Transcript General Faculty Meeting
October 29, 2013
Larry Crowley, chair: Come to order please. Welcome to the Fall General Faculty Meeting of the University Faculty. I am Larry Crowley the chair of the University Faculty.
The first order of business is the approval of the minutes of the March 19, 2013 General Faculty Meeting. They have been posted online. Are there any corrections to the minutes? If there are no corrections the minutes stand approved.
I’d like to call Dr. Gogue for remarks from the Office of the President.
Dr. Gogue, president: I appreciate you all being here today. The first thing I want to say is a special word of thanks to the University Senate. I really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to be at the Senate meetings. They provide great leadership and there are members here today that are not part of the Senate, I hope you will look at that as you go through your normal elections and the regular cycle.
I wanted to report first on budgets. The University Budget is balanced for the first time in several years. We actually received a slight plus up from the State, it was in the area of cyber security, but we were ale to provide for the second year in a row some continuous small amounts of salary increases and we will also have the one-time increases in December. On the cyber side, I did want to share, I think it has been reported but the national center for academic excellence in cyber, Auburn University was one of 4 universities that were so designated and Bob Norton and General Ron Burgess have been absolutely in that particular initiative.
I think it was in the September Board Meeting, 4 of our Academic Departments became Schools. A lot of work had been done by those departments for several years, and I think all of you are aware that there are criteria to move from a department to a School. Three of them actually met all of the criteria without any problem; Kinesiology, Industrial Design, and Communications and Journalism. The Fisheries program had slightly fewer numbers of graduates than you would expect for it to be called a School. It was approved because most of their peers at other institutions, there are Schools in Fisheries at other institutions, so we went ahead and did that. So I would compliment those particular groups in terms of their work.
There is a new partnership that will be announced at the Board Meeting next month, it’s with Raycom, Raycom has about 50 television stations in the southeast. This is a partnership with the School of Communications and Journalism in which Raycom has facilities over on Gay Street and providing all of the equipment that is necessary for our students to be engaged in actually producing broadcasts and news programs. So we are excited about that.
The College of Business, I would be remiss if I didn’t’say there’s a lot of excitement, really campus wide over the Harbert naming of that particular college; a 40 million dollar gift. So if you see Raymond or Katherine, for goodness sakes, thank them. It’s the largest gift that the university has received. [3:44]
There’s been a little news over the last couple of years about the Vapor Wake dogs that Auburn has. That program has been around for 7 or 8 years and one of the deficiencies that the university has trouble doing is producing the number of dogs that are needed. So they have joint ventured with a commercial group, Auburn will still be involved in the research and the detection part and the athletic training of dogs, but the actual breeding and the training for the explosive devices will be done through a private group in Anniston as I understand. Those dogs are able to differentiate between 80 different classes of explosive devices, an impressive program.
Three of our faculty were selected in the SEC for a leadership training program. One was from the School of Communication and Journalism, one was from the McWhorter Building Science Program, and one from Mechanical Engineering, so we are excited for them.
Bill Buskist, from the Psychology Department, was just named for his lifetime achievement award from the Psychological Society for his work. So if you see Bill, this is an important piece of recognition. Lots going on in research, I won’t try to mention all of those, but over in Chemistry and BioChemistry apparently there is a new disease detection devise that they have worked on. If you take a normal blood sample I am told it takes about 6 hours for you to be able to determine certain things, this is a devise that allows first responders to take blood and within 3 minutes will be able to give an indication of positive and negative to certain things, so we are excited about that.
SACS, their decision point is in December of this year relative to our reaffirmation. All the materials were sent in September after their review in the spring, all of the follow up materials have been submitted.
Two new academic buildings, one is a research facility, the CASIC Building that’s out in the Research Park. As I recall it’s the College of Agriculture, College of Forestry, COSAM, and Engineering that are primarily involved in that but it is for multi-disciplinary types of research. The opportunity if you win a large award you are free to have space available to be able to work in a facility rather quickly. The other one is the Kinesiology building that opened.
I have to tell you that this summer a group came to see us at Auburn and this was the Olympic group dealing with handball. You know, I am thinking to myself, we only have got a couple of handball courts around here so why would they be coming? They tell me that it is down to four cities; Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Auburn. And I’m thinking what can this all be about? I have to tell you I have never seen team handball, but that’s what the sport is. It is played indoors just like soccer, they use a ball about the size of a cantaloupe and you throw it an score I guess in the same way you score soccer with your feet. They were very disappointed in me, it is the second most popular sport in the world according to them. The United States is always the very bottom of the handball competition in the Olympics, so the goal is to work with Kinesiology and try to improve the skill sets such that we are not at the very bottom. So we are now an Olympic training site for team handball, I think about 60, 30 men, 30 women involved in that particular sport. [7:58]
Final thing I’d mention, I just want to say thank you, it’s been a real commitment by the faculty; Paul Harris and a variety of folks to work with bright students, capable students in which we can recommend or nominate them for some of these prestigious post-graduate awards. I think the largest number I’ve seen this year there were 6 students that were recommended for the Rhode’s Scholarship. Obviously probably get maybe one finalist and hopefully get one selected, but still it’s important for them to have gone through that process, so I appreciate that. Thank you.
Larry Crowley, chair: Dr. Gogue said that he had to catch a plane out at the airport, I told him that they would probably wait for him. Thank you Dr. Gogue.
I’d like to call on Dr. Boosinger to make remarks from the Office of the Provost. [9:05]
Dr. Boosinger, Provost: Thank you Larry. I appreciate the opportunity to follow up on a few things related to the Strategic Plan. You’ve heard me talk about this numerous times. I just want to highlight steps that are being taken to move us towards implementation.
