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Faculty Senate Meeting 

 February 26, 2014 

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall 

 

Agenda (and Actions Taken): 

I.     Call to Order

II.    Announcements

        A.      Update on Linguistics Graduate Program Review

        B.      Update on Data Management Working Group

        C.      Update on Changes to Health Plans

III.   Working Group and Committee Reports

        A.      Creation of a new Senate Working Group on Distance Education

        B.      University Committee on Admissions

        C.      Working Group on Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics

        D.      University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum: Resolutions on Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

IV.   New Business

        A.      Main Motion: To increase the current 14 hour limit on transfer credit brought in from summer sessions to 15 hours (Approved) 

        B.      Proposed Senate resolution: “The Faculty Senate recommends that the administration address the issues raised in the report on the state of the Library presented by the  University Library Committee, and strongly urges the administration to find ways to ensure the adequate funding of the Library.” (Approved)  

        C.      Proposal for BS in Mathematics (Approved) 

        D.      Proposal for MA in Global Affairs (Approved) 

        E.       Proposal for non-thesis MA from Religious Studies (Approved) 

        F.       Proposal for revision of the Rice Faculty Statement on Consensual, Amorous Relations With Students (Item was returned to Graduate Council) 

Senators present:  David Alexander, Graham Bader, Kate Beckingham, Carl Caldwell, David Caprette, Keith Cooper, Scott Cutler, Jerry Dickens, Julie Fette, Dawn Finley, Jeffrey Fleisher, Christopher Hight, Betty Joseph, Rachel Kimbro, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Jonathan Ludwig, Susan McIntosh, George McLendon, Fred Oswald, Brian Rountree, Stan Sazykin, David Scott, Laura Segatori, Ruth Lopez Turley, James Weston, and Michael Wolf.

Senators absent:  Robert Atherholt, Michael Diehl, Claire Fanger, Helena Michie, and Luay Nakhleh.  

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

I.       Call to Order
Speaker Carl Caldwell called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.

II.      Announcements 

A.      Update on the Linguistics Graduate Program Review
Caldwell announced that the Linguistics Department has received notice from the administration that the process for terminating its graduate program is underway. He said that the department will have the opportunity to respond to the new memorandum from the administration.
 

B.      Update on the Data Management Working Group
Caldwell said that included in the report from the Working Group on Research and Scholarship was a request to update the university’s data management system. The Senate has recently received a report from the Data Management Committee (formed by Provost McLendon), and chair Ric Stoll has met with the Senate’s Executive Committee (EC) to discuss the report. Stoll explained to the EC that, in general, the committee recommended the formation of a working group whose goal is to improve ongoing data collection and management among the various departments at Rice. Caldwell said that unlike a one-off working group, the Data Management Working Group has ongoing tasks, including the difficult task of anticipating future needs.

During the discussion that followed Caldwell’s update, Moshe Vardi said that data at Rice is very distributed and not coordinated well. He also stated that another group is examining information technology (IT) issues at Rice and it was not aware of the Data Management Working Group. Registrar David Tenney stated that while the Data Management Working Group has certain tasks, the group recognizes that governance and other overarching issues must be developed through an IT task force.
 

C.      Update on Changes to Health Plans
Elaine Britt, Director of Benefits and Compensation, made a presentation to the assembled senators and faculty guests regarding upcoming changes to Rice’s health care benefits. (Please click HERE to view the presentation.) Britt stated that the University Committee for Faculty and Staff Benefits reviewed the changes that are expected for next year, reviewed other companies’ plans, and ultimately decided to continue Rice’s association with Aetna, but with a new, increased level of customer service. Among the new plans that Aetna will offer, Britt described the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) plan with Memorial Hermann and the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). Britt also explained that dental insurance will now be available from Aetna, replacing United Concordia. Overall, she encouraged everyone at Rice to review his/her current plan, to review the new plans that are being offered, and to attend one of the many information sessions to be held on campus. She said that open enrollment at Rice is April 7 – April 25, 2014. Britt also said that everyone at Rice will be receiving new medical cards from Aetna which will now use the same terminology that Rice uses. Britt asked the senators to inform their constituents about the upcoming changes, and to let constituents know that their behavior can drive up costs; for example, by purchasing brand name prescriptions instead of generic, when available. Finally, Britt encouraged people to download the free app from Aetna, which is especially useful in finding appropriate emergency care centers. Additional information is available at people.rice.edu/OE.aspx.

 

III.    Working Group and Committee Reports 

A.      Creation of a new Senate Working Group on Distance Education 

Caldwell announced that the Executive Committee has approved formation of a Working Group on Distance Education with the following charge:  To develop a Rice policy on distance education; to develop appropriate procedures and best practices on distance education to accompany that policy.  

