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
  • Alicia Swimmer
  • Barbara Bichelmeyer
  • Becci Akin
  • Ben Chappell
  • Bozenna Pasik-Duncan
  • Brian Moss
  • Chris Wallace
  • Colin McRoberts
  • DaNae Estabine
  • David Day
  • Hara Talasila
  • Jason Dailey
  • Jeremy McLeod
  • Jessica Chilcoat
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kevin Barnes
  • Kim Conard
  • Kristi Neufeld
  • Kristin Villa
  • Liz Barton
  • Lorin Maletsky
  • Marissa Marshall
  • Mary Dykmann
  • McKenzie Henderson
  • Mugur Geana
  • Robert Eppler
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Sam Brody
  • Simrah Javed
  • Teri Chambers
  • Tim Hossler
  • Trina Weekly
  • Vance Sorell
  • Victor Gonzalez

Other Attendees

  • Caty Movich
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Alyssa Reed
  • Ben Eggleston
  • Beth Benfield
  • Billie Archer
  • Cady Bush
  • Gwen Geiger Wolfe
  • Heather Haughton
  • Jean Redeker
  • Jeff Long
  • Jennifer Hanson
  • Jennifer McBee
  • Jennifer Roberts
  • Jennifer Robinson
  • Kim LaFever
  • Lauren Shull
  • Lauren Spain-Eddington
  • Marilu Goodyear
  • Meghan Allen
  • Michael Vitevitch
  • Pam Burkhead
  • Sarah Denning
  • Suzanne McAlister
  • Ted Juhl

Approval of Previous Minutes

Meeting minutes from Nov. 2, 2023. Motion to approve by Kristin Villa. Motion passed unanimously.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer

Provost Bichelmeyer presented several updates about the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

  1. Administrative strategic alignment meetings will be held in December and academic strategic alignment meetings will be held in January. Their purpose is to check in with unit leaders and to map each unit’s goals onto the Jayhawks Rising framework. Governance leaders are invited to sit in and ask questions. Administration will provide units with briefing books, created by AIRE, that contain enrollment and research data.
  2. US News and World Report rankings have been released, and KU dropped somewhat. Some metrics have changed recently, specifically completion gaps between vulnerable students and non-vulnerable students. We know that we have a problem in this specific area and have asked deans to focus on this issue in their units and benchmark against other institutions.
  3. Perkins & Will has reported out to the KU community on our campus master plan. Several hundred people attended the presentations. Perkins & Will interviewed staff, students, and faculty in the development of the plan. We know that space usage on campus needs to be efficient and sustainable, with a focus on using existent spaces. There is a recording of the presentation available:
  4. KU People First (HR transformation initiative)
    1. There will be dedicated support for each academic and admin unit, with better training on onboarding for these service partners. There will be increased professional development for staff and faculty and a more robust employee relations enterprise.
    2. We are currently planning implementation and plan on rolling it out during the spring semester.
    3. The Office of Faculty Affairs has been working on a more comprehensive professional development and orientation program.
  5. Jeff DeWitt, Jason Hornberger, and unit budget officers have been meeting to get ready for the fiscal planning cycle. We plan to have more detailed accounting on spending and a process for the all-funds strategy.
  6. There have been challenges with the rollout of Concur. Jeff DeWitt has had a continuous improvement task force working on it, and we provided an update in a recent email. Campus will learn more soon about the money saved through this process.
  7. Position searches
    1. The new deans of the Schools of Engineering & Music will be announced before winter break.
    2. The Provost has convened a search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Research search, which will be announced next week. AIRE is providing survey support so that the committee can consider community feedback.
  8. There have been position shifts in the Office of Academic Affairs because of Susan Klusmeier’s departure. We decided that it was strategic to have a tenure-line faculty in the role of overseeing undergraduate curriculum and a strong link to the Edwards campus, so Kim Warren was an excellent candidate for this.
  9. There have been some recent developments from KBOR in terms of how KU Core can fit into the state general education plan. The Provost met with the UCCC to discuss opportunities to maintain the KU value proposition.
  10. In terms of our HLC progress, we are beginning to craft language for our assurance argument. We are a little more than a year out from our March 2025 visit. There will be mock reviews prior to that.
  11. We received appreciation for the State of the Campus presentation. There was also criticism that recognition needs to be broader.
  12. The Campus Constituent Surveys Implementation Team has had its first meeting. This group will monitor all recommendations from the various surveys and subsequent actions. There will be a website tracking everything.
  13. The States of the Schools will vary by individual unit. Some smaller schools rely on shorter, regular communications, and some larger schools have already had their presentations: Architecture and Design had theirs at the beginning of the school year; Journalism and Mass Communications had theirs in October right after the State of the Campus; Engineering had theirs on November 7th; the College will have theirs in January; Professional Studies and Edwards regularly have theirs in September and January; the Libraries will have theirs in March; Law relies on regular communications but is open to have a presentation; Business relies on regular communications.
  14. Q&A
    1. Q: If a school is not doing a State of the School presentation, is that something that you’re recommending they do?
      1. A: Yes, we have asked each dean to communicate their plan with us and to do some sort of report.
    2. Q: The new KU Core might change some schools’ ability to ensure students are prepared for their programs.
      1. A: There are exceptions in some cases, and we are waiting on some answers from KBOR. There is a commitment to making sure schools are meeting their accreditation requirements and that students are graduating on time.
  15. There have been challenges with the implementation of the excused absences policy. Governance has sent a survey to faculty, which closes December 8th. The Provost encouraged faculty to contribute their feedback so that we can make improvements and provide support.


