Overview: Sept. 1 Faculty Senate meeting
The Faculty Senate is part of UofL's shared governance system, which also includes the Staff Senate and Student Government Association.
Senators are elected by their peers. After an August break, the Senate met Sept. 1 in its first meeting of the fall semester. This is what happened:
Melissa Laning, University Libraries, stepped down as chair and Bob Staat, surgical and hospital dentistry, took the post. Laning had served two one-year terms, during which time Staat served as vice chair. The new vice chair is Joe Steffen, biology. Staat read a senate-supported resolution that commended Laning on her terms as Faculty Senate chair and expressed "sincere and deep appreciation" for her unwavering support of the senate.
Staat issued two charges to the senators:
- To be more engaged with their constituents so they are better able to be the faculty voice to administration. Staat told senators that they will receive a synopsis of each meeting and asked them to distribute it to the faculty they represent. He also asked them to be more open to hearing what faculty have to say.
- To be more cognizant of what's happening in the Kentucky General Assembly. "What happens (in Frankfort) can affect faculty significantly," he told them. Staat charged the Senate's Planning & Budget committee with staying updated on current issues that affect higher education. Nick D'Andrea, UofL's governmental relations director, will be an ad hoc member of that committee. The committee will bring information to the full Senate. Staat also is joining the university's bill review team, which reviews bills and policies at the state level for their impact on UofL and higher education.
- Roger Bradshaw, mechanical engineering, in special election, was selected to fill Vice Chair Joe Steffen's empty seat on the Planning and Budget Committee.
- Kathleen Rudasill, College of Education and Human Development, was elected to the university's Parking Appeals Committee.
- Melissa Laning, University Libraries, was elected to be faculty representative to the Student Government Association.
- David Willis, diagnostic sciences, prosthodontics & restorative dentistry, had the first reading of A&S Part-time Personnel document and of the CEHD Personnel Policy update. He said that The Redbook Committee of the Senate had passed both documents, with pending changes in language in the CEHD document to bring it in line with language in The Redbook. The second reading will be in October, after which the Senate will vote on whether or not to approve the documents. The Faculty Senate is responsible for reviewing and recommending appropriate actions to the president regarding policies and documents that affect the faculty, including unit personnel documents and revisions to The Redbook; the Senate also reviews and makes recommendations regarding the establishment or termination of degree-granting programs.
Provost Shirley Willihnganz reports monthly to the Senate. She told the Senate that:
- The CPE will be issuing a new policy on program review. Bob Goldstein, institutional research, is on that committee. As CPE continues its work, the provost may ask the Senate for ideas on effective program review.
- CPE probably will pass a new diversity plan at its next meeting. Rather than being about universities meeting numbers, the plan would ask them to have a diversity policy statement and plan. This is the way UofL has done it for years, Willihnganz said.
- UofL has initiated workshops for department chairs, staff supervisors and unit business managers to help better prepare those individuals for their posts. The workshops are going well.
- A new faculty grievance policy is coming soon. Administration has worked with faculty on it and is close to bringing it to the deans and The Redbook Committee of the Senate for review. The Ombuds post is part of the policy, and the provost soon will announce a new Ombuds for the university. Dennis Hall, a senator and English professor, has filled that post in an interim capacity.
- Compliance will be a big topic this year. Administration is looking at software to help ease the tracking and recordkeeping involved in being compliant.
- These searches are under way: education dean, executive vice president for research and innovation, executive vice president for health affairs, and libraries dean. A search will begin soon for an engineering dean.
President James Ramsey reports monthly to the Senate. Highlights of his report included:
- Trustees will approve goals for him, the provost, the executive vice president for research and innovation and the executive vice president for health affairs Sept. 2. They will be in line with the 2020 Plan.
- Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin, and Budget Director Susan Ingram-Howarth have begun work on the 2011-12 budget. The state has mandated a 1 percent cut in the university's budget for that year, making it the 11th state cut in 11 years.
- UofL continues to look for ways to turn non-revenue-producing assets into revenue-producing assets. "We're doing things now that will pay dividends in the future so we don't have to go through another period like this," Ramsey said.
- UofL recently received a $373,000 rebate from LG&E for reducing its energy bill. The savings came from work done through an agreement with Siemens.
- UofL also recently received a $3.15 million grant from the Helmsley Foundation to fund plant-based drug research that is taking place in Owensboro.