Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2024
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Belinda Sturm, PhD, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:


Attending Members

  • Amanda Mollet
  • Andi Back
  • Becci Akin
  • Ben Chappell
  • Betsy Barnhart
  • Bozenna Pasik-Duncan
  • Brad Osborn
  • Brendan Mattingly
  • Colin McRoberts
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kristi Neufeld
  • Kristin Villa
  • Lorin Maletsky
  • Marike Janzen
  • Muhammad Raza
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Russ Ostermann
  • Samuel Brody
  • Stacey Vanderhurst
  • Victor H. Gonzalez

Other Attendees

  • Belinda Sturm
  • Caty Movich
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Jon Brumberg
  • Suzanne Scales

Approval of Previous Minutes

The minutes were distributed prior to the meeting. Hearing no corrections, Victor Gonzalez said the November 16, 2023, minutes were approved.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Belinda Sturm, PhD, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research

Belinda Sturm, Interim Vice Chancellor of Research was the Guest Speaker. VC Sturm gave a brief overview of her experience at KU. VC Sturm has been at KU for 17 years. Previously, she was involved in Governance as a member on the Research Committee (2013-2016) and Faculty Senate (2016-2018).  In 2018, she began as Assoc. VC of Research. Last year, VC Sturm left that position after receiving a large grant.

VC Sturm made the following comments. The current role is to support research at the University and to promote it externally. She is preparing for the Strategic Alliance meeting with Provost. In the Jayhawks Rising plan the office is asked how it aligns strategically. It is easy to show how the Research Office aligns with Grow Research and Discovery. The other two are Healthy Vibrant Communities and Student Success. She discussed how Research aligns with each.

Grow Research and Discovery. There are three strategies/priorities within this.

  1. Support faculty and PIs to increase their external grant applications and diversify portfolio.

Research makes an effort to bring people to campus for training for things such as NIH.  There is room for growth with other federal funded agencies.

  1. Create a strategic research communication plan. This is an outward focus initiative and involves storytelling. Faculty need training on public engagement of their research. Activities have been identified. Also, they will partner with communicators.
  2. Establish effective and visible faculty recognition for research. This includes scholarship. This will recognize research efforts.

Question. How much money are we paying for Faculty Insights?

Answer. It does not come out of the Office of Research. It is part of a larger platform.

Comment. Google Scholar does a really good job.

Comment. One of the platforms catalogs awards and makes suggestions on faculty who can compete for these awards. This is being used for ideas for external awards.

Next, Student Success for the next fiscal year was discussed. There are three strategies to support this:

  1.  Support undergraduate research. How to make this actionable will be ongoing. We need research opportunities for undergraduates.
  2. Requirements for responsible conduct research. Currently, graduate students must have this to comply with regulations. Ways to support these efforts by the university are being discussed. The University is responsible for supporting this and providing resources.
  3. Federally funded projects require a post doc mentoring plan. An association was set up, and some resources allocated for this. This will be rolled out.

Question. Regarding the communication plan, is there discussion about including students in this field being involved in this? For example, pair students with faculty in research for communication efforts.

Answer. It is happening in two parts. There are communicators in departments. Karla Leeper leads communications and will lead these efforts. We’ve offered workshops that students participated in.  The sustainable model has not been identified.

Question. Within the strategic plan, is interdisciplinary encouraged?

Answer. We are calling it “diversifying portfolio”.  We have been doing workshops over the year to encourage this.

Question. What is the plan to get visibility and outreach? Discuss the implementation.

Answer. There is an external outreach. Karla Leeper, communications, has a committee that has impressive plans. It’s hard to determine how to get the word out to faculty and get their attention. The Office is bringing in the resources for this.

Question. We have about 50 undergraduate research awards and the largest class ever.  What is the plan to get undergraduates involved in this resource?

Answer. We need a lot of different resources. Work Study Financial Aid is an area. There are grants for undergraduates. We will have to make it a priority.

Next, Vibrant and Health Communities was discussed. The Office has done exciting work. Asst. VC Mindy Padgett leads DEIB and external communications. Padgett is leading efforts to look at the research centers where funding is provided.  For academic and research centers that do field work, having a safe and equitable field work practice is important. Some agencies require this at the proposal stage. We’ve developed a webpage that shows how we meet NSF requirements. We’ll ensure plans are implemented and refined. 

Sturm said the ideas presented here will be presented to the provost tomorrow and Sturm will get feedback. VC of Research is in an interim position. The provost is launching a search for the position.

Question. Have you thought about how you define different communities you want to support? Geographical focus? Broader?

Answer. Vibrant Communities is a university pillar. For research, they are focusing on our researchers, who are faculty, student, staff, administrators, is this community healthy?

Question. What would you like to accomplish as Interim VCR?

Answer. To leave it better than I found it. The focus is short-term.


Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Victor Gonzalez (Faculty Senate President)

Victor reported that he had a meeting with Council of Faculty Senate Presidents to finalize the requirements for choosing two faculty from each university. In January, Victor plans to share the requirements. Then, they will inform everyone and accept nominations. There will be a review committee within Faculty Senate. Last, a vote will be taken on the nominees. It should be finished in May. Faculty will be recognized in July.

Victor met with the Provost and Chancellor and Juneteenth was discussed. The recommendations were sent to the Provost and Chancellor. The Open Access Policy has been approved. It was a 3-year review, and the language was changed to be more inclusive.   

University Senate Report

Reporter: Kristin Villa (University Senate President)

Kristin reported that Strategic Alignment meetings at the provost level are starting tomorrow and will continue over the next several weeks. In January, it will be with the Schools.  The searches for dean of music and dean of engineering are complete. The dean for engineering was announced. Juneteenth passed and KBOR has accepted the recommendation.

