Transcript Senate Meeting
January 15, 2013
Bill Sauser, chair: I ask that the meeting come to order please. Welcome to the January 15, 2013 meeting of the AU Senate. I’m Bill Sauser, chair of the Senate. I do want to briefly note a few of the rules of the Senate; First is senators and all substitutes for senators, please sign the roll, get your clicker so you can vote. Also, if you’d like to speak about an issue or ask a question, please go to the microphone located on either aisle, and when I recognized you state your name and indicate whether or not you’re a senator and if so, what unit you represent. Finally the rules of the Senate do require that senators and substitute senators have the opportunity to speak first, then after all comments by Senators on any issue, our guests are welcome to speak when recognized. I will make sure if you want to speak you will get an opportunity.
I so want to remind everyone, take a clicker but don’t keep it. We’ve had a few folks that do like me and slide them in the pocket or something and discover it later and say I’ve got to take that back the next time and after we collect about 8 of them remember to bring them back. Please if you happen to have taken one please bring it back so we won’t have to buy some more. Please do turn it in at the end of the meeting. Thank you.
As of today we have 87 active members of the senate, so a quorum requires 44. So turn on your clicker and press A, (senator or substituting for a senator) and let’s see if we have a quorum. Okay, we do have a quorum. First we need to turn it on. (68) I declare a quorum present.
Next item of business is to approve the minutes from November 6, 2012. You’ve had those minutes sent to you. Unless there are any questions or issues, are there any? If not then I will declare them approved by consent.
Next order of business is comments from Dr. Gogue, our president. [3:32]
Dr. Gogue, president: Hope all of you had a good break. I’ve got just a few items I want to cover with you. Before we meet again the Board of Trustees will meet and there are several items on the agenda that I wanted to call your attention to. Number one is a certificate in Brewing Science and there is a lot of interest in that particular graduate certificate program offered in the College of Human Science, there will be a master’s of Turfgrass Management. There will be a brief update on the Master Plan, but I think it’s in the March or April meeting there will be a rather extensive discussion of the Master Plan and the activities that are underway. There will be a project that is referred to as a Faculty/Student Lounge between Shelby and Lowder Hall, I think it’s more in Lowder Hall than it is in Shelby, this will serve the lunch needs in that particular area. Also, Don, the audited financials will have a presentation for 2012. Do we have copies yet?
Don Large: No.
Dr. Gogue, president: Okay, so we’ll have those in short order. There is one item on the agenda that I want to call your attention to and I don’t want you to think that there is anything sneaky going on. There is an item that asks the Board to look at our mission statement and reaffirm that mission statement. SACS requires that it be periodically reviewed and updated. Basically since 2004 it’s been the same, we’re going to present it the same. We hope there will be not a lot of discussion but it’s required by our accrediting group that we do have a review of that discussion, so it will be on the agenda and stated exactly as it is today.
The Board of Trustees is involved in the selection of two additional trustees, one is an at large position, the other is district 8, Decatur, Huntsville, that part of the state of Alabama. There were somewhere around 70 or so people that we either nominated or applied for those two positions. The 5-member board that makes the selection is comprised of, the governor, Raymond Harvard as chairman of the Board, Jimmy Raine is a member of the Board (longest serving member), and two members of the Alumni Association. The 5 person panel screens those applications and they had looked at each one individually and came up with 17 names to have further discussion on. They met last week, as I understand, and made a motion to keep keep all 17, so all 17 will be interviewed later this month. I think it will be January 30 or 31. They will select two individuals, those two names then go to the Senate for their discussion and decide if there is confirmation. So that process is underway.
I do want to mention a couple of things that during the holidays that begin to be started that you may or may not have heard about. The Cooperative Extension Service has done a very nice job in developing a program with the National Federation of Independent Businesses to be able to go out and give advice and guidance on the new health care law and the implications primarily to small businesses. From what I understand it’s been well received and it’s not only in Alabama, but broader in terms of its distribution.
We had two students receive special academic recognition in the last few weeks. One is senior that will be going to Turkey, they won the Gillman Scholarship, an award given by the U.S. State Department, and the other one is our individual that was a Rhodes Scholar finalist, Ashton Richardson. Ashton won the Bobby Bowden Award. I’ve asked what it really means and it’s for leadership and community service and some academics is involved in it also.
The final thing I want to mention to you is there are 3 or 4 options for what we do at Toomer’s Corner, which I know is on all your minds. They are out for input, we’ve asked Alumni, we’ve asked anyone that’s available for any comments that you may have until January 18. I was kind of surprised, the week that we got back to school they had about 9,000 people that had responded, taking the time to look at the options and offer their thoughts. If that’s something you are really excited about there is an opportunity for input there. I’d be happy to respond to questions.
David King, senator, geology and geography: President Gogue, since last Senate meeting there’s been changes in the coaching staff and it’s been reported that money in the order of 11 and a half million dollars has been paid out as a result of this. That’s just a figure that’s in the news. Could you shed any light on where this money is coming from and how it’s being distributed?
Dr. Gogue, president: David that’s a good question. I think most of you are aware that Athletics operates as an auxiliary operation, their budget that they have is not supplied either through state dollars or through tuition dollars. They receive their budget based on their ticket sales and on television and media contracts. What we require is that when a coach has a long term contract that Athletics has to have what I call a rainy day fund. They have to have an account set aside that if a coach is changed they have adequate resources without affecting their operation to pay those salaries.
There was a coaching change under the worst case scenarios those numbers are probably in the ballpark. They are not paid in lump sums, they are paid on a monthly basis and the contracts are set up if they get another job then our obligations to pay them is reduced. Did I answer that right, Don? Is there anything we need to add?
Any other questions? Thank you all for being here.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much Dr. Gogue. Next on the agenda is a brief report that I would like to make, the Senate Chair’s Report. First thing is, I’m still coming to grips with the fact that it is now 2013 but I do want to wish everyone a Happy 2013, hope it’s a happy and productive year for you, hope it is for me as well.
Your Senate officers, I like to introduce them at every meeting so you’ll know who they are. Immediate past chair, Ann Beth Presley is still on medical leave, we hope that she will be able to rejoin us soon. Bill Sauser, I’m the chair, Chair-elect is Larry Crowley, Secretary is Robin Jaffe, Secretary–elect is Judy Shepard. Our parliamentarian is Constance Hendricks and our administrative assistant is Laura Kloberg. These people work very hard for you all month long between meetings and I do like to recognize their work.
A couple of notes on the agenda [12:05] You see how hard she works, it’s because I can’t see. I’m scheduled for cataract surgery in the morning, so maybe next time we meet up I’ll be able to see a little bit better, but I can barely see at all right now. Some notes on the agenda, first just a reminder that all the senate committee members have to be endorsed by the full Senate, that’s why we bring forward a few names every month, because we have people rotate on and off of committees. Robin will bring forward from the Rules Committee some possible committee appointments to be confirmed. [12:47]
Also we have what I would consider a housekeeping matter on the agenda, and that’s a change in membership of the University Writing Committee. It’s a change in membership that the committee has recommended and the Steering committee endorses also, but you see every membership of every committee is specified in the constitution of the Senate so it’s a constitutional amendment whenever we want to change the membership of a committee. So we are bringing it to you for a constitutional amendment vote and that requires 58 votes, because the constitution says that it can be amended only by two-thirds of the entire Senate whether you are here or not.
We are also bringing forward as an information item a similar kind of thing with the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, that’s also a housekeeping type change. It will come to you as a constitutional amendment and we will vote on it next month.
