Minutes of the University Senate meeting April 11, 2007



Present:  C. Bengston, H. Briston, S. Brownmiller, C. Cherry, S. Cohen, A. Coles-Bjerre, C. Ellis, A. Emami, P. Gilkey, O. Guerra, N. Gulley, S. Holmberg*, J. Hurwit, R. Irvin, L. Karim, L. LaTour, P. Lu, B. Malle, K. McPherson, T. Minner, C. Minson, D. Olson, V. Ostrik, A. Papiliou, G. Psaki, F. Pyle, P. Rounds, G. Sayre, A. Schulz, J. Sneirson, J. Stolet, N. Tublitz, J. Wagenknecht, K. Wagle


Excused: C.A. Bassett, M. Dennis, S. Gary, P. Lambert, A. Mathas


Absent: G. Berk, M. Chong*, J. Daniels, A. Djiffack, Corlea (Sue) Martinez*, J. Newton, M. Pangburn, C. Parsons, L. Richardson, A. Sherrick

(* non-voting)





The regular meeting of the University Senate was called to order at 3:08 p.m. in 150 Columbia by Senate Vice President Gordon Sayre in the absence of spring term senate president W. Andrew Marcus who was out of town due to a death in the family.  Vice President Sayre announced that an important community hearing held by the state Ways and Means Committee regarding the proposed state budget for education (higher education as well as K-12) will be held in 180 PLC at 6:30 p.m. April 11th   A large turnout from Lane Community College was expected, and he encouraged senate members to attend and sign up for testimony to express any of their concerns about the budget.  





Minutes from the March 11, 2007 meeting were approved as distributed.





Remarks from Provost Linda Brady.  The provost opened her remarks saying that President Frohnmayer would prefer to be at the meeting, but he was hospitalized for surgery on a broken leg injured while was skiing the previous weekend.  She noted the president appreciated the get well wishes he had received and acknowledged the senate’s wishes for the president’s complete and speedy recovery.  Provost Brady expressed her appreciation to Suzanne Clark for exceptional service as president of the senate winter term.  She also passed along comments from President Frohnmayer expressing his sense of the importance of the UO’s proactive response to proposed HB 2823 to grant degrees to internees of WW II who could not complete their degrees.  President Frohnmayer and senate president Andrew Marcus invited a group to convene as a committee to help address this issue in as expeditious a manner as possible.  The provost also reinforced the importance of attending the Ways and Means Committee hearing to make the case for higher education.  She mentioned too that a team of 12 people from the NW accreditation commission will visit the campus April 16th - 18th  The UO’s accreditation self study is available on university web site, and there will be opportunities to interact with the accreditation team during their visit.


Next, the provost recognized chemistry Professor Geri Redmond who recently was named a Guggenheim Fellow, one of 189 recipients of the award this year, and one of only two chemists in the US named for the award.  (The Guggenheim award recognizes outstanding achievement in the individual’s field during the past as well as exceptional promise for the future.)  Provost Brady remarked that Geri is an outstanding research and teacher, deeply committed to graduate education and student mentoring. 


Turning her attention to the academic excellence agenda, the provost reaffirmed that academic quality is central to the mission and values of the institution, a mission that is pursued every day through established processes and decisions, including the recruitment, reappointment, tenure, promotion, and post-tenure review of our faculty; peer mentoring; undergraduate and graduate admissions; assessment of teaching, student learning and performance; academic program review and accreditation, to name only a few.  She listed the many committees on campus that govern policies and are responsible for decisions that impinge upon academic excellence, such as the Faculty Personnel Committee, the Senate Budget Committee, the University Committee on Courses, the Undergraduate Council, the Graduate Council, the Committee on Teaching Awards, the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee, and others, including the recently formed Senate Committee on Academic Excellence.  Furthermore, persons serving in administrative and academic leadership positions -- vice presidents, deans, department heads, vice provosts, and others -- participate actively in the development and implementation of policies that impact the academic quality of the institution.  The provost remarked that fundamentally, the quality of the UO is imbedded in the faculty, and stressed that outstanding faculty from across the university must be actively involved in conversations about academic excellence.  After wide consultation regarding the importance of broad faculty participation in these discussions and how best to structure an advisory council to the provost on matters related to academic excellence, the provost said that effective spring term 2007 she is establishing a Provost’s Advisory Council on Academic Excellence. 


The provost outlined the composition of the new council indicating that it will include 14 full members, all senior faculty (tenured associate or full professors); six drawn from the College of Arts and Sciences; six from the professional schools and colleges, and two members appointed at-large.  Half of the initial council will serve two-year terms (2007-09); and half will serve one-year terms (2007-08).  In subsequent years, new members will be appointed for two year terms to ensure continuity as well as broad participation among faculty, giving voice to a diversity of views and ideas.  In addition, three ex-officio members will meet with the council in recognition of the roles they each play in advancing academic quality: the vice provost for academic affairs, the vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, and the president of the University Senate.


