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Faculty Senate Meeting 

April 20, 2011 

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall 

Agenda: 

I.        Welcome and Announcements

II.       Speaker’s Report

III.      Deputy Speaker’s Report

              A.      Results of Non-tenure-track Teaching election

              B.      Election of Deputy Speaker and Speaker for 2011-2012

              C.      Announcement of Executive Committee slate from NEC

IV.       Update from Working Group on Appeals and Grievances

V.         Old Business

             A.      Motion from CUC regarding LPAP course approval

             B.      Motion from CUC regarding Freshman Seminar

             C.      Motion to accept SA proposal regarding “Centennial Celebration Days”

VI.         New Business

             A.      Motion to adopt the Policy on Data Management

             B.      Motion to adopt statement regarding Senate oversight of GA

             C.      General discussion on items for Senate consideration 2011-2012

 

Senators present: Gregory Barnett, Ed Billups, David Caprette, John Casbarian, Danijela Damjanovic, Ramon Gonzalez, Jane Grande-Allen, Deborah Harter, Matthias Henze, Illya Hicks, Tom Killian, Scott McGill, Speaker Susan McIntosh, Provost George McLendon, Matteo Pasquali, Brian Rountree, Dale Sawyer, Stan Sazykin, Robin Sickles, Meredith Skura, Randy Stevenson, Jane Tao, Moshe Vardi, Duane Windsor, and Jim Young.

Senators absent:  Randy Batsell, Sarah Ellenzweig, David Leebron, and Devika Subramanian.

 

PROCEEDINGS 

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

I.  Welcome and Announcements 

·         Prior to the announcements, the Rice Philharmonics (“The Phils”) sang two songs for the Senate in a spirited performance. 

·         Speaker Susan McIntosh called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.  She welcomed everyone to the Senate meeting, especially the Senators recently elected to serve three-year terms beginning in Fall 2011:

Natural Sciences:  Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Alexander, Kate Beckingham

Engineering:  David Scott

Humanities:  Carl Caldwell, Rebecca Goetz, Helena Michie

Social Sciences:  Fred Oswald

Jones Graduate School of Business: James Weston

NTT-Research:  Stan Sazykin

NTT-Teaching:   David Caprette

·         The plenary meeting of the faculty to approve degrees will be held Friday, May 13, 2011, in the International Conference Room of the Baker Institute, followed by a luncheon in Dore’ Commons, during which President Leebron will present the annual Teaching Awards.

·         The plans for Habitat for Humanity’s Rice Centennial House are under way.  Building will begin in March or April of 2012, with completion of the house in April 2012. There are several ways to obtain more information, see:  http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~habitat/rch or send an email to ricecentennial@gmail.com.  In addition, Centennial House Committee applications are available at:  http://tinyurl.com/ricech.

 

II.   Speaker’s Report 

·         The Senate recently hosted Faculty Forums on the three Rice Initiatives, which concludes the work of the Senate on this issue.  Summaries of the forums have been posted on the Senate’s wiki space, available to all Rice faculty members for review and comment, and may be viewed here: Energy and Environment, Bioscience and Human Health, and International Strategy. Provost McLendon’s office is in charge of the next steps in the process, which are expected to include faculty workshops.

·         Russell Barnes, Rice’s Director for Equal Employment Opportunity Program/Affirmative Action, discussed the required training of faculty regarding sexual harassment, and he distributed printed materials on the subject.  A link to Rice’s online training is provided here: http://training.newmedialearning.com/psh/riceuniv/.

·         The Senate has received a request from Jan Rinehart to see if there is interest in holding a webinar on academic bullying. Information on the topic will be forwarded to Senators.

·         The Senators whose terms are ending were thanked for their service to the Senate, including several Senators who have served multiple terms: Ed Billups, Tom Killian, Dale Sawyer, Jim Young, Deborah Harter, Matthias Henze, Mark Kulstad, Meredith Skura, Duane Windsor, and Devika Subramanian. 

·         Senators who have served as chairs for Senate working groups during the past year were recognized: Tom Killian (Senate Governance and Rice Initiatives Phase II), Moshe Vardi (Appeals and Grievances), Meredith Skura (Communication in the Curriculum), Jim Young (Teaching), Randy Batsell (Grade Inflation and Academic Honors), and Robin Sickles (Salary Report).

·         Senators who have served in Senate leadership positions were also recognized: John Casbarian (Convenor) and Duane Windsor (Parliamentarian), as well as Senators who have served as the Senate’s representative to other groups:  Matthias Henze, Dale Sawyer, and Moshe Vardi (Rice Initiatives Task Forces); Ramon Gonzalez (Council on Diversity); Duane Windsor, Jane Tao, and Stan Sazykin (ADVANCE Faculty Development); Jane Grande-Allen and Ed Billups (University Committee on Examinations and Standing); Randy Stevenson (University Committee for Undergraduate Curriculum), and Moshe Vardi (Chair, Graduate Council).

