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Faculty Senate Meeting
October 1, 2014

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall
 

 

Agenda (and Actions Taken): 

 I.     Call to order and welcome

II.     Announcements

III.    Speaker’s Report

A.      Preventing Sexual Harassment Training

B.      Working Group on the Academic Calendar

C.      Working Group on the Graduate Honor Council

D.      Working Group on Faculty Ombudsperson

E.       Quality Education Task Force

F.       Concur for Travel and Business Meeting Expenses

IV.     Working Group and Committee Reports

A.      Revisions to “Review of Deans” by the Working Group on Decanal Reviews (Approved) 

B.      Recommendations from Task Force on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (Approved) 

V.            New Business

A.      Proposed Certificate in Engineering Leadership (Approved) 

B.      Prioritized Recommendations from WG on Research and Scholarship (Sent to EC) 

Senators present:  David Alexander, Robert Atherholt, Gwen Bradford, Dave Caprette, Keith Cooper, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Jerry Dickens, Luis Duno-Gottberg, Claire Fanger, Jeffrey Fleisher, Illya Hicks, Christopher Hight, Betty Joseph, Rachel Kimbro, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Jonathan Ludwig, Susan Lurie, Susan McIntosh, George McLendon, Timothy Morton, Luay Nakhleh, Fred Oswald, Brian Rountree, Stan Sazykin, Laura Segatori, James Weston, and Michael Wolf.

Senators absent:  Kate Beckingham, Daniel Cohen, Michael Diehl, and Marek Kimmel.
 

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

  

I.    Call to order and welcome 

         Speaker James Weston called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.m.

II.  Announcements 

        A.       President Leebron 

President David Leebron made the following three announcements:

·         A review of the BioScience Research Collaborative has begun to determine how best to use the facility over the next five years.

·         The second stage of the provost search committee has been appointed. This smaller group will coordinate with the broader first stage committee. An email announcement will be sent to the faculty soon. In addition, Park Square Executive Search firm has been selected to assist the committee.

·         Regarding projects that the university undertakes, most are donor- dependent. Each school at the university has year-to-year and long-term priorities. Schools may identify a donor to fund a project, although the infrastructure that follows those projects is often at university expense.

B.   United Way 

Wade Adams announced the kick-off of the United Way campaign. He stated that although a large amount of money was raised last year, only 24% of Rice’s faculty and staff members donated to United Way. Adams said that this year, Bobby Tudor has agreed to donate $25,000 to match new and increased donations. Adams said that Rice’s goal is to raise $250,000, and he stressed the good that United Way does for the community. For more information, see: www.rice.edu/unitedway. 

III.  Speaker’s Report 

A.  Preventing Sexual Harassment 

Weston stressed the importance of faculty members completing Rice’s online training session entitled “Preventing Sexual Harassment,” and he provided the link to the training:  http://training.newmedialearning.com/psh/riceuniv/. In addition, Weston asked senators to set an example for the rest of the faculty by achieving 100% compliance by the end of the calendar year.
 

B.   Working Group on the Academic Calendar 

Weston announced that the Executive Committee (EC) approved of the formation of the Working Group on the Academic Calendar at its last meeting.

Charge:  The working group will review the academic calendar and recommend appropriate changes to the Faculty Senate by Dec. 3, 2014.

Members: 

Michael Wolf (Chair)          Mathematics
Elaine Britt                           Human Resources
John Casbarian                    Architecture
Luis Duno-Gottberg            Spanish and Portuguese
Kristi Kincaid                        Chemistry
David Tenney                       Registrar (ex officio
Aishwarya Thakur                Student Association Senator                  

C.      Working Group on the Graduate Honor Council       

A second working group approved by the Executive Committee and announced by Weston was the Working Group on the Graduate Honor Council.

Charge: The working group will design and propose a Graduate Honor Council following the recommendations made in the report by the Working Group on Graduate Students and the Honor Council. The goal is to have a new system in place by Fall 2015. 

Members:         

Duane Windsor (Chair)               Jones Graduate School of Business
Keith Cooper                               School of Engineering
Elaine Ecklund                            School of Social Sciences
Christian Emden                          School of Humanities
Lynn Fahey                                  GSA Representative
Don Ostdiek                                 Associate Dean of Undergraduates
Kyle Rojas                                    Jones School Grad. Student Assoc.

