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FacEx-Faculty Senate Executive Committee 2/24/15

February 24, 2015 - 3:00pm
Provost’s Conference Room

(This meeting may be electronically recorded.)

I.          Report of the Bi-Campus Committee on Patent Ownership and Faculty Consultation  (Andrew Torrance, chair)

II.        Announcements

III.       Approval of Minutes from February 10, 2015

IV.       Report of Faculty Senate President Jim Carothers

V.        Old Business

VI.       New Business


Approved: 3/10/2015

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

EXCUSED: Jeremy Martin

ALSO PRESENT:  Amy Smith, Policy Office; Molly Mulloy and Kathy Reed, University Governance

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


            Carothers welcomed Andrew Torrance, chair of the bi-campus committee, and Rodolfo Torres, associate VP for Research, who were present to report on the committee’s recommendations to modify KU’s policy on patent ownership and faculty consultation.   Copies of the report dated 07/15/2014 were distributed prior to today’s meeting and referred to during the discussion.

 Rodolfo Torres said the vice chancellors for research for the Lawrence campus and KUMC jointly appointed this committee comprised of faculty and research administrators from both campuses. Since many faculty are affected by this Provost Office policy, the committee is seeking feedback and endorsement from faculty governance.

Andrew Torrance said the committee was charged to suggest changes to KU’s current policy, which many faculty feel is unclear, and to clarify the rules regarding faculty generated patents and collaboration with industry. He consulted with many others about the proposed clarifications, many of which favor the faculty member/inventor. The committee removed ambiguities in the original policy, corrected nomenclature, rearranged text in the current policy, and utilized language taken from the Board of Regents IP policy. For example, Torrance said it was important to add the word “substantial” before the word “use” in numerous places to clarify what belongs to the faculty member. Mayhew pointed out that the definition of “substantial use” is stated in Item I (General Copyright Policy) at the top of page 7.  Another example is the underlined phrase on pg. 8, item 2, regarding mediated courseware, which was taken directly from elsewhere in the policy. Inserting the phrase clarifies that the policy only affects mediated courseware worth over $10,000; all work under that limit belongs to the faculty member.  Mayhew asked what “royalty free use of the work” implies; Torrance said it means that KU can publish it in KU’s ScholarWorks if the faculty member agrees.

In response to a question, Torrance said he compared KU’s IP policies to those of many other research universities. There is generally movement to open things up more for faculty in order to encourage technological output, and policies at schools such as MIT and Stanford are less restrictive than KU.  However, Torres reported that the committee did not recommend changes to the Board of Regents policy or state statues, though in the longer term he and Torrance indicated they would support changing policy at the state level in the future.

Responding to past faculty concerns that the current policy is ambiguous and restrictive and stifled collaboration with company-sponsored research, the committee added two new pathways for faculty to get funding outside of KU (pages 2 and 3 of the report). Torrance said Option #1 is the existing policy, while new Option 2 (“Expedited Model”) and new Option 3 “Executive Exception Model” create preset models of sponsored research agreements between the company and KU.  In the discussion that followed, Lisa Friis asked several questions, such as who decides if it is “substantial use” of KU resources. Torrance responded that the Vice Provost for Research does this but in practice it’s a negotiation with the faculty member.  Torres said if the work involves use of KU labs or students, it is defined as substantial use and/or sponsored research and must go through KUCR. But if the faculty member does the project in his/her spare time without university resources, he/she should check with KCUR but go ahead and do consulting on one’s own. Friis asked if the policy clarifies how decisions are made regarding licensing of faculty-generated IP. Torres replied that this is decided on a case by case basis, and each inventor needs to discuss this with KUIC.

In regard to the Employee Invention Assignment Agreement which all faculty must sign when hired, Friis said she signed one when hired 14 years ago, then was asked (along with all faculty and staff) to sign a different one about five years ago. However, like many other faculty and staff, she stated that she did not sign it.  Friis asked if current faculty will be asked to sign a new one if the Provost approves these revisions. Torres said no, they would not, but new faculty should be happy to sign the revised agreement because it is beneficial for faculty.  Mayhew added that if the revised IP policy is attractive to new hires it could be used in recruitment. He commented that it might be useful to have a preamble for the IP policy that communicates what to do in specific cases. Torres said we need to explore how to best communicate this; it may be outside the policy.  

