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Faculty Senate Meeting 

September 28, 2011 

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall 

Agenda: 

    I.    Call to order and welcome

    II.   Speaker’s Report

            A.  Announcements
            B.  Executive Committee Actions      
            C.  Paula Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
            D.  Chris Munoz, Vice President for Enrollment

    III.   Report from the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum

    IV.    New business

             A.  Motion to change Bylaws Section 5.5 regarding Convenor
             B.  Motion to adopt revised Faculty Senate Rules for Appeals and Grievances
             C.  General discussion on V2C Centennial conversations
             D.  General discussion on Non-Tenure Track faculty voting eligibility issues

Senators present:  David Alexander, Randy Batsell, Carl Caldwell, David Caprette, John Casbarian, Marcia Citron, Danijela Damjanovic, Rebecca Goetz, Jane Grande-Allen, Mikki Hebl, Illya Hicks, Anatoly Kolomeisky, Scott McGill, Susan McIntosh, George McLendon, Helena Michie, Fred Oswald, Brian Rountree, Stan Sazykin, David Scott, Robin Sickles, Ruth Lopez Turley, Moshe Vardi, and James Weston.

Senators absent:  Kate Beckingham, Ramon Gonzalez, Shirine Hamadeh, Michael Kohn, David Leebron, William Parsons, Matteo Pasquali, and Yizhi Jane Tao.

PROCEEDINGS (To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email senate@rice.edu.) 

  

I.       Call to order and welcome 

Speaker Susan McIntosh called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.  She welcomed the assembled senators and guests.  Senator David Alexander announced that Rice University and the Johnson Space Center have entered into a formal collaboration via the signing of an Umbrella Space Act Agreement. This will facilitate all future joint projects between the two institutions. 

II.       Speaker’s Report 

           A.       Announcements  

·         The State of the University Address by President Leebron will be held Thursday, October 6, in McMurtry Auditorium of Duncan Hall, beginning at 4 p.m. Following the address, a faculty reception will be held from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  

·         An Information session for faculty and staff on college admissions and Rice’s tuition remission benefit will be held on November 1, 2011.

·         New senator Mikki Hebl (Psychology) has been appointed to represent the School of Social Sciences for a one-year term, 2011-2012.

·         Senators are encouraged to meet with their primary and any secondary departments they represent as soon as possible in this new semester.

          B.      Executive Committee Actions 

·         Approval of Working Group on Faculty Retirement Planning, with Kathy Matthews as chair. To view the members of the working group and its charge, please click HERE.

·         Approval of updated charge and revised membership for the Working Group on Appeals, Grievances, and Hearings, Promotion and Tenure, with Carl Caldwell as chair. To view the updated information, please click HERE.

·         Approval of Working Group on Research and Scholarship, with Moshe Vardi as chair. To view the charge for this group and its proposed membership, please click HERE.

Randy Batsell (Business) asked Vardi about the representation of the professional schools on the working group.  Robin Sickles proposed that additional professional school faculty members (Architecture, Music, and Business) be added to the working group. Marcia Citron (Music) suggested that each professional school propose the number of faculty they would like to have on this working group.  It was decided that Vardi and Batsell would settle informally on the number of representatives on the working group from the Jones Graduate School of Business.

·         A formal request has been made to the provost for a response to the Enrollment Growth Impact Report; this response will be presented by Provost McLendonat the November 2 Faculty Senate meeting.

        C.      Paula Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs 

Paula Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, spoke to the Senate regarding current projects. Sanders stated that the role of her office is to serve faculty; to help them succeed. She noted the recent improvements to the General Announcements which have made it more accessible and reliable. She also discussed efforts to improve the faculty data management system, and she said that university policies are being reviewed and updated. Sanders stated that she meets regularly with Speaker McIntosh and Deputy Speaker Grande-Allen, with information flowing in both directions.  Sanders encouraged senators and faculty who need her assistance to call her directly at extension 5923.

