Transcript Senate Meeting
June 4, 2013
Bill Sauser, chair: Here we go we hit 3:30, just like in the classrooms we watch that clock. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the June 4, 2013 meeting of the Auburn University Senate. Today I am wearing the university colors in honor of passing the “hot potato,” I mean the gavel. Isn’t a good thing that I don’t have any orange pants?
A short review of the rules of the Senate. Senators and substitute s for senators please do sign the roll and be sure to get a clicker so you can vote. If you’d like to speak about an issue go to the microphone and when you are recognized, state your name indicate if you are a senator or a substitute for a senator and then state which unit you represent. And the rules of the Senate do require that Senators or substitute senators be allowed to speak first on any issue and then after all comments by senators are made, guests are welcome to speak. There are currently 88 members of the senate so a quorum requires 44 senators. So let’s do a quorum check, turn your clicker on and press A. (waiting on entering senators) All right we have a quorum. [2:56] This is what the U.S. Senate does and they have 30 minutes to respond to a quorum call. We do have a quorum and have our agenda in front of us. The first order of business is a report from the office of the president. Dr. Gogue sent a note that he would not be able to be here today, he had another conflict so he has invited and asked Dr. Boosinger to speak in his place. So I am going to call Dr. Boosinger forward to report for both the president’s and the provost’s office. Thank you, Tim. [3:37]
Dr. Tim Boosinger, provost: I have some good news to share, at least I hope you think it’s good news, I certainly do. We are in the final stages of drafting the strategic plan for the next 5 years. If you’ve been coming to Senate meetings regularly you know that I’ve talked about this at almost every meeting. We started in the fall with the steering committee that worked hard to bring us to this point. We’ve included about 14,000 people in this process, almost 400 in different listening sessions on campus and around the state and then another 1,000 approximately in the survey document. So the Steering committee has worked hard to draft a plan that has been presented to the president, he’s reviewed it made some suggested changes se we are tweaking a little bit accepting any input anybody wants to send to us. But we are on schedule to have a workshop with the Trustees on the afternoon of 20 June. If they are supportive then it will be presented as a part of the Board agenda on Friday the 21st for approval. From there we will move on into implementation of the Strategic Plan, so we are please with that.
Dr. Gogue asked me to mention some things that are coming up on the Board of Trustees agenda as I said on the 21st. One was the budget will be presented. Dr. Large will present to the Board the budget guidelines which were very similar to the guidelines we’ve had in the last two or three years. The good news is there is new revenue between the state an increase in tuition of 4.5% and some reallocation of funds into a revenue pool that allow us to give raises. It will also allow the university to increase it’s commitment to differed maintenance by 2 million dollars. Two million dollars will be invested strategically into academic programs and the rest of the money goes for the raise pool. So there will be two pools, one pool will be continuing, that’s 2% that will be distributed to the Division 1 Base Budgets; there will be another 2% that will be distributed to all units in Division 1 that will go to one-time salary enhancement. There will be guidelines that will allow the deans and department heads some flexibility to go above that out of some of their own resources. So it is very similar if not identical to what we did last year.
So we are all pleased that we are in a position to have now done, while modest, be able to recognize the contributions of our faculty and staff through raises. I guess, Don, for the last 3 years we have done this. So that’s good news.
The academic agenda for the Board of Trustees, there are 2 items from Auburn that I wanted to make you aware of, one is an option in visual media in the Department of Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts, and the other is a new option in Hotel and Restaurant Management and that’s coming from the College of Human Sciences.
During the last year there have been 4 recommendations for new schools, so briefly what that means is that departments have asked to have their status reviewed and see if it is appropriate for them to be designated as Schools. So we are going to discuss that with the Board of Trustees on the 21st. The ones under consideration, there will not be any new deans, no changes to programs, no changes in budget, it is just a designation that brings them in line with their peers. This would be Industrial Design, Communication and Journalism, Fisheries and Aquatics, and Kinesiology, they have come under review following university guidelines for these specific Schools, possible designations of Schools. [8:15] so those are the main items on the agenda. As I mentioned earlier, looking forward to having the Board approve the strategic plan so we can move forward with the implementation process during the coming months and years. It’s a 5 year plan and the implementation part of it will be handled a lot like the last plan, the plan we actually we are still in. Any questions for me? Thank you.
While I’m here, I’d like to thank Bill for his service as chair of the Senate for the past year.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much Tim. I appreciate that report. We will then move on to the Senate chair’s report. As I like to do at every meeting I want to recognize the AU Senate and Faculty officers who have served you so hard this year. There has been a lot of work, a lot of progress that I will mention in just a moment. So I want to says thanks to Ann Beth Presley, our immediate past chair and our representative, our voice, to the Board of Trustees, I am your chair, your chair-elect is Larry Crowley. There’s Larry and he’ll be receiving the gavel toward the end of this meeting and will officiate at the next Senate meeting. Our future chair-elect is Patricia Duffy. Patricia is not feeling well today and wasn’t able to be here, but sent her hellos to you through email and she has worked very hard. She is just brand newly elected and has already hit the ground running. Good work from Patricia. Our secretary is Robin Jaffe, probably the hardest working member of this group. As of the hammering of the gavel he was still working on Rules Committee business, so thank you Robin. Our secretary-elect is Judy Sheppard and she will be secretary at the beginning of our next meeting. Our future secretary-elect is Gisela Buschle-Diller, I don’t think Gisela is here, she is out of the country and we wish her well. Our parliamentarian, sitting right in front of me so she can keep me straight, is Dr. Constance Hendricks. Constance your work has been greatly appreciated, you’ve kept the trains on track. Also I cannot say thanks enough to Laura Kloberg, who is our administrative assistant, she’s the heartbeat if you will of the Senate’s office, things come and go through that office. So thank you, all of you, for your good work this year.
