Transcript Senate Meeting
April 2, 2013
Bill Sauser, chair: Please come to order. I’d like to welcome everyone to the April 2, 2013 meeting of the Auburn University Senate. I’m Bill Sauser, chair of the Senate. I do want to begin with a few brief rules, first senators and substitutes for senators are asked please to sign the roll in the back and get one of the clickers so you can vote. Be sure to sign the roll and have a clicker. Second, if you’d like to speak about an issue go to the microphone and when I recognize you state your name and indicate if you are a senator and what unit you represent. Rules of the Senate do require that senators or substitute senators be allowed to speak first to any issue then after they’ve made their comments guests are welcome to speak, so if you are a guest and you want to speak to one of the issues please feel free to do so after the senators have spoken, and I’ll be glad to recognize you as well.
I do want to note that we have a number of items on our agenda today, so I want to ask you if you have a question please be specific with the question and if you have a comment you’d like to make please keep the comment short and to the point. Otherwise we might end up dragging this meeting on for too long. So please keep your comments short and to the point. I want to make sure everybody gets to speak without having to impose any kind of time limits on people. So if you would be courteous to one another that will be great. We have 88 members of the Senate so a quorum requires 44 senators and a two-thirds vote of the Senate requires 58 votes, just want to be sure everybody is clear on that.
The first thing I’d like to do having called us to order is establish a quorum, so turn on your clicker and press A, not sure you got counted press it again it will only count it once. (a 54 count was recorded) What we will do is we will have another quorum count before we bring up any of the amendments and if we don’t have 58 persons in the room we will defer those votes to a later time because there is no use voting if there are not enough of us to carry it because it would loose simply by lack of a quorum.
So first item of business then is to approve the minutes from the March 5, 2013 meeting. Those minutes have been posted. There was an error in the minutes, it was pointed out to us and has been corrected. So I do want to ask if anyone else noticed any issue with the minutes please let me know now, if not then, I order that those are approved.
Our next order of business is a report from our president, Dr. Jay Gogue. [4:08]
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you , Bill. I just have two items I wanted to share with you today.
Last week as many of you know the reaffirmation on site team from SACS was on campus. They spent Sunday, Monday through Thursday that week, we received some very nice comments about the number of people they interacted with. I think they indicated several hundred that they had a chance to sit and visit with. They were very complimentary of the pharmacy program down at Mobile, the interaction there. They were very complimentary of the Distance Ed programs that Auburn offers. They looked at the U.S. Department of Education specific requirements that every school has to do, Auburn was successful in being able to check off that we had done those items. Then SACS has a number of items they call “core requirements” and Auburn met all the core requirements. So that was good, I think we had some difficulty there ten years ago.
In the areas where they made recommendations they really are in the area of better documentation and assessment. [5:24] And also, Drew you may have to help me, but in the General Ed component recommendation that our learning objectives have been accomplished, but please amplify.
Drew Clark, dir of institutional research and assessment: The standard just says that the institution identifies college level general education competencies in the extent that students achieve them. The visiting team asked for more information about the extent to which Auburn students have attained those outcomes.
Dr. Gogue, President: Thank you. They also reviewed the QEP, the Quality Enhancement Plan as you recall was the e-portfolio, and that was approved. I should say that the reviewing team and when I say approved and no issues, remember that this will go back to their governing board. So there are several iterations and rounds that we have to go through. My guess is we probably have to prepare a document by late August to show how we will respond to the areas where they made recommendations. Certainly overall a very good review and I appreciate everybody’s work in that area.
Final thing I want to mention is we have the Board of Trustees next week on campus. We’ll spend some time with them talking a little bit about the planning process for the Strategic Plan. The Provost will lead that discussion. The will be a discussion on campus master planning led by Dan King. There will be a discussion with various options that people are looking at relative to Toomer’s Corner, that portion of the campus and the redevelopment that will go on in that area.
There are 16 academic items on the agenda, about 6 of them are from AUM, 10 of them are from Auburn. The nature of the academic items have all been through the various committees and have been recommended by the Provost to me, and we are recommending them to the Board. They are things like, name changes, additional options, accelerated programs and certificate based programs. I know they cut across agriculture, liberal arts, college of education, several different colleges on campus. Those are the basic things that will be brought up at the Board meeting and I’d be happy to respond to any questions that you might have.
