also ministers, they had no sense that there was any problem with Sunday afternoon. So we always looked at it in terms of Sunday afternoon.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Any other questions? There was a lot of work that went into this one.
All in favor push A, all opposed B—nay. A=59, B=6 The motion carries.
I’m going to wait with my remarks and go ahead and have Nancy McDaniel who is the Educational Director of Educational Support Services do her presentation on the Common Book. [24:28]
Nancy McDaniel, Educational Director, Educational Support Services: Thank you and while that’s being pulled up there are some handouts for you as you exit in the back of this presentation and it is also on the Faculty Senate Web site.
The Auburn Connects Program is in it’s second year it is an initiative out of the Provost’s Office and it actually came to be from a Provost initiative in April 2009 when we were challenged with developing a program that would become an institutional program and become a long standing program.
Our selection this year is Mountains Beyond Mountains. You heard our Provost say Mountains Beyond Mountains is as application of research to medicine, poverty, and it really is the individual and collective efforts of Paul Farmer as written by Tracy Kidder about working toward global health equity. It is an interesting read and if you haven’t had a opportunity to read this book I encourage you to order it, download it, pick up a copy in the bookstore, borrow it, and if you don’t want to do any of those things I have some extra copies for faculty in my office. All you have to do is contact me.
Why have a common book program? Well the goals of our program are really rather simple; to promote intellectual community, to help students gain a global perspective and promote a culture of service, emphasize individual empowerment, set the stage for students to have intellectual engagement and to link to diverse programming. We think we have developed actually the most diverse programming, in this program that we can bring to you.
There is a Haitian proverb that is sighted in the beginning of the book that says – Beyond mountains there are mountains. That is Paul Farmer’s quest really. “As you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.” Paul Farmer
The central themes of the book are something that I think each one of you regardless of what your discipline is you can find something to relate to for you discipline and your students as well. [27:34]
As you look down this list I would think that there is something that you could find interesting to discuss with your students, to discuss with your colleagues, perhaps to take away as something you would like to learn more about, to reengage yourself in thinking about something you once were passionate about and perhaps you could reconnect with.
We’ve taken those central themes and tried to relate them to various majors for you. One of our goals is to encourage faculty to relate this book to something that they are teaching in the classroom, not only within some of the subject areas that you would think would most commonly it would be related to; English composition class, some of our freshman seminars, or the writing contest that’s coming out of the writing center, but in any of these type of majors that might come up or even more that may not even be up on the screen. There is something that you can find in this book as written by Paul [Tracy] Kidder that would relate to almost every discipline.
Haiti as you know is suffering from the aftermath of a great catastrophe of just a few years ago now. Before the earthquake, there had been a hurricane, before the hurricane there had been political demise before that there was an economy and a political structure that was sorely in need of support. So you can look at that and look at what Haiti has and I’m sure you can fit that into your discipline and into something that you could engage students to talk about. One of the reasons we have a common book program is that research links the conversation between students and faculty as one of the most important things that increase the student persistence, that type of engagement both within the classroom and outside the classroom.
Here is some of our University programming, we’re integrating the themes of the book across our English composition classes. Training was done with those faculty members earlier this year, all of the first year seminars and we heard we have 46 learning communities this year, those classes and those programs are using the book as a jump off point for service projects, for conversation about what can one person do to change the world, what is student passion about, what about a career field, book clubs in the Honors College, and then academic courses in the various disciplines. Again if you’ve not thought about using the book perhaps you might again sometime this year or in different classes.
These are the other type of program initiatives that we have and at the bottom, the two points at the bottom; this year we have a lot of the arts activities that we didn’t have this [last] year. The museum has taken a strong position and brought a lot of activities in; films and speakers will have activities both at the theater and then a film series as well. Then most of our community service groups are also getting involved not only on campus but we’re also engaging the OLLI group (Osher Lifelong Learning is very involved.)
I’ve put together just some of the information so you can see the diversity of programming that we would hope that you would encourage your students to attend and we would like to see you attend too. There is an exhibit of Haitian art that is ongoing right now at the museum.
Engineers without Boarders with Dr. Steve Duke will be coming up on September 29. His students visited just this summer at Quesimpuco, Bolivia and have quite a story to tell. They will be talking in the Student Center coming up.
Poto Mitan will be showing as one of the feature films and is actually the first film in the Francophone Film Festival, that will be at the Hotel and Conference Center, October 3.
