Rice University logo
 
 
 

 

Faculty Senate Meeting 

February 22, 2012 

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall 

  

Agenda (and actions taken):  

I.   Call to order; Announcements

II.  Speaker’s Report

       A.  Draft pet policy update 

       B.  Rice 2032 sessions

       C.  Proposed Center for Teaching Excellence—John Hutchinson

       D.  Update on University Committee for Admissions  

III.  Deputy Speaker’s Report

IV.   Convenor’s Report

V.    Report from Working Group on Hearings and Promotion and Tenure

VI.   New Business
        A.  Motion: Research Misconduct revisions  (Approved as amended) 

        B.  Motion to approve Open Access Policy (Tabled) 

        C.  Motion to amend the Constitution, Section 2, regarding NTT eligibility to vote (Approved)  

        D.  Motion to approve a non-thesis MA degree option in Philosophy (Delayed until next Senate meeting)  

VII.  Presentation on enrollment growth and budget overview—President Leebron        

Senators present:  David Alexander, Randy Batsell, Kate Beckingham, Carl Caldwell, David Caprette, John Casbarian, Marcia Citron, Danijela Damjanovic, Rebecca Goetz, Jane Grande-Allen, Shirine Hamadeh, Illya Hicks, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Scott McGill, Susan McIntosh, George McLendon, Fred Oswald, William Parsons, Matteo Pasquali, Brian Rountree, Stan Sazykin, Yizhi Jane Tao, Moshe Vardi, and James Weston.

Senators absent:  Ramon Gonzalez, Mikki Hebl, Helena Michie, Brian Rountree, David Scott, Ruth Lopez Turley.

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

I.      Call to order, Announcements 

  • Additional Faculty Senate meeting April 4, 2012
  • De Lange Conference on the Future of the Research University will be held Monday, February 27-Tuesday, February 28, in Jones School Shell Auditorium.
     

II.    Speaker’s Report 

A.      Draft pet policy:  a misunderstanding occurred recently where some faculty members thought that the Senate had approved a campus pet policy at the last meeting.  Any such policy is under the administration’s domain, not the Senate’s, but the Senate and other groups were asked to provide input. The Senate received over 20 comments on the subject via the wiki space. These comments have been forwarded to Kevin Kirby, Vice President for Administration, who has stated that the subject will continue to be discussed and that no action will occur on the policy this year. One suggestion from a Senator was that the administration provide a rationale for changing the policy.

B.      Rice 2032 sessions:  the January 20 session on Teaching was very successful; a video of the presentations and a summary of the lively table discussions are now posted on the home page of the Senate website.  The next session will be held March 9, and the topic is International/Global Engagement. The April 23 session’s topic is Research. Senators are asked to email their invitee list for the April 23 to Speaker McIntosh by February 24.

C.      Proposed Center for Teaching Excellence: Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said that he invites participation from the Faculty Senate in designing a possible center which would host teaching workshops and colloquia with both internal and external speakers. Research performed by Hutchinson’s staff has revealed that 20 of the 30 peer universities contacted have teaching centers, while 7 of the remaining 10 offer various resources for teaching. Hutchinson said he has encountered much enthusiasm when telling others on the Rice campus about a proposed teaching center. He has received interest in participation by the Rice faculty recipients of the Minnie Stevens Piper state-wide teaching award.  McIntosh thanked Hutchinson and asked him to keep the Senate informed as plans develop.

D.      Update on University Committee on Admissions:  this committee has been reconfigured, with an updated charge.  Regular meetings are now being held. If there are any questions or concerns about admissions, contact Chair Fred Oswald.

III.   Deputy Speaker’s Report 

Deputy Speaker Jane Grande-Allen gave an update on the Senate’s Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC): one seat (Engineering) is up for election on the Promotion and Tenure Committee (3-year term).  Elections for the twelve seats on the Faculty Senate will be conducted next; nominations will be held March 5 through 21. The NEC is starting to collect information for service on the University Committees for 2012-2013, and volunteer forms will be sent to the faculty on March 7.

IV.    Convenor’s Report
Convenor John Casbarian stated that the new Appeals and Grievances rules passed in September 2011 have already been deployed, with particular attention to the new rule concerning Promotion and Tenure (P&T) cases in progress:

H. Convenor’s Role during the Process of Promotion and Tenure.

If, during an on-going tenure or promotion process, an individual reasonably believes a situation has occurred, or is likely to occur, that would constitute adequate grounds for a future appeal as defined in this section, he or she should immediately notify the Convenor of Appeals and Grievances by sending him or her a written statement setting forth such concerns. Such an individual may also communicate directly with the Provost on his or her concerns. The Convenor will then immediately convey the statement of concerns to the Provost who has the discretion to look into the matter further and take any other actions he or she finds appropriate. In any case, within two weeks of receiving the Convenor’s report, the Provost should notify the Convenor of his or her decision and describe any actions taken. The Convenor will then send a brief response to the individual summarizing the Provost’s response to his or her concerns. 