He said that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the working group:

Chair:                    Jeff Fleisher

Members:            Anatoly Kolomeisky
                              Joe Warren
                              Kirsten Ostherr
                              Caroline Levander (ex officio)
 

B.      University Committee on Admissions 

Brendan Hassett, chair of the University Committee on Admissions, said that the committee members have met with Vice President for Enrollment Chris Munoz, they have discussed a number of issues, and a substantive report from the committee will be presented at the end of the semester. Hassett said that his biggest question is what role faculty members can play in the admissions process. He explained that due to the large number of applications received from students, it is no longer feasible for faculty members to read each application. Instead, faculty are involved with phoning applicants and meeting them at receptions.

Hassett was asked a few questions, including one regarding the use of admissions agents by foreign students in order to gain admittance to American universities. Munoz replied that Rice is creating a process in the People’s Republic of China, and possibly in India, where personal interviews of applicants will be conducted. Munoz described the interview system as an experiment. He said that a fee of $300 is required for the interview, the interview will be videotaped, and Rice will receive the tape.

 

C.      Working Group on the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA)
Working Group chair Leo Costello defined the COIA for the Senate: the COIA is a national group that seeks to promote the involvement of Faculty Senates in Athletics oversight and decision-making. The COIA is not a regulatory or legislative body, but offers white papers and best practice recommendations. Costello said that the COIA has asked Rice University to join the coalition, and the working group recommends that Rice join. He said that belonging to the COIA would provide Rice with a resource for the future, as well as a connection to a group that is working on policies. Costello said that several of Rice’s peer institutions, including Duke, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest, belong to COIA. If Rice were to join the COIA, Costello said that the working group recommends that the faculty member serving as the liaison to the Faculty Senate on the Rice University Athletics Committee (RUAC) be designated as the official representative to the COIA.

Caldwell stated that the working group’s recommendations come to the Senate after being moved and seconded by the EC. Susan McIntosh requested that the first motion be corrected by removing these four words:  “that sits ex-officio.” The Senate then approved the following two motions unanimously:

Recommendation #1 

That the Faculty Senate position on the Rice University Athletics Committee (RUAC) be made into the Senate Athletic Representative (SAR). This figure would facilitate discussion in both directions between Faculty Senate and Athletics. To avoid confusion, the SAR should not change the role of the Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA (FAR), but would instead assist the FAR and be a resource. 

Recommendation #2 

That Rice should join COIA and that the SAR should also be the COIA rep. This should involve very little, if any, additional work unless the SAR wishes to become more active in COIA. 

D.       CUC Resolutions on Advanced Placement (AP) and Transfer Credit
Susan McIntosh, Chair of the University Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC), explained that the CUC was seeking Faculty Senate endorsement for five resolutions and approval for a sixth resolution that will require a minor change to the General Announcements. McIntosh said that the CUC’s resolutions are the result of a request from Speaker Caldwell and Dean of Undergraduates Hutchinson to review current policies for possible improvement.

1.  On AP Credit:

*We recommend that the Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the History, Chemistry, Statistics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, English, Math, Spanish, and Portuguese Departments be sent the data on AP credit at Rice [presented as an appendix in the full report of the subcommittee] as they are the most affected by the awarding of Rice credit for AP exams.
*More generally, we recommend that the DUS’s of all departments with placeholder courses review the number of credits those placeholder courses carry.
 

2.  Also on AP Credit:

The Spanish Literature AP exam placeholder courses carry distribution credit.  That exam, and some other some language AP exams, are being assigned 2 placeholder courses at 4 credits each. 

*We recommend that the chair of Spanish and Portuguese, Jose Aranda, and the Director of the CLIC, Rafael Salaberry, be informed of the two above issues respectively, as they may wish to change policy. 

3.  On pre-matriculation transfer credit, specifically concerning transfer students:

*We recommend that the Registrar and Dean of Undergraduates state to department chairs that the Monday of O-Week is the deadline for informing transfer students of what Rice equivalent course credit will be approved for their coursework, and that given the absence of DUS’s over the summer, it is the chair’s responsibility to meet that deadline.

*We recommend several measures to raise awareness among chairs and DUS’s or transfer credit advisors of this problem and to ease the approval process: 

•       inform chairs, DUS’s and transfer credit advisors of the predicament of transfer students

•       communicate with chairs, DUS’s and transfer credit advisors about admitted transfer students by 1 Aug at the latest

•       ask them what information they need to make a prompt decision

•       collect data on the most frequent sending universities and the courses most frequently requested by transfer students, with the goal of making a blanket agreement about those courses.