Gina Ulysse will be here with 3 programs and this is really quite an exciting event. She will be doing a performance at the theater “Because when God is Too Busy.” She will then be offering a performance workshop and then a lecture that following Friday in Langdon Hall.
We know that this will get a lot of attention Valentin Abe was here last spring and had a very large crowd. The College of Agriculture and Auburn Connects is bringing him back with Drs. Dennis Shannon and Kevin McBride. The Web site that I’ve got here
is a presentation where Abe is actually showing his technique that he has brought to Haiti. His fishing technique that he has shown the villagers and where you are actually seeing the Haitians that are bringing in the fish that he has gone over to Haiti and taught them. What is so interesting is his statement to where he says, “I went there for 6 months and I’ve stayed 12 years.” In our discussion with students we talk to them about can one person make a difference. So Valentin Abe is coming back and as you see he is an Auburn Alumn and has been written up in many national publications as well. Dr. Ejeta will be here as a York Distinguished Lecturerer in November. He was the 2009 World Food prize Laureate.
And I’ve just listed so you can see some fellow faculty members who are contributing to our presentation series. There ought to be something there that interests you. And it continues…these are only some of the fall programs, we then continue into the winter series, but I will tell you that on April 2 Tracy Kidder is coming to the Auburn Campus, to the Arena, and we are excited that he is coming. If there is something that you would like to present, you, some colleagues would like to get together…our calendar of events is a fluid document it is on the Web site for Auburn Connects, we update almost daily and we will help you put together what ever you would like to put together. We will help you in your class if you are thinking how you would like to do this, how you can include this in some type of class, inside or outside discussion.
I did want to point out Dr. Paul Harris came in from teaching his class. He is the co-chair of the committee and our committee meets tomorrow to begin discussion for the book for next year. Are there any questions or discussion? I want to thank the Steering committee and the Senate for letting us come and give an update on the Auburn Connects Program for this year. Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Nancy. The next item on the agenda is Dr. John Mason who is the Associate Provost and VP of Research and he will be making a presentation of activities in his office.
John Mason, Associate Provost and VP of Research: Let me start by thanking you for the invitation. The agenda showed one particular topic but in reality when we discussed it we talked about several initiatives, so I will assure you the next few minutes are not only about the oil spill activity. It was one of the items that I said I could bring to the table, but there is a broader set of items that the Senate (leadership) asked me to bring to your attention.
One of the items was a little bit about the Office for the Vice President for Research dealing with our structure and some of the people so I think most of the leadership team is with me today so at the right time I want to identify who they are, what they generally do, that was one item I was asked to reflect upon. The next item were some key initiatives that we’re working on so I’ll bring you up to date on several of those and then also some comments and dialogue you might want to have on the internal grants program. I doubt if time permits, but I want to make sure you are aware of this, in this PowerPoint presentation even though I’ll conclude there are about 4 or 5 slides that follow that site specific accomplishments of faculty over the last 3 years in accordance with the strategic plan results that Provost Boosinger had mentioned. So there are particular projects that were very successful and it runs the spectrum of various funding support and some unique scholarly work that you might want to take a look at, so if we have time to go through those slides we’ll do that if not just be aware that in the compiled version of the PowerPoint that information is there.
So from an organizational point of view, very quickly, the dashed lines that are shown there are for everyone to be aware another roll and responsibility have is that the president of the 501C3, the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation and Dr. John Weete is right there. What I ask when I call your name if you would just stand up face the audience, so in case you don’t know some of these people and you want to catch them and talk with them. They are on our Web site, everything we all do in the world is on the Web site, but I also asked them to be here if you wanted to try to catch them for face-to-face time please do that before they leave. Dr. Carl Pinkert is the Associate Vice President. His primary roles and responsibilities are with the academy, internal to Auburn University I have him engaged directly with the Faculty Research Committee and handling the various elements directly with the provost’s Office on a day-to-day basis just to make sure that the faculty, the departments, and all the units have direct access to our office on any matters, any concerns, or any issues. And as you know with Dr. Pinkert’s background coming up through the ranks has an appreciation for all the missions of the university through those different stages and I think you’ll find a good ear to have dialogue and works directly with the associate deans for research throughout the university. The other components are just simply dotted lines to give you some idea that there is some externalities that I personally engage with on a regular basis, that if in any point in time you need to engage through our office with those individuals, I can help you interact with them or you can interact with those directly.