A senator requested that a representative from the School of Natural Sciences be asked to serve on the working group. Senator Michael Kohn volunteered, and the Faculty Senate approved unanimously that he be added to the working group.
 

D.      Working Group on Faculty Ombud 

A third working group approved by the Executive Committee was the Working Group on the Faculty Ombud. 

Charge: The working group will study the advisability of establishing a faculty ombud and report to the Senate by the end of March 2015.

Members:
 

Deborah Harter                (Chair, HUMA)
Paula Sanders                  (ex officio, ADMIN)
Mary Cronin                      (ex officio , ADMIN)
Margaret Beier                 (SOCSCI)
Carl Caldwell                    (HUMA, Fall semester only)
Jane Grande-Allen           (ENGINEERING)
James Weston                  (JONES SCHOOL)

E.       Quality Education Task Force 

Weston announced that a committee was recently formed by the university administration, not the Senate, entitled the Quality Education Task Force.

Charge: 

1.       Assess the current quality of on-campus education

2.       Assess the future requirements for top-quality education

3.       Develop a policy, program, and priorities report for the president’s and provost’s consideration

Membership: 

Caroline Levander      (Chair, Admin)

John Hutchinson        (Co-chair, Admin)

Seichii Matsuda          (DGPS, Admin)

K. Ramech                   (Jones School, Admin)

David Tenney              (Registrar, Admin)

Alex Byrd                     (HUMA – History)

Jeff Fleisher                 (SOCSCI – Anthropology

Senator Brian Rountree asked why the Senate was not the group organizing the task force. Weston said that the Senate nominates members for the University Committee on Teaching. President Leebron said that the formation of the task force was not meant to be separate from the Senate, and that a member of the University Committee on Teaching (Jeff Fleisher) is also a member of the task force. Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said that from the outset the goal was to have a small task force to act in an advisory capacity. When asked about faculty representation on the committee, Hutchinson said that another faculty member has been asked to serve.
 

F.       Concur Software for Business Meeting, Travel, and Expenses 

Kathy Collins, Vice President for Finance, and Tessie Skulski, Assistant Controller, explained that Concur is a web-based travel booking and expense reporting software tool. Collins said that Concur is expected to be operational at Rice the week of October 20, 2014. Collins explained that paper receipts and travel envelopes  will no longer be used, and reimbursements will be processed faster. To view the presentation on Concur, please see:  CONCUR.  

IV.     Working Group and Committee Reports 

A.      Revisions to “Review of Deans” Document by the Working Group on Decanal Reviews 

Working group chair Richard Grandy stated that the working group, which included Emilia Morosan, Lyn Ragsdale, Paula Sanders, and James Weston (ex officio), examined the “Review of Deans” policy written May 1, 2008. He also said that the working group held discussions with members of previous dean review committees and deans, and ultimately decided that the original document only needed tweaking in a few areas.

Grandy presented the working group’s recommendations, including a clarified timeline. He stressed that the dean review committee should be appointed and organized over the summer.

Timeline 

June 1   Recommendations of committee members by the Senate to the Provost 

The committee should be appointed and begin the review process by Sept 1 of the fourth year of the dean’s term, if the dean’s appointment began July 1.  In other cases, this timeline should be adjusted.  

July 1                        Committee selected, chair informed of committee.  

Dean is informed about deadline for their statement and other aspects of the process. 

September 1           Committee begins construction of survey 

October 1                Dean’s statement to the Provost and Committee 

October 15              Survey begins 

November 15         Survey closed 

Nov  15– Jan 30     Analysis of survey, interviews of relevant parties, report written 

Feb 1                       Committee Report to the Provost 

April 1                     Provost reports actions to the Senate 

Other recommendations from the working group included:

  • The review shall include, but not be limited to, an assessment of: 

• Leadership, judgment, ethics and commitment to academic and scholarly values  

• Program and faculty development, including appointments of and working with chairs 

• Fairness in treatment of faculty, staff and      students  

• Communication  

• Administrative effectiveness  

• Developing internal and external resources  

• Effectiveness in faculty appointments, retention and recruitment, including advancing diversity  