There is one major item for action today and that’s with respect to early alert grades for students who are taking core courses. We are asking that early alert grades be posted one week prior to midterms so that student can know how they are doing, make a decision about whether they want to remain in the class or not and also so that counselors can be notified, etc. We’ll be hearing more about that when the motion comes forward. I do want you to know that the Steering committee has endorsed this unanimously and of course you are advised to vote your conscience.
Next we have 3 presentations that we will be hearing, all 3 are worth your attention. The first has to do with emergency management, the second with Research week, and the third with the priority point system for faculty tickets to intercollegiate athletic events. So some interesting topics on the agenda.
A couple of pieces of information that I’d like to share with you. First, our ombudsman, Dr. Jim Wohl, (Jim, would you raise your hand so we can acknowledge you); Dr. Jim Wohl has accepted a similar position at another university. We are really sorry to see him leave because he has done some tremendous work while he has held that job here at Auburn, but he has a great new opportunity and you go with our good will and wishes for success.
I do want you to know that Dr. Emmett Winn is going to chair a national search for a new ombudsperson and that search will start up soon. The committee is already in place and working on advertisements at present.
Next, I do want you to know that I am in the process of appointing a nominating committee. That committee will bring forth candidates for chair-elect and secretary-elect to be voted on by the faculty in March. I want you to know that if you are interested in serving on the nominating committee and/or if you are interested in running for one of the two offices, chair-elect and secretary-elect, let me know. If you are interested in the nominating committee I’ll put you on consideration, if you want to run, I certainly want to let the members of the nominating committee know that so they can contact you.
Next, as we’ve heard the SACS commission on colleges visiting committee chair is going to come visit us. That’s Dr. David Hager, he’s coming to campus primarily to check out our arrangements and so forth. He will be here January 24 and 25. Dr. Crowley and I will each meet with him as your representatives.
Also I want to comment that OIT has issued and advisory regarding JAVA. So if you use JAVA, and many of us do, please heed that advisory. So go to the OIT Web page and take a look at how to appropriately deal with this issue. Thank you very much and we appreciate you brining it to our attention.
More items of information, you’ve heard the process for how Board of Trustees members are nominated and selected. Several of you shared concerns with me, and I share those concerns as well about a lack of diversity among the 17 remaining candidates. We are aware of that. I have voiced a concern on your behalf. Of course our president nor any other employee of the university has a role to play in that but others do so if you share those concerns you can certainly speak up to those that do have a voice.
I also want to comment that 7 of our fine faculty applied for professional improvement leave to be supported by the Office of the Provost. As per procedure they were all reviewed by the Executive Committee. we found all 7 of them to be of merit and have recommended that all 7 of them be funded up to a limit of $10,000. That will of course cover all of them at least some kind of rate, it should cover all of them for most all of what was requested. I want to thank the Provost for making those funds available to us and supporting professional improvement leave. That is something that your Senate officers had worked on for a number of years and I am please to report now that so far every meritorious proposal has been funded by the Provost’s Office. And that’s a good thing, thank you.
More items of information, you may have received notices, we tried to get it out a number of ways, the Higher Education Partnership for Alabama, a group of universities and faculty members, staff members, alumni, who seek to influence the legislature and other governmental bodies with respect to higher education, they have advised us that voting for the two incumbents on the Teacher’s Retirement System Board runoff, is in our best interest. That’s their opinion, you are welcome to read their opinion. Of course I want you to make your own decisions, vote your own conscience, but do want to bring that forward for information. Please don’t throw the ballot away, instead pleas do vote your conscience.
Also I want you to know Dr. Gogue has established a very broad based approach to strategic planning and there are going to be sessions carried out throughout the state. Board of Trustee members will be there, also want you to know that representatives of the Senate will be there. We have been invited to attend all 12 of these sessions and we have indeed found one volunteer to attend each one. This is primarily to listen to citizens of the state and constituents and see what’s on their mind.
Final bit of information, as per the newly adopted policy, the Provost has advised us of the need for an exception for the recently passed Administrator Hiring guidelines for the search for an Associate Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. We wish to allow Dr. Dan Givens to be a candidate. He is interim in that position at present. He was appointed prior to the adoption of this policy and there’s been considerable disruption within the Veterinary Medicine College as a result of moving administrators around. We saw the wisdom of that and we certainly agreed. It’s not necessary that we agree, it’s only necessary that we be informed, but we were informed and we do agree. So I wanted all of you to know about those. [21:33]
Are there any questions for me? If not then we’ll move ahead with our agenda. Next item on the agenda is an action that comes to us from the Rules Committee and presenting that action is Robin Jaffe, Senate secretary and chair of the Rules Committee.
Robin Jaffe, Senate secretary and chair of the Rules Committee: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you, Bill. I wanted to thank the OA News for this great article this morning in the paper about our agenda. It must have been a really slow news day.
We have 3 appointees, one for the Graduate Council, one for the Faculty Grievance Committee, and one for the Core Curriculum and General Education Committee. All of these were replacements for members who have left the university or decided to spend more time doing something else. So that’s my presentation.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, this comes to us from a committee of the Senate and needs no second. We are allowed to discuss so if there is any discussion on this motion please come to the microphones and be recognized. Seeing none, I’d like to call for a vote. All in favor of endorsing this slate please press A, B if you choose not to. [23:13] A=71 , B=2 . It looks like they have been endorsed. Thank you for voting on that matter.
The second item of business comes to us from the Core Curriculum and General Education Committee (CCGE), presented by Dr. Constance Relihan, our associate provost for undergraduate studies. Constance is the chair of the CCGE it was brought to us last meeting as an item of pending action.
Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and chair of the CCGE: [23:49] Thank you, and thank you for letting me come back to have this discussion. I’ll try to be brief. We can go back to slides as we need to but I wanted to get to the meat of the matter as quickly as we can. One thing that I would like to say is that this is an early alert grade proposal, it’s not a midterm grade proposal. There is a key difference in that the expectation for an early alert grade is that it would give the student the sense of their progress in the course to the point at which the grade is entered into the system. It would not need to represent 50% of the work that would be required in total for the course, it just lets the student know how they are doing at that point. So that term early alert is one I really hope we can stick with.
What I want you to first recognize, and as I say we can zoom through some of these other slides, is that current policy, regardless of what may be the local practice in your department or in your college, the university policy currently states that faculty have to give a final grade. We do not have any university wide indication at all that we value at a policy level giving students feedback throughout the semester. And research shows us that the more feedback students get earlier on the better able they are to find tutors, to talk to faculty members, to get on track, to get engaged with the course, revise their learning strategies, their study habits so that they can succeed. So this is the key impetus here. We currently have nothing and we need something.
So if we move ahead, we can move through the problems, this causes problems for our students, next slide, and this is the same material so I’m not going to go back through it. This one I do want to stop on. I understand that midterm grades are an extremely complicated issue. Our disciplines are very different, our pedagogical strategies are very different, there is no single answer to what a midterm grading policy or early alert grading policy should be. So I’ve given you here a range of options that some of our peers engage in which range from doing nothing to requiring early alert or midterm grades for all one- and two-thousand level courses across campus, to requiring grades be given to all students in all classes regardless, to requiring that grades be given for certain special populations. If for instance because it’s our first year students who are most at risk for not understanding the feedback they are being given , because many of our students have never gotten below a B before, they can’t really believe that those 50s that they keep getting back on quizzes are in fact going to translate into an F. We could say that we’re going to give early alert grades to all freshman where ever they may be and there’s some logic to that, but what it would mean is that we would have to code every class roll in every course across campus to catch all of those students in all of those courses. Which seems a much more cumbersome approach to solving the problem to improving student success than what we are proposing. [27:43]
The proposal that we are putting forth here and hopefully voting on today comes out of many years of work by a lot of people, starting with the improved graduation rates taskforce report in 2008 which recommended an early alert system of which the called midterm grades would be a part through a midterm grade project that involved people from biology, math, and history (which taught us that early alert is a much better phrase than midterm grade), but through that process which existed over 4 semesters and showed us that students who got midterm grades tended to be more engaged in the teaching and learning that was going on in the class and more engaged in the class material after they received that grade and that there tended to be lower failure rates in those classes. Then finally after that pilot, through the associate deans for academic affairs, your representatives there and then the Gen Ed committee which formulated the final version of the policy and brought it to the Senate leadership and then brought it here. So this is not something that has come to you without a lot of consideration and a lot of heads thinking it through.