Casbarian noted that a concern under this rule was recently brought to the attention of the Convenor, who notified the Provost and received a quick response confirming that the concern had been addressed.  McIntosh thanked Casbarian for his valuable service to the Rice faculty and noted that his term is ending; a new convenor will be needed for the next academic year.

V.     Report of the Working Group on Hearings and Promotion and Tenure (P&T)  

Carl Caldwell, Chair of the Working Group on Hearings and Promotion and Tenure, introduced to the Senate several revisions proposed by the working group to the current “Procedures for Investigating Accusations Warranting Severe Sanctions, Including Dismissal, Against Faculty Members.”   These procedures are referenced in University Policy 201, section 8.a.3:  “The Faculty Council, in consultation with the president, will establish the procedure to be followed during dismissal hearings”.

McIntosh noted that the term “Faculty Council” needs to be updated to read “Faculty Senate” in Section 8.a.3. Caldwell introduced the following revisions and the justification for each:

Formation of the Hearing Panel 

Section 3: “The members of this panel will be selected by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate in consultation with the Convenor of Appeals and Grievances and submitted to the President by the Speaker.“

Justification: Prior to this revision, the document required that Senate create a 15-person pool every year. These cases occur very rarely: twice since the original rules went into effect. Senate has by no means regularly appointed such a pool. It makes more sense to change the rules appoint a panel when the need for one arises, instead of probably violating our own rules every time.

Standards of Evidence 

Section 3e: “The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution and will be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole. A different standard of proof shall be applied if required by law or regulation.“

Justification: Federal law and/or regulations currently require a different standard of evidence, one based on the “preponderance of evidence,” for cases of sexual harassment. This revision makes clear that the Hearing Panel will have a strong standard of evidence, namely “clear and convincing proof,” in every case except those where federal law or regulation creates an exception.

Section 3f: “In cases of research misconduct, the Hearing Panel will, as far as possible, presume the validity of the Investigatory Panel's report. At the same time, since the imposition of any severe sanction ordinarily (see Section 3e above) requires clear and convincing evidence of misconduct and a consideration what the appropriate sanction might be, the panel has the discretion to examine those aspects of the report it deems necessary to reach a fair and informed recommendation on what the sanction, if any, should be.“

Justification: Following federal law, research misconduct is determined according to a standard of the “preponderance of evidence.” Severe sanctions, however, require a stronger standard of evidence. The extensive report of the panel investigating research misconduct will certainly be respected by the Hearing Panel. But in certain cases the Hearing Panel may require further investigation.

Procedure 

Section 3i: “The procedure by which the hearing is conducted will be determined by the chair of the panel in consultation with the panel members, on the basis of the principles outlined in this document. “

Justification: The cases differ greatly one from another, so one procedure does not fit every case. Furthermore, this is a panel of colleagues, not a court, and as such it should retain flexibility to call witnesses or seek information when and how it deems appropriate. The most important principles of procedure are already embodied in the document itself.

Role of President’s Designee 

Section 3f: “The President's designate will, prior to the hearing, be responsible for contacting potential witnesses deemed to have information material to the charges, and will gather as much information and as many documents as he or she thinks relevant to prepare for the hearing. The designate may contact potential witnesses in addition to those named by the administration or the accused. The designate also has the responsibility to assist the panel in obtaining witnesses or other evidence that the panel may wish as part of its hearing on the charges.“

Justification: The hearing panel is not a jury presented with evidence, it is expected to play an active role in gathering evidence as well. To do so effectively, it needs to rely on the support of the administration. The designate in this case responds both to president and to hearing panel.

Professional Evaluation of Incompetence 

Section 3k: “In a hearing of charges of incompetence, the testimony may include that of qualified faculty members from this or other institutions of higher education on the professional standards in the field.“

Justification: Not every case of incompetence involves professional incompetence; the hearing panel should not be bound to hear such testimony unless it feels that such testimony is relevant to the case. Note that this section in no way limits what the hearing panel is permitted to do.

--------------------------------

Caldwell stated that following a review period, he hopes that the Senate will be able to vote on the proposed revisions by the end of this semester.

Moshe Vardi requested that each panel document their procedures in order to assist the next panel. Caldwell said that since each case is different, this might not be helpful; however, a record will be kept and provided to Rice’s legal counsel. Marcia Citron stated that she had previously served on a hearing panel and found it to be difficult since faculty members are not lawyers. She thought that the procedures used by a previous panel would be helpful.  Kate Beckingham asked that the working group add language to the document which would require that the panel document its procedures and make them available to later panels.  Caldwell said that the working group would discuss this request.