I do want to ask you to participate in the 2013 Faculty/Staff Campaign. [11:26] yes, some of us have on our little pin, some I know, are in the mail just like the check. Okay I want to remind you the results are going to be announced on June 13. We hope to break last year’s record, the last figures I saw we were very, very close to breaking last year’s record. That’s what we’d really like to do. If you haven’t already done so please get your pledge or your gift of whatever dollar amount you choose. Participation is the goal, so please get a gift in. There is also a way to do that on the Web if you are interested. You can call up the development office and there it will be. Our ultimate goal for the university is 100 percent participation, that’s a very ambitious goal, but we hit over 70% last year and hope to break last year’s record this year. So thanks to everybody who is working hard on that campaign.
I do want to make a comment about the Ombuds search. Judge Bryan, our interim ombudsperson, is here. We really appreciate your service. I do want to point out the committee has brought to us 4 candidates for possible appointment, you see their names there, Scott Deyo, Kevin Coonrod, D.A. Graham, and William King. All 4 will be on campus this month each will do a one hour forum, all of us are invited as well as our faculty colleagues. It’s open so please do come and let your thoughts be known. Also if you want to review their vita their letters of application simply go to that Web site and it’s all there for you to review. We hope to have that position filled by the end of the summer.
At the very beginning of the year I brought to you an interesting slide. I said these are the priorities that your executive committee has chosen. We will talk about them one at time since the machine is working slowly for us. There are the first 2. I just wanted to bring these back up and show you what the officers and all of us have been working on this year. Take a look at what has been accomplished. The first is we have sought to maintain a productive working relationship with the administration and with the Board of Trustees. I think I can say without hesitation that we have followed through on that goal. Not only has the Senate officers and senate members been very open and communicative, we’ve also had great relationships with all the administrators we have contacted. They have responded to us, helped us in any way. The Board of Trustees, we have a strong representative to the Board and they have been very responsive to faculty desires, so I think we’ve done a good job on that. That’s not something that comes easily and that’s something that requires continued work, like every day. We have to work hard to maintain trust among one another, we have to work hard to communicate clearly, we have to understand that once in a while there are going to be mistakes and we have to help one another through those times. But let’s please continue this culture that we’ve established of strong cooperation. I made a comment earlier when we had the General Faculty Meeting that I think this is the best organizational culture for shared governance that I’ve enjoyed since joining the faculty in 1977 and I want to see that we continue that.
We also had as a goal to accomplish or accreditation reaffirmation. Well we have done everything possible to do that. A lot of faculty members have worked very hard on that. We sent in a really good first report, we had a good visit, we responded carefully to any comments or requests for information responses, and we hope to be able to check this one off early next year as the SACS commission on colleges meets to announce their accreditation decisions. [16:30] We hope to be reaffirmed.
Next we had participate actively in Dr. Gogue’s strategic priorities and planning process. Wow did we ever do that, we were incredibly active and one of the reasons is we were given lots of opportunities to do so. Tim Boosinger has been running that process out of his office and Tim I want to thank you very much for seeing to it that faculty had lots of opportunity to participate. When that plan comes forward I think all of us will be very please to see that our thoughts are reflected within that plan.
Forth, we wanted to help shape the updating of the AU Campus Master Plan. That has also been a major effort this year. We have had lots of different committees working with faculty representation on those committees, very actively involved. Dan King has come and shared with us a number of the preliminaries. That Master Plan is almost ready to take to the Board, there are a few more tweaks, I think we’ve accomplished them. It looks good, we helped to shape it.
Foster student success and retention. We’re all about the students of course. We want to foster success and retention. [18:02] This body has passed several actions intended to aid in success and retention. All of those have been approved by the President and are being put into action. We also had a very active Senate Retention Committee working hard this year to come up with ideas, to look at the data, to do some hard work. We just received the report from that committee, we will be looking at that in the Executive Committee, but I think we’ve worked very hard on that one. That’s ongoing of course. And we will see within the Strategic Plans pretty ambitious goals with respect to success and retention of our students.
Number six was to complete the revision of the AU Faculty Handbook. You recall some years ago we laid out a 3 phase approach to doing this so we have been working on this for at least 5 years. We’ve accomplished Phase 1, accomplished Phase 2, and this year we accomplished the third Phase. So we have a modern and up to date and useful Faculty Handbook, that does not mean that it’s set in stone folks, we all know that. The process of revising the Handbook occurs every year, but at least now we have a good solid baseline that all of us can turn to and our Faculty Handbook Review Committee will continue to be active in looking at ways that it can be strengthened and improved.
Seventh we wanted to strengthen the role of the Senate and University Committees in the governance process. We made a lot of progress on this one. This also is an ongoing one. This is the heart of shared governance, this is what it’s all about, that faculty members working in committee have a voice in academic matters within the university. [19:51] It’s done through our committees, our committees have worked very hard on it this year and I appreciate that. Again let’s keep doing that, those of you who served on committees keep that good service going because that’s the heart of our efforts on shared governance. It’s been very important for our past chairs, for me, for Larry, for Patricia, we are going to keep working on that one.
Number eight, improving the total compensation package, well we just heard about some nice improvements. For the third year in a row we are going to have a continuing pool of funds, we are also going to have a one-time salary increase, funds available for that through a merit program. So we are working to improve that total compensation. Everyone in here is aware of the financial constraints of the State of Alabama and on Auburn University, they are severe, and yet of the 18 million dollars of new funds that are available for distribution, that is some pulled back in some new funds from the State, some new funds from tuition. Of the roughly 18 million that we had to allocate, 15 million are going directly into salaries/benefits and the others are going into programs, priorities from the Provost’s Office. We are also going to see some money going back into differed maintenance and of course some of the issues that we must deal with as we work to implement the affordable care act. You’ve been reading about that in the newspaper, it will be expensive for the university and yet we must do it. So a very good budget allocation this year.
