Faculty Senate Meeting Overview March 2012
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 full body met in regular session March 7 in Chao Auditorium at Ekstrom Library. Chair Bob Staat presided. This is what happened:
The senate discussed changes to a document and policy that stipulate how the Undergraduate Council functions. Provost Shirley Willihnganz set up the council in 2004 to make recommendation to the provost on general undergraduate educational policy matters that affect all undergraduate students at UofL and are not specific to one college, school or unit and recently reaffirmed its role. As part of that process, Faculty Senate reviewed the document and proposed clarifying language to it. The senate voted on those changes at the meeting.
The council has representation from all eight colleges and schools with undergraduate students, University Libraries, Student Government Association and academic advising, among other units. Faculty representatives are elected. In discussion before taking a vote on the document changes, some A&S senators brought up constituent concerns regarding the manner in which the council functions. They asked for an additional amendment to the document that would require any council recommendation to the provost that did not have unanimous approval to go to the units.
After lengthy discussion that centered on processes, A&S senators changed their requested amendment to say that any recommendation from the Undergraduate Council will go to the Faculty Senate, because of its universitywide representation, for discussion and recommendation to the provost.
The senate passed the document changes with the amended language.
Reports to the Senate
Mike Curtin, vice president for finance: Curtin reported on budget planning and allowed for a lengthy Q&A session. He reminded the senators that the planned state cut to higher education will be the 12th state cut in 12 years. The low-hanging fruit has been picked already, he said. Administration asked for faculty and staff suggestions for saving money and has received more than 250. The finance office is categorizing them and responding to them. Responses are online. At administration’s request, an outside consultant reviewed purchasing and spending at the Health Sciences Center. The consultant identified ways to save about $1 million. The leadership team is reviewing those recommendations. If implemented, they could be expanded to Belknap Campus.
A consultant also is looking at ways to streamline administration and was to have been on campus March 8 to start the process.
“If we’re doing things that aren’t smart, we need to undo them,” Curtin said, noting that the hope is that the consultants can identify ways to save money universitywide and lessen the need for units and departments to tighten their belts too much more.
Tracy Eels, associate provost for faculty personnel, for provost Shirley Willihnganz: Eels gave updates on dean searches. The College of Business search committee is almost complete and will be charged soon. The search for dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies will be an internal one. The Graduate Council will elect three faculty members for the search committee and Willihnganz will select the other members. David Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs, is overseeing dean searches for the School of Public Health and Information Sciences and for the School of Medicine. Neither committee has been formed yet.
Eels also said that reviews for Jim Chen, dean of law, and Larry Owsley, vice president for business affairs, are under way. The review for Tom Jackson, vice president for student affairs, will begin March 28.
The Senate will meet again Wednesday, April 4, Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library.
Prepared by Janene Zaccone, internal communications manager, for the Faculty Senate