·         Deputy Speaker Tom Killian was thanked for his dedicated service to the Senate, and he received a standing ovation from all assembled. Killian was presented with a plaque and a gift.

·         The date for the Senate’s end-of-year reception was announced: Thursday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m.

 

III.   Deputy Speaker’s Report 

A.      NTT-Teaching Election results 

Killian announced that David Caprette won the Senate’s recent Non-Tenure-Track Teaching election, and Caprette was congratulated.  Killian noted that ambiguity exists in the Senate governance documents regarding the definition of voting eligibility among non-tenure-track teaching faculty.  He requested that this issued be addressed by the Senate next year.

 

B.      Election of Deputy Speaker and Speaker for 2011-2012 

Killian announced that Jane Grande-Allen had been nominated by the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) for Deputy Speaker, and he asked if there were any nominations from the floor. There were none. Meredith Skura seconded the NEC’s nomination, and the resulting vote was unanimous for Grande-Allen.

 

Deborah Harter nominated current Speaker Susan McIntosh for Speaker.  Harter described how McIntosh has conquered challenge after challenge during the past year. Moshe Vardi seconded the nomination, followed by a unanimous vote for McIntosh, and a hearty round of applause.

 

C.       Executive Committee slate proposed by NEC 

Killian explained that although the Senate Bylaws require an Executive Committee (EC) slate be presented by the NEC in the last Senate meeting of the year, the election of the EC is not held until the first meeting of the fall semester. Other EC slates may be presented at that time, and they may overlap to any extent with the slate proposed by the NEC.  Killian stated that the slate proposed by the NEC satisfies the formula required in the Bylaws. 

 

Proposed Executive Committee slate, in addition to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker:

Anatoly Kolomeisky, Natural Sciences

Moshe Vardi, Engineering

Rebecca Goetz, Humanities

Carl Caldwell, Humanities

Robin Sickles, Social Sciences

John Casbarian, Architecture

Brian Rountree, Jones Graduate School of Business

David Caprette, Natural Sciences

 

IV.   Update from Working Group on Appeals and Grievances 

In a previous Senate meeting, Chair Moshe Vardi presented a report prepared by the Working Group on Appeals and Grievances in which improvements to the current appeals and grievances processes were recommended.  At that time, President Leebron requested that Rice University’s General Counsel review the document, which has resulted in several revisions. Vardi stated that there are two main points with which the working group and the General Counsel disagree.

 

First, the working group recommended that mid-process appeals be allowed. Currently, a faculty member who is being considered for promotion or tenure may only appeal after a decision has been made by the Promotion and Tenure Committee (P&T). Richard Zansitis, Vice President and General Counsel, indicated to Vardi that he was not completely comfortable with this item, and there are plans to discuss it further.

 

The second point of disagreement was regarding the scope of grievances.  For the past 15 years, promotion and tenure appeals were limited to procedural grounds, but grievances could be filed also for substantive grounds. Vardi said that conversations are ongoing regarding this point, as well.

 

Vardi said that the appeals and grievances policy is ultimately a faculty policy, and it is in the purview of the Faculty Senate.  Until the document can be finalized, a temporary guidelines document will be prepared by the working group and presented to Convenor John Casbarian for his use with the Appeals and Grievances Committee this summer.  The committee was asked to let the working group know if the document proves to be effective.  It was also requested that the issue be placed on the Senate’s agenda for next year.

 

V.  Old Business  

A.  Motion from CUC regarding LPAP course approval  

Motion to accept the proposal from the Dean of Undergraduates, recommended by the Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum, to transfer approval of LPAP courses from the Athletic Director to the Dean of Undergraduates

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson explained that approval of Lifetime Physical Activity Program (LPAP) courses is currently the responsibility of the Athletic Director, but it was originally the responsibility of the Dean of Undergraduates.  Hutchinson requested that this responsibility be returned to his office, his request was reviewed by the University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC), and the CUC has recommended that the request be granted by the Senate. Dale Sawyer seconded the motion from the CUC.  After a few questions from Senators, in which they were assured that there are no budgetary or coordination issues involved, a vote was held, and the motion received unanimous approval. (Motion may be viewed here.)

 

B.  Motion from CUC regarding Freshman Seminar  

 

Motion to accept the recommendation of the Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum to change the wording of the GA as follows:

To graduate from Rice University, all students must satisfy the composition requirement (see below). 

To satisfy the composition requirement, students must either pass the composition examination or successfully complete (COMM 103 – delete and replace with) a Freshman Seminar designated as “Fulfills the Composition Requirement.” 

 

Speaker McIntosh reminded the Senators that the idea of Freshman Seminars as a replacement for COMM 103 was presented by Dean Hutchinson at the January 2011 Senate meeting.

