May 26, 2011

Senate meeting, 26 May 2011

The Senate voted on proposals from Rules, the Arts and Sciences Reapportionment ad hoc, and the Council on Academic Affairs (CAA). It heard reports from the Arts & Sciences Oversight ad hoc committee, CAA, the Faculty Compensation and Benefits Committee (FCBC), the Fiscal Committee, the Graduate Compensation and Benefits Committee (GCBC), and the Council on Student Affairs. Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the Council of Graduate Students (CGS), and the InterProfessional Council (IPC) reported on their year’s work. Myroslava Mudrak reflected on her year as Faculty Council chair.

While President Gee presided, his laryngitis precluded speech, and Charles Wilson, Professor of Law, spoke for him.

Chris Zacher, Secretary of Senate, reminded senators that most Senate work was done in committees. There are a greater than usual number of committee reports this year. He indicated that there were adjustments in the agenda needed. Rules’ CAFR proposal needs further refinement of language, so it was withdrawn. The Arts and Sciences Senate Apportionment proposal was inadvertently not sent to Rules, so it was withdrawn. The report on semester conversion will be covered by the CAA report. The FCBC report was inadvertently left off the agenda as written.

Wilson asked for a motion, which was seconded, to amend the agenda. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Zacher reported that Kay Halasek was elected chair-elect of Faculty Council. Steering is to choose its chair next month. Zacher announced that he was retiring as of 1 July, and that Tim Gerber would be the new Secretary of Senate.

Rules proposals

T. K. Daniel, chair of the Rules Committee, asked for an amendment to change the 04 proposal wording from “which” to “that” to make sure we don’t misuse English, with a nod to the English Department and a Professor of Physics. There was no dscussion, and the vote of support was unanimous. The proposal would change the grounds for revocation of tenure and dismissal from a “failure to meet obligations with respect to teaching, research, and service” to a “serious failure to meet his or her obligations as a faculty member.” The proposal also included several technical changes related to the formation of the hearing panel. There was no discussion and this motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

There is a proposal to change to the membership of the Council on Libraries and Information Technology; a staff member was added. There was no discussion and this motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

There were changes proposed to the Committee on Evaluation of Administrators that changes when the terms of committee members begin, when reports are due, that all senior administrators are subject to the review, and that the committee will report to Steering. There was no discussion and this motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

At present, a faculty member can be denied consideration for promotion for four years. The proposal would reduce this to one year. Daniel was asked whether this meant that a faculty member could request promotion every year under this new proposal. The answer was that the rule would allow petitions every other year. This motion then passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Arts and Sciences Reapportionment committee proposal

Phil Binkley, chair of the ad-hoc Arts and Sciences Reapportionment committee presented his report. A request was made of the Secretary of the Senate that he fix the spelling of Gene Mumy’s name in the records to reflect its correct spelling. The Secretary of the Senate said that he would do that. The motion was moved and seconded and then passed unanimously on a voice vote.

CAA proposal

Jim Cogdell, CAA co-chair, presented the proposal to change the name of the Department of Ophthalmology to the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science. The proposal was moved and seconded. A questioner asked why “vision science”? The answer was that faculty members in the department were working with engineers, doing nanotechnology and pathology in addition to ophthalmology, and the original name did not capture the expanded reach of the department. The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Arts and Sciences Oversight Committee report

Jim Cogdell, Arts and Sciences Oversight ad hoc committee chair, noted that the report was mandated by the Senate vote forming the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee was to secure and review the memorandun of understanding (MoU) founding the college. It was to assess how the consolidation was proceeding and make recommendations, and report to the Senate. The committee met extensively with principals and faculty members.

Cogdell reported that no MoU existed. It seemed purposeless to the committee to draw one up this late. The college is a work in progress. The dean is developing and implementing policy. The promotion and tenure piece is in place, and the pattern of administration should be ready by 1 July. The budget process is in place. There is a procedure for hiring requests that will go into effect the next academic year. The Arts and Sciences service center is running. The committee sees the college on a secure footing.

Executive Dean Steinmetz has formed three advisory committees, composed of faculty, staff, and students. The faculty advisory committee is at work, the staff committee is still figuring out its role, and the student committee was just formed.

The cash left around in departments has been centralized. The college is keeping track of the money. These are commitments that belonged in the missing MoU. The procedure needs to be formalized.

There have been “a few bumps in the road.” The views of the executive dean and the department chairs and staffs were not in complete agreement; there is more uncertainty in the departments. The lines of communication need to be more fluid. Differences among divisions still remain. A shared governance structure analogous to the University Senate does not exist. Consultation and communication need improvement.

The service center is seen differently by various constituencies, which is a serious issue. The business service center model needs examination.

There is a concern for long-term stability. The current dean is viewed as good, but there is concern about what will happen when he leaves. The committee would like to see the good procedures formalized.

The committee recommends that, in the future, no legislation be sent to the University Senate without the explicit MoU.

Staff need to be better utilized.

Policies and procedures need to be formalized.

The committee recommends that its oversight continue at least one further year. There are areas that have not yet been examined. Until the college is in its final form, the committee is useful. In its meeting with Executive Dean Steinmetz, they found that he was aware of the issues raised.

Zacher said he would convey the report to the Steering Committee.

FCBC report

Gene Holland, chair of FCBC, noted an unexpected finding—OSU fell two positions versus benchmarks. These are base salaries, and some of the benchmarks were taking furloughs (e.g., Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota).

The committee is examining how the internal resource allocation processes work, that is, how resources are distributed among tenure track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, and senior administration.

The committee considered STRS reform, but the process is still ongoing in the legislature. Employee contributions are certain to go up. There will be changes in final acerage salary, cost of living adjustments, and so on. The proposal to shift 2% from employer to employee is still alive.

