Faculty Senate Minutes September 23, 2021

Faculty Senate Minutes
September 23, 2021 3:15 p.m.
Approved: October 21, 2021


Hossein Saiedian, Remy Lequesne, Mizuki Azuma, Mahasweta Banerjee, Justin Blumenstiel, John Brickemyer,  Samuel Brody, Nathaniel Brunsell, Ben Chappell, Antha  Cotton-Spreckelmeyer, Chris Crandall, Lea Currie, Dan Dixon, Randal Fuller, Patricia Gaston, Nils Gore, Jeffrey Hall, Andrea Herstowski, John Hoopes, Tim Hossler, Allard Jongman, Barbara Kerr, Ani Kodobobo, Corey Maley, Margaret Marco, Amanda Mollet, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, John Poggio, Jeremy Shellhorn, Geraldo Sousa, Maya Stiller, Nicholas Syrett, Charlotte Tritch, Kyle Velte, Kristin Villa, Xinmai Yang,

Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer, Chris Brown, Jennifer Roberts, William Colins, Jean Redeker

Governance Office:
Kathy Reed

The meeting was called to order by the Faculty Senate President, Remy Lequesne.  Lequesne introduced Provost Bichelmeyer. 

Provost Bichelmeyer:

KU now has two classes of undergraduates who are experiencing their first classes in an on-campus environment.  This could not have taken place without the work from the faculty, and our academic leaders, chairs, and the staff in student affairs and academic success doing their part to help freshman and sophomores navigate the on-campus experience. We have a great team with the Deans and Vice Provosts, who have been helping to make sure that we are working through the plans and policies that we created in order to help the students who are coming back onto campus. There have been some challenges with students in classes or students who are absent from classes. We're very supportive of faculty taking back the right and the responsibility to help students understand why it's critical to be in the class. We minimized tremendously the adaptation process that we used last year and urged faculty to encourage students to be back on campus in the classroom and not simply in Lawrence.


I appreciate all that you're doing.  I also appreciate the work that Remi and the governance team and the leadership team have been doing to be present at the KBOR meetings. 


I'm sure you have questions around freedom of speech and critical race theory, the redefinition of the baccalaureate degree, general education in the state, as well as the workload policy


Question: When will the CLAS Dean search start.


Reply: I’m working on making an announcement.   The last time I met with [faculty] governance leaders, I asked Annie to help me get some input about how I should convene the faculty in the college.
You may remember months ago I also put out a survey of the faculty and staff and collected about 77 pages of data that I sorted through over the course of the last year.  I have also committed to John Colombo that we will have the search done this year. We will be bringing a new Dean in by the end of this academic year at the latest.



My question has to do with specific benchmarks for identifying what levels of infection or absenteeism might trigger either an increase in or changes to the mask mandate.  I would like to know what metrics or what measures are being used as a guiding policy as we move forward with a COVID response.


I had a conversation recently with Rob Simari [Executive Vice Chancellor KUMC] about recognizing that our students probably feel like the campus is one of the safest places they can be. For faculty and staff, it probably feels like one of the least safe places that they can be compared to home. The Pandemic Medical Advisory Team posted on the Protect KU [Home | Protect KU] website an updated version of the benchmarks we have regarding what they are looking for. Each week they review the numbers and look at where we are against those benchmarks.  Some of the key factors that they're looking at as they make those decisions and working with our unified command team on our campus, which includes some of our faculty leaders, Chris, Simon, some of our students, our student affairs leadership, Tamara, and Susan Meyer, as well as many others, looking at the overall hospitalization rates in Lawrence, looking at the numbers in emergency rooms, looking at the numbers of ventilators and do we have capacity available.


From Pandemic Medical Advisory Team in August: 




There have been quite a few protests on campus.  Many of them revolve around sexual assault on campus. This is a very large issue. What actions are you contemplating, and how do you view your role on the academic side of things. 


One act of sexual violence on this campus is one act too many.  There are many things that we are already doing, in terms of programming.  There are some things that we don't control in the Greek system. We are trying to partner with the Greek system and to be able to strengthen programming and compliance.  People need to understand the law related to investigations and what we can and cannot talk about.   There is always the opportunity to look at:

  • Can we do better at programming?
  • How can we do more of it?
  • How can we hold sanctions so that they are clear?
  • How can we create mandatory requirements?


The chancellor's office and student affairs are making sure these discussions happen.   