Ms. Martha Taylor handles all of our sponsored programs on the compliance issues and you’ll see is also connected with the university veterinarian, Laura Tambrallo, I know your in the room back there. Dr. Gogue is the responsible institutional officer that delegates to me as VP for Research all the regulations and requirements in dealing particular with human subjects and animals and things of that nature and in the animal side it is requirement that the university veterinarian has the opportunity to work directly with me but also as a message any faculty member at any moment in time regarding any compliance issues of that nature can come directly to the Vice president and acting on Dr. Gogue’s behalf can bring it to the attention of the president or others in the university that need to have that information addressed. [41:05] Also Dr. Weete is agreed in a minimal capacity to serve in an acting role to oversee the Office of Technology Transfer and we do have a business incubator. We have been fortunate enough to receive some state funds to begin that incubator operation, I think we have about 13 offices at the Park and about half of them either have companies that are external or some faculty are starting up some companies at the Research Park in the ARTF building in the incubator space with the goal of trying to commercialize and aid in economic development aspects.
You’ve heard about our initiative in the Huntsville area. Dr. Rodney Robertson an alum of Auburn University, many years in the Huntsville area, has been working on contractual arrangements with industries on all 3 missions of the university. So with Rodney’s technological background, he’s been working in the academic outreach and the research area and will be helping us stand up particularly to the cyber initiative and some of the security aspects associated with the cyber initiative. We are looking at mapping our capabilities at the university against some of the federal funding opportunities and we feel that that will be of some benefit to our university at large.
Mr. Larry Fillmer assists on a broad range of program development, everything from the philanthropic side to some of the pragmatic areas. In dealing with the public and private entities sometimes the initial discussion is quite nebulous and we need to bring faculty together with industry or governmental agencies or the military, and I’ve asked Larry’s office to help in that broader outreach. And also as you may recall we now have a formal research advisory board that will be meeting on campus. So very quickly just to give you an appreciation for the overall construct, and if you have any need to contact those people please do so.
As far as a quick overview, in addition to looking at the disciplinary efforts that we need to have deep roots in scholarly activity in your individual areas, we can talk multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and all types of teams, but the reality is that there has to be depth of expertise. And the depth of expertise is in the foundation of our faculty. I am charged and challenged to try to bring together some of these collaborations where we cross over these college and unit boundaries, where there needs to be some investment or initiatives to do that.
In the current strategic plan there were several initiatives identified and more recently with some of the changes in the Federal Agencies, we’ve been able to bring together expertise in the cyber area, energy and environment, health sciences, as you know we have a national center for asphalt technology, you’ve been watching some of the news–the rebuilding of our roads and bridges and the scientific methods to improve the materials and the processes associated with that–there will be some Federal funding coming in the transportation area and we have a unique facility in Auburn in that test track facility. There are 14 states that send funds and materials to be tested in Auburn, Alabama to serve 14 other states in the United States. Then certainly working continuously in the STEM area and the responsibility to work the Land-Grant in economic developments side.
So the way we think about these things is to try to look at these initiatives where I can work with the various deans of the schools and colleges across these different domains. The foundation rests with our faculty, but over the years there have been several enablers that have come online at Auburn University. Facilities, equipment, and program elements that enable us to be competitive in the National market and what I try to do is map our foundational knowledge with the enablers that have been invested in Auburn University with the funding agencies. And if there is a good match between those, my office working with the faculty at large and the associate deans and center institute directors and what have you, try to look for opportunities that will bring external resources to the university.
Some of the particular initiatives; there’s a taskforce that’s looking at the whole energy and environment, Dr. Chris Roberts handles that. I’m waiting on a report to come from them. My expectations is that a series of forums will be available for the faculty to hear about the recommendations from this group and how to perhaps organize, put some optimization in place and some investments in order to look at some other opportunities in the broad domain in energy and the environment. Whether they are singular, married together, or some other vocabulary, but I’ve asked the faculty taskforce to work in that area.
