University Senate Minutes September 9, 2021


Minutes University Senate, September 9, 2021

3:15 - Zoom

Approved: September 30, 2021

 

Present:
Faculty: Hossein Saiedian, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, Corey Maley# Ph.D. (he/him/his), Xinmai Yang, Barbara Kerr, Andrea Herstowski, Margaret Marco (she/her/hers), Patricia Gaston, Ani Kokobobo (she/her/hers), Amanda Mollet (she# her# hers), Lea Currie, Dan Dixon, Nick Syrett -- he/him, Remy Lequesne# he/him, Antha Spreckelmeyer, Geraldo Sousa, Chris Crandall, John Poggio, Charlotte Tritch, Mizuki Azuma, John Hoopes, Andrea Herstowski, Nils Gore, Jeremy Shellhorn (he/him), Maya Stiller, Nate Brunsell, Ben Chappell, Kristin Villa (she/her/hers), Jeffrey Hall, Kyle Velte (she/her), Hammad Hussain (He/Him), John Bricklemyer, Allard Jongman, Mahasweta Banerjee (she/her) Justin Blumenstiel (he/him)

Staff: Teri Chambers, Liz Barton, Chris Wallace PSO, Chris Wallace PSO, Robert Waller, Quiz (Aaron Quisenberry), Michelle G Hayes (she/hers), Jena Gunter, Matt Deakyne, Liz Barton, Monica Bradshaw, Tim Spencer, Jessica Chilcoat (she/hers),

Students: Niya McAdoo (she/they), Turner Seals (He/Him), Hollie Hall (she/her), Martin Vazquez, Camden Baxter, Martin Vazquez, Ethan Roark (They/Them/Theirs), Turner Seals (He/Him), Camden Baxter, Hammad Hussain (He/Him), Brian Moss (he/him),

 

Visitors
Alyssa Wingo, Jennifer Roberts (she/her/hers), Julie Murray, Chris Brown he/him, Doug Girod KU

 

University Senate President Saiedian opened the meeting, and welcomed the Senate Presidents, Niya McAdoo, Tim Spencer, Remy Lequesne, and University Senate President Elect, Ani Kokobobo

 

Saiedian welcomed Chancellor Douglas Girod.

Chancellor Girod gave the following update:

  • The Chancellor noted that over the past 18 months, the university has fared as well, if not better than many universities across the country. It could not have been done without the efforts of the people on this call, your colleagues and those who have committed so much time and effort.  The Chancellor thanked everyone for what they are doing. 
  • The mission of the University of Kansas is educating the leaders of tomorrow, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world. And to accomplish this, we work hard to become a top destination for scholars of all types, both students and faculty and staff, and to continue to be a major economic engine for our state and our region.
  • Higher education in our country is undergoing a significant evolution, this was taking place prior to the pandemic. The pandemic accelerated many of those factors that were driving these changes.  It has positioned everyone in higher education to either change how they do business and how we think about things for the future.
  • People appreciate the fact that we are making efforts and continue to become more efficient and more effective. We have great teams doing all those things and they're represented on this call today, but they're really represented across our campuses. When we think about our roles as being stewards of our university, we can certainly reassure our partners off campus that, we have been great stewards of this organization and working to position the University of Kansas to be the best it can, for our state in our country.
  • COVID: The Lawrence community has performed better than many areas in the state of Kansas, and the country.  This has continued to be the case even now as we go through the Delta virus or Delta variant.  We have better vaccination rates, we have better public health initiatives in place and we have more alignment with our partners in the community than probably anywhere else in the state of Kansas.  The fall semester started by refocusing on using masks indoors and pushing hard on the vaccine within the confines of what our state legislature has decided is allowable.
  • Official Enrollment numbers won’t be released until the 20th day of classes.  Early numbers tell us that the freshman class numbers are up, and transfer students are up, along with international students. 
  • On the research front there have been significant advances both the Alzheimer's Disease Center, being funded for the third time. The cancer center grant and the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative.  As well as many other grants for the university. 
  • Jeff DeWitt, Chief Financial Officer has come in and created greater transparency for all of us on a budget perspective.  He is working to build a five-year plan, which would give everybody in this call some stability and understanding about where we're going, how we can get there and what's coming down the road as opposed to, a year-to-year cycle and not really knowing. 
  • We are preparing for the next legislative session and budget conversations.  Some of the work has already begun. We've met with the governor's office multiple times. We have a working relationship with regents. They will submit their proposal to the governor's office in about 10 days.
  • This spring, we welcomed our new athletic director, Travis Goff.  I hope he has a chance to come meet with your group at some point in time, as well as our new football coach. We had a great weekend on the Hill last Friday. The energy was wonderful. That was the first football win we've had in two years. We are in the middle of a conference conversation right now with Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big Twelve, they account for probably close to 40 percent of the revenues that come through the Big 12.  The Big 12 is looking at how we restructure and strengthen the Big 12.  
  • The NCAA will have a constitutional congress in November, as they redefine the NCAA.  The NCAA lost a major Supreme Court case in July.  Essentially saying the NCAA is in violation of antitrust by setting support for student-athletes and other criteria on a national level. I mentioned our enrollment is about 40 percent out of state and having a national brand is in large part tied to our youth status and our athletics brand, which plays on a national stage on a regular basis. We are far better positioned if we can remain at a Power five conference and remain competitive, that will help our other missions as well.

