University Senate Minutes February 3, 2022


University Senate, Minutes: February 3, 2022

Approved: March 3, 2022

 

Present:

Hossein Saiedian, Rémy Lequesne, Rafael Acosta, Mahasweta Banerjee, Samuel Brody, Chris Crandall, Lea Currie, Patricia Gaston, Nils Gore, Andrea Herstowski, John Hoopes, Tim Hossler, Allard Jongman, Barbara Kerr, Ani Kokobobo, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, John Poggio, Maya Stiller, Charlotte Tritch, Kristin Villa, Amanda Mollet, Ben Chappell, John Bricklemyer, Nate Brunsell, Antha Spreckelmeyer, Nick Syrett, Tarun Sabarwal, Kyle Velte, Corey Maley

Tim Spencer, Jessica Chilcoat, Chris Wallace, Michelle G Hayes, Brian Moss, Robert Waller, Matt Deakyne, Scott Cossel, Quiz (Aaron Quisenberry)

Hollie Hall, Camden Baxter, Evan Winden, Andrew Moore, Turner Seales

 

Guests: Provost, Barbara Bichelmeyer & Athletic Director, Travis Goff

Also present: Kathy Reed, Tessa Maclean, and 107 other visitors

 

 

University Senate President Saiedian reminded everyone that questions would be asked after the Provost gave a short update. Questions would be asked in the order of Staff, Student, and Faculty. Each question/comment is limited to two minutes. Please do not ask another question until all members have the opportunity to ask. 

 

Saiedian introduced Provost Bichelmeyer:

 

Provost Bichelmeyer

 

  • The Provost Office is moving forward with the following searches:
    • Dean of Architecture and Design.
    • The search firm of WittKieffer has been hired to help with the search for the CLAS Dean and the Vice Provost of DIEB.
    • More information will be coming later regarding a search for the Assistant (or Associate) Vice-Chancellor of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. 
    • There will be additional information about a search for Technology Commercialization Leader.
    • Jayhawk Global, the brand KU is creating to promote online education.
    • Vice Provost Chris Brown will be sending out an email to clarify information regarding online teaching vs. in the classroom, with regards to COVID>
    • Jayhawks rising has listed their key strategies for the 2022 year. They are located on the KU website, Jayhawks Rising | Jayhawks Rising (ku.edu)
    • KU is working on a One University Initiative with the medical center. John Curran is leading that group. 
    • The Provost thanked the AP&P Committee and University Senate for their work and time regarding program discontinuance.

Question:

Why has it taken so long for the Dean of the CLAS search committee to start? 

 

Reply:
I'm relatively new, so I analyzed all that data received from a survey that was conducted. So I could obtain a sense of patterns. We needed to start with a position description for the Dean. We want the person to be successful in the position. 

 

Question:
I was one of the people involved with the Ad Hoc committee that worked on the Dependents and Spouse tuition benefits.   That proposal was submitted December of 2019. 

 

Reply:

Currently, we have funding that has not been fully utilized. I've talked to the chancellor. We are both hopeful that as we build our way towards success or to growth and get out of cutting mode, that we strengthen that program. Make it more competitive with our peers. So it continues to be one of our priorities. 

 

 

Question:
I'm concerned about the discontinuation of a department in its entirety, Humanities. My colleagues in the Humanities Program don't know what they'll be teaching next year and won't be able to do things like order books because they don't know what their classes are or where they'll be. When are they going to be informed of their future at KU?

 

Reply:

I want you to know that I am very dedicated to working through the process that we have to make sure that we're addressing it as expeditiously as we can. We are at the level where it involves me. I'm looking forward to getting out with the Humanities faculty in the very near future and having some conversations with them. I really can't say particularly more about it right now, and the chancellor hasn't actually made a final decision. 

 

Question:

I'm looking at the USSR, Article eight, and it looks like because we've delivered our committee's recommendation and the Senate vote, we are waiting for your recommendation, which is to be submitted in writing and to include an explicit statement and rationale, including responses to the recommendations of the committee. When will we, as the governance body, receive that information?

 

Reply:
You are correct. I've got to draft my response, which will come shortly.

 

Question:

I know that a lot of people have left KU in the past few months. It has been mentioned that KU is looking at salary and other benefits to retain people. Is there any plan or thought in collecting feedback surveys of how people are doing right now, not just when they leave? Or building more social opportunities so that people feel connected.

 

Reply:

There are two things that we're doing and that we will begin regularly doing. One geared towards Faculty, which is the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education COACHE survey,  

The other thing that we did for the first time is the two-year cycle, chronicle great places to work survey, which is more of a true campus-wide. It captures the differences between staff and Faculty. It allows us to benchmark a bit on some, higher education strategies to make sure that we're doing the things that create workplace satisfaction. Also, we have not had mandatory exit surveys previously, and I have asked HR to be moving in the direction of having mandatory exit surveys because there's a lot of data in that alone.