We wanted to provide guidance in the Central Classroom Facility. That has occurred as well. Robin Jaffe has been one of many who have worked very hard on this, Emmett, I want to call you out too because you have worked very hard on this. We have locations established for two phases of a central classroom facility. I guess we will have 2 central classroom facilities and we have some fabulous designs. Now as the money comes available we will be able to follow through. It’s already on the Campus Master Plan, it’s on all of the priority lists. We are working closely on producing a first-class classroom facility.
Finally our tenth priority of the ten was to establish a Performing Arts Center as an Auburn University priority. We have succeeded on this as well. [22:38] The location for a possible Performing Arts Center has been identified and does appear on the Campus Master Plan that will go forward for Trustee approval. It’s also been established as a priority and a capital fund raising campaign. We need to find that lead donor, everyone understands this is not something that can come in through piece meal gifts, we’ve got to find that lead donor. Our development staff have been working very hard at doing that. I’ve told them I am going to be one of the first in line to provide a matching pledge. I won’t be able to match what the lead donor says but I’m hoping to put a little money toward that also because I think it is an important priority.
So those were our ten priorities and a brief report of our success of working with each one of them. Now some thank yous.
First I want to thank all of you, the members of the Auburn University Senate. Without your work nothing could be accomplished. For deliberating, debating, taking this information back to your colleagues, sharing what is going on, keeping everyone involved in important matters throughout the university, I thank you very much. All of our committee chairs and committee members, let me ask if you are a committee chair or served on one of the Auburn University Senate or University committees please stand up for a moment so you can be recognized. Look at this. These people have worked very, very, very hard this year and I thank you so much, committee chairs and committee members. The Executive, the Steering, and the Rules committees are the ones that I work directly with and most closely with and my goodness all 3 of those committees have done their job and more this year, so I want to thank you. Our parliamentarian, Constance Hendricks, what a great job she has done. And this is not the only year she has served in this position. She has been faithful and constant as her name implies in her service to us. And also I have already pointed out, but I can’t do it enough, our administrative assistant, Laura Kloberg who is indeed the circulatory heart of what we do.
Some other thank yous. I commented that we had excellent cooperation from all of the administrators on whom we’ve called with issues and questions. There are some of them whom we’ve gone to time and time again with questions and issues, here is how the faculty views this, here is a question that a faculty member has sent and I just wanted to call out a few names of folks who have been hard working for us this year; Of course Jay Gogue, Tim Boosinger, Emmett Winn and Constance Relihan, Don Large and Marcie Smith, Karla McCormick…Karla met with us last week for an hour talking about the affordable care act and the implecations, it’s pretty tough, Lee Armstrong has always been there when we needed his advice, Grant Davis has helped us considerably with our relationship with the Trustees, Dan King has already presented to us several times, Bob Ritenbaugh, Bliss Bailey, all of these people have worked very hard. There are other names of course that I haven’t called out, but one group I do want to recognize. We know nothing would get done at this university without hard working staff members and all of these folks have really good staff members, and let’s also recognize the staff members who have worked so hard.
I am about to wrap up my report but I did want to comment on today’s agenda. We’ve got one item of action today. See according to our constitution, every member we appoint to any of the AU Senate Committees must come to the Senate for an affirmation, it must be confirmed by the Senate. So we are going to bring a long list of names, this is the result of the Rules Committee work over the past month or so. We are going to bring a long list of names to you to confirm. We hope you will. These are dedicated individuals. I want to thank them right away for responding when Rules Committee members called and said, “Would you please.” So thank you very much.
We don’t have any items for pending action. I promised you that we would not bring forward any controversial items for action during the summer because we want to be sure we have all of our faculty on campus. There may be some coming up in August, September, but we do not have pending action items today.
We do have 2 reports and we will get to them almost immediately. A couple that I think you are going to be really interested in, first Camille Barkley is here and she’s going to present the “This is Auburn” campaign. I’ve seen a preview of it, I think you are going to like it. How we present ourselves through communications and marketing to the public. Second there have been some great actions and some recognition of the university in the areas of Sustainability. So Mike Kensler and Nanette Chadwick are going to talk to us about our sustainability initiatives and invite your continued participation.
Also as I have commented, under new business it will be my privilege to pass this gavel to Larry Crowley, who’s been up an running for some time preparing for this. I can assure you you have a very well prepared chair coming in to lead our business. Before we start into our agenda though I do want to call our Secretary, Robin Jaffe forward for a minute because I’ve got a little token of our appreciation to give him.
This is a little plaque that says, Robin Jaffe 2012-2013 secretary Auburn University Senate. Thank you very much.
He’s reminding me that we skipped the minutes. What a capable secretary we have. So let us do go back and consider that item. The minutes were posted, Robin and Laura posted them, I do want to ask are there any corrections to the minutes that need to be brought forward? If not then I’d like to order then that those minutes be approved. Thank you, Robin, for that.
Robin is going to come up again. He’s been my partner throughout this process, this is not a job that can be done by any single individual, it takes all of us and Robin has just been wonderful. We do have some committeee nominees that we’d like to bring forward now and will call our leader for the Rules Committee forward, this is indeed Robin Jaffe.
Robin Jaffe, secretary: Could all the Rules committee people just stand up for a second I have a vote that we have to take care of. [30:00] The one last one to fill for the Faculty Grievance Committee we needed one more position, Constance Hendricks agreed to fill that position. Can you vote yes or no, raise your hand for yes. Great thank you.
