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Faculty Senate Meeting
April 19, 2017
Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall


Senate Meeting Agenda (and actions taken):

I.  Call to Order

II.  Announcements

III.  Reports from Officers and Standing Committees: Nominations and Elections Committee

IV.  Unfinished Business

     A.  Motions to approve the report from the Working Group on Digital Education and an addendum to the report (Approved)

     B.  Motions to endorse the report from the Working Group on  General Education and the Distribution System and its three proposals (Approved)

     C.  Motion to approve Electronic Voting in Senate (Approved)

V.  New Business

     A.  Motion to approve a new major in Social Policy Analysis (Approved): if approved, motion to sunset current Policy Studies major (Approved)

     B.  Motion to approve a new Graduate Diploma in Liberal Studies (Approved)

     C.  Motion to approve a new Master of Arts in Religion (Approved)

VI.  Executive Session regarding V2C2

VII.  Adjourn

Senators present:  David Alexander, Graham Bader, Lisa Balabanlilar, Kate Beckingham, Martin Blumenthal-Barby, Gwen Bradford, David Caprette, Daniel Cohen, Andrew Colopy, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Michael Diehl, Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Charles Geyer, Christopher Hight, Kevin Kelly, Marek Kimmel, Steve Klineberg, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Susan McIntosh, Marie Lynn Miranda, Ed Nikonowicz, Fred Oswald, Stan Sazykin, Doug Schuler, Laura Segatori, and Kerry Ward.

Senators absent:  Keith Cooper, Maryam Emami, Christopher Johns-Krull, and Tim Morton.

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

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

II.  Announcements

  • A symposium honoring Marjorie Corcoran, first Speaker of the Rice University Faculty Senate, will be held April 26, 2017, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Herzstein Hall, followed by a memorial service and reception at the Faculty Club.
  • The plenary session of the faculty to approve the May 2017 degrees will be held May 11, at 10:00 a.m., in McMurtry Auditorium of Duncan Hall. 
  • The annual report from the Doerr Institute has been posted to the Faculty Senate wiki site and may be viewed HERE. 
  • The Rice LIFT symposium scheduled for May 2, 2017, will begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by a faculty reception.

III.  Reports from Officers and Standing Committees:  Nominations and Elections Committee
Nominations and Elections Committee chair Julie Fette thanked the senators whose terms are ending:

               David Alexander (six years)

               Kate Beckingham (six years)

               David Caprette (seven years)

               Daniel Cohen

               Andrew Colopy

               Maryam Emami

               Kevin Kelly

               Michael Kohn (six years)

               Anatoly Kolomeisky (six years)

               Tim Morton

               Fred Oswald (six years)

               Stan Sazykin (seven years)

Fette then welcomed the newly elected and appointed senators for 2017-2018:

Natural Sciences
               Pat Hartigan

               Angel Marti-Arbona

               Michael Wolf

               Colin Zelt

Engineering

               Marek Kimmel

               Rob Raphael

Humanities
               Gwen Bradford

               Nathan Citino

Social Sciences

               Steve Klineberg

               Nancy Niedzielski

Jones Graduate School of Business

               Balaji Koka

               Douglas Schuler

Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

               David Messmer

               Scott Solomon

               Pablo Yepes

Fette also thanked the outgoing chairs of University Committees:

Ric Stoll (Admissions)

Elias Bongmba (EX&S)

Kathy Ensor (Graduate Council)

Kate Beckingham (co-chair PWC)

Christy Landes (Research)

Lisa Balabanlilar (Teaching)

Fette announced the continuing and new committee chairs:

Admissions: Rudy Guerra
Athletics: Jill Foote
EX&S: Paul Engel
Faculty & Staff Benefits: Richard Grandy
Fellowships & Awards: Matthew Baring
Graduate Council: April DeConick
Graduate Honor Council: Duane Windsor
Library: David Tobin
Marshals: Marcia O’Malley
Faculty Advisory Committee for the Office of Faculty Development: Kathleen Matthews
Parking and Transportation: Will Cannady
Faculty Advisory Board for the Program in Writing and Communication: Carl Caldwell
Research: James McNew
Teaching: Frank Geurts
Undergraduate Curriculum: Susan McIntosh

Fette presented the language from the Senate Bylaws regarding the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and she called for nominations for Speaker. There was one nomination, for current Speaker Jeffrey Fleisher, which was seconded, followed by a unanimous vote for approval. Fleisher will again serve as Speaker for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Fleisher called for nominations for Deputy Speaker, and there was one nomination, seconded, for current Deputy Speaker Julie Fette. Fette was unanimously elected by the senators to serve as Deputy Speaker for the 2017-2018 academic year. 