 

Question:
My question is in regards to having more equitable pay for the 3GS. Thinking about the graduate assistants that are very heavily underpaid compared to GTA's on our campus. What is the progress on reviewing this and the timeline?   

 

Reply:

This is a priority for us, recognizing that we have work to do for GTR's, GA sand GTAs. I'm sure that Jen Roberts will be able to speak more to this in the near future. 

 

 

Question:

My question is related to Jayhawk Global. We do not have an understanding of what this consists of. Or maybe, more importantly, my question is, how will it impact those of us who have successful online programs today? And will that compete against us? Or will we be forced to become part of this? Exactly how will that happen?

 

Reply:

An announcement will be coming out that explains Jayhawk Global. It will cover our path forward with online education. We've been doing a lot behind the scenes to make it as simple as possible and make us all feel like we're all working together instead of internally competing while the rest of the world is growing. My expectation for anybody that currently has an online program, we don't want to do anything to disincentivize anybody to do online programs.   We are trying to build the infrastructure so that everybody has the opportunity with social media marketing and recruiting. 

 

Saiedian thanked the Provost for attending.

 

Saiedian introduced Athletic Director, Travis Goff

 

The Athletics department is undergoing our strategic planning process, so there is more consistency with the institution's broader strategic plan and priorities. In the fall, we conducted our discovery phase for the strategic plan. We've held well over 50 one-on-one interviews with a host of different constituents. We have conducted multiple focus groups, which I think will total over one hundred participants, and then we have been conducting a broad array of surveys to reach the masses.

 

Goff noted that the faculty athletics representative, Susan Williams, and an additional faculty member will serve on that small strategic planning committee. We will also have staff representation outside of athletics. Part of the draft includes the following statement:
 

Our purpose is to profoundly enhance the lives of Jayhawk student-athletes through an unrivaled commitment to academic enrichment, health, and character development in the pursuit of competitive excellence. And then the second aspect of that purpose together, we will unite all Jayhawks as we inspire our campus community alumni, donors and fans.

 

The Athletic Department at KU is one of a handful of largely self-sufficient athletic programs in the country. Athletics receives approximately one point four million dollars a year in annual institutional support that comes out to just over or just at one percent of the athletics total annual revenue budget. The other ninety-nine percent are self-generated by athletics. It's important to emphasize the rationale for that number, some of it related to NCAA mandates in terms of employment and salary aspects that need to be distributed.

 

Athletics pays the university approximately 18-1/2 million dollars a year. That is made up in various ways: tuition, housing, and dining services. In addition, we generate around 1-1/2 million dollars a year in parking revenue that goes back to parking services in the university. There is also about 2 million a year in sales tax for the state of Kansas and approximately a million dollars a year in wages to around three hundred undergraduate and graduate students working with athletics. KU Athletic Department no longer receives student fee's. 

 

During  Black History Month, Athletics has launched our Marion Washington Trailblazer series, where we're celebrating some of the great African-American Jayhawks and Jayhawk leaders over time and will this month celebrate five great Jayhawks, our first African-American soccer student-athlete, Nikki Walbert, Tamika Dixon, women's basketball, went on to play in the WNBA,  Ed Harvey, who was the first African-American to play football at KU, 1894, and also played baseball, and Maurice King in the 1950's,  was the first African-American starter for Kansas men's basketball.

 

Later this month, we will be rolling out a new anonymous testing platform, where athletic students may ask any questions they have concerns about. 

 

Question:

You mentioned the strategic planning process, are there students involved in this?

 

Reply:

Yes, we do have student athletic representation. However, it also raises the issue, that perhaps a non-student athlete could have an opportunity to serve on it as well. 

 

Question:

Do you ever see college athletics breaking away from the NCAA and forming their own legal entity or something like that? Do you see something where maybe even college athletics isn't a part of higher education?

 

 

Reply:

A few weeks ago, at the NCAA convention, a vote was taken from the entire membership, and it passed by 80 percent of Division one, Division two, and  Division three programs, to approve a new constitution for the NCAA. So division one now has autonomy over the course of the next, nine to twelve months, to create its own autonomous constitution. Rather than having been tethered in so many ways back to Division two and Division Three, it now has the opportunity to kind of chart its own path. 

 

Question:

We have heard that the endowment focuses on allowing donors to choose what they would like to support. Whenever I have had a proposal in the last 15 years, I've been told, you know, most of the donors want to fund athletics. They're not interested in programs like yours on creativity. From the athletic department's perspective that receives so much support from our alumni and our donors. Is there anything you could do to have them throw a few bucks our way?

 

Reply:

For the first time in athletics history, we have partnered with endowment in a formal manner. This means we have hired a new development leader for athletics that has dual reporting both to me as the athletic director and to the executive vice president for endowment. What that formal relationship ensures is that athletics in their development work and their development opportunities now must have a broader lens for the institution.

 

 

 

Question:
We noticed that many of the Big 12 institutions, including Texas, contributed substantially more to the university than at KU. There are some contributions, but what the athletic department received was significantly more in terms of, for example, education for the athletic in the housing that they got, et cetera.