 

The current motion comes to Senate with two addenda from the Executive Committee:

1.  The Freshman Seminar program has a two-year time limit, with the possibility of renewal by the Faculty Senate after review.

2.  The establishment of criteria for fulfilling the composition requirement and the identification of courses that meet these criteria will be in the hands of a faculty oversight committee that includes the Communications Program Director and several tenure-track faculty knowledgeable about writing pedagogy, representing divisions that teach Freshman Seminars.

 

McIntosh explained that the current Freshman Seminar course code (FSEM) would be replaced with new codes for each division:  FSHU, FSNS, FSEN, as well as the addition of FSCM (Freshman Seminar for Communication). The current Communications 103 course would be discontinued, but the new FSCM course would have the same writing/communication requirements. In addition, any FS course could fulfill the composition requirement if so designated by the Director of the Communication Program.

 

The motion was seconded by Tom Killian, followed by discussion. Jim Young expressed concern over the proliferation of course codes and concern that the program would no longer be interdisciplinary.

 

Meredith Skura said that although she viewed the proposal from Dean Hutchinson as a positive temporary solution earlier, she was now against it for several reasons.  First, the dispersion of oversight concerned her; one central authority over the writing program is needed, both for undergraduates and graduate students.  Second, the changing of programs every couple of years causes confusion.  Students and faculty will have to keep track of which program requirements were in operation when the student began at Rice.  Skura recommended avoiding any temporary program, keeping the current program in place until the correct solution has been found. Third, the current Freshman Seminar program allows students to take a course from a full professor, while the new program will not.  Finally, Skura wondered if it will indeed be possible to change or eliminate the temporary program at the two-year review point requested by the EC.  She recalled that when English decided to no longer offer ENG 103 for the composition requirement, the matter was turned over to the Dean of Undergraduates as a temporary fix, resulting in the creation of COMM 103.  

 

Deborah Harter thanked Dean Hutchinson for taking on an issue of such importance; she appreciated his offer to take Communications 103 and make it more exciting. Harter went on to say that while the current system needs repair, any time a fast fix is attempted, it leads to more problems.  Harter noted that three outside writing consultants have been hired, and the reports from them have yet to be written. Once these reports are received, she said that it should be the working group which reviews them, and then discusses the issue with the Senate.  Harter said that innovative solutions exist, and the faculty, through the Faculty Senate, must be the entity to put a program together.  She said that for the Senate to do anything less would be shirking its responsibility.  She urged the Senate to continue seeking the very best ways to improve the communications/writing program and to avoid any temporary solution.

 

Provost McLendon stated that he had agreed to a process in response to the report from the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum.  He said that the smartest thing to do is to table the motion until the fall semester when the reports have been received from the consultants. Implementation of any new program would begin the following fall (Fall 2012), with course registration in Spring 2012.  McLendon complimented Dean Hutchinson and said that Hutchinson is comfortable with waiting for the consultants’ reports. At that point, McLendon said, the faculty committee could make recommendations. Moshe Vardi moved to table the motion, which was seconded.  A few more comments were made, including mention that when the temporary CAIN Project was instituted, it allowed faculty to turn away from writing instruction; a true writing center is needed.  There was a motion to stop discussion (call the question) on the motion to table the proposal, and the resulting vote to end discussion was unanimous.  A vote was then held on the motion to table the original proposal until the fall, and the majority approved, with one opposed. McIntosh thanked Dean Hutchinson, Deborah Barrett, and all those who posted comments on the wiki space.

 

C.   Motion to accept Student Association proposal to shift Fall Recess 2012 from Mon-Tue
       (Oct. 8–9) to Thurs-Fri (Oct. 11–12) and rename as “Centennial Celebration Days”
 

  

McIntosh introduced Georgia Lagoudas, President of the Student Association (SA), who explained that the SA wanted to find ways for undergraduate students to be involved with Rice’s Centennial celebration activities, to be held in October 2012. Lagoudas gave some examples of SA ideas, including “Rice in a Box.” Lagoudas said that the Fall Recess 2012 is currently scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, October 8 and 9, with regular classes scheduled for the rest of the week, which will make it hard for students to be involved with many of the Centennial events.  Most of the Centennial events will occur Wednesday through Saturday, October 10-13.

 

Lagoudas said two options were considered by the SA: 1) leave the Fall Recess as it is scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, but allow students to also miss some of their classes the rest of the week in order to attend Centennial activities, or 2) move the Fall Recess to Thursday and Friday so that students can attend many events without missing classes, and rename the Fall Recess to “Centennial Celebration Days.” Lagoudas reported that 80% of the approximately 45 students who attended a recent SA meeting voted for option number 2, and this option has thus come as a motion to the Faculty Senate for approval. Matteo Pasquali seconded the motion. 