 

Question:

Have we moved or do you foresee the university philosophically moving from a student-based model as opposed to students being viewed as customers?

Response:

I believe as we move to a revenue model, it may help us to think more about what we provide to our students and the value of the student experience as they are obviously a foundational component of what the university does.  KU is a research university. So how we do, that's a little different than non-research universities. At the core of who we are, we are an educational enterprise. And I think it really puts the student at the center.  I'd be interested in your perspective on that as well.

Reply:

As a student,  and working in the budget office, I am I am torn between that question, understanding that our focus and philosophy is the education of students, and I am in that putting on that hat while at the same time, if the focus has to be one in which we need to look at how we generate our revenue in a hyper-competition of era, as the universe is moving forward.  I'm also looking at myself and saying if the university now understands that, yes, they are wanting to educate me, but at the same time, there is revenue generation that has to occur for it to survive because it can no longer simply survive on the basis of education is most important. There has to be dollars behind that. Then one of those things has to give, or there has to be some overall philosophy or synergy between the difference between the necessity of educating me at all costs versus going out and generating enough revenue to operate for the purpose of educating me at all costs.

 

Question:

The questions is being asked on behalf of the student Senate, in regards to the vote tomorrow for certain universities to join the Big 12. We urge you as chancellor to look at Brigham Young University and how they treat their queer folks and think upon whether that's really a university you would want to join our conference.  We are in the mindset that that this is not a university we would want to join the conference. 

Response:

The Chancellor replied that he appreciated the perspective.

 

Question:

Regarding the post made on Twitter, by the Student Senate President, where does the University stand on this. 

Response:

We are a university a marketplace of ideas, we are always supportive of free speech. Not only are we supportive of this, but we have policies that apply to that, as does the Board of Regents. We believe that this is a case where most certainly this is protected speech. We know not everybody is going to agree with all protected speech by definition. It doesn’t mean this represents the university's view. It also doesn't mean necessarily that everybody at the university agrees with it.  You have an elected student body government, and they have their platform and that's what we are as a university.

 

Question:

Is there a campus-wide vaccination rate regarding when the mask mandate would be removed?

Response:

In the middle of the Delta variant outbreak, I’m not sure there is an answer.  We need to look at the entire context and we will as the semester goes on. We should still try very hard to get to the highest vaccine rate we., to create the safest environment possible for all of us.  The vaccine is highly effective at keeping people out of the hospital, that have the Delta variant and have been vaccinated.  You can still get an infection. The breakthrough rates about one in five thousand. It's not high, but it's there. People generally are asymptomatic to minimally symptomatic unless you have significant underlying medical conditions and then you are at some risk there.

 

Question
Do you have anything additional regarding the post made on Twitter, by the Student Senate President?

Response
I strongly support affirming the right to free speech and first right amendments.  Would one of the student governance leaders would like to comment?

 

Question:

Is there going to be any public statement about the public artwork that was vandalized outside of Spencer?  We don't know who did it.  There was a security camera image that you know could plausibly be students who are suspected. I think especially, as I understand it, the artworks that were targeted had a lot to say about decolonization and the indigenous history and nature of this land, and it was an attack against our campus art museum. Not that long ago, our art museum was embroiled in another firestorm. Where the administrative voices quickly distanced themselves from our artistic institutions on campus. I know that they would appreciate the support if there could be an institutional statement on this type of attack, that it is not acceptable on campus.

Response:

I have a conversation with Sarah Lynn coming up. I didn't know all the details you have shared.  I appreciate this information and I will take this under advisement.

Reply: This artwork was done by one of alumnus, Edgar Heap Of Birds.  The information, and news have been very minimal about it.

Thank you.  I will bring it up.  We are hoping to move those to other places on campus as well.