 

Reply:
The number one immediate objective is to make sure that athletics remain financially independent and ensures that we need no juncture to be any more reliant upon the institution of which we haven't been and coming out of the pandemic. We faced a 5-1/2 to 6 million dollar deficit last year. We are finding our own way through that as we chart the next two to three years of our budget cycle.

As we enter 2025, there's a reasonable likelihood that our primary revenue source in athletics, the Big 12 media distribution, will go backward. The reason it would go backward is because of Texas and Oklahoma's departure from the Big 12 and the significant value that they then deduct from the conference in a new media agreement. We have a challenge in the next three to five years ahead of us financially in athletics.
 

Question:
I have never felt more confident in the direction of athletics, particularly the football program. My question also pertains to conference realignment. You'd mentioned a Texas and Oklahoma-sized hole in the finances of the Big 12 media distribution company. My question is, how do you one expect the new members to offset that financial loss? And, are there any projections as to what that loss looks like in numeric terms?

 

Reply:

I would tell you there are two ways that we're going to manage the financial challenges ahead of us. One is less under the viability of our football program. It's not a surprise to anyone that we've been an underperforming program in the way of wins and losses. Certainly, we've been an underperforming program related to financial viability. And to me, the takeaway is an exceptional opportunity. I believe in this level of intercollegiate athletics that the University of Kansas has more upside, certainly as much upside as anyone out there because of the potential within that program where athletics can contribute to the broader university success.

 

We will add Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston, and BYU, so the conference will go from 10 to 12. I do forecast, going backward in our media distribution. Some early projections stated that to be in the eight figures, but I think it's far too early to understand what that might be. And, of course, the media landscape will have a lot to say about it over the next few years.

 

 

Question:

Where are we with the NCAA investigation? And then another question I have is I love that you were telling us that these students are doing so well, but I don't feel that you all do a good enough job of telling their stories.

 

Reply:
The NCAA investigation, particularly for the men's basketball program that's gone on for over four years, has been a cloud hanging over our heads. Nobody knows precisely what the timing is. There is not much I can say.  I anticipate a great opportunity in 2022 to move forward and put that behind us.

Your second question, we don't do a good enough job telling what good our students are doing. We have a growing communications department in athletic, whether that be social media profiles of student-athletes better utilization of our own KU Athletics website. There is still a lot of potential, and it's something that we're continually focusing on talking about. We will be spending time on in our strategic plan to ensure we have clear action as we move forward.   

 

Question:

This question goes back to fundraising and the university. What you've already said is valuable. My question is when the priority points system was set up, and I don't know if it's still true now, but historically it has not provided the same weighted value for contributions to academic programs at the university, as it has for contributions to the Williams fund and athletic programs. So, for example, one hundred dollars contributed to an academic program at KU, did not provide the same priority points as $100 contributed to the Williams Fund or other athletic programs. Is that something that you would be in favor of looking at changing?

 

 

Reply

I've studied our current system, and it's probably because that's just a more natural default for how these programs are structured across the country. This is something we will take a comprehensive look at. 

 

Question:

This question is about the university's response to the name, image, and likeness rule changes created by the NCAA. I know that, for example, Texas A&M has amassed a large war chest of financial resources for different programs. So my question is, are there any plans similar to that in the works at KU? And if so, what form are they taking?

 

Reply:
This new rule became effective and approved in July 2021. We are seven or eight months into this new environment where our student-athletes can financially benefit from their name, image, and likeness. What that means is, they can either have their own representation or represent themselves with outside third parties business entities and monetize their name, image, and likeness. We've certainly had to step into that environment. The first and foremost way in which you do that is via education. Navigating the risk that comes with that. We want to make sure our student-athletes and our coaches are fully educated on what is and isn't permissible in that environment. Number one, do we have plans to amass a significant war chest. The great news is the market dictates the value of student athletes name, image and likeness. The NCAA  said two things number one, don't use name, image and likeness as a recruiting inducement. The second is there has to be a service rendered by the student-athlete, right. If a student-athlete has a thousand-dollar deal with a local business, then the student-athlete needs to be tweeting being represented on websites. There has to be some kind of a return. We do not engage in what that might look like other than to ensure that there is an actual agreement that we've had in the athletic department and that there is an actual service rendered. I think some of that has been overblown in terms of athletic departments actively soliciting funds to the funnel to student-athletes. It has to be done through an outside third party. We probably fit very squarely in the middle of that activity. We're not progressive or aggressive. 

 

 

Question:
Is that true that Athletics earns more revenue from football program than the basketball program?

 

 

Reply:

Yes, that is correct. 

 

Saiedian thank Travis Goff for attending. 

 

Motion to approve the minutes from the dates listed below, made by Kokobobo, seconded by Hall.  

 

  1. Approval of Minutes from:
    1. October 28, 2021 -
    2. November 4, 2021 -
    3. December 2, 2021 -

 

Motion passes unanimously

 

 

 

Meeting adjourned: