University Faculty Meeting: March 29, 2022
3:30 p.m.
On Zoom. 

Call to Order
Todd Steury (University Faculty Chair) called the meeting to order at 3:30 pm. He discussed the rules that would be used during the meeting and introduced the elected University faculty officers for 2021-2022.

Approval of the minutes from the University Faculty Meeting of October 26, 2021:
The minutes were approved with no objections by unanimous consent

Remarks and Announcements:
University Faculty Chair Todd Steury
Chair Steury shared updates on the work of the university senate, senate committees, and the faculty officers, since the last University Faculty meeting in fall 2021.
In particular, he focused on the work of committees during the year.  The senate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee has been working on establishing a departmental award for diversity and inclusion. Ad hoc committees have been established to evaluate the post-tenure review process, to develop a policy for how the university should deal with external harassment of faculty, and to explore the possibility of adding rank(s) above that of full professor.  The non-tenure-track faculty committee has been asked to explore the possibility of adding an additional rank above senior lecturer. Finally, a new ad hoc committee has been established to explore ways in which teaching is evaluated at Auburn University and, potentially, to put forward recommendations for changes in the policy on using teaching evaluations for the purposes of for annual review and Promotion and Tenure.
There were no questions.
President Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University
President Jay Gogue began by discussing COVID. He thanked faculty for their work during the pandemic, singling out the School of Pharmacy, the AU Medical Clinic, and the Social Work Program for particular praise.
He then moved on to discuss admissions.  This year there were nearly 50,000 applications, a 67% increase in student interest in applying to Auburn over the previous year. The Board of Trustees sets certain expectations for admissions: 60% of the students must be from Alabama; there should be no decrease in standards or graduation rates. President Gogue expects a freshman class of between 5,000 and 5,500.  The target of admitting at least 60% from Alabama has been met. About 13.5% of total admissions will be from underrepresented minorities. The average GPA for admitted students is 4.13 and the average ACT is 28+.
President Gogue added a note on the university’s effort to tackle issues of retention with need-based aid. The Development Office has led an effort to create 300 new scholarships available to current as well as prospective students. These will represent about 18 million dollars in need-based aid.
He reported that the financial standing of the university was strong. State funding will be up about 9%, representing about 27 million dollars in new funds. The economic outlook going forward also looks good.  Unemployment is a little less than 3% and last year the state had a record collection of tax revenues, and it is up 16% on last year this year.  This bodes well for next year’s revenue streams.  The city of Auburn is also doing well. The 2010-2020 census shows that Auburn’s population increased by roughly 43 percent
For the first time, Auburn broke into the top 100 universities nationally in terms of research funding last year.  Auburn ranked 61st nationally in terms of schools without medical schools.  Auburn is on target to reach its five-year target of trying to reach 374 million by fiscal year 2023-2024.
Auburn completed 11 capital projects valued at 390 million dollars last year, adding about 900,000 new square feet of space on campus.  Two new buildings will be operational in the fall – the Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex (ACLC), with laboratory capacity for 2,000 students, and the Raine culinary building, which will house the College of Human Sciences’ hospitality and culinary science programs. “The Edge” dining facility for students has also been opened.
Some buildings have also been demolished. The old poultry area in the Research park has been moved.  The Ham Wilson Livestock Arena has been demolished. In May, the Hill resident dormitories will begin to come down. This is the anticipated location for a new College of Education building and a new STEM / Agricultural Sciences complex. This will allow Funchess and Parker Halls to be emptied and Geology to vacate the Colosseum.
Preisdent Gogue moved finally to discuss fundraising. In the first two quarters of this year, the university has raised 118 million dollars, which is right at the goal for the entire year.  This is the first year the university’s endowment has exceeded 1 billion dollars.  About 1 million dollars was raised during Tiger Giving Day. 1,031 faculty and staff made contributions, a strong investment in the community and the university.

Vini Nathan, Interim Provost:
Interim Provost Nathan updated faculty that the university is currently running five searches for deans or interim deans.  She will inform faculty once the searches conclude.

There were no questions for President Gogue or Interim Provost Nathan.

Information Items
Announcement of Chair-Elect and Secretary-Elect
Presenter: Mark Carpenter, Senate Chair-Elect
Mark Carpenter announced the election of Lisa Kensler (College of Education) as chair-elect and Linda Gibson Young (College of Nursing) as secretary-elect for terms of office beginning in 2022-2023.

Message from the local branch of the AAUP
Presenter: Matthew Hoch, President, Auburn University Chapter of the AAUP
Matthew Hoch introduced the mission of the AAUP in terms of advocating for the protection of tenure, the advancement of academic freedom and shared governance. He explained to faculty the work of the local AAUP chapter.
He also explained to faculty the work of the AAUP’s Committee A, which serves as a resource and advocates for faculty who believe their rights to academic freedom and/or due process have been infringed on.  Cases are confidential and the AAUP therefore cannot give examples of what Committee A has done.
He concluded his presentation by announcing the winner of the 2022 Glenn Howze Academic Freedom Award, Robin Jaffe.