Thank you for being here. [7:45]
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you so much Dr. Gogue, it’s been a real pleasure having you attend all these meetings and share these ideas with us and make yourself available to us for questions. We really appreciate that.
I do have a few remarks that I would like to make. We do have a quorum so we are meeting legally. What I’m trying to determine since it requires at least 58 affirmative votes to pass any constitutional amendment, I’ll again ask for a count before we vote to make sure we have at least 58 people in the room. If we don’t have enough people in the room it would be pointless to vote and we could hold over those resolutions until later.
Let me put my remarks on or if Laura will do so. There they are, thank you. First I’d like to introduce our officers. Our immediate past chair is Ann Beth Presley, there’s Ann Beth right here ready for us. I’m Bill Sauser, I’m your chair, Larry Crowley is chair-elect, and at our last Faculty Meeting we elected Larry’s successor and that is Patricia Duffy, who is our future chair-elect. Our secretary is Robin Jaffe, our secretary–elect is Judy Sheppard. And elected as Judy’s successor is Gisela Buschle-Diller, there you are, thank you. So I wanted everybody to get to know your new officers as well as those who are serving you now. Our parliamentarian is Constance Hendricks. The chair is invited to designate a parliamentarian and I chose a very effective one, thank you so much Constance for your work this year. And our administrative assistant is Laura Kloberg.
First I just want to mention again about the SACS visit. The visiting committee has come and has gone. We are anticipating a positive written report. As we just heard there are going to be a few recommendations for us to work on, and depending on how they respond to it we will see what the eventual outcome is, but we are anticipating positive written report and an eventual positive vote as well. It’s Drew Clark and his staff who I’d like to thank right now. Drew, thank you so much.
You and your team are trying to schedule a moving target. If you noticed when all of the visitors came they all had their own schedules and Drew and his folks were trying to schedule us on the fly and it all went very well. I also want to thank all of the faculty. All of the faculty took their time to interview various members of the team and share their perspectives. We have a very good showing and impressed our visitors. Thank you so much to the faculty.
Research Week, this is Research Week. It is underway, it’s a multi-day effort, it’s a big effort. It involves hundreds of faculty and students and staff and I want to publically thank all who have put forward so much work to make Research Week a success. It is a magnificent showcase and we are looking forward to the Research Gala as the culminating event of Research Week.
I do want to ask you to participate in the 2013 Faculty/staff Campaign. [11:35] It is now underway, the cards and letters are coming. So you will be receiving cards, letters, e-mails, phone calls, smiling people will come see you. Here’s the point. As I pointed out at the General Faculty Meeting, give a dollar, or $10, or $100, or $1,000 if you want. The point is to participate. The key goal of this particular campaign is percentage participation. Here’s why, when the advancement officers go and call on the big money donors, and believe me they will be calling on some, when they call on them one of the first things they are typically asked is, well if your own people believe this is so important how many of them have given to the campaign? To be able to say 90%, 95%, 100% of our own faculty and staff, even those making minimum wage have given to the campaign, that really says something to the big money donors and they will be much more willing to open their wallets at that point. If we say well only 5% of our own people gave to it we can forget the success. We’ve got an eye-popping campaign coming, the goal will be announce before too long, I don’t know what it is I just know it’s going to be big and our folks will make it but we need to help them do so, so please do participate. [13:07]
The next announcement is a faculty alert, I am neither advocating for or against this particular action, but I do want you to know that the Auburn Chapter for Students with Concealed Carry are going to hold a peaceful protest on campus. It’s called “The Empty Holster Protest,” this is not the first time they’ve done it nor will it likely be the last time, but I want you to know about that, April 8–12. Wearing an empty holster does not violate the university policy, I don’t have one on now, but our campus safety people have asked us to please don’t put anything in the holster. So if you do choose to wear on, don’t bring a firearm, don’t put your telephone in there and reach down and pull it out, that could lead to some confusion and uncertainty. So that’s the purpose of the alert, not to advocate either in favor or against this action, but to let you know that it will be going on.