So here’s the proposed policy.
In order to facilitate the adjustment of students to the rigors of Auburn University course work, faculty teaching core courses must record in Banner an early alert grade for all students enrolled in those classes one week prior to midterm. This process will permit students to seek tutoring or take other action before the midterm drop deadline.
Remember that at Auburn a student may not drop a course after midterm unless there is some extreme medical or personal emergency. Poor performance is not deemed an emergency that merits dropping after midterm.
There are 3 key points to this proposal, one is that we’re asking that grades be submitted for core courses because those courses tend to have the highest concentrations of the students who really need to get the feedback so that they can make adjustments, those students in transition to Auburn, those first year students. So core courses is an easy way of catching most of those students we really want to target.
Putting the grades in Banner, I know this is a touchy point for a number of people. The reason to put the grades in Banner is so that someone besides you and the student have access to them. If you are a faculty member and you give a student a grade, you and the student are the only two that know what the grade is. That means, you as the faculty member are the person who needs to provide the student with information on tutoring/follow up help. And I know that that’s done in a lot of cases, however if there’s a student who’s failing English composition and Math 1150, and Sociology 1000, this is probably a student who is having significant problems and probably needs some kind of counseling, some kind of intervention, some kind of life path readjustment. But if the grades are in Banner then we can have someone from the academic counseling advising center pull reports from the back end and find those students who are having problems in multiple courses and make sure that those students get the information they need about the services that are available to them.
Then the final piece of this is asking that the grade be submitted one week prior to midterm so that students have a chance to figure out what they are going to do, to get tutoring, to get into your office and talk with you about the problem, to talk to their parents about whether maybe they should drop the class. Ideally students ought to be getting feedback, research shows us at the end of week 3, and we initially proposed that when we were starting with the pilot project. And faculty said no, that’s not reasonable. The compromise of one week prior to midterm gives students enough leeway to make a change in their grade if they make a change in their habits and their tutoring; you push it back too far, once students can’t make decisions about dropping classes but also they can’t really turn around their grade to far if they don’t get that tutoring help soon enough. At least one of our peers requires that the early alert grades be submitted two weeks prior to the midterm day. So this policy is a compromise. I understand that it’s a complicated one but I think it’s in the best interest of our students. So having said that I want to turn the last bit of my presentation over to Melanie Smith, who is the vice president of the Student Government Association, who wants to add on a little bit here. [33:17]
Melanie Smith, vice president of the Student Government Association: Good evening senators. Like Dr. Relihan said my name is Melanie Smith and I’m currently presiding as the president of the student senate, Owen Parrish could not make it today he’s at a job interview in Birmingham, but back in September Owen and I started discussing with our cabinet and student senate about what their opinion was on the early alert grading matter and after receiving much praise for this system, we’re seeing a lot of positive feedback, our student senate drafted a piece of legislation in a resolution in favor of the early alert system. So I just wanted to read to you all what passed through the student senate. [34:06]
Whereas first year students are learning how to adjust to the rigors and expectations of participating in a college level curriculum, and
Whereas poor student performance within the first year of college negatively affects Auburn University’s graduation and retention rates, and
Whereas the Auburn University improved graduation rates taskforce committee in 2008 and the General Education and Core Curriculum Committee of 2012–2013 have identified an early alert system to be one of the best solutions to alleviate problems in first and second year students, and
Whereas peer institutions, such as the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, and the University of Arkansas have successfully implemented similar policies mandating the reporting of midterm grades for entry level courses and/or all courses offered in their respective universities, and
Whereas feedback about students current academic performance is essential to his or her best academic performance, and
Whereas an early alert grade system would help advisors to more promptly recognize the students who need academic help, better assist students who are performing poorly, and to encourage students to utilize academic support services, therefore
Let it be resolved that the Auburn University Student Government Association Senate on behalf of the student body encourages Auburn University to implement an early alert grade system requiring instructors teaching core curriculum courses to report grades at the midterm in accordance to an early alert grading system.
Thank you. [35:41]
Bill Sauser, chair: You’ve heard the Committees motion and rational, the floor is open for questions or comments. Yes sir? If you would, state your name and the unit you represent.
James Goldstein, senator, English: When this was first brought to our attention, I was not thinking I was going to be able to support this. After Dr. Relihan’s presentation when this was presented as an information item I was largely persuaded that there really were good reasons for this as inconvenient as it might be to faculty. It is true that there are units such as my own in English where this, as some of my colleagues have pointed out when I polled them, utterly redundant because our department which has a very large core component has forever been giving all kinds of feedback long before the drop date. So I can understand why some of my colleagues when I polled them, seemed to resent the notion of extra work that’s to no purpose.
Not a lot of peopled answered when I invited them to weigh in, but of those who did no one expressed support for this, some expressed vehemently opposition to this and I think in part that’s because of the ill fit between the English Department and this policy. Many people are very confused by the policy. The more complicated an explanation that’s required in order to get ordinary faculty members to understand the policy, the more room there is for unintended outcomes. So for example Dr. Relihan said that this is not a midterm grade, it’s not even clear and I don’t think the intention of the recommendation is that we should change the schedule that we ordinarily would have had for major graded assignments and son on. So I tried to explain that to my colleagues who didn’t understand that. But it occurred to be as I was listening once again to the presentation that if what we are really aiming to do here is to improve our graduation rates by helping identify and provide remediation for the students most at risk for not passing the course, this is shooting a sparrow with a cannon. If we were to amend this proposal so that only students who at that point for whatever level of graded work we had provided for them, had a D or lower, that would greatly save the redundant labor. For example there are lecturers in my department who have a 4/4 teaching load, who basically just teach core classes, they are going to have to be entering in for over 100 students maybe 120 students and if there are only information for those students would be redundant but I appreciate the need to get the advising staff to see them, but if there are say 3 out of 120 students that have a D or lower, why not just target them? So that’s what my comments and suggestions would be.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you and Dr. Relihan will respond.
Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and chair of the CCGE: That’s a really good suggestion James. When the midterm grade pilot began it began with students who were only earning Ds and Fs and the idea was to identify students who were earning a D or F prior to midterm, and we started at week 5 and record those grades and follow up with those grades. The recommendation to move to all students came from participants in that pilot who felt that in many cases in order to know who’s getting a D or an F you have to grade everybody. How do you know who the Da nd F students are unless you’ve graded everybody and once you’ve graded everybody, why not put all of the grades in? So that’s why the proposal as it’s before you is for all students.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, yes sir.
David King, senator, geology and geography: At one point in the presentation Dr. Relihan, you said the grade is between the professor and the student, but then at the end you were talking about advisors intervening, does that mean that the student has to see the grade and initiate action by advisor or do the advisors automatically notify that there is a reason for an early warning?
Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and chair of the CCGE: Again the idea behind the system would be, with the grades in Banner then reports can be pulled by an advisor, who will be not in any college (I’m not putting any additional work onto any college advisor, this will be someone in the undergraduate counseling and advising center), who will review the reports from Banner. And we’ll target the students who seem most at risk. In other words what this is likely to mean as e-mail being sent to those students might benefit from being seen as you are having problems with one of your courses, why don’t you make an appointment with academic support study partners here at the resource center that are available to you.
If it’s noted by this individual that can pull reports from the back than an individual is failing multiple courses that might merit more individualized phone call to make sure there’s not larger transition issues that are impeding that students progress.
David King, senator, geology and geography: Just a couple observations from having taught fairly large science core course for many year. One of the things that happens to a lot of students is they don’t take the initiative to find out their grade (don’t pick up their grade slips) so I don’t know why they would necessarily go to Banner and check their midterm grades. Then also students will see a bad grade and simply say, okay I’m going to use this for my gap class and then you just never see them again. It can certainly trigger that kind of action on the part of the student when if they just buckle down they could have done reasonably well in the course. There are other things, problems I see with the science classes, there’s a lab section that’s part of the grade and sometimes it’s very difficult to determine what that is a week before midterm in any meaningful way. I could stand here and think of other reasons why I have a problem with this proposed policy. I think the intent of it is very good. I wish that we could just ask the students to go an inquire of their teachers what their grades are and put it on them instead of on us, but that’s not the proposed policy today.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, yes sir you’re recognized.
Stephen Kempf, Substitute senator for Bob Locy, biological sciences: I want to thank Dr. Relihan and Melanie for their presentation, unfortunately in our department the feedback has been negative relative to this presentation. I’m just going to go through a few comments that various faculty members have made. I feel that is the best way to present this. 1) It was pointed out that by not supporting this issue we avoid one more unnecessary piece meal time waster that would be worth thousand of faculty person hours, that could be put to better use. 2) In addition students who are in a bad position grade wise typically cannot be reached, and don’t respond to request to visits for help. This is not unusual. 3) It actually seems that this would interfere with students coming to talk to their professors, they will come to expect this check instead of figuring out that they are responsible in being proactive in contacting their professors and advisor. 4) Then finally, feedback is important but students already have that feedback, students know where they stand since they have received their exams and other grades up to the point of midterm. Part of a college education is learning to be responsible for your actions, accomplishments, or lack thereof. I see this proposal as more spoon-feeding of our students that will prevent them from learning that they are responsible for their actions, accomplishments, or lack thereof. These are important lessons and for some students the only way to learn them is to fail and then accept the consequences and figure out what to do to prevent them in the future. There is something to be said for the school of hard knocks. [46:00]
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, yes sir.
Sanjeev Baskiyar, senator, computer science: What I would like to propose as a suggestion, is it possible to have some sort of interconnection between Canvas and Banner? So that a grade entered into Canvas is automatically reflected in Banner so the faculty effort is lowered as well as the objective is served. Thank you.
Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and chair of the CCGE: We’re working on that. Those of you who’ve worked with Canvas know things sometimes go through some glitches, but we’re working on that because I agree that that would be a very elegant solution to this problem.
Jill Meyer, senator, Special Ed and Rehab, Counseling/Sch. Psy: when I brought this back to our faculty before the break they had similar reaction, not quite as strong, they showed some concern, they did note the redundancy in efforts, but they also were concerned and were wondering if any thought had been given to those grades that don’t accurately reflect half of the work. I know you said this is not a midterm grade but I think there is an implication that it’s at the half way point and we have courses sometimes that are not evenly distributed regarding the assignments that the students have to do so although they may get a good grade up front they may not end up with a good grade in the end.
And last I’d like to second the idea about Canvas for those of us who are jumping on board with the university with initiatives, grades are posted and the students can see them every day.
Constance Relihan, associate provost for undergraduate studies and chair of the CCGE: Yes, as I agree that Canvas is a great solution to that. I would go back to the research that shows that making sure students have feedback is important and they need to get it early and they need to understand it. Part of the problem with some of our first year students is they say, “yeah I know I got a 50 on that first test, I know I got a 50 on everything so far, but I’m going to pull out a B in this course, you just wait and see.” And there is an educative value in having that hard F look at them and look at them in Banner which is something that they can get through tigereye and which anyone that they have given their password and login in information to can also see. [48:54]
Mike Stern, senator, economics: I don’t see a good rationale for restriction of this to only core classes, so many (comments) of what we’ve stated applies to every class, it’s valuable that they get feedback. I’ve also, at least in our unit, found no special role that the core plays in holding up student graduation and retention as compared to other classes. Some of the classes that cause our major the biggest trouble are not the core classes. So if our goal is, we believe this will improve retention and graduation and so forth, it should be applied to all classes. I don’t see any argument to restrict it to the core, it’s a good idea.
Also I don’t like the letter grade aspect of it. We said that it is a professor’s policy, the grading policy is up to him and the syllabus and so forth, it doesn’t require you to have a method of calculating a letter grade at midterm. Okay, for instance some professors promise some type of curve based on a certain type of distribution and so forth that may not be able to be accurately done at an early stage. So I for instance never calculate midterm grades, I’ve taught thousands of students in the core here, they get numerical scores on everything and we rig it up at the end and often we let the out of stuff. Some professors allow them to drop things, shift weight, do all kinds of other things, in other words this is and extremely misleading measure to try to calculate a letter grade. So if I don’t have a clear policy in my syllabus on how a letter grade is going to be determined at this point, I for see a little bit of problems or students contacting me asking why they got a certain letter grade because, they said well I’m going to drop this and it’s not going to count or I’m going to do these other things in the syllabus. I don’t have a policy in my syllabus regarding the calculation of a letter grade at any point other than the end of the semester. So they get the feedback numerically on Canvas, but I don’t promise any letter grade per se. That being said I can’t even give pluses and minuses on grades at all at Auburn. That’s something else that bothers me for another point in time.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, are there other senators who wish to speak to the issue? Are there any guests that wish to speak to the issue? Yes mam, you’re recognized..
Kathryn Flynn, director of the undergraduate academic advising and counseling center: I’m here to speak in favor of the proposed policy. At a minimum try it for a year, and I have a variety of reasons. I know that it can be difficult, but we see students who are referred to us all of the time who came to Auburn as a very successful high school student, and they do not make the transition well. They are in denial often and in addition to that some of them who have always done well when they finally hit a wall and don’t do well it destroys their self confidence and it’s sort of a never ending self perpetuating cycle. What we find is that the sooner students get to us, we’re still doing this early so I don’t have good data yet, but just looking at what’s happening, if we can get students into our center at the end of their first semester or second semester, they are recovering very dramatically, very quickly in terms of their GPAs. I
think that you could apply that same policy to early grade reports in a course.
The other aspect that I think is important is if someone in our office is looking at those reports, if you have a student who is doing poorly in one class it’s very easy to help that person typically. It’s usually math or science or maybe English depending on what their particular skill sets are and we can find those students and help them pretty easily. If you have students who are failing your class your know it, but they may be failing your class, and your class, and your class, and nobody knows that, nobody sees the big picture and with this type of policy and with a person who’s responsible for looking at those reports we can quickly identify people who may be crashing and burning. They may have psychological issues, they may have financial issues, they may have abuse issues of a variety of different kinds and they cry out for help. And this would allow us to address those issues very early in their college career, typically because most of the core courses are going to be freshmen, there are exceptions to that. I would strongly urge you to consider at a minimum trying this policy for some period of time to see . We can say it won’t work, but until we try it we really don’t know that it won’t work. So I’m here to strongly urge you to (it means more work for us), to strongly urge you to seriously consider supporting this proposal. Thank you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, seeing no one else seeking recognition we are going to proceed to vote.