4.  On post-matriculation transfer credit:

*We recommend that some data be gathered and made available to departments and students regarding the rates of approvals and rejections for transfer credit, to help counter rumors about the dimensions of approval or denial of transfer credit.

5.  Also on post-matriculation transfer credit:
*We recommend that departments post explanations of departmental policy on post-matriculation transfer credit on their websites, to better meet SACS requirements.  

Deputy Speaker James Weston moved that the Senate endorse all five of the recommendations, and it was seconded. The Senate then voted unanimously in favor of the motion to endorse the recommendations.   

IV.      New Business 

A.       Main Motion: To increase the current 14 hour limit on transfer credit brought in from summer sessions to 15 hours  

CUC Chair Susan McIntosh presented the sixth recommendation from the CUC, which includes a change in the General Announcements: “After matriculation at Rice, students are limited to 15 semester hours of summer school transfer credit.” There was a move to approve the recommendation, seconded, with the Senate voting for approval.

B.      Proposed Senate resolution: “The Faculty Senate recommends that the administration address the issues raised in the report on the state of the Library presented by the University Library Committee, and strongly urges the administration to find ways to ensure the adequate funding of the Library.”   

Caldwell explained that following the presentation of the report on the Library by committee chair Jack Zammito in the Senate’s January 2014 meeting, several senators proposed that the Senate approve the above resolution. A discussion ensued among the senators in attendance regarding the wording in the resolution, especially the term “adequate funding.”  President Leebron said that although the exact wording was not important, proposing such a resolution was a useful, appropriate role for the faculty. He added that the way the university’s budget process works is to produce a list of needed items, and he said that the administration is hearing from faculty that they would like this issue to be considered a priority. Michael Kohn asked if the resolution needed a timeline added to it, but President Leebron said that the resolution was in time for this budget cycle. He said that it was useful that the presentation was made in January. The Senate then voted to approve the resolution, with one senator opposed.

C.       Proposal for Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
Brendan Hassett, chair of the Department of Mathematics, presented the proposal to the Senate and asked if there were any questions. Registrar David Tenney wished to point out that the degree is a Bachelor of Science majoring in Mathematics. The proposal came to the Senate having been moved and seconded for approval by the EC. The Senate voted to approve the proposal, which can be viewed HERE.  

D.       Master of Arts in Global Affairs 

Lyn Ragsdale, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, explained that the proposed master’s degree program would be interdisciplinary, including collaboration with the Baker Institute. Dean Ragsdale asked the senators if they had any questions. Susan McIntosh asked Ragsdale which faculty members would teach the courses listed in the proposal. Ragsdale said she did not have the exact faculty named yet for the courses, which will begin in Fall 2015. More generally, McIntosh said she wished to know if they are all regular faculty. Ragsdale replied yes, the instructors will be regular faculty and the faculty members from the Baker Institute will all have their Ph.D.’s.

McIntosh then asked if it is possible for a student to complete the requirements for both the Bachelor and the Master of Arts degrees in five years. Ragsdale said that as long as supervisory help is provided, with checkpoints along the way, it could be done.

McIntosh asked if the capstone internship administered through the Baker Institute would be a paid position. Ragsdale said no, and she added that this item would be made clear in the proposal. It was noted that the student would earn 9 hours of a 36-hour degree for the internship. David Alexander reiterated the point that the proposal needs to indicate that the internship is not for pay, but for credit hours only.

Michael Wolf asked Ragsdale if she thought that any of the undergraduate students in the program would graduate early. Ragsdale replied yes, saying that students who did so could then complete the graduate portion of the program in two years instead of one year. McIntosh stated that if students earn too many graduate credits while still an undergraduate, they could lose their undergraduate status and scholarships.

Tenney asked about the specific title of the degree program. He said that since a “Global Affairs” department does not exist at Rice, the program should use the title “Master of Arts in Global Affairs,” not “Master of Global Affairs,” as was used in a few email conversations.  Following this discussion, the Senate voted to approve the proposal, linked HERE.
 

E.       Proposal for a Non-Thesis Master of Arts in Religious Studies  

April DeConick, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, explained that the non-thesis master’s degree is proposed for those students who do not advance to the Ph.D. level, in order to show achievement for the work they have completed. It was noted that other departments at Rice also offer a non-thesis master’s degree.

President Leebron stated that approval of this proposal should not be seen as expectation nor approval that students may enter the program with this goal. He encouraged the faculty to be attentive to a possible market of students who wish to earn a free master’s degree.

The Senate voted to approve the proposal, which can be viewed HERE.  

F.       Proposal for revision of the Rice Faculty Statement on Consensual, Amorous Relations With Students:  Returned to Graduate Council for further review.  

The meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.