Fette presented the language from the Senate Bylaws regarding the election of the Executive Committee (EC), which states that a slate be presented in the spring semester, with election of the EC to occur in the first Senate meeting of the fall. Alternative slates may also be presented in the fall Senate meeting. The EC slate proposed by the Nominations and Elections Committee is shown below:

Speaker

Deputy Speaker

Laura Segatori (Engineering)

Kerry Ward (Humanities)

Susan McIntosh (Social Sciences)

Edward Nikonowicz (Natural Sciences)

Christopher Hight (Professional Schools)

Douglas Schuler (Professional Schools)

Scott Cutler (NTT Faculty)

IV.  Unfinished Business

     A.  Motions to approve the report from the Working Group on Digital Education and an addendum to the report

Fleisher stated that due to time constraints at the last meeting, Senate approval of the revised report from the Working Group on Digital Education and its addendum was postponed to today’s meeting. The revised report and addendum may be viewed on the Senate wiki site HERE. Fleisher presented the following motions for Senate approval. He noted that the EC had approved each one for presentation to the full Senate. 

  1. Motion to approve the Revised Report of the Working Group on General Education and Distribution Requirements as presented to the Faculty Senate on March 29, 2017.

    The Senate unanimously approved the revised report.

  2. Motion to approve language contained in the Addendum of the Report of the Working Group for Digital Education, 2017: Process for the Creation of Online Courses.
    This addendum:
    (a) endorses the SACS definition of an online course;
    (b) establishes criteria for the approval of online courses and programs, and how they are evaluated
    (note that although some criteria are consonant with those for traditional courses, others are unique to online courses and programs);
    (c) outlines the approval process for online courses sand online programs.

    The Senate unanimously approved the addendum.

     B.  Motions to endorse the report from the Working Group on Distribution Requirements and General Education and its three proposals.

Fleisher called on working group chair Susan McIntosh to present the following motions from the Working Group on General Education and the Distribution System.

Motion 1:  to endorse the report of the Working Group on Distribution Requirements and General Education. (View the report HERE.)

There was a motion to endorse the report, seconded, and the Senate voted for approval, with two senators opposed and one abstaining.

Motion 2: to reduce general education requirements from the current 4 courses of at least three hours in each of three distribution areas (at least 36 hours) to 3 courses in each of three distribution areas plus a FWIS (at least 30 hours).

McIntosh explained that the Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) would become a freestanding three-hour requirement, and she reminded the senators that the FWIS is not the same as the Freshman Composition Course. Several senators asked questions and made comments about the proposed system, especially about the number of hours currently required by the School of Engineering for its majors. There was a motion for approval, seconded, and the Senate voted to approve Motion 2, with two opposed, and one abstention.

Motion 3: to revise the descriptive language for distribution and for each distribution group as the proposed in Working Group report. 

McIntosh said that following the discussion in the March 2017 Senate meeting, the description for the D3 group was heavily revised. McIntosh was asked if any of the current Engineering courses no longer qualify for D3 credit. McIntosh and Fleisher replied that the awarding of distribution credit would be up to each school through its School Course Review Committee. McIntosh was also asked if first-year foreign language courses would qualify for distribution credit under the new system. McIntosh said that she had been told that the School of Humanities would allow the introductory language courses to keep their D1 status. She added that the Humanities School Course Review Committee (SCRC) might choose to discuss the issue. There was a motion for approval, seconded, and the Senate voted to approve Motion 3, with two abstentions. (Note: following the vote, Graham Bader requested a minor correction of the wording “these courses.” McIntosh agreed to make the correction.)