• Developing internal and external resources  

• Contributing to the advancement of university-wide goals  

• Building constructive relations with external constituencies, including alumni  

  • A working group should be formed to arrive at a common core group of questions which will be appropriate to include in all dean reviews regardless of school. 
  • The committee should add to the core questions further questions relevant to the specific school.   Survey questions should include a Not Applicable or No Opinion answer option. 
  • The survey will be administered by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness as a confidential survey. Only OIE staff and the committee chair should have access to raw data linking names to the responses.  The dean under review should not have access to numerical data or the narrative responses of the online survey, but only the final report submitted to the provost.  Faculty should be assured that all responses to the online survey and the interviews are treated confidentially. 

Following the presentation, a short discussion was held. Grandy was asked about the success of recent dean reviews. He replied that determining the success of the reviews was not a part of the working group’s mandate. Provost McLendon said that of the reviews he had seen, the reviews were helpful, especially the anonymous collection of input from faculty members. President Leebron said that the “Review of Deans” policy was a good result of efforts from the Faculty Senate. He also said that the timing of the review, essentially looking at three years of data, often resulted more in a course correction than an answer to whether the dean should be replaced. He said that although the timing was fine, it was not the same as looking at five years of data.

A motion was made to approve the revised document, and it was seconded. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the revised document. Please see REVIEW OF DEANS.  

B.      Recommendations from the Task Force on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTT) 

Stan Sazykin and Paula Sanders, co-chairs of the task force, presented the group’s recommendations, beginning with their guiding principles.

NTT Faculty appointments should: 

•       enjoy the protection of academic freedom in teaching and scholarship 

•       be provided with the essential tools needed to carry out their assigned duties; these include, but are not limited to, office
space, computer and other technology, and staff support
 

•       receive appropriate pay and opportunity for merit pay increases 

•       provide career paths and professional development for long-term NTT faculty with opportunities for advancement whenever possible 

•       be clear and transparent in process of appointment, evaluation, reappointment or termination 

•       have clear job definitions, conditions of employment and performance expectations 

•       clearly spell out role in faculty governance at all levels 

•       meet the university’s benefits eligible threshold for NTT faculty whenever possible 

•       be full-time, following the individual school’s definition of full-time, whenever possible 

•       provide job security to greatest extent possible (e.g., multi-year contracts or rolling contracts after probationary period)  

Sazykin and Sanders then presented the task force’s five recommendations.

Recommendation A: Establish full-time, career track NTT-teaching positions, with suggested titles of Assistant, Associate, and (full) Teaching Professor (in a given academic field). 

Recommendation B: Clarify and revise the definitions, roles, and appointment guidelines for part-time or limited duration appointments: instructor and lecturer. 

Recommendation C: Limit the use of appointments “Professor in the Practice” to follow the definition currently in the Rice faculty handbook. 

          From the Rice University Faculty Handbook, Section V, B.9.  Professor in the Practice

The position of Professor in the Practice is designed to bring individuals with extensive experience outside of academia to educate Rice students in their field of expertise. The goal is to provide a unique educational experience that cannot be provided by tenure-track faculty.  The president appoints such professors in the practice at the request of a school.  The faculty practitioner is non tenure-track and non-tenure eligible.  The appointment is for up to three years and is renewable for an unlimited number of terms.  Individuals with practitioner rank may not serve as chair of thesis or dissertation committees and may not be principal investigator on research support.

Recommendation D: Professional Schools (Architecture, Business, Music) should develop their own NTT teaching titles if the existing ones don’t serve their needs. 

Recommendation E: Revise the definitions and descriptions of NTT-research full-time career track positions to use the titles of Assistant, Associate, (full) Research Professor, and update the guidelines for making these appointments. 

Following the presentation, a question and answer session was held. Senator Mike Wolf asked: During the presentation in the Spring of the progress of the task force, we were led to expect that the recommendations would provide a clear distinction between the circumstances that would lead to the appointment of an NTT faculty member and those that would lead to the hiring of a tenure-track faculty member.  Such a statement may be somewhat implicit in the current documents, but it would be best if it were more directly stated.

Paula Sanders replied that broad recommendations were needed; it was not practical for the task force to write details about the implementation of each one. She also said that very extensive discussions would follow regarding implementation.

