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Plenary Meeting of the Faculty
and 
Faculty Senate Meeting

January 25, 2012
Founder's Room, Lovett Hall
 

 

                Plenary Meeting Agenda: 

I.      Presentation of Undergraduate Degrees
II.     Presentation of Graduate Degrees
III.    Adjourn to Senate Meeting

                Senate Meeting Agenda:  

I.      Call to order, Announcements
II.     Speaker's Report
III.    Deputy Speaker’s Report
IV.    Working Group Reports
                A.  Research and Scholarship
                B.  Retirement Planning, including motion for approval
V.    Old Business
                Open Access Policy draft discussion
VI.     New Business
                A.  Proposals from the floor
                B.  Motion:  Syllabus Standards

Senators present:  David Alexander, Randy Batsell, Carl Caldwell, Dave Caprette, Marcia Citron, Rebecca Goetz, Jane Grande-Allen, Illya Hicks, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Scott McGill, Susan McIntosh, Helena Michie, Fred Oswald, William Parsons, Matteo Pasquali, Stan Sazykin, David Scott, Robin Sickles, Ruth Lopez Turley, and Moshe Vardi.

Senators absent:  Kate Beckingham, John Casbarian, Danijela Damjanovic, Ramon Gonzalez, Shirine Hamadeh, Mikki Hebl, George McLendon, Brian Rountree, Jane Tao, and James Weston.  (Note: severe weather with widespread flooding around campus is implicated in the unusual number of absences.)

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

Plenary Meeting Proceedings 

Faculty Senate Speaker Susan McIntosh called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. She stated that the purpose of the meeting was for faculty to approve the mid-year degree candidates, with the official date of graduation being December 30, 2010.

Stan Dodds, Chair of the University Committee for Examinations and Standing, announced that there were 98 degrees to be awarded to 92 undergraduate students, and there were no students with exceptions to the graduation requirements. Please use this link to view the degrees by department: Undergraduate Degrees. 

Grand Total Undergraduate Degrees:  98                                                             
Actual number of students:  92 (55 men, 37 women)

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson asked how long it took for the 92 students to complete their undergraduate programs. David Tenney, Registrar, said that 15 of the 92 were transfer students. The remaining 77 first-time students included 18 who graduated in 3.5 years and 59 who graduated in more than four years. The faculty voted unanimously to approve the undergraduate degrees.

Paula Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, presented the recommended advanced degrees. Please use this link to view the degrees by department  Advanced Degrees.

Grand Total Advanced Degrees:   235
Actual number of students:  234 (140 Men, 94 Women)

The assembled faculty had no questions for Sanders. Again, the vote was unanimous to approve the advanced degrees. McIntosh thanked Dodds, Sanders, and Tenney. The plenary session was adjourned. McIntosh invited faculty members who attended the plenary session to stay for the Senate meeting.

Senate Meeting Proceedings 

 

I.                    Call to order, Announcements
Speaker McIntosh called the Faculty Senate meeting to order at 12:10 p.m. She asked if there were any announcements from the floor; there were none.

 

II.                  Speaker’s Report
A.  The January 20th session of Rice 2032 on Teaching was a big success. Forty-eight people were in attendance, including three members from the Board of Trustees. The next session is scheduled for March 9 on International and Global Engagement, with the final session this semester scheduled for April 23 on Research.

B.  An additional Senate meeting may be needed this year; notice will be given 21 days prior.

C.  Comments regarding proposed revisions to the university pet policy (#234) are requested from faculty on the Senate’s wiki space. The Vice President for Administration is canvassing all sectors of campus for feedback on the proposed revisions.

D.  Helena Michie, Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB), gave an update regarding the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC):
                1) Two Interim Directors for the PWC have been hired: Interim Faculty Director Terry Doody and Interim Program Director Matt Taylor. They will work with the FAB to launch the program until a permanent director can be hired.
                2) The University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) is working on distribution credit issues for the First Year Writing-Intensive Seminars (FWS). Recruiting of faculty to teach the FWS is going well; if interested, please contact Doody or Taylor. Public sessions are also being held to let graduate students know more about the program, both as consumers and as providers.
                3) Planning for the Center is well on its way, with a start-up date expected in late summer. Staff will be hired once the FWS plans are in place.

David Alexander, a member of CUC, noted that implementation of the program will be difficult. Michie agreed that it can be complicated to get started, but she said that every effort is being taken to ensure success. She asked for patience during this transitional time. Fred Oswald asked how faculty can be included in the FWS program. Michie said that faculty members should write a proposal for their course, obtain their department chair’s signature, and send the proposal to the interim directors. She said that the application process leans to inclusion, and there are incentives for faculty members to teach in the FWS program.

