NEWS FROM FACULTY COUNCIL #4
Date: February 11, 2011
The following is a summary of the Faculty Council meeting held on January 27th.
State Teachers Retirement System
The Vice President for Human Resources, Larry Lewellen, reported that there likely will be changes to the state’s five public pension funds, including STRS, the one of most interest to faculty. The state legislature must approve any changes, but among the various changes being proposed, said Lewellen, are changes in age and service eligibility; altering the computation of one’s final average salary from using the highest-earning three years to using the highest five; a reduction in cost of living increases; and an increase in employee contributions. The need for change to the system has many causes, one being the current economic crisis and the other, that pension recipients are living longer than in the past.
A proposed plan for phased retirement will be brought forward to the faculty for discussion at the next Council meeting.
Lewellen also reported that the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, at the request of President Gee and Provost Alutto, has launched a survey to assess OSU faculty views of the strengths and weaknesses of their workplace. The survey is like one conducted in 2008 and is intended to help measure the University’s progress in positioning its faculty for success and ensuring Ohio State is doing all it can to promote faculty professional satisfaction. Faculty members are urged to complete the survey, which will end on February 22nd.
Council chair Mudrak announced that she, Lewellen, the other faculty leaders, and Vice Provost Susan Williams had recommended to the President and Provost that the Senn-Delany culture transformation workshops (described in the previous Faculty Council newsletter) be paused until this faculty survey makes clear what faculty concerns are.
Rules on Senate Elections
Chair of Rules, T.K.Daniel, presented two new proposed changes to the faculty rules, previously approved by the Rules and Steering Committees, one stipulating that annual senate elections begin the second week of January and voting end by the first of March; and a second proposal specifying that committees elect chairs no later than the end of spring and that they serve through the following academic year. The Council unanimously approved these rules.
A reminder: Senate elections are currently underway. We encourage you to step forward and get involved.
Fiscal Committee Report:
Chair of Fiscal, Scott Sweetland, described the general work of the committee and its subcommittees. He noted that nothing definite is known yet about what the State’s contribution to the University’s budget will be. He also reported that the Fiscal Committee is conscious of the issue of tuition increases at the regional campuses. Fair Use and Copyright Issues:
To explain an October 2010 memo from the CIO’s office concerning consumer information on copyrighted materials, Mike Steffensmeier from the Office of Legal Affairs and Tricia Davis of the Libraries made presentations offering background about the legality of downloading materials. Steffensmeier pointed out that the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires institutions to notify students annually about illegal downloading and peer-to-peer sharing of copyrighted materials that may subject them to civil and criminal liabilities. The memo was chiefly directed to students, but it also was sent to faculty and staff.
Trisha Davis, Associate Professor University Libraries, distributed copies of two Libraries’ brochures: 1) The Copyright Help Center and 2) Fair Use in the Classroom. As the university’s copyright educator, she and Anne Gilliland of the Health Sciences Copyright Office, and Trisha’s staff in the Libraries’ Rights Management Office regularly work with faculty to assist them in making Fair Use decisions in the classroom and explaining the copyright law. They also assist with determining rights for eReserves and the Knowledge Bank and work with faculty negotiating publishing agreements to assure the maximum rights are retained for the author and the university. To access these services, you may: call the Copyright Help Center: 688-5849; email the Copyright Help Center: libCopyright@osu.edu; or browse the OSU Copyright website: http://library.osu.edu/sites/copyright.
The Committee on the Physical Environment organized a presentation on the new ‘framework’ for the University, an ambitious plan for the physical environment of the campus for the next several decades. Chair of COPE, Bruce Johnson, introduced two guests from Facilities Operations and Development, Terry Foegler, assistant vice president for physical planning and real estate, and Julie Anstine, assistant to the vice president, who explained this Board-adopted framework, which is driven by the academic mission. It assumes there will be no new academic space and that the physical venue for projects should meet multiple goals; it also affirms a pedestrian core to the campus and the improvement of on-campus residential areas. The guests focused on a number of issues, including plans for an ‘arts gateway’ at 15thand High Street, re-use of the St. John Arena parcel, making better use of the river and areas adjacent to it, staying conscious of the significant amount of deferred maintenance on campus, and attending to various parking needs.
The Senate now has a new, redesigned and user-friendly Webpage, the primary source of information for the Senate and Faculty Council. Concerns in using the site should be directed to the Senate Recording Secretary, Josh Gillespie (.85).
Myroslava M. Mudrak, Chair, Faculty Council
James Rathman, Vice-Chair, Faculty Council
Richard Gunther, Chair, Steering Committee
Christian Zacher, Secretary of the Senate