Motion 4: to change the process for identifying distribution courses.

  • Include the School Course Review Committee as the primary group responsible for recommending courses for distribution to the dean of the school during the initial review under the new criteria and thereafter during the annual “roll call” by the OTR. 
  • Among new courses submitted for the New Course Review process by the March 1 or October 1 deadlines, identify those that are appropriate for distribution credit by mid-term each semester, rather than only in the spring annually.

In the discussion of this motion, senators asked if the existing SCRC’s had agreed to take on the new task. McIntosh said that they all agreed, including the SCRC for the School of Humanities, which is expected to have the biggest workload. McIntosh was also asked if an instructor could request that a course receive distribution credit. She explained that the form would include a box that the instructor could check if he/she wants the course considered for distribution credit. The request will be directed to the appropriate SCRC.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve Motion 4. Fleisher thanked McIntosh and the working group.

     C.  Motion to approve Electronic Voting in Senate

Deputy Speaker Julie Fette stated that following the report on "Faculty Senate Electronic Voting" delivered to the Faculty Senate on February 22, 2017, the Executive Committee proposed that voting procedures be improved in two ways:  vote casting should be private; and vote recording should be public. Fette said that the Senate discussion in its March 29 meeting resulted in modifications to the original proposal. She then presented a revised motion for Senate approval.

Motion: That Faculty Senate institute a default voting system on a pilot basis for the 2017-2018 year that:

  • uses the classroom response system recommended by the Office of Information Technology
  • Displays votes with Senators’ names on-screen
  • Posts voting records with Senators’ names to the Senate wiki, accessible by faculty with net ID
  • Does not remove the provision for a secret ballot as specified in Senate Meeting Rules

The Senate voted unanimously for approval.

V.  New Business

      A.  Motion to approve a new major in Social Policy Analysis; if approved, motion to sunset current Policy Studies major

Susan McIntosh, chair of the University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC), explained that the proposed major in Social Policy Analysis (SOPA) was a new, stand-alone major that would replace Policy Studies, a second-major-only program. McIntosh described the thorough review performed by the CUC to ensure the sustainability of the SOPA major. There was a motion to approve the new major, which was seconded, followed by a unanimous vote for approval. Please view the approved proposal HERE.

     B.  Motion to approve a new Graduate Diploma in Liberal Studies

Graduate Council chair Kathy Ensor stated that the Graduate Council has set up a rigorous review program during the past two years, turning down more proposals than it has approved. She then presented the proposed Graduate Diploma in Liberal Studies from the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, which the Graduate Council had approved. Please view the proposal HERE. Ensor explained that the Diploma in Liberal Studies is an augmentation to the current Master of Liberal Studies offered by the Glasscock School.

Susan McIntosh asked if the coursework for the diploma was different from the work for the master, and she asked about the elective courses in the proposal. McIntosh also noted an error in the course numbering system; no courses were listed higher than 600 in the diploma proposal, while the current Master of Liberal Arts ends with a 700-level course. 

Mary McIntire, Dean of the Glasscock School, said that while the additional courses for the diploma were of similar content to the master’s courses, there would be no double credit issued for the same course. She said that the diploma program would add depth, including special assignments and independent study. In addition, McIntire said that she would correct the course numbering system. 

One senator asked if the proposal was for a Ph.D. in Liberal Studies. Ensor explained that it is a “post-master’s diploma.” The Senate voted unanimously to approve the proposal. 

     C.  Motion to approve a new Master of Arts in Religion

Graduate Council chair Kathy Ensor presented a proposal for a Master of Arts in Religion, approved by the Graduate Council. Ensor described the proposal as a beautiful augmentation to the existing programs offered by the Department of Religion. She said that the proposed master offers another option for a new group of students; it is not for the student who seeks a Ph.D. in Religion. Ensor said that while the Ph.D. student’s program is funded by the university, the student who seeks this master’s degree would pay tuition. 

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

VI. Executive Session

The Faculty Senate discussed with President Leebron and Provost Miranda the responses from faculty members to the questionnaire regarding the upcoming capital campaign entitled “The Vision for the Second Century II (V2C2).”

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