A lot of thought has gone into this, a lot of people are engaged in this, faculty, students, staff, administrators in making this happen. Strategic Priority one was Student Success. We are already seeing some upticks in some of the metrics with graduation rates. Just some preliminary numbers and we are optimistic that we’ve been doing the right things during the last year. There were two things in Strategic Priority one that we began to move on because there are bigger projects. One is to increase the number of Distance Learning offerings that we have at the undergraduate level. As you know we do many, many good things at the master’s level with Distance Learning, MBAs and others, but now we are going to focus some energy on building over the next five years Distance Learning at the undergraduate level with a goal of as many as 5,000 students enrolled by Distance 5 years from now. So that group is engaged and we’ve had discussions, just want you to know that we are having discussions with private partners that might be able to help us move down that path more quickly than we could on our own. [10:33]
The other, again, under Student Success, the actual strategic priority said, student success and diversifying our undergraduate enrollment. One piece of that is to look at recruiting international students that would come to Auburn and focus on the undergraduate degree. Of course we have lots of international students at the graduate level, but very few, barely 100 out of 20,000 at the undergraduate level. So again we have been interviewing and talking to companies that can help us recruit and bring some significant growth in that area. Significant for us not necessarily as some universities but again 5 years from now we’re looking at ways to maybe have 1,000 international students enrolled in undergraduate curriculum at Auburn University, so we will keep you updated on that. We’re looking at moving on making some final decisions once we get all the feedback from the committees. Dr. Winn is leading both of those committees, they are looking at RFPs and interviewing multiple firms, so we hope to see that move ahead pretty quickly.
Strategic Priority number two focuses on faculty success. What we are trying to do there is to identify the resources that we need to help faculty not only continue to be successful, but be even more successful in the future. And one way to do that is to have a better understanding of where we are right now. That’s why the coach survey, which many of you have already participated in and I thank you for that, that will help us measure faculty vitality relative to the resources that are available, the things that you are interested in, what you would like Auburn University in a broad context to know about. Of course it’s going to focus on productivity relative to instruction, discovery process, engagement, outreach, those kinds of things core to our mission. Please take advantage of the opportunity to participate in that survey and make comments share your thoughts and ideas.
If you didn’t know or didn’t remember the Coach survey is a Harvard Graduate School of Education Program. It’s been in place for years. We have been actively participating since 2005, but we’ve never have participated as fully as we have now as we are in this survey. [13:29] So what we’ve done is we went back and talked to the staff at Coach and said that we would like to write some of our own questions in addition to the questions that they are providing, those things that are unique to Auburn. So they worked with us on that so that’s a part of the survey. If you participated in the past then you will see it has been kind of changed or refreshed in that way. The data results that come out of that will help us assess the level of support that’s provided across several institutional areas. It will help us better understand the nature of work, the facilities that we have, the resources that we need to continue to be successful. There are questions in there related to issues with human resources and others so we really need your thoughts and ideas on that.
Strategic priority number three is focused on the research enterprise and excellence in research. I know Dr. Mason is going to give a report on research in a few minutes so I won’t take anything away from what he is going to say, but I do want you to know that we have a committee working that has faculty, senate leaders, deans, department heads, and staff developing thoughts and ideas that will complement our strategic plan and help us achieve our goals and objectives over the next five years. So we will be looking for those groups to come back and report to the faculty maybe every year over the next five years. [15:08] So I think that’s going to add a lot.
Dr. Gogue touched on it and I would reemphasize, I think a high priority for research in these days and times is for it to be interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary and I think that is the future. I heard that as a graduate student that the future in research had to be team based to really be successful and really run big programs and I really think that’s true plus my experience with team based research was that it just made it more exciting to get a chance to work with your colleagues.
Strategic priority five focuses on maximizing our resources and making sure that the resources that we have available to us, and they are significant, are aligned with our strategic priorities and our core mission. I wanted you to know that we’ve been engaged in discussions, we have a large steering committee that has faculty representatives, administrators, folks from the budget office looking at and assessing our current resource allocation strategy at Auburn University and thinking about what might we do at Auburn to improve that process.
A priority for me is to make not only the review process but make our budget process in general more transparent and easier to understand. When I was a young assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, you would look at budget reports, you get big spreadsheets and you really couldn’t understand what was going on. So we need to improve the quality of our processes and also how we communicate the budget to the faculty so everybody understands how these resources are being allocated.
To ensure that we proceed in a strategic and thoughtful way we engaged a company called Huron. Huron works very much with higher education and they have helped us in the last few weeks get a better understanding of where we are right now, how funds flow, what it really costs us to do certain things, at a level of understanding that we’ve not had in the past. So I am excited about what they have to offer in ways of helping us better understand ourselves and to think more thoughtfully about the future and how we allocate resources. [17:41]
Mr. Andrew Law will be here on November 5 for the Senate Meeting. He is a senior executive with Huron and he will give a presentation and it will be about why we should consider these kinds of things, what’s going on in Higher Education today, what are the opportunities, what are the threats, and talk to you about the process to date that we’ve been engaged in. I want to reemphasize that a lot of people to date have been involved in this, in the first set of visits, multiple meetings with the Steering Committee, almost 50 individuals were interviewed about our budget processes and how money flows through the university. So the step or process we’re engaged in right now is about consensus building and having every employee at Auburn University that wants to have a better understanding about the budget, then this will be a point in time where that can happen. Again he will be here Tuesday, November 5 and I encourage you to attend whether you are a senator or not. I’d be glad to answer any questions.
Larry Crowley, chair: Thank you Dr. Boosinger. I want to appreciate him providing Huron Group to come and talk. If you have questions about what’s in store or want to influence the process I would encourage you to come to the Senate Meeting, listen to what is being said and provide your input or ask your questions as well.
This is a meeting of the general faculty. Our collective purpose here as a body is to be involved in the formation and review of institutional policies which affect the academic and professional welfare of the university and the faculty. Involvement is achieved through this body as well as the University Senate where policies concerning the academic functioning of the university are adopted with participation with the elected representatives of the university faculty. You might ask, well who is a member of the faculty and the Faculty Handbook defines that, “consists of all positions of professorial status or other positions that have a primary academic f unction associated with the university main campus.” It goes on to say that the academic function includes, teaching, research, and extension, and it also mentions that the university faculty is divided into both tenured and non-tenured groups, so it’s a pretty big group.