All right, this list of 70 or so people are volunteers who agreed to serve on our committees for the Senate. Each of the committees are filled now, thank you Rules for being the most approving group I’ve ever worked with and I’d like to bring these names forward for approval by the Senate. I guess since this is my motion and it comes from a committee we need no second.
Bill Sauser, chair: That’s correct, we have a motion that comes from the Rules committee it requires no second. You see before you all of the names, these have been sent out including the announcement of the final name. is there any discussion on these nominees? Then I would entertain a motion to confirm, we have the motion before us if there is no discussion Id like to call for a vote. All in favor of confirming this slate of nominees please vote aye using your clicker. To vote aye press A, to vote nay press B. A=46, B=1. Excellent, those nominees are confirmed. I suspect we are always going to have one or two nays. That’s been a tradition of this body we all speak up on what we believe, which is fine.
Thank you folks that concludes our action items. We have no action items pending so I am going to call forward the two information items. Our first speaker is Camille Barkley. Camille is director of University Marketing and Communication. She is going to present to us this new campaign that her office has launched.
Camille Barkley, director of University Marketing and Communication: Thanks for inviting me, Bill. I am here because we are working on a new branding campaign for the university. Some of you have been in meetings where you have seen this and the first thing you might say is “Why are we doing this now?” And it’s really because of several reasons. The competition is greater than ever before to stand out in the marketplace for higher education. So we have to stand out to a lot of different audiences. We have prospective students, we have donors, we have faculty and staff that we are trying to recruit to come to work here, it’s something that we really need to present to them a very clear message of who we are and we have so many different people who market the university in their own ways that we haven’t been on the same page to coordinate that message. And that’s what we’re trying to do here is to provide a platform where everyone can use some of the same language and some of the same messages so that you can get on board with a little bit of a common theme and once you start talking to people they will start recognizing it. So your top of mind recognition becomes greater as you present a more unified message. So that’s why we are doing this now and that’s what this is about.
A lot of this came about particularly because of the comprehensive campaign that will be coming up and be public soon. That is one of the major pushes of why now.
I thought I would start with a time line and this is basically a big overview, lots of images, we are still in a phase where we are working on implementation, working on materials to be able to provide to people, so I wanted to go back and say where we started. We did start in 2012, it has been a very long process and we brought in a research company, they only do Higher Ed. marketing research and they are called SimpsonScarborough. I believe that you have a link on the agenda to their research. You may want to take a look at that. It is a very big report, about 150 pages, it’s got a lot of great information that they told us about what our audience think of us. You may find things in there that are useful to you in working with your programs or departments to be able to talk to prospective students or donors or whatever it is that you need to say. [36:33] There is a lot of great information. People do think very highly of us which was good to hear. There are not a lot of disconnects about who we are and what we represent.
So we put together this brand steering committee and we started thinking about where we wanted to go with this research. We came up with some recommendations and SimpsonScarborough gave us several key recommendations within the next phase where we started looking at what we could do with this and I will just read to you a couple of those. One of them was that we are not bold enough in what we say about ourselves so they wanted us to when we got to the creative stage of this, be more bold, be more not boastful but just bold in what we were saying and what we were talking about.
We do have an issue, the further away from Auburn that you get the less know we are so we need to be able to talk and that’s why the consistency is important, we need to be able to talk to people from Auburn and attract those especially prospective students and high ability students from other areas. And they wanted us to be able to bundle our strengths around certain areas and you will see that we are calling them brand chapters. And they also wanted us to leverage the success stories of our alumni including our alumni or faculty, the people who really stand out as leaders on campus and once they go forward as part of the Auburn Family.
So we got everyone together in the brand steering committee and we identified some key partners, which initially were just enrollment management and we are working very closely with them to upgrade all the undergraduate admissions materials right now and development since the campaign is coming up. Our office internally created a creative message platform for this campaign. It is called “This is Auburn” and you will see several examples of that. Then we tested it with some audiences and you will also see what the test is. Right now we are in implementation phase, which means we are putting together materials. We are working on something we are going to call a brand inspiration book that goes to…or is available to everyone on campus who can use it and be able to pick up things. You can adapt things to your own areas and we are also going to work on a brand ambassador program, which will help a lot of you in your colleges that have your own communicators and it will help them to be able to help you as well.
Some of our objectives, I wanted to make sure we followed the recommendation of our consultants, make sure that “This is Auburn” showcases our strengths and qualities. Anything that is unique to Auburn we want to make sure the public understands, set the stage for the campaign specifically by showing the impact that we have, and select our features based on leadership and vision. The key thing for our office was making sure this was very flexible and simple so that as many people as possible could join in on the effort.
These are our key partners right now. We are still gathering partners. Several of the colleges have come to us and said we want to be a part of this. So it’s going to be a very wide spread effort and as many people we can get involved the better. Now we get to look at the pictures.
“This is Auburn” and how it works is you are able to plug in words and phrases into the This is statements and then pair it with a tag, a final tag that says this is Auburn, because Auburn makes up so many things to so many people, that it’s almost infinite descriptors that we can use. We are tagging them around these 6 messaging chapters, which are; national gravitas, which really talks about the longevity as a top national public university; academic muscle, which really goes into department rankings and strengths and also the student support is in that academic muscle section too; research wow, which is pretty self evident. This is anything that has anything especially solutions based research that can be transferred to the public, really easy for them to comprehend. Outcomes and return on investment is very important especially to prospective students and their parents when they are looking at a university. Family and Spirit is obviously very important, makes us unique as a university and the Auburn Family and what that brings. And you cannot tell the Auburn story without outreach so that is a very important part of what we’re doing. [41:52]
Now is the picture part so these are some examples. Still in process, a lot of these are just comps and this is the first one that is our test ad that we did. We put this in the Auburn Magazine and a couple of things I wanted to share with you. Some of you might know Marion, she is an excellent student and she was an international scholar, so we wanted to highlight her because we feel like she shows that leadership that we are looking for among the students. One of the things that we are trying to do is make sure that we hit people in as many different types of platforms as possible so this was the print ad. We did a Web page that summarized, we put her on the home page, we had a video of her in an interview with her. So from that first hit of the Web story and the ad that went in the Auburn Magazine we had over 11,000 views online of that Web page and the video.