The next thing has to do with the Board of Trustees meeting. We’ve heard about that meeting from our president. The Board of Trustees will meet on April 12, there are a lot of issues on that agenda. All of the issues that affect us as faculty have been properly vetted by appropriate faculty committees, this is something that we are seeking to make sure happens from now on, it has in the past as well, but we want to make certain from now on that every policy issue is vetted by a faculty committee. All of these have been and recommended to go forward. The president’s cabinet met this morning, I did attend that meeting on your behalf, the agenda was reviewed. This is a standard process, they want to make sure that things on the agenda are ready to move forward, if they are not they are held over until the next meeting. So the agenda was reviewed and will be posted publically and all of you are welcome to look at that agenda.
I do want to advise you that the Budget Advisory Committee, one of the tough issues of the upcoming meeting has to do with budget, tuition issues, faculty/staff salaries; these issues are under active discussion right now. A recommendation has not yet been made. The Budget Advisory Committee will meet here tomorrow and hear some recommendations. I am a member of that committee as are several other faculty so you will be well represented in that discussion as well.
I also want to point out that faculty are represented on the cabinet, faculty are represented on the Budget Advisory Committee, there is a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, and there she is right there our immediate past-chair. And also we have representatives on 5 perhaps 6 of the Board of Trustees committees as well. So we faculty do have a say in these actions.
May and June Senate meetings, what are we going to do? Well we are going to meet. If you take a careful look at that May date and you see May 7, you say, wait a minute that’s after graduation. Indeed it is, we know that, but it’s the first Tuesday that came along in May. So we are going to meet on May 7 and the Senate will also meet on June 4, which is in the midst of the summer term. We have promised not to bring substantive issues forward for a vote, because we want to make certain that all of the faculty senators have the opportunity to study important issues before they are voted on. So we will not be bringing substantive action issues forward for a vote. We will be voting on minutes and things of that sort. Reports will be heard, routine business will conducted. I do want to urge everyone to attend the meetings or if you cannot attend please arrange for an official substitute to come, sign in for you, take the clicker, etc. That way we can have a quorum for the meeting and deal with any issues that come along.
Today’s agenda, today is a busy day, today is all business. What we are trying to do is wrap up some important issues before the semester ends. We have a lot of things on the agenda, that’s why I’ve asked you to keep your discussion brief and to the point and I think we can deal with all of them.
There are 3 Constitutional amendments on today’s action agenda. All of these Constitutional amendments have to do with the make up of Senate committees. [18:06] And for some reason since it’s in the Constitution it takes a constitutional amendment to change the membership of any committee. A Constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds affirmative vote from the entire Senate, so anyone who’s not here is automatically counted as a no vote. That’s why I wanted to make sure we had at least 58 persons in the room before we call those 3 amendments up for a vote.
So let’s again do a check, if you are here press A, so we can see how many folks we have in the room. (64 count) Good, we have enough people, I think, to have a valid vote. So we will be bringing those up, lock the doors, don’t let anybody leave (joking). We are going to have those early in the meeting.
In addition to these 3 constitutional amendments we also have some important resolutions, from Academic Standards Committee, the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, the Faculty Handbook Committee, and Dr. Goldstein, his motion was made and seconded at the last meeting and is put on the agenda for action today. Now as long as we have a quorum, those items pass by a simple majority of those of us who are here. So we will be dealing with those as well. Of course one of those has to do with the Faculty Handbook itself, a major issue. Dr. Goldstein’s resolution will apply to whatever version of the Faculty Handbook emerges from this process. In other words if we do pass the third version the we are going to take up his resolution and if it passes it will apply.[20:02] If version three does not pass and we are still working under version two, we are still going to hear that resolution and if it passes it will apply to the current version. Just want to make sure everyone understands that.
We sought to disentangle the issue from it, so it won’t come up for an amendment to an amendment to the Faculty Handbook, but rather as an issue deserving its own discussion. So that’s today’s agenda. Do you have any questions for me at this point? If not, then let us proceed.