In the health science area Dr. Calvin Johnson is leading some similar initiatives. In the food area we’ve been able to stand up several proposals and several funding streams, some of those are identified at the end of the presentation that I may not be able to get to today. As you do know we had a crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, Dr. Ken Halanych is able to coordinate and facilitate some of the dialogue. There have been some projects that we’ve been successful in bringing to the university and there has been some broad based initiatives that BP had led out some call for proposals. While the universities in the State of Alabama have not been selected to be the lead in this first round, we are not giving up. I will assure you that we’re already making our voices known by the appropriate decision makers that there is capacity in the Gulf states and there’s capacity in Alabama and we need to be at the table. We are on some sub-contracts with other universities throughout the United States that were successful in these peer reviewed competitions with the BP money. So Auburn is not completely out, we are on some sub-contract arrangements, but there is 4 more years of multiple million dollars of funding and I have no intentions of giving up and we have been speaking with the appropriate people to demonstrate, articulate and have them come and visit our campus to see the capabilities that we have.[47:44] So while I would love to say we were successful with x-millions of dollars in that area to lead some of these consortiums, we were not, but we need to reconsider and re-compete and that’s our expectation.
In the Huntsville area [48:00] one of the primary motivators for establishing that is just looking at the broad base of public and private sector agencies and companies and organizations. Our goal there is again to map our expertise and capabilities with the Huntsville business environment, whether it’s public funding or private funding. I have made several visits. I’ll give you one quick example, the most recent one was with Lockheed Martin. Their first discussion with us in that meeting was how can they get to me and have some of our students be interns with Lockheed Martin. We begin with that type of program, look at some outreach initiatives perhaps, some academic programs through Distance Ed, and they are also interested in sharing in some research projects with us. But what it takes is a presence, an ongoing presence in that geographical area to make these relationships happen. So those are starting to develop and with Rodney’s leadership and respect in that area I think we will be growing that. We are only one year into this, we had to set up contracts and arrangements that many faculty are benefiting from, but those instruments to get the money to flow takes some time. These are agreements that require some onerous lifting to be successful.
Regarding the other topic of the Internal Grants Program. As you know in the last 3 years we had some proration so there were some activities that the Vice President’s Office used to do that we aren’t doing so some of that money had to be returned. There were other activities that when we put faculty committees together to review those activities we did not find them to be inline with some of the things that we would like to do in the future, so we’ve captured those funds and I put them into the Internal Grants Program. So where that money came from was by deciding what not to do and reinvesting those back into the faculty enterprise.
There are 4 areas. One of the comments I get when I do my departmental visits is this return on investment idea. I want to assure you that the return on investment is not just financial. Some examples; some departments are coming up with ideas of bringing an international conference to Auburn that is very prestigious, and we’ve never had that opportunity. We could make investments in coming up with that intellectual concept making an investment and gaining notoriety for Auburn University by brining that enterprise here. Others want to write some particular monographs, they want to do some things in the arts area, those are return on investments that bring up our prestige and recognition nationally.
The other type of return on investment is to get some seed data to write a competitive external proposal so you have some scientific data and evidence in order to be more competitive. So please when you look at these, it’s for the entire university structure in all the domains and while the words ‘return on investment’ may sound purely financial it’s not, there are other elements of recognition that we plan to invest in, or maybe some travel grants that are needed to do some special work on an international trip for the summer, these are all candidates. The Faculty Research Committee has been central to the development of this and they help in the selection process also. They are internally competitive, others will have to be convinced of their notoriety and then they would be assigned. This is a matching program, if it’s strategic for the faculty member, it’s strategic for the departments, it’s strategic for the unit, then we match it with the university resources. So it’s an idea that it’s a win-win if we all have an interest in the outcome.
From the numbers, only one slide dealing with this, yes there was some stimulus funding going on in a certain period of time between ’08 and ’09, we had some buildings that were coming out of the ground, the NIS building was part of that some of the work in engineering and a few other buildings on campus, so in that research block actually some of the dollars arrived through the research pipe therefore that kickup in ’09 was primarily physical assets. In the 2010 report we are bumping around the 125. Peer institutions with the size faculty we should probably be looking at some targets perhaps over the next few years around 250 million dollars of external support. So if we were to compare ourselves to like-minded peer institutions, not talking about tripling or quadrupling but it’s very easy to ascertain that like-minded similar size, similar mission organizations would be around 250 million dollars of external awards across all the missions of the university.
In the Office of Technology Transfer we have had successful, the last 2 years in disclosing our disclosures or patents and slowly starting to grow the revenue stream where we commercializing intellectual property of the university.
Coming to closure here, I wasn’t happy with the words ‘research marketing’ but the idea is that there is a way of sending the message of who we are and what we do. The annual research update is online, you can go to the Web site. One of the attributes of this dissemination of information is an activity called “Auburn Speaks” where there will be a published book, this year’s edition will be rolled out during Research Week and it deals with the oil spill where faculty have provided the writings and the scholarly input. Next year I think it deals with water and all the aspects, clean water, dirty water, where do we get the water, how do we keep the water, and if we don’t have enough water. Also trying to encourage some peer external review of these publications and next year Dr. Graeme Lockaby will be assisting in providing some guidance in that area.