III.                Deputy Speaker’s Report 

Deputy Speaker Jane Grande-Allen asked the current Senators to let her know if they will seek re-election to the Senate or not. She said that some Senators who will not continue serving have suggested colleagues to take their place, and this advice is welcome.

IV.                Working Group Reports

A.  Working Group on Research and Scholarship
 

Moshe Vardi provided a brief update on the efforts of the working group. He first presented the names of the working group members: 

Chair: Moshe Vardi
Engineering: Pulickel Ajayan, Keith Cooper, Michael Deem
Humanities: Beatriz Gonzalez, Richard Grandy, Ussama Makdisi
Science: Janet Braam, Randy Hulet, Seiichi Matsuda
Social Science: Mahmoud El-Gamal, Michael Emerson, Fred Oswald
Architecture: Albert Pope
Jones Scool: Vikas Mittal, Gustavo Grullon
Baker Institute: Steve Lewis
Ex-officio:  Susan McIntosh, Doug Natelson, Vicki Colvin, Cindy Farach-Carson, Caroline Levander, Don Morrison, Paula Sanders
Editor: Jan Odegard

Vardi said that the group has met twice a month since November and has focused its discussions on the following ten topics:

·         Data and Metrics

·         Faculty

·         Schools

·         Graduate studies

·         Research Centers

·         Infrastructure

·         Culture

·         Internationalization/Interdisciplinary

·         Location: Houston, Texas

·         Resources

Vardi was asked when the working group expects to complete its task, and what its outcome will be. Vardi replied that the group has a deadline of Rice’s Centennial (October 2012), and they will submit a report jointly to the Faculty Senate and the administration, with the hope of influencing policy.

B.  Working Group on Retirement Planning 

Susan McIntosh introduced Kathy Matthews, Chair of the Working Group on Retirement Planning. McIntosh thanked Matthews for the thorough report the working group produced, and she showed to the Senate a large file folder which contained the appendix to the report. (Use this link to view the final report: Retirement Planning.) Matthews then presented the following slide show to the Senate: Presentation.  

One of the recommendations from the working group was that in addition to Rice’s current retirement plan, a phased retirement option be adopted. Following Matthews’s presentation, President Leebron also praised the thorough work of the group. He added that among the peer universities the working group investigated, Yale’s retirement policy appears to be an outlier. He said that the working group has chosen to recommend a similar, unusual policy. Leebron said that this phased retirement plan is essentially a 75% bonus.

Matthews replied that Harvard has a policy somewhat similar to Yale’s, and she said that many institutions seem to be moving towards phased retirement/incentive plans. She also said that the phased retirement plan being recommended by the working group has no consequences for Rice’s budget. Rice must put that much into the budget for everyone; here, the key is a decrease in assigned duties for faculty. The working group believes this would be very attractive; it will give faculty time to create avenues for moving out of the university as they age.

Further discussion included several questions that were not within the scope of the working group’s charge. In summary, Matthews said that her group can simply make a recommendation, and she stressed that a simple, clear retirement plan is needed.  Vardi said that it is crucial that chairs and deans are given legal advice so that they can advise their faculty properly about retirement. Vardi also suggested that Rice’s 403-B (supplemental) retirement plan be changed from an opt-in to an opt-out plan. Randy Batsell predicted that the phased retirement being seen as a “good deal” is likely to make people more agreeable to retire.

McIntosh requested that the Senate vote on the motion to approve the recommendations of the working group, shown below, which was moved and seconded by the Executive Committee.

Motion to endorse the report of the WG on Retirement Planning and to recommend implementation of its recommendations: 

                                             i.      Enhance communication with faculty regarding all aspects of retirement 

                                           ii.       Provide resources to chairs and deans for discussing retirement with faculty 

                                          iii.       Create a new, phased retirement option 

A short discussion ensued as to the meaning of item iii, with one Senator asking if the recommendation was for any phased retirement option, or did it mean the one recommended by the working group? McIntosh’s reply was that iii refers to the working group’s recommendation, but the final decision is in President Leebron’s domain, not the Senate’s. Helena Michie suggested that iii be changed to read, “Create a new, phased retirement option as outlined in the report.” This suggestion was moved and seconded, resulting in a vote of the Senators present. The vote did not carry.  President Leebron stated that the Senate has signaled its desire for change in Rice’s retirement system and has attached recommendations from a working group, but it is recognizing that the specifics are up to the administration.

Vardi called the question at this point, which Matteo Pasquali seconded. The resulting vote by the Senate was unanimously in favor of approving the motion as is. McIntosh thanked all who worked on the project, including Vice President Kathy Collins and the Human Resources office.

V.                   Old Business:  General Discussion on Open Access Policy Draft  

McIntosh presented general information regarding Open Access, including the proposed Rice policy draft. Please use this link to view the presentation: Open Access.  