 

Saiedian thank the Chancellor for speaking.

 

Approval of Minutes from April 23, 2021

Motion to approve: No discussion, passed by acclamation

 

Approval of Charges for Standing Committees (attached)

  • Academic Computing and Electronic Communications (ACEC)
  • Academic Policies and Procedures (AP & P)
  • Athletic
  • Calendar
  • International Affairs
  • Libraries
  • Planning and Resources (P & R)
  • Retirees Rights and Benefits (RRB)

 

A correction was made to update the Senate President to Hossein

Motion to approve with correction.  No discussion, passed by acclamation

 

Standing Reports

Student Body Vice-President Ethan Roark

  • The  Student Senate is seeing good engagement in its senate committees and in full Senate. There has been high attendance even post-pandemic
  • The communications director, AJ Butler, did publish a new student Senate logo. You'll start seeing that on all students in official business.
  • We also attended a Student Advisory Council retreat with all the Kansas Board of Regents schools.  We were able to connect with our partners, at our peer institutions.  We were able to discuss what we thought we needed to advocate for this year, settling student insurance payments, moving forward diversity and inclusion in Kansas, and at Kansas universities, This is something that we hope to advocate for as we go through this school year.
  • We are working re-writing the Student Senate Rules and Regulations.  The student Senate rules and regulations are incredibly confusing and contradictory to a lot of students who are reading them.
  • Over this last cycle, we were able to fund two student organizations, approved the KU Card replacement program that student center offers, which is a program in which we allow transgender students the ability to change their KU card for free.
  • An amendment was passed related to food purchases, allowing student organizations to spend one hundred dollars of their general funding to purchase food from the Memorial Corporation.
  • Our Student Senate Internal Affairs Director Max, launched a clicker program, which is a program in which students are donating AI clickers for a semester to any student that comes into the office and requests one.
  • A resolution that came through the Student Senate this past cycle was regarding the act of sexual assault that happened. Students at KU want to recognize the issues that we have are our own university, moving forward in making sure that sexual assault on the CKU campus is reported and is managed and appropriate way.

 

Question

There are two committees, the Parking Commission and Transit Commission, that need student appointments.  Do you know when this might take place. 

Response
The Student Senate is hoping to have this done in the next few weeks. 

 

Staff Senate President Tim Spencer

  • Staff senate met yesterday, Corrine Bannon spoke to the Staff Senate regarding JayHawk rising. 
  • The workplace improvement team will be speaking at the September meeting.
  • The Staff Senate needs a student and faculty senate representative
  • Staff Senate Committees are meeting. 
  • An Ad-Hoc Committee is working on revising the Staff Senate website. 
  • The KBOR UPS and USS Council is discussing combining the KBOR Council merging the two Councils into one.  They have discussed mask mandates, remote work policy. 
  • The Docking Institute is working with Fort Hayes, to send out a Staff Climate Survey. 

 

Question:

Would you briefly explain? Especially for the faculty and students which are in this meeting, what is meant by a climate study?

Response
The survey will be assessing all the things that staff currently advocate for, which is balanced workload, balance pay. What are the reasons why people are staying at the universities and why they're leaving? Asking staff what they do and why, what struggles they have and very broad in a very broad sense.

 

Faculty Senate President Remy Lequesne

  • When we all left at the end of last year, I was president-elect. The faculty Senate president this year, Paola Sanguinetti, left KU for a position at ASU. I stepped into her role, and we just recently elected Kyle Velte, as the Faculty Senate President-Elect.
  • It was great that KU finally declined to use the temporary dismissal policy for tenured faculty. 
  • In August was announced that the 12 over 9, pay option was being offered.  This is a policy that Faculty Senate advocated for many years.  It took a lot of work on the staff side to make it happen. I think about 10 percent of faculty have taken advantage of program. 
  • We have had frequent meetings with Chris Brown and Andrew Foster, regarding Covid and the Delta variant.  We definitely advocated for the mask mandate to start the semester.  We advocated for more transparent decision-making and more flexibility for individuals to do what they thought was needed to keep themselves and their community members safe.  
  • The Faculty Senate has not met yet, We have the standing committees, which will be busy, but also two ad hoc committees that we created and have populated. The first on program discontinuance will include staff and student representatives there. Their charges are to effectively watch the process unfold this year to study the procedures that are in place and to make any recommendations for perhaps revising the policies if needed. This is a good time to do that because I think at last count there are 14 programs that are in line to be discontinued this fall. There's also an ad hoc committee reviewing the FRB procedures for dismissing a tenured faculty member. These procedures, have not been modified for 40 or 50 years.
  • There is an effort underway to establish a university-wide academic workload policy for faculty. Lequesne, Chris Brown and the chairs of Faculty Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities Committee, and SPPT, have been meeting already this fall talking about this.  We hope to have something for the faculty Senate to look at by the middle of the fall. This is squarely within the purview of shared governance, and I think the faculty Senate needs to vote on it. 
  • Things to keep an eye on: The KBOR is looking at a general education policy. A lot of states have this. Kansas does not.  The policy would define outcomes for general education courses that would apply across all universities in Kansas, and it would make it so that students can automatically transfer these general education credits within the system. Faculty are to be engaged in writing these outcomes. 