Wolf’s second question: I am concerned about the wording that the "While not required, the record of scholarship and professional activity outside the university...should be considered in the promotion and renewal process." Is such activity a part of the job description or is it not?  If it is not part of the job, it has no role in promotion and renewal. If it is part of the job, then those activities need to be included in the job description – currently centered on teaching, teaching-related activities and service – and there need to be provisions made so that all candidates have a fair and adequate opportunity to engage in those activities. The present language invites many misunderstandings, I fear.

Sanders replied that some deans have said that in tracking tenure track or non-tenure track faculty, they want the people who are the most active in their field, which could include contributions to teaching. She said that the task force felt that it was reasonable to say that scholarship could be a part of the total assessment of NTT faculty, but it was not required, and that the goal is to create a career track.

Wolf stressed that his question was more general/philosophical than simply regarding implementation, especially for the future. Provost McLendon stated although all sorts of things could happen in the future, the task force was created because currently Rice has some NTT faculty on a yearly treadmill; ways to recognize long-term contributions are needed. McLendon added that the recommendations are an important step, and that Rice needs to take these actions for its long-serving NTT colleagues.

Senator David Alexander said that expectations should be clear at the time when someone is hired. He asked, if research were not required, would this statement press someone to do research in the fear that he/she would be less well-considered? Sanders said that this was a good point which could be addressed in the implementation strategy discussions.

Senator Jerry Dickens asked if a long-term change in the makeup of faculty at Rice was predicted. President Leebron said although no plan exists to make changes, one result that could occur might be in the way that faculty are judged. He said that right now, many kinds of people are judged on their total contribution, whether or not the contributions are required. Leebron also said that one goal of the task force’s recommendations is to make Rice more attractive to NTT faculty. He said that U.S. News and World Report rewards a “lower efficiency” model (keeping class sizes small) in its ranking system, which he agreed is effective for teaching. However, he said that schools would have to figure out how to achieve those small class sizes.

Senator Keith Cooper asked about the problem with the title “Professor in the Practice.” Sanders said that although use of this title may not be a problem in all of Rice, it is a problem in some schools. She said it was used because appropriate titles did not exist; now the use of the title has drifted. Speaker Weston pointed out that the task force’s recommendation is simply to follow the Faculty Handbook, which was written by faculty.

Beverly Mitchell, a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, asked if there are mechanisms in place to prevent the limited duration appointments from becoming repetitive. Sanders said that discussions were being held now as to whether an “up or out” (move up to career track or be removed from Rice) system should be installed. Sanders also said that a discussion might be required with the provost as to why a person might be renewed but not brought up to career track. Provost McLendon then described the important contributions from (unpaid) adjunct professors, and he said that these individuals would not be affected by the new rules.

A motion was made for the Senate to endorse the recommendations, and it was seconded.

Senator Scott Cutler clarified that the motion was to endorse the five recommendations, even if one strongly disagreed with the implementation suggestions. Weston was asked if the implementation strategies would come before the Senate for approval. Sanders said that not all of them would, but the items that impact University Policies 201 and 327 would indeed come before the Senate for approval. In addition, she said that a time line would be established in consultation with the Faculty Senate.

The Senate then voted to endorse the recommendations, with one senator opposed, and two senators abstaining. Weston said that the recommendations would have a real effect on people who work at Rice. Sanders thanked the task force members.
 

V.      New Business 

A.      Proposed Certificate in Engineering Leadership 

Kaz Karwowski, Executive Director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership, said that the proposed certificate program was designed due to four factors: a recommendation by the National Academy of Engineers to change and enhance the education of engineers; a recommendation from the dean of the School of Engineering for enhancement of entrepreneurship and leadership skills for students; existing leadership centers in the engineering industry; and interest in leadership training exhibited by students.

Karwowski was asked about the certificate process. He replied that ten courses are required, as well as an internship, portfolio, and presentation. Registrar David Tenney said that similar to an academic major or minor, the student will declare it, and the certificate will be noted on the student’s diploma. Tenney added that the University Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) has approved the proposal.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve the proposal, which can be viewed here: RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership.  