         D.      Chris Munoz, Vice President for Enrollment 

Chris Munoz, Vice President for Enrollment, addressed the Senate regarding the current freshman class and admissions trends in general. Munoz stated that since 2007, the number of students who have applied to Rice has grown by 50%, and the number admitted has grown by 15%. Munoz said that Rice’s “market position” is shifting; Rice is competing more often with universities such as Harvard for students. Munoz also stated that the number of students in several historically underrepresented groups has grown at Rice, such as Mexican-American and (other) Hispanic students. Please click HERE to view the slide presentation from Munoz. 

A question and answer session followed Munoz’s presentation. Regarding the “yield” rate (those students offered admission who enroll at Rice), Munoz stated that this fall, the yield was more than the amount predicted by the admissions office by 50 students. Munoz was also asked about the test scores of the current freshman class, to which he replied that the test scores are the same for the fall 2011 class as the fall 2006 class.

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson answered a senator’s question about the freshman retention rate.  He stated that although the 2009 class had a comparatively low retention rate, the 2010 freshman class had a 97% retention rate.

Batsell asked for more information, to which Munoz replied that his presentation was not meant to show all data; he brought to the Senate the basic information that the College Board requires. However, he invited Batsell to contact him for a full report.

III.      Report from Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum 

Helena Michie, chair of the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum, gave an update to the Senate of the working group’s actions:

·         Process:  taking into account the report from the original working group and the reports from the three outside consultants, the current working group is charged with presenting its completed recommendations to the Faculty Senate at the November 2 meeting.  The working group has been communicating with the Faculty Advisory Committee and has added two students for their input.

·         Approach:  the group is balancing ambition and reality. The November report will include an implementation timeline, with some changes to occur in the fall 2012 semester, while other changes will take more time to implement.

·         Principles:  1) writing instruction is important for every student at every skill level;  2) an integrated, vertical approach to writing is needed;  3) writing must be understood as an important component of communication which includes oral and visual communication; 4) writing is a skill and an epistemology;  5) departments or disciplines may depend on different types of communication; and 6) writing and writing instruction should happen throughout the curriculum—it should not be taught separately by communications faculty.

·         Structural elements recommended: a first year seminar, a writing center, advanced writing in the various disciplines, and an administrative structure.

 

Following the update, Michie was asked a few questions, including how to serve those students for whom English is not their first language.  Hutchinson replied that Communications 100 was added for this purpose, and 80 students will attend the class this year. Hutchinson was asked if non-freshmen students are allowed to take the class, and he replied that they are allowed to do so this year.  Michie was asked if the working group plans to recommend that graduate students take a similar course. Her reply was that it is difficult for departments to require their graduate students to take extra courses, but she will take this question back to the working group for consideration.

IV.      New business 

        A.    Motion to change Bylaws Section 5.5 

McIntosh stated that the motion to change the Bylaws regarding the Convenor comes to the Senate for approval, having been moved and seconded by the Executive Committee.  (See all changes to Section 5.5 HERE.)

5.5 Convenor of Appeal, Grievance, and Hearing Panels.  The Convenor is a member of the Senate appointed annually by the Speaker, with the approval of the Executive Committee, and may serve multiple consecutive terms. On the recommendation of the Convenor of Appeals and Grievances, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate may constitute panels to investigate Appeals of Decisions on Promotion and Tenure, to investigate Grievances about other matters, and to conduct the Hearings called for in the second stage of review described in paragraph three of the Procedures for Investigating Accusations Warranting Severe Sanctions, Including Dismissal, Against Faculty Members, described in Policy 201. The Senate will adopt rules for the appropriate conduct of these panels.  If the Convenor or the Speaker of the Faculty Senate feels that the Convenor has a conflict of interest with respect to the execution of any of his or her specific duties, the Speaker of the Faculty Senate, with the approval of the Executive Committee, will appoint an alternative Convenor to handle those specific duties.     