The officers of the University Faculty are supported by Constance Hendricks, who is our parliamentarian and Laura Kloberg, who is our administrative assistant, I serve this year as chair, the chair-elect is Patricia Duffy, sitting in the back, the secretary is Judy Sheppard, the secretary-elect is Gisela Buschler-Diller, and the immediate past chair is Bill Sauser. We have two meetings that are specified, one in the fall and one in the spring and the agenda items are set by either by petitions of 50 faculty members on a particular issue or emergency meetings called by the president, and at the spring meeting we elect (actually announce the election of) the faculty officers for the next term.
There are no action items on the agenda and in addition to the remarks of the president and the provost there are two information items. I asked John Mason, who is the third plank of the Strategic Plan, which is enhancing the research enterprise, I asked him to come help us and speak to us about what the Research Office can do to help the faculty become more engaged in the Research Mission. And I also asked Dan King to come speak about campus planning and facilities. While our buildings don’t define us they sure do give us the capacity to deliver our product and I appreciate him for coming here as well.
So let me ask John Mason to come and speak to us about the research enterprise at Auburn. [22:20]
John Mason, Assoc. Provost and VP for Research: Thank you very much. I was going to give Dr. Gogue a hard time, but he left so I’ll give him a hard time anyway and I’m sure he’ll hear about this, his plane is waiting, we’re both going to the same location, but I’ve got to go to Atlanta so I tell you what a Vice President is, to be truthful I have to stay there for two more days and he’s coming back. I wasn’t going to tell you that part of the story…
Thank you Larry, thank you all for the opportunity. Almost every year, maybe once or twice a year I do get a chance to bring people up to date on various activities. In today’s discussion what I did ask is for two people to help because of some things that have changed and I think are very important for us to recognize that these changes are going to help and assist in what we do across the whole scholarly area and certainly you all have worked with Ms. Martha Taylor and Ms. Marcie Smith over the years so I am going to provide some of the first order information and then some of the more specific things will be done by Martha and Marcie. [23:50]
First some organizational items, one on the left side, as you know Dr. Pinkert, in a matter of days will become the Vice President for Research at Alabama and there has been a search committee that is continuing through the process and I think the search committee is now compiling information and then that information will be shared with the Provost and myself. Then we will start to make a decision as to who will fill that important roll. The quick little byline on that, when I was recruited here in 2008 one of the things I observed was a need for someone who came up through the faculty ranks that understands what a faculty member does, that was on my request list, that happened to match perfectly, the deans were interested in and also the search committee. So that position for Associate Vice President for Research really is the one that works with all of the colleges, departments, regular meetings with the Associate Deans Research, University Research Committee, the Faculty Research Committee of the University Senate, so to me is a very important roll because it links to the Provost, the entire academy, but certainly has to work with my office on a regular basis for compliance issues and all of the other great things that we have to do. We also were able to convince Lt. General Ron Burgess to join us, we had the benefit of him being an Auburn grad form 1974 and you can imagine with his background and access what opportunities will exist for Auburn University as we move forward.
About half of General Burgess’s time is working directly with Dr. Gogue across a large range of activities for the university, another portion of his time is through the Research Office certainly engaging with the Department of Defense in trying to look at funding opportunities that will reach across Auburn University.
Another area is I serve as the president of the ARTF, our Research Foundation, technically referred to as 501C3 and I will bring you up to date on a few of those activities very quickly. And we currently have an interim university veterinarian, Dr. Rynders hopefully in due time will be having a search for a permanent university veterinarian. As the institutional officer under Dr. Gogue, I am responsible for compliance in that area as well as all the other activities that are shown there.
So in the Strategic Plan that’s been referred to already one of the particular goals, specifically number 6, speaks to these interdisciplinary initiatives. Many task forces have been formed over the last several years and one of the elements I wanted to mention is, we were trying to find what visual works well and I’ve played with these over the years but the fact of the matter is while these are where we have competency and strengths where many faculty are already collaborating, the other thing we are seeing is anything in the Gulf of Mexico certainly has a food element with it; anything in transportation has energy and environment, but on the other hand the cyber and the STEM works for all of it. So to come up with any diagram, my message is I am convinced there is not one single unit at our university or almost any university that faculty cannot participate in all of those initiatives in some way shape or form. [27:34]
And I will give you one example, the Language Arts area, we are exploring right now through some of the cyber works some of the encryption-area, which requires extreme knowledge of foreign languages around the world. So when people challenge me about some particular examples, another one is in the music area dealing with some audio frequency information in trying to work with our wireless engineering program. Those are areas that I know that at the temporal state, thinking about it now is a far reach, but those will be some of the funding areas; human factors, kinesiology, all those areas that are not normally just solely in a discipline. So we need expertise in the discipline to be an expert, we just have to figure out how to take that expertise and cut it across another platform. That’s what we are trying to wrestle with. And when there are opportunities for calls for taskforces and faculty committees to address some of these research initiatives, if we think in that multi-disciplinary mindset we can then help to identify resources that are there that will support students and faculty and their laboratories. That’s the main mission of my office is to help find the opportunity and try to find those financial resources to stand that up. It’s not easy but I think dialogue is what’s important.
