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FacEx - Faculty Senate Executive Committee 12/09/14

FacEx
December 9, 2014 - 3:00pm
Provost’s Conference Room
Agenda: 

I.          Announcements

II.        Approval of minutes from November 18, 2014

III.       Report of Faculty Senate President Jim Carothers

IV.       FRPR Recommendation re “Excused Absences for University Activities” (Specific Charge 3)

The committee strongly believes that requiring faculty to excuse absences for athletes or any student who is in a university-sponsored activity infringes on the faculty member’s academic freedom to determine how student performance in a course is evaluated. Requiring this overrides the faculty member’s ability to determine what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence. The committee feels that there should be no university rule that requires this. Moreover, the committee notes that the majority of KU’s AAU and in-state peer universities have reached the same conclusion. Additionally, the committee feels that athletes should be treated in the same manner as any student involved in a university-sponsored activity.

V.        Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct

IV.       Old Business

V.        New Business

 

Minutes: 

Minutes

Faculty Senate Executive Committee – FacEx

December 9, 2014 – 3:00 p.m.

Provost Conference Room

Approved: 02/03/2015

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Jim Carothers, Jonathan Mayhew, Tom Beisecker, Mike Williams, Katherine Clark, Lisa Friis, Jeremy Martin

ALSO PRESENT:  Mohamed El-Hodiri, AAUP; Amy Smith, Policy Office; Kathleen Levy, University Governance

The meeting was called to order by Faculty Senate President and FacEx Chair Jim Carothers.

FacEx approved the minutes from November 18, 2014.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Carothers announced that the Faculty Senate Research Committee has sent out a survey to collect information on Specific Charge 2 concerning the use of Academic Analytics.  He and Mayhew will answer any questions the Provost may have at their next monthly meeting. 

REPORT OF FACULTY SENATE PRESIDENT

Carothers reported that, following last week’s Senate meetings, he wrote to FRPR Chair Jan Sheldon that he will follow the procedure Mayhew outlined regarding the Social Media Policy Procedures when FacEx is ready to present the draft Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct to Faculty Senate.

FRPR RECOMMENDATION RE “EXCUSED ABSENCES FOR UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES” (Specific Charge 3)

FRPR made the following recommendation to FacEx concerning Specific Charge 3.

The committee strongly believes that requiring faculty to excuse absences for athletes or any student who is in a university-sponsored activity infringes on the faculty member’s academic freedom to determine how student performance in a course is evaluated. Requiring this overrides the faculty member’s ability to determine what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence. The committee feels that there should be no university rule that requires this. Moreover, the committee notes that the majority of KU’s AAU and in-state peer universities have reached the same conclusion. Additionally, the committee feels that athletes should be treated in the same manner as any student involved in a university-sponsored activity.

Carothers noted that the recommendation endorses the present practice which leaves the decision up to the individual faculty member.  Smith gave some background.  Susan Williams raised this issue with the Chancellor because she was concerned that athletes were not able to take classes where faculty members would not allow excused absences for athletic activities.  The Chancellor believes that this issue is within the purview of Faculty Senate, so it was referred to FacEx which in turn charged FRPR (Specific Charge 3).  

FacEx members raised a number of concerns on both sides of this issue.

  • There is a strong case to be made for removing this decision from faculty and instituting a uniform policy.
  • A uniform policy could limit excused absences to “legitimate University activities.”
  • Other groups, such as debaters, have had no problems with excused absences.
  • The problems that would be addressed by instituting a policy are at the extremes—students who get involved in too many activities and need an excessive number of excused absences, and professors who are rigid in not allowing any excused absences at all.
  • Passage of a policy could be used to dismiss athletics as just another university activity.
  • Passage of a policy might be another instance of using a sledgehammer to kill a flea.

Following discussion of the various considerations, FacEx voted to accept FRPR’s recommendation that no policy be instituted; the decision whether to excuse students for University activities will remain with individual faculty members.

FACULTY CODE OF RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND CONDUCT

At the November 18 meeting, FacEx proposed including “administrative leave without pay” as a sanction as follows:

2.    Sanctions

One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed. Sanctions, listed below in order of severity, need not be applied serially, and a more serious sanction may be applied without a less serious one having been previously applied

  1. Warning. Notice in writing that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.
  2. Restitution. Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property or costs incurred by the University as a result of the misconduct. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation.
  3. Recommendation of Censure. Recommendation to the Chancellor that a faculty member be formally reprimanded.
  4. Administrative Leave Without Pay.  Recommendation to the Chancellor that a faculty member be excluded from teaching and other specified privileges or activities without pay for a definite period not in excess of two years. 
  5. Recommendation of Suspension. Recommendation to the Chancellor that a faculty member be excluded from teaching and other specified privileges or activities without pay for a definite period not in excess of two years. 
  6. Recommendation of Dismissal. Recommendation to the Chancellor that a faculty member be dismissed from the University staff.

 

FacEx considered further changes to this section.  Williams/Mayhew proposed that the following language be adopted.  Passed.

2.    Sanctions

Recommendations for one or more of the following sanctions may be made to the Chancellor to be considered for imposition. Sanctions, listed below in order of severity, need not be applied serially, and a more serious sanction may be applied without a less serious one having been previously applied

  1. Warning. Notice in writing that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.
  2. Restitution. Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property or costs incurred by the University as a result of the misconduct. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation.
  3. Censure.   A faculty member may be formally reprimanded.
  4. Administrative Leave Without Pay.  A faculty member may be suspended from teaching and excluded from other specified privileges or activities without pay for a definite period not in excess of two years. 
  5. Dismissal.  A faculty member may be dismissed from the University staff.

Williams suggested requesting funds to hire someone in computer science to develop an algorithm that will compare text to find conflicting provisions.  Securing funding may require substantial lead time.

OLD BUSINESS

FacEx members discussed the issue of academic misconduct that was raised in Faculty Senate last week.  Carothers noted that he sees the issue as a long term project involving the whole University, which may be taken up by University Senate in a subsequent year.  Mayhew noted that he would like to see the initiative for an honor code come from the students.  Williams added that faculty could lead by developing their own standards of conduct, and then work with students as students develop an honor code.  Williams will bring the issue to AP & P in January and have students take the issue back to their senate.

No further business.  The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Levy

 


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