2015 KU Report from the Chancellor's Sexual Assault Task Force:  http://news.ku.edu/sites/news.ku.edu/files/docs/Sexual%20Assault%20Task…


You cannot give an update or any kind of information regarding the status of the investigation? 


Correct.  In terms of communication and I think it may be part of the chancellor's next week video.  The Chancellor, General Counsel and Vice Provost Durham, will be discussing the process of an investigation, what is the law associated with it, what can or cannot be done.   Other than our general reporting of statistics, we really can't ever speak about an alleged victim or an alleged perpetrator and what the results are of an investigation in the particulars. 


I have a comment, and then I have a couple of questions. I think it's very exciting to be back in the classroom. There was a story in the paper today about the KU logo on top of Wesco Hall. I think that is a very good idea to see the KU logo on top of Wesco Hall, but the building is dreadful. Is there any plan to renovate at least the outside of that building?



The KU logo on top of Wesco, was a free perk.  KU had to replace HVAC systems in the building.  This gives me an opportunity to talk a bit about maintenance and repair.  Our biggest challenge is in our facilities.

We need to get a comprehensive campus facilities master plan:

  • think about what makes sense to take offline
  • could some areas move back to campus?
  • How do we make sure that we're using our space?
  • With a flexible workforce, what do we need in terms of staff office space and hoteling space?
  • Thinking of every facility, and every building should have a condition index number on it
  • What are we going to do with buildings that are really challenged?

We are aware of the needs of Wesco.  By the end of this year, I hope that we will have comprehensive facilities plan about what needs to be repaired and what order, and the cost, is all factored into our five-year strategic financial plan. 


Do you have enrollment figures yet?


Informally I have heard we are holding just about flat, which is a little bit better than we had anticipated.  



I heard you say that KU is moving towards a return-on-investment program review model.


You may remember that we constituted a committee to review the data from RPK.  The return-on-investment model simply means that we could stitch together the academic program data, like student credit hours, enrollment headcounts, fill rates with faculty activity data with the financial data associated with that.  That is fundamentally what a return-on-investment model is.  You don't have three separate pools of data that you can't stitch together.


Is this something that you are doing to do moving forward?


We are already doing it.  This is the data we gave to the deans and the department chairs.  It's going to be part of our HLC review.  The data allows us to do a couple of things that we haven't been able to do before.  It allows you to lay out what we call a degree map for students, KU can think about offering our courses on the cycle and undergraduate level so that students can get through in four years and get what they need to complete at the undergraduate level. It allows you to map out your courses, what your requirements are or what your electives are.  It then is allowing you to map your faculty. 

Then we can layer our faculty against that.  Look at those that are heavily research active faculty, and so they're not going to have the same kind of teaching load. Maybe these are our teaching intensive faculty, and so here's where we need them to be. These are type of things you get back when you do a program review with that kind of a and model.


Could you give an update on tuition assistance for employee and staff [dependents] 



We are going to hold that line while we are getting our bearings on where we are at with the budget.  and the other reason why I was comfortable holding the line on that and making the same pool of


Going back to the return-on-investment question and listening to the abundance of data that's available in terms of teaching numbers, it makes me realize how important it's going to be to have valid information for assessing.  You know that 40 percent research is in a lot of our contracts. That has nothing to do with teaching. I was wondering if there's any news about returning to the model of external peer review for program assessment.



I am unprepared to answer that question.  Could either Jen, Chris or Jean?  We are starting to think through what we need to do around assessment. We've talked with, Holly Storkel, and her role working through program assessment model.  I do believe that various units do some kind of peer review, but I think it's more of a question in the college than it is in the external or in the specialized accredited units because they do have a peer review aspect on a regular basis that's built into their specialized accreditation.


The Department of American Studies has gone through external reviews.  That has stopped happening.  I realized from that experience that it's impossible to review programs on campus with a team that's entirely made up of members of the same field as the unit that's being reviewed. External program reviews are absolutely essential to really understand the impact of the work that's being done by a unit. And that's where my question comes from.



Kokobobo clarified that external people were flown in, versus, people at KU doing the review. This was a more recent practice that is probably financially or COVID motivated.

 That's exactly what my question is about.  I understood that to be a temporary change. But would like an update.

I'm very supportive of external reviews, it's valuable to see what our competitors and peers are doing. I think benchmarking in any format is helpful to get a lens from outside of ourselves.



We getting ready for our next HLC Re accreditation visit, their process has changed tremendously.  