You see the resolution before you. If you support the resolution press A, if you oppose it press B. A=42 , B=31 . the motion carries, thank you.
Next item of business comes from the University Writing Committee, Margaret Marshall, who’s chair of that committee shall present the motion.
Margaret Marshall, co-chair of University Writing committee: I am co-chair of the committee with Sharon Roberts who could not be here today. There are really 3 changes to the membership that you saw last meeting. The first is to add the Shug Jordan Professor of Writing This has been the practice, but it’s not written into the membership list. The participation of the Shug Jordan Professor of Writing is one of the responsibilities of that professor so it’s really a matter of getting the membership list to match up with what the professor is supposed to do.
The second one is to strike the Director of the Miller Writing Center. We think that’s redundant in that it represents my office twice and there’s really no reason to do that.
The third thing is to add the possibility of the office of institutional research and assessment sending a designee rather than the director. Those are the 3 changes and I am happy to answer any questions.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, is there anyone who wishes to speak to this motion? If not then we shall proceed to vote this is a constitutional amendment. To pass it requires 58 votes if you support the motion press A, if you oppose it press B. A=67 , B=4 . That motion passes, thank you.
Next item of business is a pending item, it’s a similar item it comes from the Teaching Effectiveness Committee and I’ll ask professor Don Mulvaney who’s chair of that committee to make this presentation. Dr. Mulvaney is not here, is there someone from the Steering Committee wish to make the motion for us? [57:52] That’s right it’s just an item of information typically we do present it but I want you to see, here it is. Also if there are any questions, I cannot speak to motion so if anyone has a question perhaps one of the members of the executive committee will speak to it. Anybody have a question about it? It’s simply a housekeeping piece of information. We’ve been notified and we will vote on this next month so let’s proceed to the next item of information.
We are going to move on to our informational reports. The first comes from Chance Corbet who is the Associate Director of Emergency Management at Auburn.
Chance Corbet, Associate Director of Emergency Management: I appreciate your time this afternoon. First off I’d like to express our appreciation for the opportunity to come before you. We have a lot of good resources we want to talk about for a few minutes. I won’t spend a lot of time doing that because I know it’s already been a long meeting for you and the afternoon is moving on, so.
Today I do have a short presentation. It’s entitled Active Shooter Response Training, that’s what I am going to focus on for a few minutes than at the end I will wrap it up with a couple of other courses, but this is a new course and I think the timing is somewhat appropriate now. In light of recent events that have happened around the country school shootings happen to be on a lot of people minds right now, especially with Sandy Hook and the other things that have happened. We feel that this is a very good course for the university and we’ve really been putting a lot of effort into this but we are seeking a little more response out of faculty and students and A&P employees to take the initiative to take the course. I will talk a little bit about it and at the end I will take questions.
The course is about 2 hours long, we could shave that a little bit but it is very hard to, I do have a summary of this in the back if you got that. The 2 hours course is enough time to take you through every aspect of it and answer questions that you may have at the end. We feel like it is well worth your time. Our target audiences are students and employees and we also have stepped off of campus as requested. This has really become a course that is wanted across the state, in fact I have some of them on here that we have already presented it to. The instructors are coming from our department here on campus, Auburn University Department of Public Safety and Security, there is a lot of past law enforcement experience and we have some instructors that have a little bit but are heavy on the emergency management side as well.
First the course is not a directive, it does not give you a policy or any type of hard fast rule that you have to follow. The course is real heavy with options. It gives you options of what you might do or what you may consider to do if you ever find yourself in a situation. The biggest word for that is the decision. We want everyone to understand that there may be a time that you have to make a decision and we can’t give you a rule book or play book that you turn to page 67 and it’s going to tell you that if this person comes through your door or if you hear this is going on on campus you have to do it, but rather these options help you make that decision.
We start the course off with a history and we talk about things that happened way back in 1966 and the way that those events unfolded. You all may recognize some of these pictures, the left is University of Texas, in Austin in 1966. It’s been going on a long time since 1909 we have history of active shooter events in higher education and we need to recognize that as we move forward. We have a very safe campus and really believe that. I love coming to work here, I think most of you do to and we realize that we have a safe campus but we have to prepare for everything. We don’t have fires everyday but we prepare for fires with fire alarms, fire drills, things like that as well too. [1:02]
The top right is Columbine, still fresh after 1999 and the bottom is Virginia Tech. We really talk about these incidences and how they unfold and what we have learned from them. In summarizing that portion we talk about the police response as well. I go around for the Department of Homeland Security and teach an advanced course for police officers in active shooter response so we get to see both sides of the house and we bring a lot of that training to this course so that you as faculty members, students, and employees understand the way they are responding and the way that you can respond to what’s going on around you to aid them in their response. Face it, the police are not going to be here in one minute or 30 seconds, it’s going to take them a few minutes to get here and every step that you take will help them respond a little bit better and will help your odds of survival increase as well. [1:02:49]
The training for the most part, most people are not trained to react to situations like this and in fact a lot of peoples natural reaction is to jump under a table or under a desk. And we’ve seen that in a lot of cases in training and in real life scenarios of reports that we’ve read that have happened at other institutions or in other businesses. We feel like here at the university we have to provide more options for you and for the students as well. We train the police, why shouldn’t we be training the campus community. We feel that the information is out there we just need to bring it down and in most cases what we found is that students that come to this university learned how to lockdown from K–12. They go through a process, their process is to get a lockdown order and hopefully it’s lockdown, sometimes they use code words, but nobody knows what it stands for. They get that. They lock the door if they can, some cases you have to open the door to lock it from the outside, the turn the lights off and they hide in the corner, and in some cases they put green and red cards under the door. We have to say that may not be enough for what we are doing today. We show videos in the class and we really focus a lot on Virginia Tech, not because Virginia Tech is the model but Virginia Tech went through some bad situations and back then we weren’t training a lot of people in higher education how to respond to things like this. The first video we show in that series, you hear the gun shots, they hide under their desks and most of the people in the room get injured or killed. Then they lock the door down and they are okay, the shooter tries to come back in and he’s not able to. The second video is a professor who made a decision to tell people to jump out of second story window, that obviously is a pretty good jump, but they did it and they did it based on his decision and those kids lived. The professor, unfortunately, did not. [1:04:40] But that was his decision at the time.
And the last video is the decision by the students without the professor in the room to just lock the door down and the person did not even make it into the room. Those are the type of options that we are teaching in this class is how to lock your door down better. Anybody can lock a door, but do you know how to barricade the door, do you know how to effectively keep someone out of the room? And then what happens next if they make it into the room.
The university in the past, we’ve had no formal training in this. We assume people will lock the doors if they can but a lot of you probably recognize that some of doors don’t lock. And we have issues with that, do we go spend the money to lock every door or do we look for other options that are out there? A lot of cases when we start teaching employees and students when the doors don’t lock, the first thing they do is say there’s nothing we can do. We have no option and we had to do something to change that reaction.
This is the poster that hung in our halls and our classrooms for years, yet it just doesn’t tell you enough. We are trying to take it to the next level. We are trying to give you more to provide for your students and for yourself should you come into a situation like this. So what’s the answer? We think we’ve got a lot.