Update on Campus Parking
Presenter: Arishna Lastinger, Associate Director of Parking
Arishna Lastinger updated faculty on proposed changes to parking beginning in fall 2022. She highlighted increases in prices, including the levying of a $300 charge for reserved faculty/staff and administrative / deans’ spaces, and the doubling of parking charges for A-zone and B-zone permits (increasing them to $160 and $80 respectively). A-zone parking will now be available for all faculty and staff on a first-come-first-served basis, with no restrictions. Motorcycle permits will rise in cost from $50 dollars to $75 dollars annually. Arishna Lastinger noted that parking charges will continue to increase over the coming years.
The Lowder lot (187 spaces) and the RBD Library deck (322 spaces) will be turned into reserved lots and the spaces will be “sold” on a first-come, first-served basis for exempt employees (as defined by the Federal Wage and Hours Board) or non-exempt employees who have been at Auburn for more than ten years. Reserved spaces will cost 300 dollars annually.  These lots will be monitored by fixed LPR cameras, which read license plates.
LPR cameras are also being added to Wilmore Drive and Thach Avenue. There will be new B-zone locations in the administrative complex on East Glenn and at Campus Safety. She informed faculty about developments in the micro-mobility program. This previously provided e-bikes.  They are exploring the provision of e-scooters. Parking Services is also planning to implement a registration policy for departmental vehicles.
Finally, she noted the implementation of new “Pay by Space” spaces in the RBD Library deck, Lowder lot, and the Arena lot, where drivers can park and use a QR code to pay by the hour ($2 for the 1st hour and $5 per hour after that).
Arishna Lastinger shared a link for faculty where they can provide anonymous feedback, questions, or concerns: aub.ie/2022ParkingFeedback.

Mark Barnett (Civil and Environmental Engineering) asked about parking on the north-east quadrant of campus and what has been done to address that.  He noted that there was a parking study done by a consultant about five years ago and asked how its recommendations were considered.
Arishna Lastinger responded that what she had presented was in fact a start on implementing the recommendations made in that study.  Regarding the north-eastern quadrant, the area near Toomer’s corner, she noted that this is where they are putting in fixed LPR.
Barnett asked about a recommendation made by the study on using zoning to push faculty away from the north-east quadrant of campus, and whether it had been followed up on. Lastinger replied that it had not yet been followed up on: they are focusing first on the Library deck and the Lowder lot.

Update on Presidential Task force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Presenters: Joellen Sefton, Chair of the Task Force; Joffery Gaymon, Vice President for Enrollment
Joellen Sefton presented an overview of the work of the Presidential Task Force for Opportunity and Equity, a temporary task force charged with providing recommendations on addressing racial inequality in Auburn.  The task force makes recommendations to the university’s administration but does not have any power to implement those recommendations.
Joffery Gaymon spoke on the work of the subcommittees of the taskforce, and some of the positive outcomes of its focus on new-student recruitment and retention.  These include a 20+% increase in new African-American freshman and transfer student enrollment and 3.5 million dollars awarded in needs-based aid in fall 2021. Auburn has piloted a flexible admissions model, expanding access by guaranteeing admission to Alabama’s valedictorians and salutorians and has made application easier by joining Common App. About 10% of scholarship funds were shifted towards need / non-merit aid. Significantly, enrollment services has seen an increase in the number of under-represented students getting merit studentships as well as needs-based scholarships. The Task Force has also responsible for revising the university’s Diversity Statement, and introducing EEO/DEI education via EVERFi modules.
In terms of recruitment and retention of African-American staff, Auburn has developed new recruitment language and new recruitment tools. The Task Force also recommended increasing the minimum wage on campus, which the university has done.
Discussions are in progress in terms of creating an Institute for African-American and Black Studies.  A subcommittee is working on an updated proposal (defining structure, research focus, and expected outcomes) to present to the Task Force. The subcommittee for Black Graduate Students just presented its findings to the Task Force, and the Task Force will work with its recommendations and bring them to the Interim Provost. Finally, a subcommittee for Black Student Retention (undergraduate) recommended creating a forming an office of student advocacy.  In response the Division of Student Affairs is creating a student advocacy position to work with underrepresented students as well as students in other marginalized populations. A search for this position initially failed, but new candidate interviews are underway. Another recommendation, to launch a new climate study, is also in progress.
Joffery Gaymon ended by noting that the Task Force was intended to be temporary and recommended that some sort of structure be put in place to ensure that the university continues to make progress on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
There were no questions.

New Business

Hearing no new business, Chair Steury adjourned the spring 2022 General Faculty Meeting at 4:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Ralph Kingston
Senate Secretary