So what we’ve done is over time you have seen these, I’ve also presented to Trustees and other boards that we work with, my main message is everything begins with a foundation of the intellectual capital that we already have. There have been several resources brought to bear, you can look at those, I apologize for all the abbreviations, but our MRI, you’ve heard about the Casic Building, these are enablers. They in themselves, those physical assets those capabilities and those people that work in those areas are there to assist. My office, my job is to find the green. It’s not easy these days, but I will tell you some of the downturn at Auburn in some of our awards that you will see next year, the downturn are serious problems, but here is what they reflect. We had some capital projects that were brought online with Federal funds over the last 3–4 years. We have those they are gone. Now the question is what are we going to do with all those buildings that had so our awards are going down but many of that was to build the infrastructure. Another one is two key faculty members have retired. So their research activity is going to have to be picked up with others or what have you, and one or two other key faculty members have moved on to other opportunities. Those are issues that we have to address. But it hasn’t been. The number of proposals have stayed the same, our number of awards have stayed the same, and almost our ratio of awards for those proposals have stayed the same. What we have to start the work on are those other issues that are problematic. I am not saying that those are not important but when people retire, who are we hiring to replace them and also why are certain faculty leaving and taking their research to other institutions. I am just giving you the facts, the candid information that we have to deal with. But it isn’t because our faculty is not competent or capable of writing good proposals and getting funded, those lines are pretty stable. Most of our loss has a pretty easy explanation the problems are going to be difficult to resolve though. [31:00]
Two or three more things. In this area you will hear from Martha. There are programs to assist faculty in identification of potential funding sources for their areas of interests. There are some training programs in doing some grant writing and then we have been putting together teams of reviewers for some of these very large interdisciplinary activities. You often need what’s referred to quote “as a red team” where you bring in some other expertise to review the proposal. The problem is the proposal has to be done in a sufficient amount of time in advance of its submission in order to get the red team. My point is there are activities there to assist the faculty specifically with their scholarly work. Areas like the food institute, I think it’s between 20 and 30 faculty representing 6 or 7 different schools or colleges that are working together in the food area right now.
Technology transfer, we are starting to see licensing that’s approaching 800 hundred thousand dollars of revenue that’s being returned, revenue that is going back to the faculty, departments, colleges and helping to patent some of the licensing arrangements that we have. We’ve also over the years have developed information that the faculty are the authors with students on topics that we refer to it as the Auburn Speaks And then the annual reports are usually very much related to the work that the faculty are doing in interdisciplinary areas.
Dr. Gogue referred to some of the building assets and things that are going on. The Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF) Myself as the president and Dr. Weete, as the executive director, the red line is the general area what is referred to as the Research Park. This area up here is where the College of Osteopathic Medicine will be built. Hopefully groundbreaking should occur in the near future. It was a heavy lift to move all those issues and problems but I think we resolved it. The buildings now that are there, we have the first Research Park building that houses the Office of Technology Transfer, up in here is incubator, there are two incubators being used by student startup companies. [33:34] So there are students and there is incubating activity, several of the initiatives , in fact they have been working with the private sector, those companies have graduated, they moved out to other sectors and several of the other incubators are not faculty driven activities of the private sector that we hope to engage with the faculty. One of those dealt with that canine activity that you heard that we were able to bring in external private sector financial support to move that canine program into a public/private partnership that will generate not only licensing revenue but direct revenues for the units that work in that area.
The Casic Building which was just opened up recently, the MRI facility, where the College of Engineering is not only responsible but heavily engaged with faculty across the university and this is a rendering of what the College of Osteopathic Medicine is supposed to eventually look like.
The next asset is one where it is going to be heavily public/private partnership driven. the College of Osteopathic Medicine is interested in some research base there. Several units on campus need some new research space. And I am working with some private sector entities particularly out of the Huntsville area that might be interested in putting some of their operations down here in Auburn. We are not going to move all of Lockheed to Auburn, that’s not what I’m saying, but there are certain entities that might want to have a presence here and if I can get that presence here they can be working with the faculty and students on a regular basis. Yesterday I learned that NASA is interested. They have some of our Auburn graduates from their baccalaureate degree, they might be interested in bringing them to the Research Park. They will work on projects in Huntsville and they can start their advanced degree here on campus. Hopefully we will develop some funded projects that the faculty and students can work together. Long range, not going to happen next Monday, but those are the types of things happening at the Research Park that can generate public/private partnerships that can work with the faculty on campus. Not just visionary, it is happening right now.
So with that, Martha if I haven’t messed up things I am going to ask you to take over. Does anybody have any comments or questions on the information that I provided? If you do, find me, call me, come and see me please. Come to the microphone.
Sanjeev Baskiyar, senator, computer science and software engineering: I have one question related to patent in Technology Transfer. Is there some more emphasis that is possible in terms of funding of the patent processing or some more marketing with companies particularly related to electronics and software because the main problem here is that technology moves so fast before we can actually actualize everything. It’s sometimes marketed and stuff like that.
John Mason, Assoc. Provost and VP for Research: As I said, for that issue I am more than happy to sit with any faculty member, their unit heads and their deans and we’ll talk through that. We have hired a business development officer. Again in such limited time I love to show you all to personnel behind that are all cost recoverable, we have a business development officer that fundamentally we didn’t have a year ago that is trying to expedite some of these possible connections. The canine activity was one they were working on most recently and also the College of Osteopathic Medicine. I think we have some of those accomplishments now we can start working on some other areas.
Sanjeev Baskiyar, senator, computer science and software engineering: Thank you very much.
John Mason, Assoc. Provost and VP for Research: Other comments? Questions? Great, if you need me, call me and we will sit and talk and try to figure it out. I will turn it over to Martha right now.
Martha Taylor, Assistant VP for Research: Thank you everybody, Dr. Crowley. We were asked to compare some notes on how strategic priority 2 and strategic priority 3 overlap a little bit, how they compliment each other. As you can see here in strategic priority 2 it talks about the academic achievements of the institution depend heavily on our faculty. In strategic priority 3 Auburn will become more competitive over time, it’s necessary for our growth for us to be able to do that, and in order to do that we have to have successful faculty.
Also you can look where strategic priority 2 says we are going to increase our productivity and in strategic priority 3 it says that we will strengthen our research culture and the expectations we have for faculty to engage in research.
Another one is in strategic priority 2 it talks about best practices that we might use from other institutions or from other parts of the campus to improve our work environment and in strategic priority 3 it talks about making sure that we have strategic research initiatives and that we use a strategic process to grow our program and translate it into helping the State of Alabama, helping the world, the region, the nations, those kinds of things. [39:19] But more importantly on this chart for my purposes today is improving the vitality of the faculty and how that relates to their expertise, improving their ability to engage in research and then how that is going to help change the culture as we increase expectations for faculty to engage in research.