I mentioned that Homeland Security is doing law enforcement, we did train the local law enforcement here. I feel like we have very good responders, they are going to come to you fast and they are going to come effectively, but what we want to do is share with you what they are experiencing and what they are seeing when they come through the door. In the training course that we are doing here you may also hear it called ALICE and we’ll talk about that in just a second, but this training course is targeted towards faculty and students. We feel like it’s important for you to know it and a lot of that’s based on videos and things that have happened in the past. On the university side we have had some active shooter drills on this campus. The first one we did back in 2009 in December, was the first one we ever had for some type of intruder drill, it was very successful, we learned a lot and we’ve implemented and put a lot of that into this training course. The last one we did back in March 2011. Again very effective, we used the core of the campus and the first responders really enjoyed the training because it gives them some time to interact with the employees and the students as well that are left behind for the training.
I mentioned ALICE as an acronym, it’s not a step by step that you start. Honestly if something were to happen in this room and there’s a way for you to get out immediately and go, it’s to run. You will hear, maybe if I can get away that’s the best solution. This acronym talks about how you are alerted, how you alert others, how you lockdown (barricading), keeping the police and yourself informed (911, AU Alert, all those situations we have), countering (this is the one if there is any opposition or been any discussion it’s the counter side) , but I’ll be honest with you we have trained a lot of people and it’s been positive. Counter is fighting back, if it gets to the point that you have no other option, do you just want to say to people to just jump under a chair or tell them to hide in a closet? We have to give them more. Then again, evacuate is to run. These are not steps these are options for you.
Alert: how are you going to be notified and how are you going to notify others?
Lockdown: we really focus on the lockdown phase of it because we think it’s important that if the person cant’ get to you you don’t have to do anything else. If you think about the time table in which they (the aggressor) have to respond to this, it’s not long before the police are going to get here. So if you can keep them out of the room for a few minutes there’s a good change they will move on to an area that they can get to. Things like this on campus (showing barricades of doorways) can be done and we have already show how with our employees here.
Information: the police are on the way, but you may just assume that somebody’s dialed 911, but if you are hearing something that can help them get here faster, this course talks a lot about how to help them do that by dialing 911 and keep them updated.
Counter: again on the counter side, yes you do throw things at a man with a gun. We talk and really sell that concept because the reality of it is that if I take something right now and throw it at someone in the face they, will flintch and take a moment to look away to protect themselves. That’s your most vunerable point and we feel that with the aggressor we have to take the best scenario that we can so if that person makes it into the room with you, we don’t want to tell you to give up, we want to give you more (options).
Evacuate: And lastly run if you can, obviously. We think that’s a good option for you as well. [1:09:23]
As far as the campus these numbers are an estimate at this point. We are tracking the numbers, we are close to 3,000 people that have been trained on and off campus. We do have a lot of people asking us for our information and if we will come help them train, even civic organizations are reaching out. I had the opportunity to train the Alabama State Senate and the House staff for the State House and they really loved the training and had nothing but great feedback from that. Friday I had the opportunity to go before the Department of Transportation and they sent that training out by satellite to 9 district offices. They really enjoyed it and have been bragging on it. The City of Auburn, train their schools in this and also Friday morning we trained ACES the Cooperative Extension, state wide, they actually it out by satellite as well.
In the reviews, every class that we’ve had we’ve asked the students or the people taking it to give us a review. I can honestly tell you they have been overwhelmingly positive. I expected to have some negatives and some criticism, but we’re not seeing it. One of the most points of criticism we had was, I needed to use the restroom, but the class was too long. Well it’s a 2-hour class, so I don’t think that’s too long, I think that’s a positive testimony to the way the course is going and the way people are taking it. The most common word that you saw that we are getting on the reviews, people say, “I feel empowered. Finally somebody told me what I could do.” You’ve got to think that there are a lot of people out there that think that if you don’t tell them they can do it, nobody told them that they could so they can’t. We do need to beat that again.
We do have a video here, I’m not going to play it, but it is on “YouTube.” This video along with the Alabama Homeland Securities video, ”Run, Hide, Fight” and our video called “ALICE”…if you go to YouTube. Com and play this video, it’s 8 minutes and 33 seconds long, and you may think that’s a long video and in most cases it probably is, but it’s got some very good information. It summarizes our course and even summarizes it again before you cut it off and we feel like that if all you did was watch this video, you got something out of it, but we really need to push you toward the training as well.
Attached to this course and I don’t want to sell this course short, we want you to sign up for it. There are was for you to sign up for it through HRD, for faculty, A&P, Staff of the university and we really want you to push among your departments and coworkers. What we have seen is either departments have made it mandatory or very suggested for them. If you have your doubts, come take the course. Please step in, take the 2 hours, and if you disagree or say it’s not worth the time, not only do we to have a chance to change your mind, but we also want to hear your review as well. We also add into that a one hour session of things of importance in emergency preparedness. This course talks about fire alarms, evacuations, first aid, AEDs on campus, blue light phones, and everything regarding general safety on the campus that we have come up with over the last 4–6 years that we can make this university a little bit safer place.
On the back of the handouts, that are at the back of the room if you didn’t get a copy of it, is a long list of courses that we provide on Public Safety through the HRD system. A couple of them that I wanted to mention really quickly; the first one is RAD or self-defense for women is a course that we have done a lot of work on and there will be a course in the very near future offered for faculty. That course in the past has has been a charge and now there will be no charge to the faculty members, so if you are a female faculty member we really encourage you to take that. Our department is coordinating that as well and once again, great reviews on that course.
The last thing I want to mention to you before we get out of here is tomorrow afternoon at 2:50 p.m. we will be testing the AU Alert System for the campus. We have done some huge modifications to the AU Alert System based on evaluations and feedback. Some of you are shaking your heads, that you don’t like it, and I understand that. We have been criticized in the past for the times being slow, a lot of that was either the vendor or some of the constraints that were beyond our control, but we have changed vendors now with OIT and Facilities really helping us come to the table and look at what we needed. As I said that test will be tomorrow at 2:50 so go ahead and make sure you update your information and get it as accurate as you can, so hopefully this test will go well tomorrow.
Thank you. Any questions?
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much Chance. As you can see, Auburn University is taking emergency preparedness very seriously. We’ve come a long way in a short time. Chance, tell me if this is correct, www.auburn.edu/emergency. Yes, if you type that in you will see the video. That’s a great way to see it, I’ve watched it a couple of times, I recommend you look at the video and perhaps share it with your students and colleagues and maybe sign up for one of these courses. Thank you, Chance.
Our next presentation comes to us from Paula Bobrowski, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Carl Pinkert, associate vice president for research. It’s a presentation on Research Week. [1:14:57]
Paula Bobrowski, associate dean of Liberal Arts: First of all I want to follow up on what Chance said and you can participate, you can do it, Participate in Research Week coming up. Last year was the first year the university offered Research Week. Actually because of student and faculty participation it was a great success and I want to thank President Gogue and Vice President John Mason for supporting this effort for our faculty and students. We are expanding it and developing some really great relationships with other institutions. Last year it was a partnership with AUM, this year also Tuskegee University is partnering with it and we plan to have this continue to grow. [1:16:01]
First of all what we’d like to encourage is for faculty to plan this into their courses, if you can get your students and yourselves over to participate that’s the best way to make it successful. There were a lot of ideas that came from faculty last year about creating assignments around the Research Week experience and the feedback that we received from people that participated was highly favorable and we’ve made a lot of changes also that are going to improve it this year.
As you can see it runs Monday, April 1 through Thursday, April 4. Basically the first day is dedicated to the Nursing School. They have a conference that they host they will down select to come to Research Week. So the really big kick off really starts on Tuesday. I’m not going to go through the detail of this, this is on our Web site. The registration site opened yesterday, so you can encourage your faculty and students to register for the conference to submit papers, poster sessions for the conference and it really is broad in scope so there shouldn’t be anybody’s research that cannot be presented at Research Week.