Tom Beisecker said he’s concerned with the faculty consultation aspect and what constitutes  “spare time.” He’s heard different interpretations of the term and said it’s important to clarify whether it’s weekends, or one day a week, or the summer for those with 9-month contracts? Torres replied that the rule of thumb definition for spare time is “one day a week for the year” for 12-month contracts. Torrance said this question wasn’t under the committee’s mandate to review but is important. Mayhew noted that faculty have to specify how many days and the type of consulting they provide in the consulting form approved by their chair or director. In the discussion that followed, Amy Smith, director of the Policy Office, said it would be good for this term to be documented rather than have a “rule of thumb” definition. At Carothers’ suggestion, she agreed to visit with the General Counsel Office about this and get back to FacEx.

Katherine Clark proposed that the University be required to send policies that new faculty must sign with the initial letter of appointment and before they move to Lawrence, and Lisa Friis said it should go even earlier, during recruitment or negotiation.  Members agreed  that there are many other policies, such as sabbatical leaves or stopping the tenure clock, that may affect even more faculty than the IP policy. Torrance pointed out that there are separate forms for consulting and for conflict of interest that faculty must also sign.

Torrance noted that the committee did its best to engage faculty and administrators in revising the policy; everyone wanted to clarify it and open up the policy to benefit faculty on both campuses. Torres added that the three different models for sponsored research are a huge improvement, and the faculty makes the decision on which model. The General Counsel approved the revisions and will update the Inventor Assignment Agreement form as reflected in the final policy approved by the Provost. Torrance said that if it wished, FacEx could ask the General Counsel to be part of the effort to update the Employee Invention Assignment Agreement.

Mayhew/Friis moved that FacEx endorse the policy for consideration by the Faculty Senate.  Clark asked about adding a paragraph to inform new faculty about the policy. Carothers suggested that FacEx endorse the policy in principle and later address questions about education or communication with the administration. He asked Clark and the other members to send him suggestions which he will compile and send to Torrance.  The motion passed without dissent.

Carothers thanked Rodolfo Torres and Andrew Torrance for their work on the IP policy and for their fine presentation today.

As the meeting resumed, lengthy discussion ensued among FacEx members as to where conditions of employment for 9- and 12-month faculty are described and located. Clark reiterated that we need a “guaranteed dissemination” process for important policies to be provided to faculty job candidates before they are hired. Carothers said perhaps there could be a mandate from the chief academic officer to the deans to disseminate this information. Consensus of FacEx was that it would be useful during recruitment to provide a document with links to important policies, and Carothers asked Amy Smith, director of the Policy Office, how FacEx’s discussion could best lead to effective action. Smith agreed to look into the idea of framing a document for candidates with information or links to relevant policies.   

Faculty Senate Elections. Carothers urged FacEx members to think about nominating additional candidates for election to the Faculty Senate.

Faculty Code of Conduct. Carothers said he met with Rachel Rolf in the General Counsel’s Office this week to convey the spirit of FacEx’s recommendations and to identify places where our perspective might not be evident.  He informed her that at the end of Art. I of the Code, FacEx retained the word “approval” instead of the word  “consideration” preferred by the administration; it will be up to the administration to accept it or not. 

In the meeting with Ms. Rolf, Carothers brought up the Faculty Rights Board’s current discussion of changes to the Faculty Senate Rules regarding due process procedures for lesser sanctions.  He reported that Ms. Rolf said she had no problem with his statement that a faculty member must be guaranteed due process at every level.  Asked about the status of FRB’s report on this issue, Friis indicated that their report was sent to Governance and then quickly withdrawn last week when it was discovered that an FRB member had not had an opportunity to vote on the recommendation due to an email miscommunication.


Members discussed and approved several edits to the minutes proposed by Lisa Friis. The following two sentences were added at the end of the next-to-last paragraph in the minutes: “Not all members of the committee felt that a vote of “no confidence” would be warranted. Another member felt that there were other more effective ways to reach agreement with the administration.”   

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Molly Mulloy

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