So while they are both equally important as part of the strategic plan what I wanted to talk about today was to demonstrate some of the efforts we have already engaged in over the last couple of years to help bring forth an opportunity for faculty to be more heavily engaged. What I want to do as I present this is to express it in the way of some concerns and issues that faculty have raised over time associated with being engaged in sponsored programs activity and I think there are plenty of those that you might know. [40:13] And some of the solutions that we have already come up with that we’ve implemented to help move this process along, there are some things that people would say are not very helpful that are more of a hindrance, so we want to identify some things today that we’ve started that will help with the process.
So I think one of the first ones you can look at is difficulty in the management of the financial aspects of an award. If anybody mentions the banner accounting system, people automatically go, ewe banner. What the business office has done for all of us is they came up with something called myfunding. This is a portal that faculty members can use to help them get a very quick representation of all of their sponsored funding. They get alerts through this system if they have deadlines they are approaching. If the account balances are low, the sponsor is not paying, there is some graphical representations, it is a very simple system that provides all the faculty members information on their contracts and grants in one place just for them.
They’ve also done electronic effort certfication and electronic salary and wage transfers. These were all paper based systems that were difficult and complicated to keep up with. They are all deadline driven and having it electronic makes it so much easier for people to engage with the system making all of us more compliant. There’s other electronic document processing that they have come up with recently and they seem to keep adding something on a regular basis, for example the e-travel vouchers, I mean who doesn’t love this? My travel voucher is completed before I get home practically. It used to be I was having to write memos because it was 6 months before I turned in my voucher, credit card companies were screaming and Procurement and Payment Services said why did you wait so long, well this makes it easy. So I love this one, thank you Marcie. [42:11]
The office of sponsored programs has developed a certification course, we call it compass, because it kind of helps people navigate and directs them through the somewhat treacherous pathways that can be sponsored on occasion and that is to certify the skills of departmental administrative personnel, but anybody who wants to attend can attend. We’ve had faculty in the class in our first class we had faculty members that participated in this program.
Another concern that we hear quite often is there is a lack of support for development of proposals and submission of proposals, so as part of the strategic plan the previous five year strategic plan the Vice President for Research Office implemented what we call the Plus 6 Program. That’s a very sophisticated naming activity that is called the Plus 6 Program because there are 6 people in it. It used to be called the Plus 4 Program and now it’s called the Plus 6 Program, this is 6 individuals that are in dean’s offices around campus that have been specifically trained and work closely with our office, they help faculty development submit proposals and those proposals go straight from the dean’s office to the agency and don’t come through Sponsored Programs. It speeds up the process and it gives you somebody close by your work environment that can help you put your proposal together.
We also have grantsmanship workshops that we do across campus on request and we also have special ones that we do at new faculty orientation and at Research Week. Again I mention the compass course. The compass course this fall has added some advanced classes for people that were previously certified in the spring or fall of last year and want to take some specific detailed educational type activities.
One more thing about the Plus 6 Program that I failed to mention is that the colleges that are involved are Education, Engineering, Human Sciences, Vet Medicine, Pharmacy, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. So if you are in one of those Colleges then you have a Plus person that can help you submit your proposals directly.
We had a subscription to Pivot. Pivot is a funding opportunity database and you can also locate collaborators from other institutions you might want to work with. And we have workshops that we provide to help people learn how to use those. We have funding letters and funding letters and funding letters and we have the Tiger Tips monthly newsletter, we’ve enhanced our Web site, we have Principle Investigator Handbook available on our Web site. And we also have a group on campus called the Auburn University Sponsored Programs and Advisory Network, which is a quarterly meeting where we get together with departmental administrative people, dean’s assistants and others where we need to visit with them and communicate information. They are specifically educated on proposal development submission.
The complexities of compliance are real, the process is complicated, but then so are the regulations. So I think what we have been trying to do in recent months is try to facilitate navigation of this process as much as we possibly can because it is complicated. Some of the things we’ve done is we revised a lot of forms to make them easier to use, make them more clear, reduce the amount of time that revisions are necessary. We’ve started all kinds of electronic distribution where we are not having to require 16 copies of protocols to be distributed to 16 committee members, we get one copy and distribute them electronically for the meetings and we review them electronically amongst the committee members.
We divided our Institutional Review Board for human subjects protection into two committees to be able to better focus the expertise to manage the volume and to get protocols processed faster through the system. We have an MRI Safety Advisory Council that we established to help us manage risk associated with our new MRI facility. And we have an online training system for responsible conduct of research, financial conflict of interest, Institutional Biosafety, human subjects usage and animal subjects usage, and these are provided on the Research Compliance Web site.
Another issue that everybody is concerned about is paper-based systems. In the electronic age when everybody, even two year olds, are connected to the internet it seems kind of silly to be engaged in any kind of paper-based system. But as you can see we all like to have something in front of us to read, so there will always be paper in our lives, but there are a lot of things we can do to and we have done recently to help manage this better. For conflict of interest disclosures review and management we have the COI smart system. Right now we only have for the public health service disclosures, but as the policy goes through the system where we may engage more individuals in conflict of interest management we will be able to use this system.
Technology Transfer has the thea system where you can do online invention disclosures. And once you’ve done a disclosure you can interact with the system to monitor the efforts of the technology transfer office on that technology.
All of our contracts and grants, all of our proposals are scanned and put in the extender system for anybody who want to have access to those. We originally did this because we were concerned about all of our original documents being in a 200-year old wooden framed building, but we have found that auditors use it. We have given access to individuals around campus, Technology Transfer uses it when they need to look up information, so it’s very valuable for us to have all of our stuff scanned in.
When we process something in Sponsored Programs we distribute that out through e-mail directly from our copier. We have an e-mail distribution list on our copy machine, we put the documents in once, hit a button, and it goes out to everybody on campus that needs to have it. So we don’t have to worry about paper-based systems [48:32]
Another one is communications, and I think communications is a problem all over campus. I’ve heard friends at other universities talk about communications being an issue. Some of the things we’ve done Dr. Mason mentioned the Faculty Research Committee, they were developed to help faculty engage in policy and procedure development to make sure that whatever we are developing the faculty have significant input into that and can help us with that.