VI.    New Business  

A.  Motion to accept revised Research Misconduct Policy 324 and revised Procedures document  

McIntosh reminded Senators that due to federal mandate, a revised version of Rice Policy 324 “Research Misconduct” and procedural guidelines were published last summer, but it was agreed by Senate, Graduate Council, and the Committee on Research that additional revisions were needed.  She welcomed Doug Natelson, Chair of the University Committee on Research, who stated that the committee has been working in concert with Rice’s legal counsel to make the appropriate revisions.  He stressed that Policy 324 does not deal with sanctions, only the investigatory process, with key issues being confidentiality and federally-mandated time constraints. Natelson said that one big change is that the provost had remarkable latitude in the previous policy, including throwing out the report from the panel if he did not agree with it.

McIntosh thanked Natelson for the hard work, attention to detail, and thoroughness that Senate consistently sees in the documents brought forward by this University Committee. She said that the following motion comes to the Senate after being moved and seconded by the Executive Committee:

Motion:  

The Faculty Senate of Rice University hereby approves the revisions to University Policy 324 on Research Misconduct and the accompanying Procedures for Conducting a Research Misconduct Investigation, dated February 16, 2012, as recommended by the Committee on Research. 

Pasquali offered the following revision to section III. A, shown in italics and in bold below:

If the misconduct allegation concerns students only and no external-sponsor funds were involved, and if the Research Integrity officer determines that the alleged misconduct is academic, rather than research or scholarly, then the Research Integrity Officer may elect to refer the matter to the degree program in which the student was enrolled, the Associate Dean for Student Judicial Programs, the Dean of Undergraduates, or Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. If, however, the Research Integrity Officer elects to view the matter as research misconduct, then the process described in this policy takes priority over any other academic or disciplinary process.

Natelson stated that he had received this change in wording via email from Matteo Pasquali regarding students, and the change was fine with him.  There was a short discussion as to whether the revision should be presented in the Senate meeting at this time or whether the matter should be returned to the Executive Committee for review.  Caldwell made a motion that the Senate accept the revised language proposed by Pasquali, and it was seconded. The motion passed, with three Senators voting against it.

It was noted in this discussion that the issue of defining clear and appropriate procedures for graduate students accused of Research Misconduct is a complex issue, which the EC had already proposed be studied in detail by Graduate Council next year with the objective of drafting a guidelines document. 

Next, the Senate voted on the motion to approve the now-amended document, which passed unanimously.  Please use these links to view the documents: Research Misconduct Policy 324, and Research Misconduct Procedures.

B.  Open Access 

Prior to the Senate meeting, three documents were made available to the Rice faculty via the Senate’s wiki space: Rice University Open-Access Mandate Position Paper, Rice Open Access Mandate Implementation Plan, and Frequently Asked Questions about Rice University Open-Access Mandate. McIntosh presented to the Senate the motion below, stating that it has been moved and seconded by the Executive Committee:

Motion to approve an Open Access Policy, as follows:  

The Faculty of Rice University is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: The current Rice copyright policy governing faculty publications will be followed, with the additional provision that Rice University will make those publications available for open dissemination. The policy will apply to all scholarly publications written while the person is a faculty member, except for publications completed before the adoption of this policy. The Provost or Provost's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular scholarly publication upon written notification by the author, who informs Rice of the reason and thereby opts out. 


To assist Rice in distributing the scholarly publications, as of the date of publication, each faculty member will make available an electronic copy of his or her final version of the publication at no charge to a designated representative of the Provost's Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost's Office. The Provost's Office will make the scholarly publication available to the public in an open-access repository, the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive.  Upon request, a scholarly publication will not be made available to the public for an agreed-upon embargo period.

The Office of the Provost, in consultation with the Vice Provost and University Librarian, will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty. The policy is to take effect immediately; it will be reviewed after three years, with a report presented to the Faculty.

The Faculty calls upon the Vice Provost and University Librarian to develop and monitor a plan for a service or mechanism that would render compliance with the policy as convenient for the faculty as possible.

Marcia Citron said that the policy states “publications,” which includes books. She said that she has compared similar policies at other universities, as per the website listed in Rice’s policy Position Paper (http://roarmap.eprints.org), and found that none of them include books; Harvard and Princeton specifically state “scholarly articles.” Citron noted her opposition to the broad language that includes books, which poses serious problems for the humanities (including musicology).  David Alexander also expressed concerns regarding implementation.

Later in the discussion, Geneva Henry, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Scholars (Fondren Library), pointed out that one of the benefits of including books in an Open Access policy is that after a book is no longer published, it would still be available through this repository. Henry stated that the library is ready to help faculty members produce an appropriate format of their work for the repository.

