Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes


Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2024
Date:
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:

Attendance

Attending Members

  • Amanda Mollet
  • Barbara Bichelmeyer
  • Ben Chappell
  • Betsy Barnhart
  • Bozenna Pasik-Duncan
  • Brad Osborn
  • Brendan Mattingly
  • Mugur Geana
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kristi Neufeld
  • Lorin Maletsky
  • Marike Janzen
  • Mat Johnson
  • Matt Jacobson
  • Maya Stiller
  • Muhammad Raza
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Russ Ostermann
  • Sam Brody
  • Samantha Bishop Simmons
  • Stacey Vanderhurst
  • Tim Hossler
  • Victor Gonzalez

Other Attendees

  • Brian Moss
  • Caty Movich
  • Celka Straughn
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Joshua Roundy
  • Suzanne Scales

Approval of Previous Minutes

The minutes from the January 25, 2024, meeting were distributed prior to the meeting. Victor Gonzalez asked if there were any corrections. Hearing none, the minutes were approved.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer

Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer was the guest speaker. Victor Gonzalez introduced the provost and said that he appreciates the collaboration and the community building efforts of the provost. Provost Bichelmeyer made the following comments. Last year, the annual strategic alliance meetings started. Academic units joined in recently. Governance leaders have been taking part. An advisory council has been built that includes governance leaders to find results from COACHE, Docking Survey and heading into graduate student survey and NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement). The Culture Charter, built upon the work of last year’s Shared Governance, is moving forward. Robin Lehman is working out of the Office of Research. Robin is collaborating with units to enhance Faculty recognition. Robin has created a Faculty Recognition Steering Committee and is partnering with AAU. Robin is working with Faculty Affairs on faculty development programs to teach faculty to promote their work and apply for awards.

The Provost reported on HRM (KU People First). HR has been reshaped to better support employees. We’re modeling best practices from other institutions. This spring we began implementing the structure that was planned. The Provost shared a slide of the structure of HRM (HRM People First Design Recommendation). The Provost encouraged the senates to invite Angie Loving or Jeff Chasen to speak about the changes.

Question. Are post docs included in one of the surveys?

Answer. We are low in the number of post docs comparatively. The provost said their opinions will be included in some way.

Question. The HR transformation-- where is Concur positioned.?

Answer. Concur is not in the HR transformation. There is a group working on Concur issues (complaints) and reaching out to the vendor to resolve them. Dedicated representatives from Concur have been assigned to KU.

Market Wages. The Provost shared information. The first step will be to make sure living wages are provided. Staff wages are easier as there is data, and the appointments are twelve months. They have been working on a wage philosophy for faculty based on COACHE results. They are also looking at merit pool to prove commitment to excellence. They are making sure they have the right databases. They are establishing a minimum salary for faculty and building on the promotions and the bumps with the promotions. If you are exceeding standards, you will be provided with merit. The wage structure is tied to the performance structure. Donna Ginther, KU, is a wage economist and the provost commented that we are lucky to be collaborating with her. Implementation will depend on State funding and student enrollment. Maintenance and repairs, wages, and deficits are the three primary areas of consideration. We lack the ability to pay in 30 days, which will be a focus going forward. Budget reform will be another thing that all will hear about. Historically we have had two budget categories. Going forward, it will expand to include more categories. We need to spend unrestricted funds first so institutional dollars can be freed. We are also looking at space use to generate revenue. We are looking at the right number of students per year.

Question. When will budgets have added categories?

Answer. It is happening now.

Comment. When the State approves a wage increase, KU does not automatically give that amount. State appropriations are not 100% of our revenue.

Reports

Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Victor Gonzalez (Faculty Senate President)

Victor gave an update on the KBOR award. They have been working on a template for the guidelines for the awards. The guidelines are with KBOR and are expected to be approved. Victor said FacEx will lead the search for the nominees.

Victor mentioned that we need a faculty member for the Faculty Rights Board committee. We need two more members to join and if interested, faculty senators should let Victor know.