The Education Program of Sponsored Programs has multiple audiences and multiple methodologies to communicate information across campus. We mentioned our Plus 6 Program, which has joined the Sponsored Programs Office in our staff meetings to make sure we are all on the same page with regards to the rules of the day. The University Research Council the Associate Dean’s for Research and AU SPAN meet monthly or quarterly so we can communicate tons of information in that way. We have been able to present updates quarterly to the deans at the Provost Council Meeting in terms of the annual reports and quarterly financial statements. I’ve been invited to present at the Department Head’s Retreat and we have other people in our office that present at venues around campus, and we have enhanced our Web site and we will be continuing to update our Web site. We are having some brown bag lunch seminars this fall and we have been having lunches for over a year with new faculty. Take 3 or 4 at a time a month and get to know them and help them engage with others on campus. [50:00]
So that’s what we’ve done so far. There are a lot of things we are in the process of doing in the coming months, we have a cover form that’s a routing document for contracts and grants and proposals, we have an electronic version that’s in the final stages of development very similar to all the other electronic vouchers and salary and wage transfers and things that you see in the myfunding project. We have selected key solutions for our online system for management of IRB and IACUC protocals as well as census and overall program management, inspections, those kind of things. We are in the process of hopefully renovating some space in Foy Union, it’s a fairly small space but it’s a place that we want to be able together with people for policy and procedure discussions. Some of these red team meetings that Dr. Mason mentioned where we can get a group of people together for interdisciplinary proposal development, go through the RFPs, do some strategizing. We want to be able to have our lunch and learn seminars there and we want to be able to just have some general rapport building with the faculty and the staff as we work on projects together. I think the key to the use of this space is we are going to do things together as a team.
Dr. Boosinger mentioned the strategic plan implementation team; we have for strategic priority 3 a committee that’s in charge of that and that committee is broken into sub committees and sub groups that will be mapping the commitments to the goals, identifying benchmarks and performance indicators. Looking at resources that we will be able to accomplish those goals and then establishing some priorities for our year one implementation. When you talk about increasing the research funding, the research enterprise and economic development it is a little bit of a linear process. You have to do better at submitting proposals and getting funded before you can actually have project that you are working on. And that’s what that committee will be focused on and how we will bring strategic priority two and strategic priority three together. [52:12]
In summary, over time faculty and investigators and others have expressed a lot of concerns, and we’ve done many, many, many things in the last year a half to try to make the overall process a little easier so that people will be more encouraged about engaging in the process. There is lots of new electronic administration, lots of new tools that are available, lots of new reference materials available for people that have questions. We also are setting up space where we can actually meet face-to-face instead of trying to push it all out in communications (lost her voice) on the strategic plan as a team of faculty, deans, department heads, researchers, sponsored program staff to implement strategic priority three. Thank you very much for letting me attend today.
Larry Crowley, chair: You covered everything, okay, I like that. I am really happy that Dan King has agreed to come here and always gives a wonderful presentation about the facilities here on campus and I am always appreciative of his updates. [53:40]
Dan King, Assistant VP of Facilities Management: Just a second to load the presentation. [53:43] [54:18] Thank you for letting me come talk to you today. I know it’s fairly late I’ll try to be pretty quick with what I’ll share with you today. Would really like to talk about three things.
A quick update on some current projects, what have we done recently, what’s underway now, and what’s sort of imminent to start, just talk briefly about the Master Plan and what we try to achieve with the Master Plan and then what might be coming up from a capital projects standpoint.
Most of these are on campus so I am not going to belabor these in any particular way, but we are coming off of a particularly busy period of the last 2 years as we’ve worked on a number of pretty major projects that spanned a range from research, to instructional, to residence halls, to student life type projects, parking, even AUM had a new residence hall built for the first time in about 30 years. We have several projects underway and some are about to start in about a year, so 3 that are currently in progress and need to be finished, first is the small animal teaching hospital which is a tremendous facility about 240–250 thousand square feet out at the Vet School. If you haven’t driven by there in recent months you might want to check that out one day. It will technically finish sometime in the summer but the actual small animal teaching hospital should finish in about the March timeframe so the faculty can get in there and operations begin in the March/April timeframe.
The Wellness Kitchen is right across from the new Residence Hall on the corner of South Donahue and Samford there, and that will be done next summer. You can see the structural frame going up in that picture there. Peet Theatre also is currently underway to be done by next summer in time for the next academic year. Then there are 3 other projects that have been teed up for awhile, we are finishing up the design and about to start construction on that you see listed there. Number 2 is also known as Bruno’s, our renovation of Bruno’s for the folks that might go out there. Currently it looks like it’s Treasury Grants and Accounting who are going to relocate from lease facilities out near Walmart and University Human Resources who will move out of Foy Hall. I think Library space, storage space for the Library will be there and maybe some Enrollment Management space to help them with their mailing function is currently the plan of what is going to Bruno’s [57:20] I t will be principly the first two that will be complete by next summer, the Treasury Grants and Accounting and Human Resources.
A project that’s been underway for a bit and the Board’s approved it is to add a faculty and student lounge onto Lowder Hall on the side, basically a Starbuck’s on the east side of Lowder to help with amenities in that section of campus because there is nothing too close to there at the moment. At Foy Hall the thought is to try to add yet another dining venue, we have a shortage of dining venues on campus. The demand is quite high and our capacity to meet the demand, the thought there is to introduce a Chicken Salad Chick into Foy Hall. There is a loading dock if you walk into where the courtyard is you pass a loading dock on your right hand side as you leave the Thach pedestrian walkway, so the loading dock goes away and the Chicken Salad Chick would be created there. One large repair project that we anticipate undertaking and starting in a couple of months is to repair the exterior of Dudley Hall which has a lot of exterior brick cracking, the building leaks, it has water intrusion and it’s a pretty important facility for the College of Architecture so we are very sensitive to building envelope issues so we are going to take that on. It will probably will take a little over a year to repair the exterior brick work.
