FacEx Meeting Minutes


Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2024
Date:
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Josh Roundy & Celka Straughn, Faculty Senate Research Committee Chairs
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:

Attendance

Attending Members

  • Josh Arpin
  • Sam Brody
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Muhammad Raza

Other Attendees

  • Caty Movich
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Russ Ostermann
  • Jeff Chasen

Approval of Previous Minutes

The minutes were distributed prior to the meeting. Hearing no corrections, the minutes were approved.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Josh Roundy & Celka Straughn, Faculty Senate Research Committee Chairs

Josh Roundy and Celka Straughn, Research Committee Chairs, were the guest speakers. Josh introduced himself. Josh is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. It is Josh’s third year on the committee. Josh presented the committee’s findings and recommendations and made the following comments. A charge of the committee is the allocation of the General Research Funds (GRF). There are different ways to allocate these funds. Each entity across campus decides its own allocation and way of distributing. Funds are awarded for a one-year period. Prior to 1994, everything was done at the University level. In 1994, the distribution was decentralized, and units were given their own money. It has remained unchanged since 1994. The research committee gets a report every three years and must review that the awards are right. Josh shared the current GRF allocation across units. The School of Professional Studies was added to the list to show that they are not getting anything currently.

The current GRF fund is just over $500,000. Prior to cuts, it was about $600,000.

Last year, the committee tried to change the allocation. FacEx asked the committee to do a survey, which was sent in May 2023. Josh shared the results of the survey. There were 144 responses, which is 12 percent. 85 responders said they thought the allocation should change.  24 said no, and 25 are undecided.  72% of the responders were not in favor of the funds being centralized.  The last question was what the ideas were to change the allocation. Josh grouped these responses into four categories:  One is to allocate based on return on investment; There is a way to measure this. Another way is to allocate based on cost to do research. The GRF is not that much money, and it is hard to allocate the money this way. Josh said there was not a metric for this. Another is allocate based on need. This doesn’t do much to grow the research enterprise.  This is measurable. The last one is to allocate based on size, which is what the committee recommended last year. This treats all units equally, which is its strength as well as its weakness. We can get the data and quantify with this method. The allocations should be transparent and evolve with review. The committee has concerns about unintended consequences. The committee’s recommendation passed by a majority vote (10 yes, 2 no, 1 abstain).  There is no basis to stay with the historical method. The committee proposes to reallocate based on the size of the unit, where we calculate the size as the individuals in each of the units with PI status. The committee recommends adding the Professional Studies School to this allocation, which would be easy to do. All CLAS allocations would be lumped together and given as one sum for CLAS to distribute as they wish. This works out to $444 per faculty. The College has a %50K decrease, which is due to a decrease in the Life Sciences, which was previously over allocated compared to the number of faculty. Change is going to be hard. We could implement it over a three-year period to transition.

Questions and Answers.

Question. If this is implemented and the funds are not used, what happens?

Answer. We have not run into this. It should, in theory, come back to the fund. This would be a good question for the VCR of Research. Departments would find a solution.

Question. Can it be monitored?

Answer. Yes, the committee gets a report every three years and evaluates it.

Question. Some units saw a decrease in funding, such as business, because they are not research focused.

Answer. The committee considered adding more things to consider, but it was problematic in that by counting so many things, one could potentially game the system.

Question. Why was Professional Studies not included in the past?

Comment. They were part of Edwards Campus, and this was initially for the Lawrence Campus.

Question. Researchers who publish books or articles are not getting funds. There should be something to consider this. Do we know if this fund has been consistent over time, as costs go up. Who decides the amount of this fund?

Answer. This is a question for the VCR of Research. It’s been fixed and it’s a state appropriation.  It was hit with a budget cut.

Comment. The best argument for doing nothing is that the funds are little money.

Question. How is this different than last year’s proposal?

Answer. The only thing different is that we included Professional Studies. We used the PI data last year too. We updated the allocation using this year’s PI data.

Question What is next?

Answer. Taking it before Faculty Senate and get a vote on it.

FacEx members were in favor of having Josh and Celka attend the Faculty Senate meeting. KUCR needs the new allocation by October. The first month of the next academic year will be tough for the new committee if this gets pushed into the fall.

New data can be collected in the future to make even better allocation decisions. Many metrics can be used.

FacEx members agreed to send the recommendation to Faculty Senate and have the chairs make another presentation.

Reports

Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Victor Gonzalez (Faculty Senate President)

The latest version of the guidelines to select faculty for the KBOR was completed. The eligibility was decided. FacEx can decide how to do the choice. The Governance Office will send out the nominations. FacEx can evaluate the nominations and select two. By May, we will have two names to give to KBOR. We can decide what the requirements are now.

Victor reported on his meeting with the Provost. They discussed the efforts of some centers to hire directors. They talked about budgets. The Provost is coming to meet with Faculty Senate on Thursday.

University Senate Report

Victor gave the following comments on Josh’s behalf. In the next University Senate, the petition will be discussed, no action will be taken. Josh has been working with Susan Williams about getting data for a potential testing center.

New Business

None.

 

Moved to closed session to discuss faculty appointments. No objections.


FacEx - Feb. 20, 2024


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