There is a team looking at what is being done with data from the surveys (COACHE, DOCKING).

University Senate Report

Reporter: Josh Arpin (University Senate President-Elect)

Josh Arpin reported on the following. The campus petition will be discussed at the next University Senate meeting. The implementation of this will be discussed, including a discussion on the Code update, and any issues with doing this.

Next steps with the Excused Absences Policy are being discussed. There may be a testing center. We are fact gathering now. Josh got feedback from the Business School. It was reported that 80% of absences were from illness. We will talk about taking the Excused Absence Policy and putting it into two sections, one for those that are easily documentable, and one that is for illness and injury.

Question. What parameters were used with the Business School? What was the scale and were the classes that were looked at over 1,000 students?

Answer. Susan Williams asked from some data. Josh reached out to Business School faculty to get some data. Josh will reach out to see if there are other departments on campus to gather data. They’ve made the case for a testing center.  Now, they are working on logistics. The current center would be moved out of Strong. There are still many unknowns.

Comment. Some type of online testing would be good. It is third party service. If KU could offer this, it would be useful.

We need two volunteers to join the University Senate. Russ Ostermann was welcomed to FacEx. Nominations for new faculty senators are due on Friday.

Unfinished Business

The Ad Hoc group for Code 34 is made up of senators Stacey Vanderhurst, Sam Brody, and Ben Chappel. Stacey reported that since CODE 34 is so far along, they have met with several individuals involved with this. Stacey asked if there are people within the units, let Stacey know, so all the efforts can be coordinated. The ad hoc group is working on the letter to go to faculty that is asking for stories on how Core 34 has affected them. The conversations had and that will continue will be on academic freedom and academic expertise. Stacey asked that senators reach out if they want to get involved. The email message to faculty is forthcoming.

New Business

Josh Roundy and Celka Straughn of the Research Committee joined. They introduced themselves. Josh has been on the Research Committee for three years. Celka has been on the committee at various points and will co-chair this year and next. Josh shared a PowerPoint presentation with the following information:

  • Committee makeup.
  • Background and history of the General Research Fund.
  • Current GRF allocation by units. Total is $535,500. The School of Professional Studies was added to the mix.
  • Current challenges with the GRF
  • Committee recommends changing the GRF allocation:
    • Reallocate the GRF based on the size of the unit with size being calculated as the number of PIs in unit.
    • Add Professional Studies.
    •  Combine all CLAS units.
    • Transition of the changes over a three-year period.

 

Question. The School of Professional Studies is included for the first time?

Answer. Yes.

Question. From someone representing a group that is going to get cut, how do you figure out the eligible PIs?

Answer. This is from KUCR. It is anyone in the system that has the potential to be a PI. Tenure track is automatically eligible. Teaching Faculty can be eligible. Josh has the names of each group that can be reviewed if anyone is interested.

Question. We are talking about the distribution across the university. Each unit can decide its allocation.

Answer. Yes, the units decide how to distribute.

Question. PI eligible is PI status, it does not require any special PI granting privileges. All classifications are PI status. Individuals are expected to do research. Or the University wants to push research. Then the opportunity may not be available. This fund would be available to faculty, depending on how the unit distributes?

Answer. Yes. Under the rules, the awards must be competitive at the unit level. Proposals need to be submitted.

Question. Under CLAS, the allocation will be combined. Please explain.

Answer. The slide with the new allocation without combining CLAS was shown.

Question. When we define research, it is broad. This will give an opportunity for faculty in all areas to participate. Does each unit have to access the outcome of research?

Answer. We do track other aspects:  Proposals, Performances, Production, and Presentation, and Publications. These are accomplishments the committee ask for. The challenge is the weight on each. The committee defers to the unit, which may struggle with this. The accomplishments get tricky in the reporting.

Victor said this is a critical issue and he suggests we talk about this again in the April 4 meeting. The job of faculty senators is to communicate with the units. It will be good to talk about this in April again.


Faculty Senate - Feb. 22, 2024


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