The next order of business is a action item being presented by Brian Parr, who is chair of the Academic Standards Committee. This has to do with a change in the none report (NR) and incomplete (IN) grade policy, we saw that resolution at our last meeting, and Brian you are invited to speak to it.
Brian Parr, chair of the Academic Standards Committee: Good afternoon, I am Brian Parr, chair of the Academic Standards Committee and as presented last month currently we have punitive assessment or assignment to grades that are reported as incomplete or non-reported grades and they carry the same assignment as an “F.” So as soon as those grades roll they turn to an “F” and it’s caused students a lot of problems as far as maintaining a proper GPA.
We did look over some things that had come up in the last meeting as far as if this is in line or out of line with peer institutions and is seems that this will in fact bring us closer to being in line with peer institutions if we put that punitive assignment off for the 6 month period, the 180 days when it would actually turn into and “F” with and incomplete and the non-reported if it hasn’t been cleared up as well. But the Registrar’s Office has agreed to an eye on these cases of non-reported and incomplete grades, to send reminders to clear these up.
Our resolution is to remove that punishment and to let those grades not be calculated into the GPA with no quality points associated with NRs or incompletes.
Bill Sauser, chair: Does everyone understand the motion? This comes to us from a committee, it needs no second, but the floor is open for discussion if anyone has a comment or a question. Yes Dr. Duffy.
Patricia Duffy, agricultural economics, not a senator: I’m concerned about students on academic warning who carry forward incompletes, which would put them under even more academic pressure because theoretically they could have 15 hours or 16 hours in the current term, 2 or 3 incompletes, which is an effective overload for a student on academic warning. So I’d like to propose, I don’t know if propose is the right word, I would like to suggest that if a student is on academic warning and receives a grade or grades of IN there would be an evaluation to see whether the student would have been place on suspension or dismissal if the grades in the course based on the work completed would warrant it. And if that’s the case the student would have no later than census of the next terms enrollment, which is the 15th class day in spring or fall, or the 5th class day in summer to complete all the work or the suspension or dismissal would be triggered. The student in such a situation would still be allowed the remaining time to complete the work for the IN, but they would not be enrolled that term, so that the student could focus solely on clearing up those incompletes rather than trying to do that on top of a full schedule. So that would help them with the focus, and having significant course work to complete from a previous term while being enrolled in a new term, potentially for many hours, would place these very vulnerable students in a worse situation potentially.
If it’s a case of a sudden illness, that would take you out of a final, or you couldn’t turn in one project because of an illness, the census would be enough time to do the makeup final or finish that one project, especially if you didn’t go to school in the summer and it was the fall, but even in the winter term there is a month they’d have to complete the project. I’d like to suggest that for those vulnerable students we not allow them to carry forward far into the next semester incomplete work from the previous semester.
Bill Sauser, chair: Dr. Duffy, you have proposed that as a suggestion and I interpret that to mean a suggestion that would go to who ever is enforcing this policy if there is necessity to change the policy in writing to bring that forward again through Academic Standards, would that be correct?
Patricia Duffy, agricultural economics, not a senator: Yes I think Academic Standards would need to look at what I just suggested.
Bill Sauser, chair: Great, so the motion then is before you, is there additional discussion? Are you ready to vote? All right, if you are in favor of the motion to make these changes press A if you oppose the motion press B. A=57, B=10, C=1. That motion does pass. Thank you. Let’s see, that was a regular motion so that one passes.
Next we have a Constitutional Amendment and this is to change membership of the Lectures Committee. And presenting that amendment to the Constitution is Jay Lamar, director of Special Programs, who is a member of that committee.
Jay Lamar, director of Special Programs: Jay Lamar, Office of undergraduate studies and committee for special lectures. Our charge was fairly simple to see if we could enlarge the membership of the special Lectures Committee and you will see a list of some of the leading lecturer and external programming brought from outside the university for the benefit of students and faculty listed there and we have secured their agreement to participate on the committee and now seek the Senate approval to constitute the Special Lectures Committee according to these guidelines.
Bill Sauser, chair: Again, that action comes to us from a University Senate committee, it needs no second, the floor is open for discussion. Questions? Seeing none, are you ready to vote? I presume so, if you vote in favor of changing the membership press A, if you are opposed press B. A=66, B=1. That amendment has passed.
