University Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

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


Attending Members

  • Aaron Howard
  • Alexander Erwin
  • Andi Back
  • Angela Robb
  • Barbara Bichelmeyer
  • Ben Chappell
  • Bozenna Pasik-Duncan
  • Brendan Falen
  • Brendan Mattingly
  • Brian Moss
  • Chris Wallace
  • Colin McRoberts
  • DaNae Estabine
  • David Day
  • Deanne Arensberg
  • Hara Talasila
  • Jason Dailey
  • Jeremy McLeod
  • Jessica Chilcoat
  • Joe Walden
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kevin Barnes
  • Kim Conard
  • Kristi Neufeld
  • Liz Barton
  • Lorin Maletsky
  • Marissa Marshall
  • Mary Dykmann
  • McKenzie Henderson
  • Muhammad Hashim Raza
  • Robert Eppler
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Sam Brody
  • Sarah Wilson Merriman
  • Simrah Javed
  • Teri Chambers
  • Victor Gonzalez

Other Attendees

  • Caty Movich
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Angela Andres
  • C. Camp
  • Chris Elles
  • Chris Anderson
  • Eve Bonner
  • Faunia Tuma
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Jennifer McBee
  • Jill Hummels
  • Laura Diede
  • Lauren Spain-Eddington
  • Lori Schlenker
  • Michael Vitevitch
  • Sarah Denning
  • Shaunna Price
  • Stephanie Hull
  • Suzanne McAlister

Approval of Previous Minutes

Meeting minutes from Feb. 29, 2024. Motion to approve by Brendan Falen. Seconded by Simrah Javed. Motion passed unanimously.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer

Josh Arpin welcomed Provost Bichelmeyer and thanked her for joining the meeting. The Provost plans to speak about specific items that Josh requested (including the faculty union, wages, and the Gateway District). She also remarked on some items that are particularly relevant to Staff Senate, with whose leaders she met today. She shared some statistics regarding the observed success of the employee dependent tuition assistance program.

The Provost is hopeful that we will eliminate the structural deficit in FY2025, though this still depends on state funding. We will also continue working on cost-shifting and reducing unnecessary spending.

Strategic enrollment is a crucial strategy to increase funding. It appears that the sweet spot for freshman enrollment is 5,200-5,500 students. We are really focusing on retention, being efficient with our campus spaces, and attracting non-traditional and/or online students. The current capacity of our student housing is a limiting factor, and we need to establish buffer space to allow for renovations. KUEA is in the process of purchasing several apartment units that could be utilized for this. She also reinforced the importance of considering teaching and research as interactive and mutually beneficial. This strategy is also going to make KU desirable to students and stand out amidst other Kansas schools.

The Provost noted that we are at a pretty good point in terms of market wages, though we will not be able to move forward until we know our state funding. Our market data is ready. Our goal is to move everyone into market range as funds become available. We will start with the employees who are furthest from meeting cost-of-living standards. We will also utilize COACHE recommendations to consider promotion tracks.

The Provost brought up the ongoing faculty union vote, which is coordinated by the Kansas Department of Labor Relations. This body has requested information and addresses from KU administrators to facilitate the vote. The Provost has previously communicated that regardless of the vote outcome, she is committed to working with faculty in areas of concern.

Regarding the Gateway District, the Provost receives reports from KUEA and Athletics. They are well on their way to raising funds to complete Phase 1. Phase 2 involves getting development proposals, which are currently being evaluated by the CFO and Athletics. We are still planning on having a walk-down-the-hill for commencement.

Q: How will student housing rotations work, specifically in regards to Lewis Hall?

A: We are creating a schedule that strategically renovates portions of buildings to avoid completely shutting them down, as well as taking advantage of off-seasons. Lewis Hall will not be fully off-line next year.


Student Senate Report

Reporter: DaNae Estabine (Student Senate Vice-President)

Student Senate business is winding down. Voting begins next week. DaNae asked instructors to please encourage students in their courses to participate.

The Spooner Hall courtyard renovation is still ongoing. Student Senate is hosting it as a job site for the Big Event. They have ordered new benches, and the Sunrise Movement is providing native plants.

Turner Seals and Luke Stanford are still working on the move-out donation program, as well as a proposal for a University Senate committee focused on sustainability.

Staff Senate Report

Reporter: Chris Wallace (Staff Senate President)

Staff Senate has completed its elections. Our next full senate meeting will be the transition.

The Provost just approved some changes to the Staff Senate Code, specifically some clarification of the President and President-Elect terms, as well as reorganization of some committee work.

Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Victor Gonzalez (Faculty Senate President)

Faculty Senate elections are ongoing, and we are still seeking further nominations to fill vacancies. We will be electing a President-Elect at the last meeting of the year.

Victor is on the search committee for the Vice Chancellor of Research position. The Biodiversity Institute has a new director.

We have asked chairs and unit directors for nominations for the KBOR-sponsored faculty award. These are due April 15th and are open to both tenure track and non-tenure track faculty.

University Senate Report

Reporter: Josh Arpin (University Senate President-Elect)

Josh has been working on sending the ethics requirement petition to the UCCC for further consideration, as discussed at the last University Senate meeting.

There has been some recent discussion around AI and how it is affecting the classroom. Josh is having discussions with various people around this and what a future policy might look like.

Our next University Senate meeting is the organizational meeting, where we will be electing the President-Elect (faculty member) and the Vice President (staff member).

Victor commented that folks at CTE have also been working on understanding the educational impacts of AI.

Unfinished Business

Excused Absences Policy

There is still ongoing analysis within various parties, including the Academic Policies & Procedures (AP&P) Committee. Josh would like to hold off on formalizing any best practices or recommendations until we have a better understanding of the impact and what progress is made with current initiatives (e.g., potential testing center).

New Business

Policy Amendment: CODE Article X Section 2 (International Affairs Committee membership)

We have received a request from the International Affairs Committee to revise their membership and distribute representation more equitably across constituencies and demographics. They see this as beneficial to their discussions, which often highly impact students. This would also match up with the University Senate reorganization that occurred last year. The specific policy proposal was communicated to campus and sent to senators. We received a technical edit regarding the administrative title of the ex officio member.

We also plan on reaching out to other University Senate committees to gather insight on whether other committee memberships should be reconsidered.

Motion to suspend the rules (CODE 1.8.2.f) and vote immediately. Motion by Simrah Javed. Seconded by Teri Chambers.

VOTE: 32 in favor. 1 not in favor. Motion passes.

Q: What is the purpose of the “provided interest” element of the text?

Josh and Caty Movich clarified that this is to ensure that the spots can be filled if there are not interested students with the specified demographics.

Motion to approve by Jessica Chilcoat. Seconded by Simrah Javed.

VOTE: 31 in favor. 0 not in favor. Motion passes.

University Senate Ad-Hoc Committee: Gateway District (formation and membership)

The Planning & Resources (P&R) Committee has had extensive discussion around the role that their group can play in monitoring the Gateway District project, as per one of their charges and recommendations from FY2023. There is a maintained recommendation for a separate committee that would focus on monitoring the Gateway District project and other such capital projects.

SenEx has proposed setting up a University Senate ad hoc committee to address this recommendation, composed of 2 faculty, 2 staff, and 2 students, with charges forthcoming. University Senate can vote to support this proposal and establish the committee.

Motion to approve by Jessica Chilcoat. Seconded by Teri Chambers.

VOTE: 29 in favor. 2 not in favor. Motion passes.

University Senate - March 28, 2024

Member for

1 year 7 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on