Student Senate Report

Reporter: DaNae Estabine (Student Senate Vice-President)

Student Senate will be hosting their annual Holidays in Higher Ed event, which brings together students, administration, and different levels of government. The event is next Wednesday, December 6th, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Allen Fieldhouse right before the women’s basketball game. The game is free for students and tickets will be provided for other guests.

President Turner has ordered the holiday lights and is working with the Grounds Crew on the logistics of installation. The current plan is to put lights on the Jayhawk Blvd info booth, the KS Union, Strong Hall, and the Jayhawk Welcome Center.

Staff Senate Report

Reporter: Chris Wallace (Staff Senate President)

Staff Senate leaders are working on Docking survey recommendations with the Provost.

Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Victor Gonzalez (Faculty Senate President)

Victor met with the Council for Faculty Senate Presidents. They are developing guidelines for KBOR-sponsored awards for tenure-track faculty.

Governance sent the excused absences survey to faculty, and we are currently finalizing the survey to GTAs.

University Senate Report

Reporter: Kristin Villa (University Senate President)

Governance held the CFO Forum with Jeff DeWitt on November 6th, and a recording is now available on the Governance website: There was excellent attendance and lots of questions. The CFO discussed salaries, the budget, the financials of the Gateway District project, continuous improvement initiatives, and updates to Concur.

The Interim Vice Chancellor for Research has been announced and started work, while the search moves forward. Governance has concluded their recommendations for the Deans of Engineering and Music searches.

Kristin announced that she will be leaving KU for a new position and will be focusing on research. There will be a new University Senate President in the spring. Kristin will still support in January.

Unfinished Business

Excused Absences Policy

The current excused absences survey focuses on education and understanding what the impact is on instructors. Faculty are currently being surveyed and GTAs will be surveyed very soon. There will be an additional survey for all instructors in the spring, as well as students.

Kristin asked the senators if we should be surveying staff. There were no immediate responses, but people should email Kristin if they have ideas.

Juneteenth as Holiday in Academic Calendar

The recommendation was approved by SenEx, University Senate, FacEx, and Faculty Senate and will be forwarded to KBOR and in place this summer.

Social Media

Kristin followed up on the issue raised by DaNae Estabine at the last meeting. In addition to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX, people can also utilize the Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance ethics hot line: The Ombuds Office also provides a space to talk through options. There are also social media, political activity, and academic freedom policies that can provide guidance and further information:

New Business

Governance received a petition from over 100 KU community members regarding revisions to the KU Core. The ethics requirement has been incorporated into the humanities bucket, but we can no longer ensure that students are taking ethics coursework. The petition asks to change the USRR to make ethics and social responsibility a separate requirement for graduation. This will be official business in the spring, but Kristin encouraged senators to think about it. It will also go to the UCCC first.

Q: Will we receive more information in the spring about the core?

A: Yes, we will receive more info.

University Senate - Nov. 30, 2023

Member for

1 year 7 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on