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Faculty Senate Meeting
January 24, 2018
Kyle Morrow Room, Fondren Library

 

Senate Meeting Agenda

I. Call to Order

II. Announcements

A.  Global Virtual Exchange Program
B.  Mobility Safety Committee
C.  Rice University Service and Leadership Awards for Faculty
D.  Announcements from the floor

III. Reports from Officers

A.  Speaker’s Report: Two New Working Groups
B.  Deputy Speaker’s Report: Nominations and Elections Committee

IV. Unfinished Business: Final Report regarding December 2017 Degrees

V. Adjourn

Senators present: Graham Bader, Martin Blumenthal-Barby, Gwen Bradford, Keith Cooper, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Michael Diehl, Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Charles Geyer, Patrick Hartigan, Michael Schweinberger (for Marek Kimmel), Stephen Klineberg, Balaji Koka, David Leebron, Angel Marti-Arbona, Susan McIntosh, David Messmer, Marie Lynn Miranda, , Nancy Niedzielski, Ed Nikonowicz, Rob Raphael, Doug Schuler, Laura Segatori, Scott Solomon, Kerry Ward, Michael Wolf, Pablo Yepes and Colin Zelt.

Senators absent: Lisa Balabanlilar, Nathan Citino, Christopher Hight, Christopher Johns-Krull, and Emilia Morosan.

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

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

II. Announcements

A. Global Virtual Exchange Program
Caroline Levander, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Digital Education, described the Global Virtual Exchange Agreement as a shared catalog of online courses offered by eight universities, with Rice University as the only participant from the United States. She said that a small number of courses will be offered from each institution, and that courses completed by Rice students at other institutions would be considered for transfer credit only. She noted that Rice offers online courses for credit only during the summer. Levander provided an informational document to the senators prior to the meeting: GLOBAL VIRTUAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM.

Registrar David Tenney offered some additional points regarding the program: Rice students must maintain full-time status at Rice, they must obtain permission from the Dean of Undergraduates for concurrent registration at another institution, and they must follow all Rice transfer credit policies. In further discussion, Tenney explained that a student must take a minimum of 12 credit hours at Rice to be considered a full time student, and then he/she may add hours from elsewhere, up to a maximum of 18 credit hours per semester. Tenney was asked if students from other institutions would be subject to Rice’s Honor Code and vice versa. His reply was yes.

Levander was asked how many students from the other institutions are expected to take Rice courses and how many Rice students are expected to take courses at the foreign institutions. Levander replied that Rice is not obligated to accept all of the students from other institutions. She said that Rice would monitor the interest and enrollment of Rice students in the program.

Mike Wolf noted that the University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) usually approves academic programs, with final approval from the Faculty Senate, a process that was not used for the Global Virtual Exchange Program. However, he summarized the pilot as less of a program than a list of classes available to students, with Rice departmental transfer officers deciding the appropriate amount of transfer credit to award to Rice students, if any.

Pat Hartigan said that the pilot program was a way to offer expertise that Rice does not offer. Susan McIntosh said that the Executive Committee made similar comments about the pilot program; it provides two opportunities for Rice: 1) as a small university, it can expand Rice’s reach, and 2) it allows an international experience for the Rice students who cannot study abroad.

Speaker Fleisher said that while the pilot program did not have to seek CUC approval in its current state, if a larger idea were to affect the overall curriculum, the Faculty Senate should be involved. He also expressed a concern about the growing number of Rice students taking online courses elsewhere for credit. President Leebron described the pilot as a cautious, modest step, and he said that Rice must run small experiments such as the Global Virtual Exchange Program. He said that if Rice did not participate in projects such as this, it would not gain experience for future opportunities.

B. Mobility Safety Committee
Will Cannady, chair of the University Committee for Parking and Transportation, and Madeleine Pelzel (Architecture, 2020), members of the Mobility Safety Committee, asked the senators for input regarding mobility safety on campus. Vice President Kevin Kirby was asked if the committee’s goal was to write a mobility safety plan. He said that mobility would be one component of an overall safety plan for the campus.

Pelzel said that the new committee has requested input from the campus community regarding mobility safety issues and many replies have been received. In addition, several committee members spent time observing trouble spots to record collisions and near misses. Pelzel said that one big question is whether vehicles or pedestrians have the right-of-way at campus entrances and intersections.

Pelzel said that the replies the committee received included concerns regarding wheeled vehicles (such as bicycles and skateboards) being used on sidewalks, wheeled vehicles traveling the opposite direction of the one-way traffic on streets, and bicycle riding through arcades instead of walking the bikes through these areas. She said that one idea that students liked was the construction of a dedicated sidewalk for bicycles and skateboards parallel to the existing sidewalks, but in the opposite direction of the one-way campus streets. Pelzel also noted that while cyclists can achieve the 20 mile per hour campus speed limit, skateboarders cannot, so they often use the sidewalks.

Michael Diehl described the dangerous intersection that Rice students and faculty must use when traveling from campus to the BioScience Research Center (BRC). He suggested that the BRC bicycle rack be moved to the campus side of University Boulevard. Rob Raphael recalled that a pedestrian bridge above the street was originally proposed when the BRC was built. However, Kirby stated that construction of a bridge was not feasible at this time.

