Faculty Senate Meeting Overview April 2014
The Faculty Senate met in regular session April 2 in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library. Chair Joe Steffen presided.
UofL School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel discussed the school’s recent notification that it was put on probationary status by its accrediting agency. Dr. Ganzel said the school was told in early March that the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) was placing the undergraduate medical education program on probation but would remain fully accredited while specific areas are addressed, including adding seating capacity, more small group classrooms, additional student study space and a more robust technology infrastructure to the instructional building, changing the design of the first year curriculum from discipline-based to integrated system-based and clarifying educational affiliation agreements. In addition, some specific details of curricular oversight and management need to be refined. Dr. Ganzel emphasized that the problems are fixable and many of the issues have already been addressed. She said the $7.5 million renovation of the instructional building is the most challenging issue, but that construction has already begun on a “fantastic plan.” During a question-and-answer session, Dr. Ganzel said she has personally spoken to several concerned admitted students when they have called to discuss the issue and will continue to do so. She also said she has briefed third-year students who have asked her what they should say if questions arise during residency interviews so they can confidently and candidly answer questions.
President James Ramsey discussed the Kentucky Legislature’s passage of a $20.3 billion biennial spending plan for state government, giving credit to state Rep. Perry Clark for championing UofL. Dr. Ramsey relayed the budget reduced the proposed 2.5 percent cut to higher education to 1.5 percent; authorized $80.5 million in bonds for the Belknap Classroom Building; did not fund Bucks for Brains; and provided $6 million in FY 15 and $4 million in FY 16 be available for the Quality and Charity Care Trust fund. Dr. Ramsey also said the UofL tuition task force is recommending a 4.5 percent increase for 2014-2015 and that the Ky. Council on Postsecondary Education would make its tuition cap decision at the end of April. He emphasized the need to revitalize the perception of importance of higher education in Kentucky. Dr. Ramsey reviewed past and future Board of Trustee workshop topics, noting the April topic is fundraising, May is the university budget and June is diversity and social justice. He also said no decisions had been made about the proposed 1 percent unit cuts, which equals a savings of $1.4 million.
Provost Shirley Willihnganz was ill and unable to attend.
Chair Joe Steffen asked Senators present whether there was a consensus on whether restoring the 1 percent unit cuts is the highest priority. After some discussion, it was generally agreed that the cuts were burdensome and needed to be restored.
Other discussions focused on pay for summer and part-time faculty. In addition, a list of Faculty Senate vacancies was distributed. Elections are in May.
The Faculty Senate is part of UofL’s shared governance system, which also includes the Staff Senate and the Student Government Association. Senators are elected by their peers. The senate will meet again Wednesday, May 7.
--Prepared for the Faculty Senate by Janet Cappiello, UofL Today editor, communications specialist, UofL Office of Communications and Marketing.