Vardi suggested that the motion be amended, changing “publication” to “article.“ Randy Batsell moved to accept the amended language, and it was seconded. However, in the discussion that followed, it was noted that the word “publication” appears many times in the motion. The vote to amend the motion failed, with two Senators for approval and the remainder opposed.   McIntosh noted that this vote was more a reflection of misgivings regarding process than a vote against the proposed change in language.  Other concerns have been raised by Senators and faculty about redundant postings in other institutional open access repositories such as arXiv.  The draft policy needs more reconsideration and revision.  A motion to table the original motion was seconded and unanimously approved by vote.   The revised draft will be presented again at the Senate meeting to be held March 28, 2012.

 

C.  Motion to amend the Senate Constitution, Section 2, on Eligibility to vote for and hold Non-Tenure Track (NTT) Teaching seat 

McIntosh provided some background to this motion, noting that in the course of the 2011 spring Senate elections, the voting lists of NTT faculty provided by the Provost's Office nearly doubled in size, for reasons unknown. This led to an investigation of how lists of NTT faculty eligible to vote in Senate elections were generated and what criteria were used. One difficulty is that the Senate Constitution defines two different criteria for two different types of voting eligibility:

    1.  Eligibility to vote for and hold the NTT Senate seat: 

Constitution Section 2: The Membership of the Senate and Faculty Eligibility for Voting, “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.”
 

    2. Eligibility to vote on matters arising from plenary sessions: 

Constitution Section 5: Plenary Meetings of the Faculty, “‘…non-tenure track faculty who teach at least three courses per academic year and are on a two semester annual or longer appointment “

It appears that the historical practice of the Provost’s Office in generating voting lists for Senate NTT elections has been to use the Section 5 voting eligibility standard (i.e., the current benefits-eligible standard).  The need was recognized last spring to clarify in the Constitution the specifics of eligibility to vote for and serve as NTT Teaching Senator.

Dave Caprette, chair of the Senate Working Group on NTT faculty provided to the Senate the following information he obtained from Human Resources:

Total Rice faculty with teaching positions:  746

TTT faculty:  504

NTT teaching faculty: 242 (includes post-docs)
Voting-eligible NTT teaching faculty:  146 benefits-eligible minus ~20 post-docs = 126 (estimated)

Caprette said that clarifications are needed regarding eligible NTT Teaching positions and ranks. In the Section 2 list, “non-tenured and non-tenure track teaching appointments at the ranks of instructor, lecturer, special appointee, or professor in the practice,” recommendations from the working group are to drop “special appointee” since none were identified, and revise the title list: the Shepherd School employs artist teachers and associate professors equivalent to lecturers and professors in the practice, but exclude adjunct, visiting, and post-docs. Caprette added that the NEC will sort the list of all faculty in the future to identify those who hold this voting eligibility criteria. In addition, the working group proposed adding a benefits-eligible standard, as used previously by the provost’s office in generating NTT voting lists. 

Caprette said that with these changes, the same criteria will now be used in all situations: (1) running for Senate office, (2) voting in Senate elections, and (3) voting in plenary sessions.

The motion to amend the Constitution, Section 2, as follows, was moved and seconded by the EC:

Section 2:  The Membership of the Senate and Faculty Eligible for Voting, “One member is to be, and elected by, benefits-eligible faculty holding non-tenured, and non-tenure track teaching appointments at the ranks of instructor, lecturer at any rank, special appointee, artist-teacher, associate professor, or professor in the practice, excepting adjunct, visiting, and post-doctoral appointees.”  

The Senate voted unanimously in favor of the motion. McIntosh thanked the Senate’s NTT Working Group for its efforts.

D.       Motion to approve a non-thesis MA degree option in Philosophy 

McIntosh began to introduce a proposal approved by the Graduate Council for a non-thesis Master of Arts degree option in Philosophy, which was previously presented to the EC. However, the EC had requested revisions to the proposal in its last meeting which have not yet been presented to the full Senate for review. The motion was thus delayed for presentation until the March 28, 2012, Senate meeting. The revised proposal will be posted to the Senate wiki space prior to the March 28 meeting.

VII.     Enrollment Growth and Budget Overview—President Leebron 

McIntosh introduced President Leebron, who presented an extensive set of highly informative slides on undergraduate enrollment growth and how the university has addressed the challenges it has posed and continues to pose.   He also presented several slides on the budgeting process. Please use this link to the Faculty Senate’s wiki space to view the two presentations from President David Leebron. (Current faculty only; net ID required.) Questions from Senators were addressed by the President during his presentation, and he invited continuing engagement on these issues with faculty, including any requests for additional information.   McIntosh thanked the President for developing this exceptionally useful presentation and taking the time to discuss these matters in considerable detail.  

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