So I wanted you to see just a little bit about what our general reach is of some of the publications and some of the things that we use that you might not be as familiar with. You get Auburn Daily everyday, we also have This is AU which goes to students, Commons which goes to alumni, then the Auburn Home Page you can see is a huge audience, Facebook and social media, because we can do these kind of videos and get them out in social media that is just an incredible number. We want to make sure that we use all of these platforms for our messaging. [43:41]
These are some comp examples of what the ads can look like. Just showing you how different things can be plugged in. One is specifically, Steve Duke is here, it’s his engineering students in Bolivia. Then we have one that’s a comp ad of a family on Samford lawn showing you that different audiences are going to receive different messages because of what’s important to them. These are some ads, most of them using stock images except for Elizabeth Guertal there, but this is an example of something that may go in the Chronicle of Higher Ed when we are talking about things that we want to recruit faculty with. Then this is something that you are going to see down on College Street. These are comps that we are starting of banners that are going to introduce the concept in August. Another banner, you will see these on sides of buses too. Then some recruitment examples, because they are a different audience it is a little bit bolder, a little bit fresher, a little bit different looking. We did a lot of focus group testing with students and they love instagram. Does everybody know instagram? [45:09] so they felt that this nostalgic look to the pictures really captured the warmth of Auburn and the home type atmosphere they feel. And this just gives you an example of how you might use a longer phrase with the “This is” statement and then always still tagged with the “This is Auburn.”
This is our campus that is Ariccia (Italy). So people might wonder, if this is a front of a postcard, why does your campus look like it is in Europe? And then they will read the back. This is a powerful connection. We have different messages that go to different student groups that we are trying to recruit. This is a message for the core student. There are different messages for high ability students, which may focus more on doing undergraduate research or something like that, so a little bit different for different groups.
This is a handout sheet that will be over in the lobby of the Quad Center and you can see that we are trying to pull out some of the really key statements. We are calling these our “wows.” So things that are going to capture the attention of students and their parents that are on campus. We are going to do some billboards in key areas to try to boost recruitment in some places where admissions may need a little bit more recognition. And of course we are going to use our Tiger Transit ads for a boost during the fall when we have lots of people on campus.
Just a quick summary of Development; Development we are still working with them to identify a coordinated tag line. It will employ that “This is Auburn” in some way, but that is not the campaign theme so I don’t want you to think that that is going to be the name of the campaign. There will be a definite tie in to that though. [47:05] We’re saying what we are doing now and what we are starting to roll out this summer will definitely create some momentum for the campaign to make people know what kind of impact we are having now so that they will be more likely to join in and give.
This is an idea of possibly the more upscale look, with a sepia parchment look, probably a lot of high end printing and some type of what we call the word weave. That’s really it. Here are the social media tags we are starting with. We are implementing with looking to an August 1 launch date. That’s pretty much it.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you so much Camille. Do we have any questions for Camille? If not then thank you so much. We appreciate that. I find it pretty exciting, we are off and running to tell our story in a very bold manner.
We also have some very exciting messages with respect to sustainability issues on this campus. I am going to call forward now Michael Kensler, who is director of Sustainability Operations and Nanette Chadwick, who is director of Academic Sustainability Programs to tell us about our Sustainability Initiative. [48:37]
Nanette Chadwick, who is director of Academic Sustainability Programs: I am Nanette Chadwick and I am the director of Academic Sustainability Programs. I am supervised in the Office of the Provost through the Undergraduate Studies Program and I am also an associate professor in the Biological Sciences Department. And with me here is Mike Kensler, who is the director of the Office of Sustainability that is managed through the Facilities Division of the University and he is in charge of all of the operations and aspects of sustainability on campus. Through my activities I am in charge of the research and teaching aspects of sustainability on campus. So we are in very different units on campus but we collaborate very closely to try to advance the sustainability initiatives.
Before I talk about the initiatives we have on campus we wanted to define sustainability briefly for you all because it is a concept that has many definitions and there is a classic definition. So we would like to introduce you to that. This definition was developed by the Brundtland commission, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in 1987 and it was developed by the Prime Minister of Norway at the time. Gro Brundtland was also the World Health Organization Director. The Brundtland Commission came up with the definition “Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is a very broad general definition and it shows you that sustainability is very forward thinking, it’s thinking about the future, it is also strongly interdisciplinary.
When we think about sustainability we also encompass thinking about 3 major systems. This is what makes it so interdisciplinary and helps it to be applicable to every academic field. In sustainability we look at 3 nested systems. The first one is our environmental systems which is our biosphere which is the foundation in which all our other systems must function and which we utterly depend. When we look at environmental systems in sustainability we are concerned about the ecosystem’s services that are provided such as clean air and water, our food systems, our materials for consumption, etc. Then when we think about the societal systems inside of sustainability we are concerned largely with ideas of social equity and social justice. And when we talk about our social systems examples are things like our educational systems, our democratic systems, which are so well exemplified here, our health care systems, our transportation systems, our city planning systems. So all of our different social systems and how well they function, how equitable they are, how just they are, and how well they fit sustainably within the framework of our environmental systems. Then finally the third system we always consider is our economic systems. We consider how well they function inside and as part of our social systems. So in sustainability when we look at the interaction of all these systems we recognize that no system is truly sustainable unless all three of these interact and are taken into account. [52:42]
You probably know from looking at popular media that sustainability has been taken up in a big way by the corporate world and by business. So many businesses are recognizing that there is not just a single bottom line it’s not just about economics, but it’s also about these 2 other major systems. So there is a lot more integration going on in the business world and universities are taking up the challenge and recognizing that we have a large roll to play in educating the next generation about sustainable systems and also in using our campuses as examples of functioning sustainable systems.