AUM is planning a special session Monday evening and they will have a guest speaker. As soon as we get information on that we will incorporate that into the registration site. We haven’t gotten all the details from them but our campus is absolutely welcome to join them down there, it’s a collaborative effort.
As you can see there’s going to be…last year we divided it up to have the undergraduate forums one day, the graduate school forums and the faculty (on another). This year we are doing it by theme so there’s a lot more interaction between faculty and students. So the presentations will take place basically on Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the whole day based on theme so we have a lot more interaction going on. The other thing that we’ve changed this year are a lot of special panel sessions, for example SENCER Organization is here they are partnering with Auburn University, it’s a nation wide organization with other campuses to try to help stimulate civic engagement in courses and show people how to do that. There is also a possibility for some grant money that may come to the university for doing this.
Jerrod Russell, who I see is in the room, he participated last year, the Bridge Program came and saw what was going on in Research Week and now they have a panel session. He’s bringing students from HBCUs, they actually will be presenting over at the conference also. So there are a lot of different types of sessions and they are all listed on the Web site. So I want to encourage people if they are not going to present, there’s a lot of activities going on, plus on Wednesday and Thursday there will be grant writing workshops. I would also encourage you to sign up to be judges for the undergraduate and graduate research presentations and poster sessions. It’s really important that we participate in this and help our students out plus bring the profile up.
There’s Auburn Speaks, the first edition of the book that came out last year, there will be panel sessions around that. And that will debut again this year, which is on water resource issues, plus the AUJUS of undergraduate research. So there is a lot going on to see.
I do want to give you an idea of how successful it was last year. We had over 1,000 people register for the event and participate in it and over 1,200 people attended at the Conference Center, with over 2,000 attendees overall in different things that were going on across the campus during Research Week.
This year we are very fortunate, Dr. Lockaby has contacted Dr. Peter Karevia, he is the director of the Nature Conservancy, and he will be giving a keynote speech on Thursday evening before the Gala Awards Dinner. If you go to the Nature Conservancy Web site there are a lot of videos and you will be very impressed with him. We are delighted to have him and will be somebody that you won’t want to miss.
As far as the focus this year, we are focusing on health and wellbeing along with water resource issues, but you can present papers or posters under any of these topics which is inclusive for every discipline on this campus.
I think I’ve talked about the Bridge Programs, SENCER, the Library has an Institutional Repository that they will have a panel session on, and AU Speaks is putting together a panel, Tuskegee is being involved, I would also say this is a great opportunity for people to use this as a recruiting tool for looking at your graduate programs to recruit undergraduates that are here at Auburn into your programs, maybe AUM students and Tuskegee students. And then on the graduate programs also Jerrod is going to be bringing several top notch students that are prospective students from the HBCUs
I want to say the committee has done a great job this year we are going to have several vendors come and set up tables with research wares that they want to demonstrate to you and they are providing some sponsorship money that will help sponsor this whole event.
I guess with that I want to encourage you to encourage your colleagues, your students to participate in Research Week., andCarl has put these posters for you to take an put up in your building. Get on the Web site, there is a QR code right here (pointing to the poster) so you can just take your iphone and it will take you directly to the research site or there will be an e-mail coming out through AU Profs that will give you the link. That will come out in the next few days.
I just remembered with you sitting here Judy, that you are going to be doing a special session with any students or faculty members that want to know how to put together posters. So with that there’s a lot more I could tell you, but many of you participated last year, you get the concept and of course we’re here to answer any questions.
Bill Sauser, Chair: Are there any questions? I do want to thank Paula and Carl for putting this together. Their entire committee has worked very hard, a lot of effort has gone into this. It’s going to be a very exciting first week in April and I do encourage all of you to let your colleagues know about it.
The final item on our informational agenda today comes from the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, that committee is a university committee, not a senate committee, but we are delighted that Dr. Mary Boudreaux has accepted our invitation to come. She is chair of the committee, one of our own professors, Dr. Boudreaux. [1:25:03]
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: I am the faculty representative and chair of the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics which from now on I will refer to as the CIA because it sounds better. [1:25:13]
I was asked to come and present some information to you, this is an item that was going to be voted on at the last CIA meeting and I was asked by the Provost and the Senate leaders if I could come and talk to you about it before we voted on this. This is basically about the faculty and staff athletic ticket policy, this is under the purview of the CIA, specifically the priority and seating sub-committee. If you go to this Web site you can get the full policy, all I did was cut-and-paste several segments of information from that policy. This is word for word I don’t have to read it to you. In general this policy was developed so that all full time Auburn University employees are eligible to order two season tickets at one-half the regular price, that’s the way it was set up and still set up. And then how they would be allocated in terms of seating and whatnot would be under the decision of the CIA.
In the beginning the system was based on rank or grade, years of continuous service, years of purchasing season tickets. 2006 came along and that changed, the priority and seating sub-committee met and they decided that they wanted to change the system so that if you were hired after 2006 you would not be given points based on your rank, years of service, or anything like that. You would simply be awarded points based on whether you purchased tickets or not. So after 2006 people were being treated differently than those prior to 2006.
This is to give you an idea of what the points are. What are points? Basically this has been the situation for years, you were given different sets of points depending on what level you were, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, whatever, chair, and prior to 2006 it was set up so that you were promoted you got more points and of course with your years of service it started adding up. So you can see how somebody could end up with a lot of points if they were a faculty member here for several years.
Over the time there were things that were set up that changed based on this sub-committee’s recommendation and voting by the CIA. As I said, there were basically seats in sections, where you sat in a section was based on the number of points that you got. And the number of points that you had were determined by the base points plus all these other things that I mentioned. Now, 1997, they started switching things around on the policy and they decided that 2 points were assigned for each year of consecutive employment, 2 points for each year that season tickets were ordered; in 1997 they changed that to 4 points if you ordered tickets and left it at 2 points for years of service. Well in 2006 as I mentioned they made the change in which anybody hired after July 1 would no longer get any of those points, they would only be rewarded if they bought tickets. Well something else had happened in that period of time that a lot of people didn’t realize was that it also impacted everybody else in that if anything happened to you after 2006 even if you had already been a professor. Let’s say you were an assistant professor prior to 2006 and you got promoted to associate professor prior to 2006 but when you became a full professor and it happened after 2006, you don’t get points for that.
So what happened with this change was…very complicated…after 2006 all of the other things that changed with regard to years of service, being promoted those kinds of things stopped. You no longer got credit for that. The only thing you got credit for was whether you purchased tickets or not, and you got 4 points for that. Now you can see what a nightmare this has become and we get questions such as “How many points do I have?” sound simple? Not simple. When were you employed, “well I was employed prior to 2006,” well that tells us something; well what’s your rank?, “well I’m a professor. Okay, when did you get promoted, was it before or after 2006? If it’s before you get 2 points if it’s after you don’t. You get the picture here? It’s a little bit messy.
Another part of all this was the fact that retirees, right off the bat if you retire 40 points comes off of your base point. Well if you were hired after 2006 you don’t have any base points, so how do you get rid of points you don’t have. So that had to be written in there to take care of that part. You all understand this is a little bit weird.
So the past couple of years we’ve had different people rotating on and off this sub-committee, talking about this, understanding it’s a problem, how do we deal with it? This is just to show you some of the people that have been on these committees over the past 2–3 years talking about what’s going on. We met multiple times and we talked about what was going on and what do we need to do. One of the things that we did was we gathered information from other SEC schools. What are they doing? Surely they are not doing this. We were right, they are not doing this. We are the only school that does this. At all other schools it’s based on whether you purchased tickets or not.