The Senate unanimously approved the motion to change Bylaws Section 5.5

       B.    Motion to adopt revised Faculty Senate Rules for Appeals and Grievances 

McIntosh stated that the revised Faculty Senate Rules for Appeals and Grievances comes to the Senate for approval after being moved and seconded by the Executive Committee. David Alexander moved that the document be amended by adding the word “only” in section 1A “Scope, Grounds, and Timing” as shown here: “Such an appeal can be brought forward only by the faculty member who is the subject of that decision.”  Grande-Allen seconded the motion to amend the document. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the amendment. Following this vote, the Senate voted unanimously to adopt the amended Faculty Senate Rules for Appeals and Grievances. Please click HERE to view the approved document.

       C.    General discussion on V2C Centennial conversations  

McIntosh reminded the Senate that at the last meeting, a suggestion that faculty hold campus-wide conversations regarding the Vision for the Second Century (V2C) and the future of the university was discussed. McIntosh said that President Leebron reacted positively at the time, and he did so again in the agenda meeting.  One idea presented to the Executive Committee for the faculty conversations was to select four of the ten V2C points, each of which would be discussed in a single afternoon session. The first twenty minutes of each session would be presentations by faculty members who had prepared statements in advance, followed by discussion with the faculty audience. Grande-Allen stated that President Leebron would also like to hold receptions for the faculty following the sessions.

Topics that were suggested for the V2C Centennial conversations included:

·         Consider the biggest changes in society that are likely to occur in the future, such as identifying the use of technology in education.

·         Consider online programs that grant degrees and distance learning; are traditional universities becoming irrelevant?

·         How should Rice respond to the changing world? Consider how the university’s business model might be affected.

McIntosh held a straw poll, asking the senators if they wanted to sponsor these Centennial discussions, and she said she would need a small committee to take charge.  Approximately 10 senators raised their hand to indicate their interest. McIntosh said that she would thus organize a committee via email.

       D.    General discussion on Non-Tenure Track Faculty voting eligibility issues 

Dave Caprette, senator representing the non-tenure track (NTT) teaching faculty, presented information on NTT faculty by title, number, and affiliation. He stated that all other faculty groups at Rice are represented on the Faculty Senate at a ratio of approximately 20 constituents to one senator (20:1), while the NTT-Teaching faculty group is underrepresented with a ratio of almost ten times that amount (173:1).

Caprette presented several questions to the Senate:

·         Are NTT-teaching faculty underrepresented on the Senate?

·         Is a Senate seat dedicated to NTT-research faculty necessary?

·         Do titles listed in the constitution include all NTT who should be voting faculty?

·         Do requirements for plenary session voting include visiting faculty
          and should they?

Caprette presented the two definitions for voting eligibility currently in the Senate Constitution:

Senate Constitution, Section 2
Senate membership and voting eligibility

“One member is to be, and elected by, faculty holding non-tenured and non-tenure track teaching appointments at the ranks of instructor, lecturer, special appointee, or professor in the practice.” 

 

Senate Constitution, Section 5
Plenary meetings of the faculty

“In plenary sessions the voting faculty comprises all those who can vote in Senate elections and are either...(iii) non-tenure track faculty who teach at least three courses per academic year and are on a two semester annual or longer appointment; or any other faculty classified as benefits eligible.”

 

Please click HERE to view Caprette’s full presentation.

In the discussion following the presentation, Batsell said that he was not troubled by the low NTT representation ratio.  Carl Caldwell described how the governance reforms aimed to give NTT employees a regular voice in faculty governance for the first time; he stated that at the time, the committee thought that the current rules were appropriate; voting in Senate matters by NTT faculty was fine, but voting in plenary sessions should be limited to long-term tenure track faculty.

Sickles pointed out that an important point to recognize is the increase of non-tenure track faculty at Rice. Vardi asked that Caprette provide the number of non-tenure track faculty hired each year. Michie stated that the increase in hiring non-tenure track faculty is in concert with the previous discussion on the future of the university. She said that the non-tenure track faculty members in the School of Humanities have been given longer contracts recently, and she wondered how this might intercept with voting rights.

Caprette said that he will consider these comments and possibly put forth a motion to the Executive Committee for increased NTT representation on the Senate.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.