If you were at the football game you saw some advertisement and we are trying to stay engaged in the social media. My message to you here is that we are trying to do other things to make sure that the Auburn flag flies on Auburn research in many different venues. It’s an important attribute of the way a land-grant university has to be sure the others are aware of our expertise and capabilities. The element of something new will be the first Research Week in 2012. There have probably been other venues and presentation that you’ve heard about this. This gives you a quick overview of some of the activities that are being planned, you’ve heard how it’s being integrated across the program elements already, you’ll be learning more about that. Hopefully there will be opportunities in your instructional syllabi that during that period of time how best do you feel to engage your undergraduate and graduate students in this activity during that period of time. It will be one of those need for flexibility but I do feel there is going to be intellectual value added by having undergrad and grad students across the university participate with a lot of external people from different funding agencies, some alumni, our Research Advisory Board will be present and the Research Technology and Foundation Board.
In the near term looking at expanding our research portfolio, my job is to try to help us find, as Dr. Gogue often refers to me as the Vice President for sponsored programs, it’s across the entire mission of the university we are looking for external funds to assist the faculty and students. And I think in the long-term objective we’ve already seen measurable incremental increases in what we are trying to do and it really has to do with our expertise and some of the enabling infrastructure that has been brought online.
I don’t think I have adequate time to go through these, but I just wanted to show you this will be a sample of what you’ll find on the remaining PowerPoint slides where it particularly identifies and activity, some outreach to get external support, and the results and accomplishments in those areas. So apologize for not being able to go through each one individually, but wanted to make sure you realize the faculty have been successful in the last 3–5 years in these strategic areas we have had success in supporting our research and supporting the students. With that I will stand for any comments or questions.
One other concluding comment, the Faculty Research Committee, I’m going to ask them about having an open forum for the faculty at large where we can talk about some of these research initiatives with more quality time, have the leadership team available for any questions, and we do have a faculty orientation coming up where the faculty will get to go through all the knowledge gaining procedures of what’s new at Auburn and how to work with the Research Office.
Thank you again for the opportunity to talk with you and any comments or questions?
Prabhakar Clement, civil engineering, senator: Can you go back to the Office of Tech Transfer? I’m just curious about the numbers. Tech Transfer, you show the income is about 700K, I’m just wondering what sort of expenditure, do we brake even?
John Mason, VP for Research: The annual expenditures?
Prabhakar Clement, civil engineering, senator: The staff and lawyer fee and all that stuff.
John Mason, VP for Research: I’m going to tell you this let me get the numbers and I’ll get back to you on that, because again we just did some budgeting for that and I can share that openly once we have that numbers, it’s several hundreds of thousands of dollars. I am afraid to quote a particular number at this point in time, but we need to look at that very carefully. You are exactly right one of the issues with commercialization is you’ve got to get over that first hump and to do the patenting does take time, energy, and money. Our goal should be that the revenue will eventually exceed the cost side of the equation. Martha, any comments on that? Any other comments or questions? Thank you for all your help and hopefully with the engagement of the Faculty Research Committee the university Senate will have some other charges for them that hopefully they will help us with. Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you John.
I just have a few things I’d like to mention.
As Dr. Gogue remarked, the Board of Trustees met last Friday. Faculty do sit on Board as non-voting members. Dr. Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair, is on the overall board and other faculty on specific committees. If you have comments on any of the agenda items, please inform Dr. Crutchley, myself, or the members of those committees because this is our chance to give feedback. The next Board meeting is scheduled for November 18.
The search for the new provost is coming along well. We have four candidates coming to campus. All open forums will be held at the University Library Auditorium on Mondays from 3–4 p.m. The first forum, with Dr. Michael O’Brien, was held yesterday. The next forum is September 15 with Dr. Nate Frazier, Utah State, (I have not yet received his credentials, do you know if they are posted yet? They are on the Provos’t Web site.) and the other two candidates with be here on September 19 and September 27. I would encourage all of you to attend along with your fellow faculty members. This will also be announced in AU Daily.
If there is no unfinished business or new business on the agenda, then we are adjourned. Be sure to return the clickers on your way out. Thank you. [1:01:00]