I want to move then to the next item of business, this is a resolution coming to us from the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, Don Mulvaney, who chairs that committee is going to present it to us.
Don Mulvaney, chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee: Thank you Bill. Before I mention some highlights of this resolution I’d like to thank members of our committee that worked very hard on this resolution and this proposal, and Emmett Winn for his input on this, and especially want to thank Jim Groccia. How fortunate we are to have his leadership in this process.
Basically what we have proposed is a deviation from an individual award, but awarding a complete unit or department on campus for their practices, their assessments, their total efforts toward improving teaching, quality, and effectiveness. So that’s the gist of it that’s what it is. How we do this, we made a suggestion that we exchange funds from the savings from going to the online evaluate forms that were expending for the paper and pencil type forms and applying it to this formula. With also the encouragement that we would establish, seek the development office’s assistance in endowment sponsors for the long-term sustainability of this award.
The other feature of this would be departments anywhere on campus could apply for this. Administratively the Biggio Center would manage those kinds of funds. The Teaching Effectiveness Committee would be involved in the selection criteria and the process identifying which department receives the award. In the first year we would have a department based on it’s proposal, the winner would receive $10,000 and depending on subsequent years for 3 years would receive $3,000 additional dollars based on their progress. [30:12] The other, in the proposal if you went to that you’d see that in an ideal situation we could actually have within three years, have 3 departments on this award status with others in the queue for the future. There are some other stipulations an details that we can answer if questions come up, but basically this is the potential for this award to have a campus-wide impact in improving teaching effectiveness is very significant because we are honoring and recognizing complete units and unit efforts in collaboration on this.
Therefore be it resolved that the University Senate Department Award for Excellence in Education be established and launched and announced in Spring of 2013 for the first award to begin in 2014.
Bill Sauser, chair: You’ve heard the motion, is there discussion? It does not require a second because it comes from a committee and also been vetted by executive and steering committees which do include the Provost. Yes?
James Goldstein, senator, English: I just had a question for clarification. I saw that there was a reference to one of the strategic planning goals to improve undergraduate education, so my question is whether the intention of the committee is for this mainly to be targeting success by departments in undergraduate education and would it ever be possible for a department that might not be well know for success in undergraduate education to win this award primarily on the basis of graduate education?
Don Mulvaney, Teaching Effectiveness Committee chair: That’s a good question, I appreciate that. This is a topic that we had quite a bit of dialogue within the committee and at this stage of our process we believe that it’s best to leave it for professional schools, all departments on campus that have a teaching function. So regardless if you have teaching undergraduate and graduate, one or the other, your proposals will be under consideration. So we will do our very best to honor that.
Bill Sauser, chair: In other words, any unit could be eligible.
Don Mulvaney, chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee: Correct.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, yes sir?
Rusty Wright, senator, fisheries: I’m a little confused. Is this an award based on previous performance or is it an award based on a proposal?
Don Mulvaney, chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee: That’s a good question. Obviously there’d be a large percentage in some of the rubrics or domains, if you will, for evaluation in the proposal, but if it’s this fast obviously we are going to be looking at things the department has been doing and what they plan to do over the next 3 years in terms of their efforts to enhance and permeate the quality of education on campus in their department. So it’s both, Rusty, and I think over time this can sort of shift and change and one of the questions that might come up would be; my department will get better if they get an award, so we put a hiatus in the clause in our proposal that there would be a 5 year period before they could come back and compete for that award again. So we have that stipulation.
The other thing is that we did not want to stagnate the process on this because they are so excited about the possibilities for this and you can get mired down in details in time and as we pursue endowment through the Development Office there may be some additional changes that actually dedicate portions of the award or expansion of the award for specific types of teaching within specific different departments., like the graduate level or specify undergraduate. We believe that we should have the flexibility at this point to establish the award and get it moving and future committees and Senate can make decisions about modifications.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you. Are there other questions? I presume then we are ready to vote. If you favor this resolution, press A, if you oppose the resolution press B. A=56 , B=10. That motion does carry.