FCBC is examining OSU-approved annuities.

FCBC is doing a pilot study on gender equity, examining, MaPS, Engineering, and Vet Med.This may prompt a study of the situation in the entire university.

Fiscal report

Scott Sweetland, Fiscal Committee chair, told the Senate that the full committee had two subcommittees, “central services” and “central distribution.” Concerning the state budget, the committee was “anticipatory and reactionary.” There are as yet no final figures. The committee remains guardedly optimistic.

There are duplicated efforts on evaluation of administrators that are being worked out.

There is concern that semester conversion could disrupt study abroad.

There will be a recentralization of space allocation charges.

GCBC report

Jason Marion, GCBC chair, noted that the committee studied matters related to graduate student compensation and benefits. They concentrated this year on three issues: that fellowship recipients, who have no taxes withheld, understand the rules and pay requisite taxes; that graduate stipends be compared to benchmarks; and they evaluated communications.

Marion showed comparisons that OSU is second-lowest or lowest in minimum compensation—GRA, GTA—among benchmarks. OSU is “way, way low.” The same is true of comparison of median compensation figures. The minimum stipend is $1000 per month, or $9000 per year. Taking out taxes, rent, utilities, etc., Marion showed that a graduate student receiving the minimum would have just $58 available for food, transportation, and parking for the entire year.

The minimum can be raised locally. GCBC wants OSU to adopt a goal of moving to the midpoint.

CAA report

Jim Cogdell, CAA co-chair, said that CAA had three subcommittees, creatively named A, B, and C and ad hocs as necessary. This year there are two ad hocs. CAA deals with creation of departments, mergers, establishment of masters degrees, etc. Such business comes to the University Senate.

CAA does much work that never comes to the senate. At present, the big push is semester conversion, which is why the committee currently has co-chairs. The subcommittees have been doubled in size this year, and they have formed working groups that report to the subcommittee that then report to the whole committee. CAA has been meeting weekly. The deadline for review of programs is 1 July. Over 200 proposals have been approved so far.

Council on Student Affairs report

Bryan Ashton, CSA chair, said that the committee linked students, faculty, and staff.

This year, two projects have taken the majority of CSA’s time: the religious student organization carveout, and the code of student conduct.

A carveout was in place that allowed student organizations with religious beliefs to limit membership. After considerable discussion, given that student funds support the organizations, the CSA unanimously recommended that the carveout be removed. The vice president for student life overruled CSA and allowed the leadership to be selected on the basis of belief.

The code of student conduct is still undergoing review.

USG report

Micah Kamrass, outgoing USG President, said that USG is proud of the recycling machine at South Campus Gateway that returns money for cans to the person or to a scholarship fund. They hope that more will be installed.

USG purchased an SUV to pick up and transport students worried about their safety at night. The dealership donated an additional SUV to USG.

USG lobbied to prevent a tuition credit cap for 2011-2012. They expect many students will attempt to finish before the semester conversion takes place.

The main library has been open until 2 AM this spring in response to a plea from USG. They are hopeful it will continue.

The USG was heavily involved in fighting discrimination (see the CSA report) and disappointed that they were not able to end it. This may yet be legislated on by the Ohio legislature.

USG’s new president will be Nick Messenger. The new vice president is Emily DeDonato.

CGS report

Jonathan Nutt, outgoing CGS President, said that Vijay Gadepally would be the new CGS president. 840 graduate students voted in the election.

Sustainability was a big CGS focus. CGS also ran an entrepreneurial roundtable this year. CGS also fought against discrimination (see the CSA report).

Nutt expressed thanks for the support he had received.

IPC report

Megan Conroy, incoming IPC President, said that IPC worked to make the professional development fund more effective. It distributed over $50 thousand last year. The money went to support service trips and externships as well as conference travel. IPC students have been more successful at connecting with the university community and filling committee spots. They raised $1200 for the mid-Ohio Food Bank.

IPC is focusing at the present time on mental wellness coffee breaks, because it is the time that students’ futures are being determined, with resulting high stress levels.

They are working on two projects: intramural teams for recreational sports, and the quality of the information given to professional students at orientation.

Faculty Council Reflections

Myroslava Mudrak, outgoing Faculty Council chair, asked for and received a round of applause for students.

Mudrak said it was a gratifying year of service. She got to know so many people who held the best interests of the university to heart. She said that she was abroad on a Fulbright when chosen as chair-elect, and felt the OSU “brand” was gaining recognition.

OSU’s aspirations for international cooperation need better articulation. There are many gems that need to be appreciated, Mudrak said. These include international efforts by faculty members, bringing international conferences to Columbus, and giving students rich programming. International faculty members and students have increased in numbers.

Mudrak lamented that there was insufficient recognition and support for this work. We need to embrace, acknowledge, and strengthen such recognition.

Mudrak is distressed that many faculty members feel disenfranchised. She instituted Faculty Council reports to show that important work was being done. Faculty members still see a lack of consultation, but much can still be done to counter these perceptions. We need fellow faculty members to step up to service on the Senate. These efforts are sometimes undercut by heads of units who discourage faculty members from other service outside the units.

Mudrak welcomed Kay Halasek as chair-elect of Faculty Council. She congratulated Chris Zacher on work well done and Tim Gerber of past work and expected high accomplishments. She thanked Dick Gunther as a font of university history, Josh Gillespie for his stalwart help in organizing meetings, and Gordon Aubrecht for his good notes of Faculty Council meetings. She thanked Jim Rathman, Faculty Council vice chair and incoming chair, for his collaboration and friendship.

The meeting adjourned at 5 o’clock.