B.       Prioritized Recommendations from the Working Group on Research and Scholarship 

Speaker Weston stated that the working group thoroughly examined critical issues of research and scholarship at Rice, which were presented to the Senate last year. At that point, the Senate asked the working group to prioritize their recommendations. Weston presented the prioritized recommendations, shown below:

Short Term (1 Year)  

Recommendation 1: The Senate should establish a new standing faculty committee, Committee on Academic Affairs (replacing the current Faculty Advisory Committee of the Office of Faculty Development), with duties such as: advise on the duties of the VPAA, serve as an advisory body for the VPAA, advise the administration and the Senate on non-research faculty-related policies, provide faculty oversight of the academic external review process, develop a faculty-data dashboard, develop guidelines for a “faculty-career ladder,” including service expectations, annual reports, and periodic reviews.  

Recommendation 2: The Senate should appoint a group to work with the administration to develop a systematic academic review process.  

Recommendation 3: The Senate should appoint a group (Graduate Council or an ad-hoc working group) to study further graduate governance at Rice. The group should study graduate governance in peer institutions (including the graduate-school issue) and recommend a governance model for Rice that would clarify the relationships, including funding authority, between the DGPS and school deans and between school-level graduate committees and Graduate Council.  

Medium Term (2-3 Years)   

Recommendation 4: The Senate should appoint a group (Graduate Council or an ad-hoc working group) to work with the new DGPS and develop an implementation plan for Point 3 of the V2C, including the desired (and feasible) level of investment by Rice, a more effective recruiting of doctoral students, and ongoing quality assessment of doctoral programs.  

Recommendation 5: The Senate should appoint a group (standing committee or ad-hoc group) to compile an inventory of all undergraduate research programs at Rice, study best practices at peer institutions, and develop a proposal for a comprehensive Rice program for undergraduate research (including research internships). This proposal should include also a governance structure. In analogy to our proposal for oversight of graduate programs, the Working Group believes that the first level of undergraduate-research oversight should reside at the schools, via departmental undergraduate research coordinators, school-wide undergraduate research committees, and associate deans for undergraduate education.  

Recommendation 6: The Senate should review Rice’s midterm-review process for assistant professors to examine its effectiveness.  

Long Term (3-5 Years)  

Recommendation 7: The Senate should form an ad-hoc group to study the incentive system for faculty participation in shared governance, survey best practices at peer institutions, and develop a plan for recognizing and rewarding shared-governance service at Rice.  

Recommendation 8: The Senate should appoint a group to work with the administration to develop an inclusive process of need assessment, based on best practices at peer institutions. (The processes must be informed by the strategic plans developed by the schools.)  

A former member of the working group said that concerning Recommendation 1, just as the Graduate Council advises the Dean of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Study, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs could use a faculty advisory committee. Jane Grande-Allen stated that she did not recommend removing the current Faculty Advisory Committee for the Office of Faculty Development (OFD) because it would leave the OFD without an advisory committee. Weston said that the Senate leadership would speak to Don Morrison, current chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the OFD.

Weston noted that many of the recommendations could be sent to University Committees for action. In general, the Senate agreed that the Graduate Council and CUC could be asked to address several of them. Regarding Recommendation 7, one senator asked why it was limited to shared governance, and why not address all service to the university? Provost McLendon said that classifying some types of service as more productive/important than others is counter-productive. Mike Wolf agreed, but he also said that service is considered when a faculty member is up for promotion to full professor. He suggested that deans and department chairs be told to consider service when faculty salaries are reviewed. Senator Susan McIntosh said that in addition to recommending that service be rewarded, the Senate needs to be elevated. She said that the department liaison positions within the Senate are important and they need to be reaffirmed. Further discussion included a comment by Paula Sanders, who stressed that whenever possible, University Committees should be used or Senate working groups; existing structures instead of ad hoc committees.

Finally, concerning Recommendation 8, Cooper stated that the working group met with lots of people at Rice, and one clear concern stated was regarding how the university determines use of its resources. He gave an example of Stanford University’s very inclusive process in establishing goals and the subsequent use of university resources to achieve them.

Weston stated that the feedback from the Senate was very useful. He said that the Executive Committee would discuss the working group’s recommendations and then recommend appropriate action.

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