You have heard mentioned a couple of times already that probably later this fall, maybe early in 2014 the College of Osteopathic Medicine is going to break ground and start construction out along South Donahue out closer to the Research Park. [59:19] That’s what we’ve been working on, that’s what’s currently in progress, and that’s sort of what is coming up.
I’d just like to talk about the master plan real quick, just a couple of points. One we are about to take it to the Board of Trustees this month for approval. I think I could look anyone in the eye and say we had a very inclusive process. We had a lot of meetings, this was not the case of facilities working in a vacuum, locking ourselves in a closet and coming up with a Master Plan on our own, we had a lot of meetings. This probably added a year or year and a half to the process but we have a lot better Master Plan as a result.
We spent a lot of time working on land use and this is probably the single biggest area of change from maybe where we were before. A couple of things with land use on campus. As the campus has grown competition for key space across the main campus has increased so we worked hard to project future needs and then to deconflict the locations where those needs might be met against the various organizations and entities on campus that have those requirements. I think we did a reasonably good job of hammering out the agreements to do that. A second thing that we did and finalized now and lock into place, we tried to indentify what we are calling field laboratories. It was made very clear by many of the college and schools that some of the land on campus, which people see as just open grass space or just a bunch of trees, has real academic value to those colleges and schools and departments. We should designate those as field laboratories so the thought is not lost that these have that academic value. Our intent would eventually be to issue permits for the use of those areas, not unlike a city would permit various parcels of property so we can kind of manage that and keep squatters from moving on other areas. So we are trying to put a little bit of governance in place relative to land use.
Then maybe the third thing I think that will come out of the land use discussion is a much greater focus on Parkerson Mill Creek as a wetlands, on campus as a physical feature of the campus that is very important that needs to be protected into the future. A lot of emphasis on land use.
We implemented a space model in this Master Plan for the first time the university has one where we can put fairly objective input such as credit hours FTEs, things like that and crank out how much space is really required. The pedagogy of how a certain subject is taught and the result that comes out of the model is an estimate of the space required for that function or for those set of courses.[1:02:56] We had some interesting findings as a result of this and some of them were that, you can see listed there, the greatest or academic instructional space deficit on campus is in instructional laboratories. Of that the college with the greatest deficit in instructional laboratories is COSAM. And that’s probably not terribly surprising. It quantifies it a bit and it certainly seems to correlate with the anecdotal thought of, we’ve heard for several years and the Provost has heard as well, that we have a bit of a bottleneck at getting students through STEM laboratory based courses. That impacts negatively on student graduation, so a bit of quantification of that. Overall it appears that we do not have a shortage of classroom facilities. What we have a problem with relative to classrooms is quality, as in the diversity of the size, the flexibility of the classrooms. They are not geared for project based, most of them are somewhat the same size, a little 45 student box in Haley Center, technology is poor, they really do not seem to allow the faculty the flexibility to teach the way many want to teach in the future here.
Many conclusions came out of this but one that really stuck out was that the School of Nursing has the single greatest deficit of space by percentage of any college or school on campus. They have about 21% of the space; our model it may not be 100% right but it is reasonably right, estimates that they need so they’ve been operating in a very significant shortage of space. Again that seems to correlate with like in the anecdotal evidence of the past. Because of space constraints their classes were kept small and they have been turning away exceptionally high-qualified students the last couple of years. [1:05:17]
Some interesting things came out of the space model that will have impact as you’ll see in a minute or two on what we might do in the future from a capital projects standpoint. What we tried to do is really use the information from both the Master Plan as well as the Strategic Plan, which was just finished this past 6 months. Last year we worked a lot on the Strategic Plan. The Provost lead the effort. If you were to ask me a year ago or a year-and-a-half ago, what’s really the strategy for capital projects we would have told you it is to replace old academic buildings in the core of campus. Replace Haley, Parker, Allison, Funchess, Upchurch, Spidle, all those buildings are probably at the end of their useful life. They were not well built buildings to begin with, they all have major system problems, they are going to need a major investment and a renovation or replacement. That was really the core strategy before we saw from a maintenance standpoint, we took all that to Dr. Mazey when she was Provost and she supported that strongly because as it turns out and you know better than probably I do, those are also really bad buildings academically. Enhancing those buildings, replacing those buildings will help the academic mission.
Well that’s sort of where we were. We’ve taken that strategy and ran it through the filters of what we learned from the Master Plan. Even more important ran it through the filter of where is the university going for the strategic plan, and the last filter and the most important filter probably, and I don’t know if we got all the way through the filter yet, is what’s affordable, what can the university afford?
You’ve seen a lot of project pictures I put up before. We borrowed a lot of money on campus. The university needs to be sensitive to its financial rating and our ability to borrow money, so that’s a real issue. But if you ask me now today, what’s the theme or what’s the message of the capital project program for the future, what I would tell you is that it has evolved now away from replacing older academic buildings. All that still needs to get done, but the top priority now is really enhance student success.
Among the list of projects that that might involve, many of these have been on the list for the last 3, 4, 5 years, some new buildings, several are…we won’t go through all of those, but the two up at the top there, Academic Success Center at Mell Commons, and Academic Success Center at Roosevelt Commons are really a newly named if you will, Central Classroom Facility. We see that being split between two locations on campus, that function of providing new classroom space, state of the art classroom space, the Mell portion of that, about a third of the overall project would be in front of the Library along Mell Street, hence the name. With the thought of trying to create synergies between the classroom space, again these new classrooms with the Library so students can come there, go to class, when they are not in class they can go in the Library and study, utilize all the resources that the Library has that support student studying and education, come back to class over there or go where ever they have to go. But it continues to utilize the Library as a hub of learning and we think greatly enhances it by a combination of both classroom and Library. Then the Roosevelt Commons piece is really two thirds of what would have if we had built one building as a central classroom facility, Roosevelt Commons would be two-thirds of that and that is where Parker and Allison are currently today. Very central location on campus, near the Student Center, near the Transit Hub that’s right there at the Stadium, pretty good access for most people. Again very central place on campus.