The next item of business has to do with the Faculty Welfare and Faculty Salaries committees. They are both bringing this resolution because it’s a proposal to merge the two committees. Elizabeth Guertal and Embry Burrus, the two chairs of the committees are prepared to present this. I believe Embry wanted to make the presentation. [35:39]
Embry Burrus, chair of Faculty Salaries Committee: Thank you Bill. Embry Burrus, Communication Disorders clinical faculty, not a senator.
Based on the recommendations from the Senate Leadership, they felt it would be prudent to merge these two groups. We met in November and we decided that it would be more effective and more efficient because it seemed that both groups didn’t really know what exactly each on should be doing per se and there was a lot of cross over. One of the main things that was and needed to be discussed is the overall faculty compensation package, which not only includes salary but benefits as well. So we felt like these two committees being merged would be much more effective. So we put forth a proposal to merge these two.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you, this comes from tow committees and needs no second, but it is open for discussion, questions, comments. Does anyone want to discuss this proposed amendment? If not then I presume we are ready to vote. This is a constitutional amendment, if you favor the amendment press A, if you oppose it press B. A=62 , B=1. Sixty- two in favor, so this constitutional amendment does pass.
Thank you very much, I want to thank both committee chairs and their members for their hard work on this. It did take a lot of effort to write up this resolution and work out the details. We really appreciate that, please pass that along to Beth if you will.
Our next item of business has to do with revising the Faculty Handbook. Before I call her forward I want to thank Sue Barry, publically, and I want to thank Emmett Winn, and I want to thank all the members of the committee. Are there other members of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee here today? They are probably all hard at work making up for the time they spent on this because it took a considerable amount of time, perhaps you read the entire document. I did and I know how much time it took. So present this particular motion we have Dr. Sue Barry who is chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee
Sue Barry who is chair of the Faculty Handbook Review Committee: Yes I again would like to thank my committee, they are all on the first slide. Since we presented this in February I didn’t think it was necessary for me to talk about everything on all the slides. So we are starting here with what we’ve done since February. [38:44]
As you know you had an opportunity to go in and look at it and give us feedback from the version that we presented in February. We were able to handle this feedback in various ways. Some of the suggestions we have are really not within our prerogative to deal with so we decided that those really needed to go back to the Steering Committee and let them pass it back to the appropriate Senate committee, then hopefully they will be able to look over these suggestions and propose recommendations in the future. So that’s what we did with some suggestions.
Beyond that we did make some changes but they are really very minor changes to the document. It doesn’t change any meaning in the document, but we did find a typo where it said Senate Committee instead of University Committee in section 2.2. Also we noticed in section 2.1 article 4 that there was sentence that said “the order of the items on the agenda (this is for a faculty meeting) may be changed by a majority vote of the university faculty.” We thought that was unrealistic, we don’t usually have a majority of the entire faculty for faculty meetings, so we deleted that sentence and leaving it up to the Steering Committee to make the agenda.
We also changed some ordering. The university committees are all in alphabetical order and the senate committees were in section order and we decided to change everything to alphabetical order to make it more uniform and also easier to find. We had to change some of the hyper-links, you can see where we did that. You can see those are very minor changes. We did tend to a suggestion that was brought up at the February meeting, to change should to shall in section 3.7.1, we did leave the rest of the wording unchanged in that section, it was only that one word that we decided to change back to shall from should. [41:18]
So I would like to move that the Senate accept the revised document, dated April 2, 2013 as the official Handbook of the Auburn Faculty, replacing the Phase 2 Handbook that we passed last year, May 1, 2012, that is currently in effect.
Bill Sauser, chair: You’ve heard the motion. This comes to us from a University Senate Committee so it needs no second. I do though want to open the floor for discussion or commentary if there is any. Does anyone wish to comment on this resolution?
If not then I presume that you are ready to vote. If you favor the resolution press A, if you are opposed press B. A=67, B=1. That motion carries. Thank you very much.
Folks this has been about a 5-year process, there have been a lot of people heavily involved in doing this. Tremendous support from the Provost’s Office, the President’s Office, our legal council and certainly each one of you who have read and commented on the various drafts. We very much appreciate that action.