Hossein, I may have misunderstood your question about tuition assistant.  We need an employee and dependent tuition assistance program.  The amount of dependent tuition assistance that was used, was not fully spent.  My goal would be to try to track exactly what this will cost us, if we had both employees and their dependents eligible to have six credit hours per semester of tuition paid.


The leadership from governance has heard from Nick Stephens and Corinne Bannon and others about how we're rolling out the strategic plan and how that will drive our mission and our fiscal work as well. The vision statement for this campus, which says that we will be an exceptional learning community that lifts each other and advances our society. What I really appreciate about that vision statement is the idea of being an exceptional learning community. People will be more committed who are faculty and staff in the institution if you have the opportunity to bring your dependents here. So that's one reason why I do think that that's an asset that we can provide while we're trying to get our salaries to competitive space.


I do want to say this one thing before I leave because you didn't ask about it. It is critical that that you know where I stand on Critical Race Theory (CRT).  Early in the fall of last year, I was talking about the fact that one reason why it was so important for us to get here and to be present is because there are so many people who are so vulnerable and that if we're not doing what we're doing as much as we can do it. And if serving our mission to the full capacity that we can serve it.


There are many conversations going around that I want to recognize that we truly are vulnerable right now.  A couple of years ago we were also in an interesting position, a board and a Legislature who were endorsing freedom of expression statements a couple of years ago to protect views on the extreme right of the spectrum that come into play now on the extreme left of the spectrum. This is about academic freedom.
I've asked Chris and his team and Jennifer Ng to think about how we have meetings on a regular basis, but we should just be convening at least once a semester, a standing meeting about what is academic freedom, what does it mean and how do you engage that how does that work in your classrooms and in your research enterprise?  We must make sure that when people bring up CRT we are talking about academic freedom.  The KBOR is considering a statement that they want to make about CRT and how it is tied to their freedom of expression statement last year.  


Lequesne thanked the provost for attending the meeting.


Approval of Minutes from May 13, 2021


              Approved -unanimous



Standing Report:



Faculty Senate President Remy Lequesne

  • KU's stance on sexual assault prevention.  Lequesne has suggested the administration reach back out to people that were involved in the task force, this is an area that could use improvement
  • AP&P Hearings, Saiedian will update you
  • KBOR, the new members understand that they have a legislative mandate to advocate for higher education in Kansas. As part of that, they feel they need to have a good understanding what happens on our campuses so that they can point to our policies and procedures and demonstrate to the legislators that we're being good stewards of tax dollars. The KBOR is interested in how the University does program review.
  • Academic Workload.  There was an email sent out this spring that there was an effort to establish a campus wide instructional workload policy. It's focused on the course loads that we are expected to teach since late summer. Chris Brown, the chairs of FRPR and SPPT have been meeting to discuss the policy.  We hope to have something for the faculty Senate to look at by the middle of the fall. This is squarely within the purview of shared governance, and I think the faculty Senate needs to vote on it. 
  • General education transfer policy.  The KBOR is wanting a pre-defined expectation for what general education courses will teach students and that universities throughout the state all have courses meeting those requirements and that those courses will automatically transfer within the system. Lequesne is collecting information on this.
  • There has been discussion from the KBOR, regarding allowing 75 credit hours from Jr and community colleges. 



I’m confused about the transfer situation and how it ties into the core.  Does it mean that Lawrence Faculty, who teach core courses are going to be under more rigorous review than faculty at other schools that are teaching courses that might transfer in? I just don't understand how it works



Lequesne made notes and will work on finding an answer.


I'm in the School of Social Welfare. We have undergraduate students here in the Lawrence campus, as well as at the Edwards campus and apparently at the Edwards campus. They have agreement where seventy-five credit hours can transfer.  Do you know anything more? Can you update us this?  I couldn’t understand why this discrepancy between the two campuses, although we are one.



Ku's policy is the sixty-four, transfer credits from a community or Jr. college. These transfer in as lower-level classes and we have a requirement that at least forty five credits of a degree be from upper level courses. The seventy-five credits at Edwards, was a pilot program where they allowed one campus in the state to have an agreement with one community college in the state. Johnson County Community College. They partnered with KU, Edwards campus.  Their agreement allowed up to seventy-five credits to transfer from the Johnson County to Edwards campus.  FacEx voted on this [9/24/21] and Faculty Senate [10/3/19], to approve an exception to the FSRR.  It is Lequesne’ s understanding that KBOR is moving forward with a policy that will be permissive but not mandatory, so they will not require campuses to increase.