Some other interesting things that we found was that Auburn is really pretty good. The 50% reduction, only three other schools, no only two other schools.…talk about a nightmare…Arkansas, they set it up so that everybody before a certain date gets half price tickets, everybody after a certain date don’t get half price tickets. I don’t want to be there, but anyway the other two schools are Georgia and Old Miss, we are the only 3 schools basically that continue to offer the 50% reduction in cost for the tickets which I think is pretty good. We don’t plan on touching that. And this is a comparison of what other schools do and how they set things up.
As far as where the seating is concerned the vast majority if not all of the other schools, your seats are not real great and if you want it to be better you make a payment to the foundation, just like everybody else. You want good seats you pay for them over and above what you are paying for the tickets. So that’s the way it is. Auburn is really pretty good, I think the athletics department treats Auburn faculty/staff pretty well in that they are very good seats at 50% cost which we think is good.
Another thing about a lot of these plans that we found out is that if you don’t purchase tickets for a year you go to the end of the list, that’s the penalty. We do not want to do that, that’s not part of our proposal. I don’t think that’s fair because faculty go on sabbatical, there are other reasons why they can’t buy tickets. And we do not want to encourage faculty to buy tickets so they can sell them to someone else, knowing that they are not going to be able to use them. We do not want to encourage that. So what we want to do is simply give you credit for purchasing tickets and not penalize you if you skip a year by sending you to the back of the list.
We reviewed things and talked about things and drafted a proposal, brought it to the CIA on November 26, 2012. We were going to vote on it and the Provost said, “Whoa, faculty need to know about this.” I said, all these other changes that have occurred have not gone to the Senate and told them what we were going to do. Well, we’ve got a new provost and the provost says we’re going to tell the faculty, plus the fact that the staff and the A&P to be fair, their representatives had already gone to their groups and told them about it. So I should tell you about it because those groups had already been informed that this is going to happen. I was encouraged to talk to the Senate leadership, tell them what was about to happen and they encouraged me to come here, so I’m here telling you about it. This is what we are going to vote on at the beginning of February.
This is what the sub-committee brought back, recommend that Auburn University adopt a uniform policy for all employees that follows the guidelines previously established for those employees after 2006. Basically tickets are awarded only on the number of years that tickets have been purchased and do not consider rank, job title, or years of service. That’s real easy to calculate, did you buy tickets or not? The rational: this changes equity to eliminate a two-tier distribution system that treats post 2006 differently than those hired earlier. All employees would be treated the same, sole criteria would be support of the program as demonstrated by consistent purchase of tickets. And it’s going to be a whole lot easier when somebody calls to ask how many points do I have, to figure out how many points that you’ve got because you either bought tickets or you didn’t buy tickets. So it’s a simple addition. [1:34:28]
That’s what we are going to vote on in February and I just came here to share that with you. You guys aren’t voting on this we are going to be voting on this, but the Senate leadership and the Provost asked me to come and present this to you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Do we have any questions or comments? Yes sir, you’re recognized.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: It’s unclear to me why people’s consumption of this type of activity is being subsidized. I like catfish, I like to buy catfish over at the fisheries. They sell to the general public on Saturdays. Nobody suggests that I get a 50% discount because I’m an AU employee. So it’s unclear to me why this particular activity is being subsidized at this university or at any other.
Bill Sauser, chair: Do we have any questions or comments? Yes sir, you’re recognized.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: How are you going to treat the retired employees because I see nothing up here except for employees.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: There won’t be a 40 point reduction in the points they had before and we will simply go back through and if they’ve been buying tickets all along and it goes back to when they were employees and if they’ve been continuing to buy tickets as retirees, you get a number based on how many years you bought tickets.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: The day they began work until after they retire they continue to get those points like everybody else.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Yes [1:36:04]
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: So the retirees then basically go to the top of the line.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: They may if they’ve been continuing to buy tickets, and they bought tickets consistently when they were faculty members.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: So it doesn’t matter if you track them anymore, because in the past they didn’t track very well.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: What do you mean tracked?
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Whether they were retired or not
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: That was tough to do because a lot of faculty, knowing that they were going to get a 40 point reduction didn’t bother to let anybody know. And it was kind of tough to track that, yes. But that will eliminate that because it will be 4 points if you bought tickets each year, so we don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: If you began working at Auburn in 1965, you’re going to get 4 points for each year since 1965?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Well they have to go back and calculate based on the total number of points they had. They should be able to figure out by they got promoted this many times, they had so many years of service…
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Promotions don’t count? Right?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Back in those days it did. I talking about how to calculate how many points they had based on when they purchased tickets, you’ve got to subtract out all the other things.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Well you don’t have to subtract anything, if they bought tickets they get so many points per year.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: I was just trying to come up with that number that they are going to use…of whether you purchased tickets or not.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Isn’t it the number of years purchased by some number?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Okay, we’re saying the same thing.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Whatever.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Yes, I’m just saying it might be difficult to calculate if you have a total number of 200, okay how much of that was contributed by buying tickets and how much by other things.
Bill Sauser, chair: So what you are going to do now is look at years of service, am I correct?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: No. All we’re looking at is whether you bought tickets or not.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: If I bought tickets starting in 1970 then, and bought tickets every year since then, I’d have about 43 years times whatever number of points you give me per year.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: That’s true, yes.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: So I don’t have to worry about if I was promoted anytime? That’s what I’m trying to find out. Somebody that comes in and this person retired 20 years ago, and somebody comes in and he works in 1980 and he buys tickets all those years; there’s no penalty for retirement is what you are telling me?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Right. We are eliminating the penalty for retirement.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Okay, that doesn’t seem quite equitable, how is anyone going to move up? It will be very difficult for people to move up for long-term employees that have been here 40 maybe 50 years.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Talk about not equitable was the way it was set up before where you got no credit for being even a faculty member at all, because after 2006 you got 4 points if you bought tickets and it didn’t matter what rank you are or anything.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: I don’t think it has anything to do with rank, the problem is the fact that whether you are an active employee at the university and still making a contribution or whether you are a retired employee and not making a contribution anymore.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: I guess people will view it differently but I think we shouldn’t be putting retirees under the bus because they are no longer here contributing especially if they did contribute 20 to 30 years to this university …
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: I An interesting philosophy, it’s changed over time obviously.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: …and they’ve been continuing to support the team regardless of down years or whatever. They are being rewarded for that.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: Are we also going to purge the list of deceased employees?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Yes, we need to do that.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: It would be nice since it’s happened.
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: Again, not everyone reports that they’ve died.
Butch Foster, substitute for Aerospace Engineering: You’re right.
Bill Sauser, chair: Yes sir do you have question or comment?
Not identified: I was just wonder if Mary could give me a poll of what the CIA was thinking about whether they are likely to accept or not because I just have a feeling that if I send this out my department members are going to be asking how likely is this to be adopted. Because you said it’s going to be voted on in late January or early February. Is this something that is generally being supported by the CIA or are there quite a few differences of opinion? Could you give me that poll?
Mary Boudreaux, chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee: My sense was it was very well supported by the CIA,
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much Mary. You can see she is one of the hardest working members of our faculty and I appreciate you taking the time to come and explain this to us. Again this not an item for Senate action, it’s being brought to you for information.
Is there any unfinished business? Hearing none, is there any new business? Hearing none, I declare the meeting adjourned. [1:40:44]