Next item of business is a resolution from Dr. Goldstein that has to do with annual tenure review. James I would call on you to present the motion. It has already been moved and seconded so it is right for vote.
James Goldstein, senator, English: Thank you very much. I gave you the document that I hope everybody has had time to read, I’m not going to read through the whole thing, but I explained the background for the policy of annual tenure review that was incorporated into the Phase 2 Handbook and it was an issue that had never been debated in the Senate or approved by the Senate except in the technical sense that it was in the Phase 2 Handbook and we all voted on it last year.
Substantively my argument is that to do this well it would be a great encumbrance on particularly the larger departments that might have a lot of junior faculty. I did want to make a clarification to the intention of the motion. The motion doesn’t prevent individual departments or colleges from electing to include an annual promotion and tenure review evaluation as part of the annual performance reviews. They’ve always had that freedom to do that if as a unit they wanted to do that. So for units or colleges that find that this is a good idea, there’s nothing that would stop them from doing that. The motion only says it wouldn’t be mandated for all departments to have an annual tenure review.
I didn’t mention last time that leading up to my motion I did poll the senators (I believe he means faculty) from the College of Liberal Arts, of the responses that I got, nobody was in favor of keeping annual tenure review and there were a lot of strong feelings against having this, particularly, but not only, in some of the larger departments. So at least within the College of Liberal Arts there is strong support for removing this requirement from the Faculty Handbook. Thank you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you. Is there discussion? If you would like to discuss this action please come forward to the microphone and be recognized. Our distinguished past chair is coming forward.
Bob Locy, senator, biological science: I’m not sure if I want to support or not support James’ motion. I think the idea is fundamentally a sound enough idea, but I’d like to see us put some type of a wording into the motion concerning a monitoring of the process to make sure there’s no abuses taking place by this inability to adequately review faculty for tenure and promotion, who are up for tenure and promotion.
Across my 20 years at Auburn, I can think of instances where I believe the tenure and promotion process failed because candidate for tenure and promotion were not adequately reviewed before they got there. So at least if we are going to vote affirmative for this, I would like to see us consider an amendment to put language in to the effect that the Provost do a monitoring of this and report back to the Senate leadership about the effectiveness of this elimination of the mandatory annual review. I realize that is not a very properly worded amendment, so if it’s unacceptable to the chair that that be considered in that way then I am prepared to vote on the motion as is and have this be a point of subsequent discussion.
Bill Sauser, chair: Dr. Locy, what I would like to do is to allow others to comment, which would give you the opportunity to write the motion out if you desire to, and I’ll be willing to call on you again if you’d like to make that as a formal motion. Does that make sense? Yes sir?
Larry Teeter, Forestry and Wildlife, not a senator, serves on Steering Committee: A couple of years ago when we had pretty in depth discussion about revising the P&T procedures for the Handbook, there was a lot of discussion about transparency in the Handbook in this process. And in particular we reviewed these sections of the Handbook and supported them. So you didn’t see that there were any changes made regarding this section of the Handbook in Phase 2 that came out last May, because those were supported by the committee that was reviewing it at that time.
I guess what we talked about a lot with regards to transparency was that people coming up for third year review, basically at that time if they get a negative review at the third year have very little time to turn that around for the final review or the official review after their forth year in rank. So thinking about this annual review. Leaving that in the process is something we supported, but didn’t specify how that would be done by any particular unit. For large units you could assume that this is a real burdensome process and if every member of the unit has to participate in the process for every faculty member coming up for review, it may be difficult. But I think there are ways that even large units could handle it by parceling out the responsibilities to smaller committees, and still give new faculty an opportunity to see how the faculty feels about their progress and how they are doing while they are in their first, second, and third years. [49:41]
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you. Yes please comment.
Ellen Abell, senator, human development and family studies: I would just like to say that I am in a department of 16 so we are fairly small, but we’ve been doing this for 20 years. One of the benefits of that in my 20 years has been that at every stage of the process we are award of where we stand with our colleagues who ultimately vote on our tenure and promotion. So it has been a very positive process in our department. As a result, I am not completely sure of this, but I think we’ve had a couple of faculty that have been counseled out early on, and they’ve been able to get other jobs and other things that better fit what they needed and wanted to do. In the process I think almost every one we’ve put up for tenure and promotion has been tenured and promoted.