  • Lequesne continues his report, noting that he had been asked if faculty who started in the fall of 2020. We'll get an extra year on their tenure year clock.  Chris Brown is going to look into this. 
  • The Faculty Rights Board found that a department chair violated a professor's rights with the approach taken and soliciting evaluative materials and addressing student concerns about a course. The provost did not agree with the FRB findings and found that no violation of faculty rights occurred. This is one of the first times we could find that the provost did not accept the recommendation of the Faculty Rights Board.  This have been troubling, and Lequesne spoke with the chair of the Faculty Rights Board last year.  Lequesne and the Chair wrote a letter, listing concerns and the reasons why this is broadly problematic for the faculty and we sent that to the chancellor and provost this week, so they haven't had much time yet to respond, but we haven't received a response either.



Standing Report - University Senate President Hossein Saiedian

Saiedian gave an update of the Program Discontinuance Hearings. 

Please see: Fall 2021 Active and In-Active Program Requests | University Governance (ku.edu)for a list of programs, dates and times for the hearings.



Is this an accelerated timetable, the schedule with which the hearings are taking place?

Also, if AP&P recommends that the program is discontinued, it is brought to University Senate, and it is also voted down, is there a possibility that the Provost would override the Senate’s vote? 


The policy determines the quick turnaround. We are required to do these hearings during the fifth and sixth week of the semester, and we must follow that. There are 14 hearings that are happening in a very short time span. The committee is going way out of their way to really make this happen.  They are working within the parameters of the of the policy here.  Yes, the chancellor can override the recommendation by the Senate.


I was wondering if you would be able to give us a sense of which of these may be more contentious or less contentious.




There are several programs that are or have been inactive, meaning that during the past three years they have not had any students in the program. Some of these programs are going to be merging.   There are some that are going to be very contentious, Visual Arts.  There are a lot of parameters involved.  By looking at the list and the times, you may get an idea of which the committee is perceiving to have more discussions that others. 



Charges for Faculty Senate Standing Committees
Review and approve (attached)

    1. Faculty Compensation
    2. Faculty Rights Board (FRB)
    3. Faculty Rights Privileges and Responsibilities (FRPR)
    4. Faculty Research
    5. Restricted Research
    6. Standards and Procedures on Promotion and Tenure


Sousa moved to approve the charges for the Faculty Senate Committees as they are presented.

Syrett seconded the motion.



Question: Considering the recent provost’s decision to override the FRB, recommendation.  Does that change any of the work of the Faculty Senate? 


The Faculty Rights Board issues recommendations, it is ultimately up to the chancellor's designee, who is the provost in this case to make a final ruling. The Provost, was well within her rights to do overrule the FRB.  FRB and FacEx had the expectation that if she disagreed with the recommendation, there would be a conversation about it, to understand each other. That is not what happened. The Faculty Rights Board process is important for faculty to have confidence in shared governance and in the rights that are enumerated, and so we don't want faculty to get the impression that the provost effectively doesn't take the process seriously.  This is something we conveyed to her that we feel that this needs to be. We don't want this process undermined. We also conveyed that in terms of broad implications. We read her ruling as a fairly broad interpretation of administrator power and a fairly narrow interpretation of faculty rights. The difficult working conditions in a unit and the third issue we had was that nobody in the system FRB included identified potential diversity implications.  This is something we conveyed to the provost and chancellor. 


The motion passed unanimously.


Ad-Hoc Committees and charges

Review and approve

    1. Ad-Hoc Committee-Review Program Discontinuance Procedures, USRR Article VIII
    2. Ad-Hoc Committee-Review FRB Procedures for Dismissal of Tenured Faculty

Sousa made a motion to approve the two ad-hoc committees and their charges,

Kokobobo seconded, the motion passed unanimously.


New Faculty Members for University and Faculty Senate Committees (approval for faculty with *, list attached)


Sousa made amotion to approve new faculty members on university and faculty senate committees.

Kokobobo seconded, the motion passed unanimously.


Unfinished Business

On May 23rd, a motion was made to ask for response form the Chancellor and Provost, did we receive those response.


Lequesne did not receive a response from the Chancellor or Provost.


New Business

Lequesne would like to remove his voting privileges on FacEx, as he is the chair and sets the agenda for FacEx and Faculty Senate.  He would like to nominate Kyle Velte.


Lequesne asked for any other nominations.

A motion was made to vote, and there was no further discussion

Showing no objections, Kyle Velte was elected by acclamation. 


Meeting was adjourned