 

In the discussion that followed, one Senator stated that moving the Fall Recess to Thursday and Friday will result in less participation by students in Centennial activities.  In addition, in the month following the Centennial (November 2012), classes will not be held on an additional Thursday and Friday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Young noted that care was taken with the academic calendar scheduling so that the number of class days Monday-Friday were equal. Registrar David Tenney said that the schedule could be adjusted, for example, Monday and Tuesday could use the Thursday and Friday class schedule. Lagoudas said that the SA’s Student Involvement Committee is working to make the Centennial events exciting for students.  In addition, Esperanza will be held on Friday night, October 12, 2012.

 

Randy Stevenson made three points: 1) the Faculty Senate represents the faculty and should thus base its decisions on what the faculty wants, 2) in his experience, a select group of students will participate in activities such as the Centennial celebration whether there is a recess or not, and 3) an amendment could be passed to switch the class schedule that week from Monday-Tuesday to Thursday-Friday.

 

Tom Killian said that although there are potential problems involved with approving the change to the academic calendar, if the Senate were to make the change, it would send a message that the Centennial is a big deal, and that the Senate wishes to support it. Following Killian’s comments, and with the addition of the amendment to change the Monday-Tuesday class schedule to the Thursday-Friday class schedule, a vote was held on the motion. The majority of Senators approved changing the name of the Fall Recess 2012 to “Centennial Celebration Days” and moving the days off from Monday-Tuesday (October 8 and 9) to Thursday-Friday (October 11 and 12), while one opposed, and several abstained from voting. (Motion may be viewed here.)

 

VI.                New Business 

A.       Motion to recommend that Rice University adopt the Policy Protocol on Research Data Management document proposed by the University Committee on Research  

Doug Natelson, Chair of the University Committee on Research, was asked to address the Senate regarding the Policy Protocol on Research Data Management.  He explained that the recently finalized policy, distributed prior to the meeting to both the Senators and to the faculty at large, is a brief document consisting of general rules regarding research data management.  A longer, more specific procedures document will follow. He said that the committee worked with the General Counsel’s office in drafting the policy, as well as addressing all concerns raised by various faculty groups or individuals.  The policy comes as a motion for approval by the Senate, and it was seconded by Harter. 

 

Vardi suggested adding to the motion a sentence requiring that a link be inserted at the end of the policy document which will direct readers to a forthcoming document describing procedures for implementing the policy.  This procedures document will be developed by the Vice Provost for Research and the Director of Sponsored Research.  This friendly amendment was accepted unanimously. 

 

Vardi noted that the policy was written to protect Rice, but also to allow principal investigators (PI) to run their labs. Natelson said that the PI will have the responsibility to monitor his/her graduate students, not the Office of Sponsored Research.  Killian asked that training of lab assistants be included in the procedures document.  Following this discussion, a vote was held on the motion, and the Senate gave its unanimous approval for adoption of the policy protocol document with the Vardi amendment. (Motion may be viewed here.)  McIntosh thanked Killian, Pasquali, and Vardi for their involvement with the fine-tuning of the policy, as well as Natelson and the University Committee on Research.

 

B.      Motion to approve adoption of the statement regarding Senate oversight of General Announcements 

McIntosh presented a document entitled “Faculty Senate Oversight of the General Announcements” which came to the Senate approved by the Executive Committee. The document was prepared by Randy Stevenson. McIntosh also provided a timeline which showed the various steps involved with the annual approval of the General Announcements (GA).  After review by Deans and Department Chairs, a draft of the GA will come to the Faculty Senate for its review in late June. The draft will be checked to make sure that all items approved by the Senate since the last GA have been included, as well as checking that items which still require approval from the Senate are not included in the GA until approved.  After approximately July 1, the official GA will be available on the Rice website, and no additional changes can be made.

 

Stevenson said that the policy was needed due to several factors. First, the GA is going online; a printed version is no longer being offered by Rice.  Second, a rationalized process for making changes to the GA was needed, and third, this general policy document provides both ex-ante and ex-post review of the GA by the Senate. Vardi seconded the motion from the EC, and the Senate then voted unanimously for approval. (Motion and "Faculty Senate Oversight of the General Announcements" may be viewed here.)

 

C.       General Discussion on items for Senate consideration 2011-2012 

McIntosh asked for items for the Senate to consider next year and several were offered:

·         Identifying resources needed to manage enrollment growth

·         Teaching (report from Working Group on Teaching to come soon)

·         Possible Working Group regarding P&T process (Vardi volunteered)

·         Need for ombudsman for faculty

·         Working Group on Salaries (Ensor, Goetz, Batsell volunteered)

 

Just prior to adjournment, Tenney requested that faculty provide their grades to him on time, and he reminded the group of the plenary meeting to approve degrees on May 13. The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.