So Auburn University is on the way with this and what I wanted to tell you is that this is a brief introduction to the idea of sustainability and both Mike and I have gone around to colleges and departments and talked in much more detail about the history of this field, how it applies to each field on campus and we can give tailored lectures about sustainability and how it applies to your college or your department and we’d be happy to do that.
At this point I will turn it over to Mike briefly who will talk about our accreditation process that we have been going through in the past year.
Mike Kensler, director of Office of Sustainability: Thanks Nanette. Aashe is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. It was founded about 5 years ago and the mission of aashe is to help Higher Education really be at the forefront of the sustainability transformation. Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington in a letter that “laws and institutions must go hand-in-hand with the progress of the human mind.” And I think sustainability has been a response to the observation behind Jefferson’s statement that the human mind has progressed past where laws, institutions, and behaviors currently sit including institutions of higher education. At the same time a lot of people, including a lot of members of aashe, feel like higher ed, as Nanette just said, has a tremendous role to play because much of that progress of the human mind has happened at institutions of higher education. So we feel like we have a really important role to play and this talk about initiatives on campus is less about what our office is doing and what Nanette’s office is doing, although we are involved in these things, but its really to tell you about what we found when we did a year long comprehensive assessment of everything that is going on on campus. [55:27] WE used a program that was developed by aashe, stars–The Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System. This was developed over a period of years by aashe and it’s member institutions so we could have a common set of measures about just how we are doing across this full range of activities that universities undertake in terms of education, research, outreach, operations, and the way the university is managed.
In terms of what gets managed, there are about 400 institutions participating and about 250 have actually been rated. That means that of the 4,000 institution of higher learning only about 250 have put themselves up to this self-evaluation to see just how we are doing and Auburn has been part of that.
So what gets measured? Education, Research, Operations, the category they call Planning, Administration, and Engagement and you will see more in a second about what that includes, and a separate category called Innovation, for anything we happen to be doing that doesn’t fit naturally into one of these 4 categories. Sort of like the Olympics there are different categories of rating the level of performance. If institutions want to report their data but not get rated they are reporting and then it works up through Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These numbers are the number of institutions that are in each of those categories as of about 10 days ago, it changes a little bit on a continuing basis. You can see that not a single institution has reached the platinum level in the numbers in the various categories there.
So where do we stand? There are 17 sub-categories within those 3 topical areas. And you can see here that the total length of each line are the available credits/points for any particular category, the orange line is the level of performance that Auburn has achieved in each of these 17 categories. So a total of 139 credits in these 17 categories within these 3 topical areas.
Here is how we measure in terms of the 250 institutions that have been evaluated, you can see that in each of these 3 categories we are just below average. When it comes to our peer institutions I can tell you for example there are several who are with us (I will get to that in a second.) And you can see where we rate on this next slide. The lowest was UT san Antonio and the highest was Georgia Tech. Auburn reached 49.13 rating level and it took a 45 to get to silver, so we made it to silver and have quite a bit of room to grow to get to gold at a score of 65. To put in context University of Kentucky, Texas A&M, and LSU are all about where we are as is Florida State; you get up to University of Texas–Austin, UNC–Chapel Hill are in the low 50s. Virginia Tech and the University of Florida are almost at the gold level. And Arizona and the University of Colorado at Boulder are contemporaries of ours that have reached a gold rating in the STAR system.
The technical manual to do this is 300 pages. It took us a year to do and there is no way to summarize in a hurry some of the things we’ve accomplished, but I just want to name a few things briefly. Just in terms of buildings, 40% of the square footage that has been built in the last 2–3 years are LEED gold certified. I can tell you the Dan King and the Facilities Department are working very hard on buildings, energy management, landscape services, and there are people in place in charge of each of those divisions who are really committed to Auburn’s sustainability performance.
They recently have done a review and are redoing their design standards and the design standards reflect the most important points of the LEED green building system. LEED is Leadership, Energy, and Environmental Design. The new Casic Building, the new residence hall on South Donahue, the Student Wellness Center, the new classroom building; all these have made a commitment to be LEED Gold Certified. These are buildings that are more energy efficient, they are easier and cheaper to maintain and operate, the cost over the life of these buildings is less, and studies show that in terms of performance the health of these buildings in terms of academic performance and the performance of people who work there it is actually higher in buildings that are built this way.
In terms of transportation, the Tiger Transit System since it started has gone from having 4,000 rides a day to over 15,000 or 16,000 rides a day. They estimate that it keeps about 5,000 cars a day off campus. So if you think about congestion, parking, and pollution Tiger Transit by itself has made a difference on campus. There is a lot more I could say here but that little snippet gives you an idea of some of the things and I am happy to answer any questions or talk more later about some of this stuff.
In terms of Planning Administration and Engagement, in terms of human resources we are doing a pretty good job. Could you put the numbers up? Coordination and Planning, that means that we have an Office of Sustainability. The sustainability is in the Strategic Plan, we have a sustainability policy, that’s what that kind of stuff consists of.