They asked questions about KU Core at the provost and chancellor’s meetings. This is a big situation and the need for faculty control was emphasized. They also discussed Grade Replacement Policy. We will look to see policy changes in the spring. We talked about 5-year reviews for deans and provosts and how that works. Look to future reports on this. 

The University Senate will hear a petition to add requirements in Ethical and Social Responsibility to the KU degree.  This will move forward to University Senate.

Kristin announced that she will be leaving KU at the start of the year.  She will no longer be University Senate President. She appreciates the opportunity to be in the role. Kristin is going to a research focused position next.

Unfinished Business

Victor reminded everyone about the Excused Absences survey. It closes tomorrow. We’ve received over 300 responses. The survey for GTAs was sent. The results will be reviewed and shared with everyone. We plan to do follow-up surveys in the spring. Specific comments are helpful.

New Business

Revisions to Faculty Senate Standards and Procedures on Promotion and Tenure Committee charges was discussed. The recommendation is to update the charge to include that Governance will send out a message to departments on behalf of the chair, to remind them to submit revised guidelines for the committee to review. Victor shared the revised charge approved by FacEx.

Brenda Mattingly motioned to accept the revisions to the SPPT charge. Roberta Schwartz seconded the motion. Motion approved.

Next, Victor discussed the concerns of faculty voice in changes to the CORE. He asked Jon Brumberg, chair of UCCC, to elaborate on the concerns expressed by Colin Roust at FacEx. Jon made the following comments. Jon said it has been a long process. UCCC’s role is to monitor the KU Core. They provide feedback if the submitted courses meet the minimum approvals. They hear petitions from students to hear courses outside of KU count for the KU Core. They also do recertification of KU Core courses to determine if courses are still meeting outcomes.

The role of the committee has changed over the past two years with the committee reacting to the statewide general education framework, originally introduced as a transfer policy, making it easier for students to meet core requirements when transferring.  The original understanding was that the institutions had the ability to determine how their educational requirements fit into the framework.  The committee proceeded with this alignment and submitted the plan to KBOR in July.  There are exceptions. Part of the KBOR framework is that Core requirements cannot be required for degree requirements, though prerequisite courses can be required. The second exception is courses that are required for accreditation. The third exception is “we are not going to play”, which will not be approved.  Feedback from KBOR was that they did not agree with KU’s interpretation of the policy. KBOR interprets the policy that is a general education framework and not transfer policy. KBOR stated that alignment needs to be done by subject area and not learning outcome area, which is problematic with how the KU Core is aligned. Now, we are being told what subjects must be included. Also, only we are told only English Department can offer writing courses and only Comm can offer oral comm courses. There are huge implications for this. We now have an approved list. We are seeing implications of how the list had to be resolved. The catalog is another moving piece. Jon said the Provost did mention this is violation and there should be some HLC concerns.

Question. Do you see anything changing in KBOR’s stance on Gen Ed requirement or degree if they are not a specific requirement. Will it be seen as compliant if Gen Ed requirement is a prerequisite.

Answer. Nothing over 400 and above in Core.  He doesn’t see KBOR changing its stance.  If there are legitimate prerequisites, they will be considered.

Question. Does KBOR need some education on the implications of this?

Answer. There was a state-wide study group for planning. The planning and implementation were separate. What happened in implementation was not what was discussed in planning. K-State is only doing the KBOR plan. They got rid of their K-8 plan. Jon hopes to discuss the implications of the decisions, not necessarily change the decisions.

Comment. In Pharmacy, this has caused problems. Physics and BioStats would be eliminated. How does a school make sure that the education is appropriate without adding time to a degree?

Answer. UCCC has a framework to build from now. UCCC has documented some of the innovative and interdisciplinary things.

Comment. Physics and math requirements are a problem in Biology, too. They can no longer be required but are expected.

Comment. In Music, we may need to revise everything. There were talks of exceptions. When will this be resolved? Due to the catalog, these decisions need to be made by Feb. 1.

Answer. There is a recognition it must be resolved prior to Feb. 1.

Question. How did K State adjust to this?

Answer. They took a different approach. We hoped to protect the KU Core.

Jon talked about Math Pathways, an initiative from KBOR, to align math requirements with disciplines. From discussions with KBOR and faculty/administrators, they identified disciplines and math. KBOR has said only Math can offer math courses, earliest Fall 2025.

Question. Biology can offer BioStatistics?

Answer. You can offer it. It would likely be kicked out of the Core.

Comment. University Senate has a petition about the Social Responsibility and Ethics requirement. This seems complicated when we are not adding hours to degrees. Does UCCC and Governance need to explore this?

Answer. Yes. UCCC has talked about this. It has advantages and disadvantages. It takes away from the 120-hour limit. Ethics is included in university learning goals. Jon said things will change over January. He is happy to come back and give an update.

Question. We discussed the implications for students. What about implications for units?

Answer. Enrollment impacts are seen are writing and oral communications. This is being resolved. Smaller units in the College are affected as courses are moved out leading to an imbalance in representation of units in the core goals. It’s a complicated process because it is hard to determine who owns a course.  There are challenges with cross listed courses.

Question. Is KU arguing to KBOR by itself?

Answer. Yes. We have had four rounds of changes.

Question. What can senators do?

Answer. Disseminating this information is the best thing to do. Communicate these things at the unit and department level. Finding our strengths is important and senators can help.

Faculty Senate - Dec. 7, 2023

Member for

1 year 7 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on