Following McIntosh’s introduction, there were a few questions from Senators, which Geneva Henry, Executive Director of the Rice Center for Digital Scholars, helped to answer.

Q:  What about a 300-page book, would it be scanned and input electronically?
A:  (Henry) A book is a scholarly work, and the system can accommodate books. When books go out of print, they would still be available on this system.

Q:  What if the author is not the copyright holder?
A:  (Vardi) Rice faculty members own their copyright, but Rice has the license to all copyright works here at Rice; one could say that Rice has an “easement” on your property.

Q:  If I am working at home, on my own time, and not using Rice funds, Rice does not own my work, right?
A:  (Vardi)  But you are receiving a Rice salary….
A:  (Leebron) These are good questions; I will consult with our General Counsel on this matter.

Q:  Is there a system of notification? What if the library scans your book and adds it to the system without you having a chance to opt-out?
A:  (Henry) The actual implementation is still being worked out, but we do not plan to go through the stacks and scan books. A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document is being prepared, and we will include information about notification and how to opt-out.

Henry was asked by McIntosh to look into copyright rules regarding the use of images and objects from museums; currently, one must pay a royalty to use such items in a book even once. It was suggested that the policy being drafted specify the responsibility of the university. Another Senator asked to change the wording in the policy from “articles” to “scholarly publications.” At this point, McIntosh requested that the discussion be halted and further comments be posted on the wiki space. She added that the goal is to finalize the policy soon.

VI.                New Business 

A.       Proposals from the floor—none

B.       Motion regarding Syllabus Standards 

McIntosh stated that the Senate received a recommendation from the CUC regarding a resolution from the Student Association (SA) requesting that a syllabus be supplied to students for each course and that it contain certain standard information.  McIntosh added that most of this information is also required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The SA resolution requested that the syllabus be provided by the end of the first week of classes, but the CUC changed the requirement to “by the first day of class”. McIntosh said that the SA proposal also requested that archiving of syllabi on Esther be implemented so that they can be accessed after the course ends.  Currently, Esther is not set up for posting syllabi and it would need to be modified accordingly.  The CUC did not make a recommendation to Senate regarding syllabus archiving.  The motion shown below came to the Senate meeting having been moved and seconded by the Executive Committee.

Motion:  Faculty members are required to provide by the first day of class, in hard copy and/or on Owl-space, a syllabus that includes the following information:  

1.       Instructor’s name, office number, and e-mail address 

2.       Office hours or a statement of either an “open-door” policy or hours by appointment 

3.       Overall course objectives and expected learning outcomes 

4.       Grade policies  

5.       Absence policies 

6.       List of required texts 

7.       Special materials required for the class, if any 

8.       Number of required examinations and papers  

9.        Statement of expectations regarding course work and the Rice Honor Code 

10.   A statement encouraging any student with a disability that requires accommodation to contact both the course instructor and Disability Support Services in the Allen Center. 

11.   It is permissible to include a statement indicating that the information contained in the course syllabus, other than the absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.  

Evan Siemann suggested that the syllabus be made available to the entire student body and not just the students who attend class the first day of the semester. Batsell suggested that learning outcomes be included in the syllabus: “…when completed, the student will be able to….”

Pasquali noted that the information on his syllabus is almost exactly like the SA’s request, and he wondered if Rice already has some syllabus guidelines. Carl Caldwell, former Chair of EX&S, stated emphatically that the only Rice policy on the subject is that a syllabus is recommended. Pasquali continued with two concerns: item #5, the absence policy because the official absence policy also appears in the General Announcements; and item #11 because some faculty will forget to include this statement on the syllabus and then it will be difficult to change later in the semester.

Further discussion revealed some concerns about posting syllabi in a public place. One suggestion was to use Owl-space, but Tenney informed the Senate that Owl-space information is not available after the semester has ended. SA President Georgia Lagoudas said that the SA’s motivation was simply to have a syllabus be required and to include a set of standards. She said that the archiving of syllabi can be decided later.

Several Senators did not attend the meeting or had to leave early due to the weather. As the Senate was close to losing the quorum required for a vote, Batsell called the question and it was seconded, and the vote was in favor of ending discussion.  McIntosh asked the Senators to vote on the motion. She said that if they did not feel that they had had time for sufficient discussion or if their questions had not been satisfactorily answered, they should vote no. A vote by the Senate was then held to approve the Syllabus Standards motion; there was one vote against, one abstention, with the remaining Senators voting for approval. The motion passed.

McIntosh noted that the question of archiving is an important one that will be pursued by the Registrar with the support of the Provost’s Office. 

The meeting was adjourned at 1:55 p.m.