 

Question:

Regarding the general education outcomes.  Would that take some liberty away from professors and how they're teaching content in General Ed courses and sort of like homogenize Kansas universities? Or would it generally be like something more of like a curriculum that needs to be followed?

Response
I don’t know the level of precision that those working on this envision.  I understand that the perceived advantages of this are to make it easier for students to transfer within the system and have to deal with a process of transferring courses. Faculty have a right to set their curriculum, and I don't want this to constrain faculty. Faculty at different institutions look at the same topic and approach it in different ways, and there's value to that too. This is something that the KBOR and KU needs to think carefully about.

 

Question:

When I was the graduate secretary in another department, students would try to take care of some of their math requirements at community colleges.  The adviser who would approve these was always in a conundrum, because the quality of the knowledge was not the same from each and every institution. Is the ultimate goal so that you could, know, a person taking Math 101 has the same knowledge base across the board? Or are they still going to have to watch out for discrepancies because of the way it was taught?

Response:

I think the intent is to make it so that courses satisfying certain general education outcomes would be offered at all institutions in Kansas and that those credits could then transfer.

 

Question:

Is this a KBOR specific policy

Response:

Yes.

 

University Senate President Hossein Saiedian

  • Updated University Senate on the Changes in Faculty Senate Leadership.  Professor Kyle Velte, has been elected as the Faculty Senate President-Elect.
  • SenEx reviewed and approved a memorandum of agreement with the KU Athletics department.  The agreement had very minor changes, this allows 1, 58 sets in Allen Fieldhouse for Faculty, Staff and Retirees to purchase without going through the Williams Fund.
  • Jayhawk Rising Strategic Plan
    • Three institutional priorities: Student Success, Healthy & Vibrant Communities and Research and Discovery; each priority is divided into subgroups. 
  • Extra year for T&P for faculty hired in fall 2021.
  • No updates on the dependent tuition assistance.
  • Committee appointments for the University Senate Committees and Boards should be completed soon.
  • AP&P has 12 active academic program discontinuance requests
    • All will require hearings
    • There are inactive programs that do not require hearings (no students have enrolled in the last three years)

 

Unfinished Business

New Business

We have a number of speakers,

    • November Jeff Dewitt, CFO
    • December discussion of AP&P recommendations
    • February, Athletic Director
    • Pending dates: Corinne Bannon, Jayhawk Rising
    • New Chief of Policy

 

Program Discontinuance

Question:

If a program is going to be discontinued, whether it's been continued or it's at that point in which we're looking at it and eliminating it. What happens to the faculty and staff that are part of those departments? Are they simply moved or are they retained?   Are they then given, a place in the process in which if there isn't a position there, they're kind of set aside so that they can move along somewhere else in the university? Are they given a kind of a special privilege to be hired elsewhere or are they simply cut off from the university the moment that the department is defunct?

Response:

There is some merging, what we want to do is to avoid the last, whether it is for a staff or whether it is for faculty, because it's a totally unfair. It's not something that they should be victimized if, for example, universities are going through some restructuring.

Response:

Many faculty in the CLAS, are familiar with the KBOR  under-enrollment inquiries.  What we are seeing is some programs that will be fully discontinued, merged into other programs. Part of the process to merge areas, you have to first discontinued, and that is the Active Program Discontinuance Policy, that needs to be followed.  During the hearings, faculty, staff and students will send either prepared statements or talk openly and publicly about the programs.  Eventually, the University Senate will receive recommendation from AP&P, and they will review and vote on the recommendations.  These will then be sent to the Provost and Chancellor, by the University Senate president

Comment:

Lequesne noted that most of the programs are not going to concern to faculty and staff.  They will not have impacts on faculty or staffing or department structures.  As example, if the FS in Biology.  There have added other programs to replace this, and are switching students over to the new program.  Eliminating the degree, does not mean the discipline is no longer available.