The STEM laboratory building is really a direct result of the finding that came out of the space model on our greatest academic deficit that appears to be instructional laboratory space. Again that has negative implications on the ability of students to get through those courses, which in turn negatively impacts their graduation rates. So a fairly high-priority project would be a new facility to increase the number of STEM laboratories on campus, that also would go in the Parker/Allison space. I’ve got a map I can show you that in a couple of minutes. [1:10:16]
One of the things that the two academic success center projects does is that it greatly reduces the reliance on the classroom space in Haley Center which gives us a lot more flexibility with what we could do in Haley Center. Another project that’s been sort of in the works for a while would be a new College of Education building or some significant donor opportunities there as I understand it. So if you think the classroom space is about a third of Haley, College of Education is about a third of Haley, two academic success centers new College of Education Building, get about two-thirds of Haley vacated. A large part is Liberal Arts and some other functions, the Bookstore in there, but it really starts to open up Haley and give us some flexibility for what could happen in there.
You’ll see fifth on the list, the new School of Nursing, that’s probably a reflection of the fact that the School of Nursing has been operating in a major deficit for quite a while. They have a high-demand major and they are turning away tremendously qualified students that leave Auburn and go elsewhere, and also impacts our graduation rate so that’s up there. Then you can see some of the projects that would have been there for the last two or three years, some of the replacements of Funchess, Upchurch, and Spidle. Relative to Liberal Arts in Haley, some classrooms are now out of Haley although there are still some in there. We are far less dependant on the classrooms in Haley and if Education is out of there largely Liberal Arts is left so what do we do there? We’ve talked about several options there. You could build a new Liberal Arts Building somewhere on campus and put all of Liberal Arts in there. Some discussion was that we could build a new Pharmacy Building out at the Health Science campus, which is where Nursing would go if we built a new Nursing Building. I’ll show you all that in a minute. And then use the Walker Building as a Liberal Arts Building. Pharmacy likes that because they could get an even newer building than the current building they have, which is in great shape, and Liberal Arts likes it because the Walker Building is a fabulous building. Part of the problem with that is nobody thinks anyone will donate money to help build a new Pharmacy building when they have a really nice Pharmacy building, so maybe that’s not as workable. Another could be if two-thirds Haley is vacant you could knock down the tower and knock down a quad or two, take Haley down to the bare concrete structure and reconfigure it in a fairly radical different way that would look nothing like the current Haley Center and be pretty high-quality space. Haley Center is still in the best location of the entire campus. So there are a lot of options on what could happen there, no decision has been made on any of that.
A bunch of renovation projects, those are all needed but those probably need to be done through differed maintenance at some point maybe when differed maintenance becomes a little bit more robust. There are some parking facilities and some other things like that. I believe probably what are the top priorities at the moment, these have not been approved by the senior administration, these have not been approved by the President, nor have they been approved by the Board of Trustees so I caveat all that, but I think as the Provost has worked these and gotten a lot of advise from a lot of different folks, those would probably be the top priorities that might be put forward for execution during this decade. We certainly cannot do that whole big long list, that’s 400 million bucks, no way could we afford to buy all that, not even sure you could buy all this amount. Capital Campaign will play into this, the Development Campaign, but those are probably at the top of the pecking order at the moment.
Based on where we were before some of the things we learned in the Master Plan and a lot about what did we learn from the Strategic Plan or where do we need to go as a result of the Strategic Plan. This is just a diagram out of the Master Plan, I can show you real quick where some things might go. This is the Library that’s where Mell Commons Academic Success Center. That’s the Roosevelt Commons portion of the Academic Success Center. This would be the STEM Building roughly speaking where Parker/Allison are, that’s the campus green. If we were to replace Spidle it would stay largely in the same neighborhood maybe slide down to the corner, that’s where Mell Hall used to be so it is currently vacant and you could build on that while they still occupied Spidle. If we ever replace Funchess, and Funchess needs to be replaced, here in orange the academic buildings that would be needed for both Ag and COSAM to do that. That might have to be a parking garage in the middle to support that. College of Education, these are the Hill Dorms, College of Education would go on the back side of the Hill Dorms adjacent to Poultry Science, adjacent to the OIT Building and adjacent to the new parking garage. That’s a pretty nice neighborhood these days.
Just working around the clock here this is where the Health Science Campus would be, V-com is off the screen lower than this. If we were to build a new School of Nursing it would go on the corner there, and this could be School of Pharmacy should that ever come to pass or some other research buildings in this area research related to health science. This is Haley Center with tower gone and two quads gone, that’s what it could look like. A lot of things could happen there but that’s just one rendering of what could happen. Just some what if planning from a site standpoint. Overall in the Master Plan in the core of campus we calculate that we still have a capacity for about 2 million square feet of space. That would be awfully dense, it would take up a lot of existing surface parking but we still have a pretty good maximum capacity for facilities in the core of campus. That concludes my presentation I’d be happy to take any questions you have.
Bill Sauser, Immediate Past Chair: I did want to comment and reiterate what Dan said about the process of putting these ideas together. This was very open, very transparent, many faculty members involved, I was privileged to be part of the process. I was really impressed to see it come together and see the academic priorities, the strategic plan, all the various parts of campus discussing these at one time and I think we are heading in the right direction. We are also delighted of course to see the two aspects of the Central Classroom Facility there, heading the list. Thanks.
Dan King, Assistant VP of Facilities Management: Really the top 3 projects, the two Academic Success Centers, STEM are directly focused at the students and would greatly help students on this campus succeed academically. Any other questions? I know it’s late, thank you.
Larry Crowley, chair: Is there any unfinished business? Any new business or announcements? We’ll be adjourned, thank you all very much. [1:18: 20]