Just my two bits to say I am in support, not of this, of doing it the way we were going to do it.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you. Are there others who would like comment. Yes?
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Is it possible for you to pull up page 102 of the new now Phase 3 Faculty Handbook? I’m not sure everyone has actually looked at the Handbook so they understand what the implications of what James proposal precisely is.
Bill Sauser, chair: She’ll be pulling it up for you. That certainly a relevant thing to do, is to look at the language.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Now I’ll draw you to the second paragraph of section 3.7.1 on the annual performance evaluation. It says; “In the case of faculty members who have not achieved tenure and promotion to associate professor or professor, particular care shall be taken by the department head/chair to relate the faculty member’s job performance to the promotion and tenure criteria set forth in this document and in applicable departmental guidelines that have been approved by the Provost Office. Significant achievements or deficiencies which might enhance or impede the candidate’s progress toward higher academic rank or tenure shall be noted.”
Now, James’ proposal doesn’t have anything to do with this section. So if you vote for James’ proposal and it passes, this section remains as it is, which means all units are required in the annual evaluation to give to tenure faculty each year, as you can see, feedback on their progress toward higher academic rank or tenure. James’s point is that is doesn’t mandate to each and every unit how they achieve that. So if you have a chair that you trust, you can have the chair do it. If you have a committee of tenured faculty that you would want to produce the feedback that the chair can add to the report, you could do that. Or if you wanted to have every single tenured faculty member, that is the entire tenured faculty, as it currently states in 3.7.2 do it, you can also do that. So James’ proposal does not eliminate the mandate that those who have not achieved a higher academic rank or tenure not receive annual feedback. He simply wants to get rid of mandate to have each and every unit do it by the aggregate tenured faculty as opposed to a committee or the chair to provide some flexibility. I thought I’d just point that out. Thank you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much for that clarification. Are there other who wish to speak to this motion? Bob, do you care to come forward with your amendment at this time or do you prefer not to? Thank you all right. Dr. Crowley. [53:46]
Larry Crowley, chair-elect: One of my concerns is about doing away with the requirement for faculty to weigh in every year it that perhaps the faculty won’t be engaged in the review process until they are required to at the third year. I think it would be unfair to probationary faculty in that regard. So what I’d like to do is I’d like to refer this to a committee. I’d like for this to the Faculty Handbook Committee to take a look at what’s being said here, but also to look at how this practice is implemented across the campus to see if there’s ways that it could be done efficiently. Also I’d like to have the Faculty Handbook Committee or perhaps some other committee the Steering committee would assign it to would also look at other universities to see how we are in line with or in conflict with how other universities do it, and report back to the Senate with any language that they may suggest. So I make that motion that it be referred to a committee.
Bill Sauser, chair: That’s a motion from an individual senator. Is there a second? Hearing a second that motion is now up for discussion. Anyone like to discuss the motion to refer? If not then we will vote on that motion to refer. If it passes, we will refer the issue to committee, if it does not pass we will continue discussion of the resolution as it was presented.
So if you favor referring this issue to the Faculty Handbook Committee under the stipulations that were mentioned press A, if you do not favor that press B. A=34, B=29. Very close vote, 34 to 29 which is a simple majority, which is what the motion took. So that motion does carry, and we will refer this item to committee to be brought back to us. You did not give a date specific, but I presume we want it brought back as quickly as possible. We will not bring it back for a vote during the summer as already promised, but we would bring it back as quickly as we can in the fall. So it would be voted upon before the next review would take place. Everyone understand? Okay great.
Now I’d like to ask if…there are by the way no action items pending so that suggests we will not have any action items coming forward in May as well, as we had intended, although we will have reports. We also have no reports to bring forward to you today, anticipating that the business would take most of the time. So we are now to the point where we can consider any old business.
Is there any old business, unfinished business that we need to deal with? Hearing none is there any new business that we need to deal with? Hearing none I declare this meeting adjourned. Thank you. [57:30]