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Faculty Senate Meeting Overview February 2013

by Janene Zaccone, communications and marketing last modified Feb 11, 2013 10:40 AM

The Faculty Senate met in regular session Feb. 6 at in Chao Auditorium.

Chair Joe Steffen opened the meeting. The meeting was informational in nature; the senate did not take action.

Report Highlights

Robert Fox, University Libraries dean: Since Fox arrived at UofL two years ago, University Libraries has aligned its strategic plan with that of the university. The plan focuses on collections, spaces and user relationships. The new University Libraries student advisory board and surveys of undergraduate and graduate students have been successful in helping to identify student needs. One student-identified need was for more electrical outlets and quiet space in Ekstrom Library. Last year, Ekstrom added 500 new outlets. University Libraries and SGA developed a plan to renovate the fourth floor to provide a better quiet study area. Work, funded through private donors, will take place this summer. An assessment librarian will be in place next month to continue the process of identifying and responding to user needs. Fox said University Libraries has been able to absorb budget cuts without affecting user resources but that won’t be the case going forward because there is no more “fat” to cut.

Provost Shirley Willihnganz: Willihnganz had been in Frankfort earlier in the day at a Council on Postsecondary Education meeting. UofL, she said, continues to make better progress toward its CPE goals than do other state universities. One area UofL needs to address is the growing gap between the success of low-income student and other students. Even with such programs in place as Cardinal Covenant, she said, many low-income students still need to work more than other students do to help their families. She will be looking at ways to help them be more successful and to close the achievement gap between them and students whose families have higher incomes. Willihnganz said the CPE is changing some of the goals it has for universities. She did not know enough about the pending changes to know how well UofL is poised to meet them. She concluded with a brief report on the 21st Century University Initiative. The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats assessment had several hundred respondents and drew 6,000 different comments. The provost has set up four committees and an advisory group for each to delve into the SWOT results. (21st Century Initiative).

Carrie Mattingly, SGA: Mattingly is going to each undergraduate unit to present the SGA’s proposal for the A+ initiative. (See December Faculty Senate meeting overview for details.)

Joe Steffen, chair: Steffen is focusing on two projects — determining, with input from deans, faculty and students, whether enhanced summer academic delivery, is possible at UofL; and building an infrastructure to help faculty compete for prestigious awards, such as those available through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Draft results of the A&S Summer SWOT are ready and faculty in the College of Education and Human Development will have the Summer SWOT forwarded to them for input on their feelings concerning summer academic delivery in their unit. Steffen asked senators to urge their colleagues to respond to their deans when they received requests for information from them for these initiatives.

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, March 6.

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