Diversity and Affordability, what Dr. Jenda is doing with Multicultural Affairs has achieved us a very high level of rating. You can see in Investments we got zero points, investments mean that we consider sustainability in our investments that we look at the responsible performance of our investment partners to see how sustainably they are operating. Do we have a sustainability investment policy and we advocate, for example if there is a company we are invested in and they are doing something that is less than sustainable we might advocate for them to do things in a more sustainable way. [1:02:42]
I actually asked folks in development to ask the experts and in terms of sustainability related investment versus not using that, it turns out that sustainability investments perform at every bit as high a level as those where that filter is not applied. In fact in some areas it actually performs better so that is an area where we have a lot of room for improvement and opportunities as well. In fact there are more and more student groups around the country calling for divestiture in fossil fuel industries. You know when the apartheid system broke up in South Africa the folks in South Africa including the government will tell you that it was university students in the United States and around the world that insisted that their schools divest in South Africa, that was a high leverage pressure point that caused that system to change. That conversation has not come up here at Auburn, but I will tell you it is happening more and more around the country.
Nanette Chadwick, dir. Academic Sustainability Program: I am going to talk a little bit in a more expanded way about the research and teaching activities on campus related to sustainability. As you can see from the chart, we have done a lot so far in terms of sustainability research and education, but we have quite a long way to go.
One thing that makes Auburn fairly unique is that we have since 2008, established by Lindy Biggs, a minor in sustainability studies. There are not very many institutions around the U.S. that actually have this kind of minor. We have had rapid growth in the minor. There is a diverse student interest around campus in the minor, we have had and currently have students from 43 different majors in 10 colleges on campus who are pursuing the minor. You can see the breakdown of students among the different colleges. Some colleges have a large number of students in the minor others have fewer. Colleges like engineering have a very rigorous curriculum that’s difficult for the students to complete on time so not as many of them do the minor but some do. In Agriculture there are other issues that limit the number of students that do the minor. The college of Architecture has a large number of students that do the minor.
We have graduated 45 so far it is a new program. We have 50 current minor students and we have about 140 in our introductory courses this next year. Not all of those students will pursue the minor but it means that we are getting more and more students educated about sustainability on campus. We will be offering our introductory courses in both semesters this year for the first time. It’s a growing minor and it’s a very diverse student body in the minor. One of the main things that we do as part of the minor is sustainability is uniquely situated to integrate between operations and learning. So we offer tours and hands on activities that actually allow the students to learn about real world issues and local issues. We have developed a series in the past year of 6 different tours on campus that we are using in our classes and that we hope to offer to the public eventually and maybe even have online. These are open to other faculty on campus to modify and incorporate into your courses as well.
The first tour is a water systems tour. We work with the Arboretum to develop signage at the Arboretum and they have cell phone signals on the signs and you can activate those to listen to recorded messages about different sustainability features of the Arboretum.
We have Parkerson Mill Creek that runs through campus and we show students the sustainable and not so sustainable management of that creek. We have rain gardens on campus that are associated with the Gorrie Center which was the first LEED building on campus. Right next to it, I don’t know how many of you who’ve seen it but there is a large rainwater catcher tank at Dudley Hall as part of a pilot project between Facilities and the Office of Sustainability this year and there is a rain garden at that site. So we take students around to all these sites and talk about water management on campus.
The second tour that we have is the food systems tour. We take them first to the old rotation, which is right next to the Arboretum and talk about historic use of sustainable farming practices. You can still see the positive effects of rotating crops at the old rotation. The we take them to the food gardens at the horticulture department located next to the old rotation. And we have a liaison with campus dining and have the head chef, Emil Topel, who is one of our sustainability champions on campus, and he shows them te initiatives that are beginning to take place in the dining services to make our food systems more sustainable. We also highlight the social equity issues. There is now a campus food pantry for our Auburn family who may need help with food supply. And there is also a program to take unused food waste from the system and supply it to the community as well.
The third tour is a transportation tour. Auburn won an award recently from a television station in Columbus. It was a green award for a project between Facilities and the Office of Sustainability (1 or 2 years ago) in which solar panels were placed on top of the parking deck next to the Coliseum and you can go up and take a look at those. We take the students there. Those link up to electric cars that are parked at the bottom layer of the parking deck. There have been incidences of faculty and people who own electric cars on campus plugging into this free electric source. We don’t have a system yet on campus to charge appropriately for fueling your auto through the electric system. This is an example that we use for the students of how using renewable energy is a system we don’t have our infrastructure developed yet to have large scale use of it.
Then engineering department has developed solar cars with panels on them and we take the students to show them those as well. Then as you know we have an expanding pedestrian and bicycle system on campus. So we talk about transportation issues on campus.
The forth tour is a building and energy use tour. We highlight the LEED buildings on campus. We take students to the Gorrie Center. There is an online self-guided tour of the Gorrie Center that students can take as well, if you want to do this as a homework assignment. We plan to incorporate the new information technology building, which has fabulous energy and water saving features. And Auburn has a solar house that was designed for a national competition by students in engineering. It is out near the horticulture fields. We take students out there. It has some wonderful features. You can go inside and have a tour if you contact us, or the engineering program. [1:10:02] So that is our building and energy tour so far.
Then we have a materials consumption and waste tour, for this we liaison with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department on campus. They’ve helped us to develop a tour in which we follow the waste stream. We focus on the Student Center and show them the new recycling bins. There are some solar compactors and solar powered recycling bins located outside near the Student Center. We’ve now succeeded in labeling some of the waste receptacles as landfill if they are not recycled to remind the students about where things go. Then we show them what happens at the back of the building inside the kitchens with large scale recycling and the bailers at the back loading docks and oil recycling from the kitchens. Then we end up at the recycling office, which is on the edge of campus and show students where trash gets sorted and leaves campus, either to be recycled or to be taken to landfills. That’s a new tour that has been popular in our classes.
