12-09-2014 Faculty Senate Minutes

Faculty Senate

Meeting Minutes

December 9, 2014



Les Gerhardt, Jose Holguin-Veras, Lois Peters, Pawel Keblinski, Matthew Oehlschlaeger, Diana Borca-Tasciuc, Christopher Bystroff, Atsushi Akera, Murali Chari, Jennifer Monger, Antoinette Maniatty.

Next meeting:   February 11, 2015; 8:15-9:45am; Library Fischbach Room


1) Welcome by the President – Lester Gerhardt

Meeting opens at 3:15pm. Professor Gerhardt welcomes the group.  The Provost, Stan Dunn, Wayne Bequette and Vincent Meunier were not able to attend today and send their apologies.

2) Approval of the Minutes – October 29, 2014

Professor Bystroff motions, Professor Peters seconds. All in favor. So moved.

3) Standing Committee Report

Curriculum: Professor Gerhardt read the report sent to him by Professor Bequette. (attached as a separate document-NOT ATTACHED AS YET). Last fall, a Core Curriculum committee, formed by the Provost, was asked to do a review of the current core curriculum requirements.  They completed their assessment and submitted their recommendations to the Provost at the end of last year.  Professor Mistur, who served as co-chair of this committee, made a presentation to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee (FSCC) on September 24 on their work.  At the suggestion of the FSCC, Professor Mistur was asked to do a presentation to the Executive Committee, and did so on Dec. 3.  The Executive Committee’s findings have been forwarded to FSCC which will in turn factor these into their recommendation to be made to the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Linda Schadler.  The approach that the committee made was to look at issues and pose questions, they did not propose solutions.  Peer institutions and different models were evaluated (e.g., Princeton, Columbia, Georgia Tech, Univ. of Rochester). There was some discussion around an exercise such as this that was completed at MIT.  

4) Status Reports

a.     Faculty Handbook: Having completed the review of the Handbook changes with the Provost, the handbook was sent for review to Human Resources and Legal.  Upon completion of those reviews, the Faculty will make a final review and offer any remaining comments via the Faculty Senate. The Senate will then vote on the final document.

b.     Advising Proposal: With the approval of the proposal, the first workshop will be set up for the spring 2015 semester. 

c.     Faculty Development and Retention Forum: Professors Peters spoke.  The Forum on Teaching Excellence is scheduled for Feb. 4. She will send the note to faculty for topics to vote on the first week of the spring semester. She asked that the Senators send her their comments and recommendations by email.  It was suggested that she look at the recipients of teaching excellence awards within each school for possible speakers and also to ask them who they would recommend.  Professor Akera recommended that this seminar would be better attended in the fall semester and going forward this information should be gathered at the end of the spring semester in order to hold the seminar in the fall.

(1)   ACTION ITEM: Professor Peters to send survey to faculty to vote on possible topics 1st week of spring 2015 semester.

d.     Eulogies: In regard to the 17 professors who have passed away this past year, their Eulogies were posted on the Senate website. Jill Evans, has been hired to pull this information together in a hard copy format which is close to completion. This will be sent to the families of the deceased.

e.     Core Curriculum Report Review:  This was discussed in item 3A above.

f.      Middle States: Professors Oehlschlaeger and Gerhardt represented the Senate Executive Committee when they spoke to the team that is responsible for ‘Standard 4: Leadership and Governance’ on Dec. 5. They answered questions that the team had as they prepare information for the Middle States review.

g.     Performance Plan Presentations:  Professors Gerhardt, Keblinski, Persans and Schoch attended the recent Deans' Council Performance Planning Retreat that was held November 14th  and reported.  This was a meeting for the Deans to present their plans to the Provost for the coming year.  There was some group discussion on how to help keep current teaching support dollars vs the other new initiatives that are also in demand of capital and not having morale affected.  Professors who are working to teach current objectives need to feel that they are being supported.

5) Old Business

a.     Policies on Biographies and Eulogies:  Professor Akera spoke.  At the last Senate meeting, Professors Akera, Bystroff and McLaughlin volunteered to be on an ad-hoc committee to tackle this item.  A proposal policy has been created and distributed for comments at this meeting.  It was suggested that this policy be called Retirement Biographies vs. Eulogies.  A Preamble was requested to be added.

ACTION: A revised and final Policy will be reviewed and voted upon at the next Senate meeting.

b.     Evaluation Form for TA’s:  At the last meeting, it was discussed and was suggested and agreed that the TA evaluations supported using Digital Measures be made available to the TAs for their future use.  Since this is an OGE owned item, it is not the Senate’s responsibility to create the evaluation form.  However, HASS previously created an evaluation form for its TA’s and this was distributed at the meeting, meant as an example.  Linda Schalder is already working on this item.  If there are any senators who would like to provide their comments, they should send them to Professor Keblinski. 

ACTION:Professor Keblinski will discuss the Senate’s comments regarding the TA evaluation and suggested questions with Professor Schadler.

c.     Honor and Awards Process: Professor McLaughlin was not present to report.

6) New Business:

a.     Agenda/Theme for April 2015 General Faculty Meeting:  Professor Gerhardt asked for ideas/topics that could be presented at the spring, 2015 meeting.  Some discussion around what topics would be of interest to faculty to attract a larger audience.  It was noted that more people did attend the General Faculty meeting in November than any previous meeting.  Topic suggested was Faculty Development and Retention.  It was suggested that an outside speaker who is an expert in the field, would draw more people.  It was further suggested that the topic focus more on the development aspect to appeal to more faculty members.  Professor Holguin-Veras, as Chair of the Faculty and responsible for the General Faculty Meeting, asked that people email him their suggestions.

b.     Special Election:  Professor Keblinski spoke.  Professor Oehlschlaeger has accepted an administrative role in the School of Engineering so he will be stepping down as Recording Secretary.  A special election will be held to fill the vacancy and nominations are requested.  The Recording Secretary is a member of the Executive Committee, and following that position, becomes Secretary of the Senate the following year, and Secretary of the Faculty in the third year. Please send your nominations to Professor Keblinksi.  The elections will be held early in the spring 2015 semester. 

(1)   ACTION ITEM: Professor Keblinksi will organize and execute a special Faculty Senate Election in the early part of the spring 2015 semester.

c.     Planning and Resources: A brief discussion ensued about the specific functions and responsibilities of the P&R Committee. Reference was made to the Constitution in which the role of all standing committees is defined.

d.     A December 7th article in the Chronical of Higher Education was raised for discussion. It was requested that the Executive Committee meet in the next few days to discuss this further and any action that need be taken.

Action Items Summary

1)     ACTION ITEM: Professor Peters to send survey to faculty to vote on possible topics regarding faculty develoment.

2)     ACTION ITEM: Professor Keblinksi will organize and execute a special Faculty Senate Election in the early part of the spring 2015 semester

3)     ACTION: A revised and final Policy for the collection of faculty eulogies will be reviewed and voted upon at the next Senate meeting.

4)     ACTION:Professor Keblinski will discuss the Senate’s comments regarding TA evaluations and suggested questions with Professor Schadler.


Professor Akera motions to adjourn. Seconded by Professor Keblinski.  All in favor. So moved.  Adjourned at 5:08pm.