Fleisher asked senators and faculty members to post further comments on the wiki site (net ID required) here: CAMPUS MOBILITY DISCUSSION PAGE.

C. Rice University Service and Leadership Awards for Faculty
Provost Miranda announced three new awards for faculty members:

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in University Service and Leadership
This award is bestowed annually on a faculty member who has made significant and distinctive contributions to the mission of Rice University through exceptional university service and leadership.

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in Professional Service and Leadership
This award is bestowed annually on a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the academic profession or to the wider community (local, national, or international) through professional service and leadership.

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service
This award is bestowed periodically on a faculty member who fulfills the Rice academic ideal by exhibiting exemplary achievement in all aspects of faculty responsibilities: research, teaching, and service.

Provost Miranda said that nominations are due March 1, 2018, and should be submitted via email to FacAward@rice.edu. For more information, please see the Senate’s wiki space: FACULTY AWARDS.

D. Announcements from the floor
President Leebron gave an update to the Faculty Senate regarding the “Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade” (V2C2), which he said the Board of Trustees endorsed at its meeting in December 2017. Leebron provided a draft of the summary document which describes seven priorities, listed below.

Provide Transformative Undergraduate Education
Build Nationally and Internationally Renowned Graduate Programs
Invest in Faculty to Achieve Preeminence
Expand Access, Diversity, and Inclusiveness
Enhance Research Achievement and Reputation
Extend Rice’s Reach and Impact
Engage Houston and Empower Its Success

Leebron stressed that the ambitions of the faculty and the Board of Trustees are in total alignment. He said that the Board would meet next in March 2018 to discuss implementation decisions.

III. Reports from Officers

A. Speaker’s Report: two new working groups
Fleisher announced that the Executive Committee recently approved two new Senate working groups.

Working Group on Athletics

Charge: Investigate the scheduling of athletic competitions during the period after the last day of classes ('dead days' and final exam period). The working group will examine the consequences of scheduling athletic competitions during the last week of classes, using student-athlete date from Athletics and the procedures followed in EX&S to approve athletic competitions in the period after the last day of classes (dead days/final exam period), and offer recommends for policy of procedural changes.

Chair: Doug Schuler
Members: Rob Griffin, George Zodrow, Stacy Mosely (Athletics, ex-officio), Tanner Gardner (Athletics, ex-officio)

Working Group on Advising

Charge: Assess the current state of undergraduate advising and offer recommendations for suggested changes or improvements.

The Working Group will examine advising for all undergraduates, including first and second year advising through divisional advisors and the Office of Academic Advising, major advising at the departmental level, and advising policies and procedures in the schools. It will also benchmark other institutions that may be succeeding in ways that will also enable Rice students to flourish at and beyond Rice.

The Working Group will take into account the goals of student advising at Rice: to get reliable advice on curricular programs; to establish positive and engaged relationships with faculty; to obtain mentorship that leads to wise career and personal/professional development choices; to achieve balance in pursuing the available extracurricular opportunities at Rice.

Chair: Leslie Schwindt-Bayer (Professor, Political Science)

Members: Lisa Balabanlilar (Associate Professor, History)
Beth Beason-Abmayr (Teaching Professor, Biochemistry and Cell Biology)
Keith Cooper (Professor, Computational Engineering)
Bridget Gorman (Professor, Sociology)
Christopher Johns-Krull (Professor, Physics and Astronomy)
Lida Oukaderova (Assistant Professor, Art History)
Renata Ramos (Lecturer, Bioengineering)
Carissa Zimmerman (Lecturer, Psychology)
Aliya Bhimani (Director of Academic Advising)
Arnaud Chevallier (Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs)
Brian Gibson (Associate Dean of Undergraduates)
Rohan Palanki (Student Association representative)
Revathi Ravella (Student Association representative)

B. Deputy Speaker’s Report: Nominations and Elections Committee
Deputy Speaker Julie Fette, chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), said that she would soon ask senators to serve on the NEC, and she highlighted the duties of the committee:

  • Conduct Promotion and Tenure Committee elections
  • Conduct Faculty Senate elections
  • Conduct election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker (last meeting of the spring semester)
  • Prepare Executive Committee slate (Senate votes in the first meeting of the fall semester)
  • Nominate University Committee chairs and faculty members to serve on the committees, with approval from President Leebron

IV. Unfinished Business: Final Report regarding December 2017 Degrees
Registrar David Tenney thanked the faculty members who attended the plenary meeting held in December 2017 to approve degrees. He said that per the Senate-approved system, the Dean of Undergraduates and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies presented the list of degree candidates at the meeting, which the faculty then conditionally approved, assuming successful completion of all degree requirements. He said that the degrees are then conferred in January 2018 with a final report presented to the Faculty Senate. Tenney stated that 84 undergraduate degrees were conferred (dated December 30, 2017), as well as 200 master’s degrees, one Artist Diploma in Music, and 52 doctoral degrees. Please see the slides that were presented at the meeting HERE.

V. Adjourn
The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.