Finally we have a walk-ability tour. This is lead by Dr. John Pittari, who chairs the graduate program in community planning. We start that right at Toomer’s Corner, this is the most walkable spot in Auburn because it’s the only spot in town, downtown Auburn, that actually has sidewalks that are wide enough where more than one person can walk comfortably without having to move out of the way. It’s the most walkable area in town. We show them areas of downtown that enhance walkability, then we show them areas where they are made for automobiles, that do not have as much walkability in terms of shade and pleasant conditions for pedestrians. We also take them to areas near campus, the old core of the city that was designed before automobiles and has many walkable features. We talk about public health issues associated with walkability, we talk about engineering and design, we talk about city planning, and also the idea of new urbanism and living and working downtown, which is a movement happening across the country. [1:12:12]
Then as other possibilities in our classes and also it’s possible for classes all over campus to use a liaison with community programs to do hands on learning with students, about the social, environmental, and economic issues that occur in our community. So there have been groups that liaison with the Food Bank, with daycare centers and other entities in town. So those are our hands-on tours.
The way that we accomplish training faculty to teach our course in the minor and to lead these kinds of tours is we have annual faculty training workshops. We just finished one out at the Forest Ecology Preserve. It is a fabulous spot to do a workshop. You can see the workshop from last year here. We have trained close to 100 faculty in over 30 departments. This year we had 20 faculty just after graduation came out to the preserve and they were from 14 different departments. Very widespread.
[Microphone went out] Something about awards and developing new courses.
They are able to interact with faculty all over campus and also to update their courses. Faculty have really enjoyed these workshops and I ask you to consider participating.
Another thing that we did as part of the process that Mike talked about the evaluation, is that we looked at the course inventory on campus and we looked at which courses on campus and what percent incorporate sustainability. As you can see from the inventory some of the colleges have a lot of sustainability, Agriculture, Forestry & Wildlife, Human Sciences does pretty well. They have courses in hunger studies and sustainable courses in things like interior design and apparel design. In other units there is almost no representation. The College of Business has yet to offer very many courses in green business practices for sustainable business. Engineering is beginning to offer courses but doesn’t have too many yet. So there is very uneven representation across campus in terms of courses that relate to sustainability. So all 9 colleges have some content. Only about half of departments have content. One thing we’ve talked about a lot is that we do yet have any literacy assessment for sustainability that all of our students have to complete. We don’t have learning outcomes in the core curriculum that relate to sustainability, but it might be possible to incorporate them without too much change to our core curriculum.
In terms of research activities on campus, we have more than 72 faculty engaged in 11 colleges, but it is a small percentage of the faculty on campus so far. We have a fairly small percentage of departments engaged but we do have some engagement. We do have a research incentive for Interdisciplinary Research, not necessarily sustainability research. And one positive development is that we have had special sustainability sessions and abstract submissions for the Research Week this year.
We have quite a bit of opportunity for growth in terms of research. There is no recognition formally on a university level yet for interdisciplinary research engagement in tenure and promotion. It is done on a unit per unit basis. Auburn like most institutions around the country still has a silo effect in that we are each encouraged to stay right inside of our narrow disciplines and we don’t have a very well developed university wide policy yet that formally awards faculty for being interdisciplinary.
We don’t have any incentive program in terms of an awards system for sustainability research yet. That would be a great advance to have one, a small grants program. That has been very successful other places.
We don’t have a clear institutional framework for sustainability research yet however the Office of the Vice President for Research has formed a fairly new council for energy, environment, and economic research and I sit on that council and we are starting to get faculty together across disciplinary lines and look at doing research on sustainability related issues.
So that is where we stand on teaching and research and I think Mike is going to talk about wrapping up the whole process.
Mike Kensler, dir of the Office of Sustainability: Very brief lessons learned. This assessment was very meaningful it was very substantial, was really worth doing, triggered a lot of conversations and started a lot of relationships with people we didn’t know and things going on we didn’t know about. We found a lot of areas where we have opportunity for progress. We also found around the country some schools are more rigorous when it comes to their self-assessment, you can go online and see everything Auburn is doing, but in looking at what other schools did, some we look at and thought well… We wanted to pass the blush test so we feel the numbers that we put up there are very credible. Frankly I was surprised at the responsiveness and collaborative nature because a lot of people that we asked for information from, it required a lot of work on their part and they were happy to do it for us. So we were grateful about that.
So what does this mean now? It means that we put a stake in the ground in 2012. We know exactly where we are and we are going to use this STARS evaluation to take advantage of the opportunities we have identified. The Strategic Plan of 2008 is just about to be surpassed really set long-term sustainability goals and that’s a long-term process that we are going to be undertaking sooner than later now that we have completed this assessment.
One of the principles of sustainability is thinking long-term and a lot of institutions aren’t that good at it. Institutions of all kinds and may be even frankly counter to the culture of this institution, but it’s something that is really important for us to do. So we are going to try and foster those conversations. What does a sustainable Auburn University really look like economically, socially, in terms of our operations, in terms of campus culture, in terms of the way we prepare students to truly make sure that the world that shows up in 20 years is one that we all want to live in?
We really appreciate you taking the time to listen to this and we are happy to have more conversations about any of this if you would like to continue the conversation. Thank you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Do we have any questions for Mike or Nanette? If not I’d like to thank you both , Mike and Nanette, for bringing a lot of information about what we are doing and tremendous opportunities that we have for the future.
Is there any unfinished business? Seeing none, is there any new business? I have an item of new business. It is my privilege, I have held this gavel for a year, I can tell you it is quite the hot potato. I do want to pass it on to my friend and colleague Larry Crowley.
Larry Crowley, chair-elect: If there is no other new business we will be adjourned. [1:20:25]