Provost Brady noted that after soliciting recommendations of outstanding faculty to serve on this council, she is in the process of contacting faculty to invite them to serve and expects to finalize the council and announce its membership to the university community by Friday, April 20, 2007.  The provost expects to engage the council in discussions of fundamental questions concerning excellence and the specific challenges we face in building and sustaining quality, including:



Though the questions are central to an academic quality agenda, they are not the property of any one group within the university; accordingly, the provost said that she envisions using the Provost’s Advisory Council on Academic Excellence as a sounding board and as one source of ideas and energy to engage the academic quality agenda.  She commented that she looks forward to exploring ways in which the Provost’s Advisory Council can contribute to and reinforce efforts already underway, including the work of important senate and universities committee.


The provost concluded her remarks saying that this was an appropriate time to focus on our collective plans and dreams as an institution.  She noted that an announcement of a series of opportunities to explore emerging “big ideas” in our disciplines and professional programs and the collective dreams that will shape our future will be made shortly.  She anticipated multiple venues for such conversations during spring term, involving small group meetings across the campus, and including faculty focus groups, meetings with department heads, and already planned leadership retreats throughout the summer and early fall.  Lastly, the provost reinforced her commitment to engaging these issues in an active and collaborative way.  She indicated that she welcomed the opportunity to work with senate leadership, senate and university committees, academic administration, a newly constituted Provost’s Advisory Council on Academic Excellence, and the faculty at large to clearly articulate an agenda designed to build and sustain academic excellence at the UO and to creatively explore the many possibilities the future holds.  


During a question and answer period Senator Bertram Malle, psychology, asked how the university would pay for any changes to increase academic excellence given the poor state of the budget.  The provost replied that there is some reason for optimism, and that she is generally pleased with the governor’s budget, while concerned with the co-chairs (Ways and Means Committee) budget; she hopes for some movement there.  The State Senate increased the debt ceiling, which will have a positive impact on the capital budget, and gives hope that some of the capital construction budget will be restored.  There will have to be some discussion about allocation of resources, and how to move forward in the comprehensive campaign.  She said that we will need to establish priorities related to an academic excellence agenda.  The provost indicated that there will be no single source of revenue and that we need to think creatively about where we are and make some very difficult decisions centrally and locally about reallocation of resources.  If we can restore funding in governor’s budget to reduce the student-faculty ratio, and can add additional faculty where we have real opportunities or where there is real demand, this will help.  But, the provost remarked, she remains conscious of the need to retain our current faculty, and the governor’s budget had money to address issues related to faculty salaries.  


Senator Gina Psaki, romance languages, asked about testimony at the Ways and Means hearing scheduled for later in the evening.  The provost replied that written testimony in the form of bulleted points is often most effective.  But she stressed the importance of communicating concerns with one’s own representatives, and encouraged faculty and staff to write to representatives independent of the meeting.  On the subject of establishing the Provost’s Advisory Council, Senator Nathan Tublitz voiced concern that the new council covers many of the same issues as does the Senate Committee on Academic Excellence.  Provost Brady answered that she recognized there is a range of university and senate committees working in areas that have an impact on academic excellence.  She expects the Provost’s Advisory Council to engage with these various groups.  The provost indicated that she wants to establish strong communication channels to establish what the salient issues are and which committees can deal with these issues more specifically.  She would like the new advisory council to think in terms of priorities that the UO needs to deal with as an institution, and to engage directly with other groups or committees doing work in specific areas.





Annual report from the Department of Athletics.  With the recent departure of former Athletics Director Bill Moos, the annual report from the athletics department was provided by Dan Williams, currently serving as special assistant to the president (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen067/DptInterColAthRept7Apr07.pdf for the full report).  Mr. Williams reported that 18 teams compete in intercollegiate athletics representing the UO, with 400 students participating, 300 of whom are on scholarships.  The full report lists highlights of the teams’ many accomplishments to date for the academic year.  Mr. Williams also noted the successfully concluded search for a new AD with the recent appointment of Pat Kilkenny, whom he will introduce at the conclusion of this report.


The athletics department’s operating budget exceeds $40 million with revenue coming from ticket sales, donations, shared income from the Pac-10 Conference, media and sponsorship income, guarantees, student fees, event-related income, and camps.  Although the department is in a positive, self-supporting financial position, the department wishes to achieve greater financial stability (and self sustainability) through the establishment of new unencumbered revenue sources.  Mr. Williams noted improvements underway to the medical and training treatment center, upgrades to Hayward filed in preparation for the Olympic trials in 2008, and planning taking place to relocate academic support services to a new facility in the Agate Street area.  He indicated that a recent visit from an NCAA certification team went well with a positive exit interview and full report due in summer.  Similarly, an assessment of the department’s progress over the past 10 years was conducted by Ted Leland (long-time athletic director at Stanford University) which noted significant improvements made as well as some challenges that needed to be addressed to maintain the department’s high performance level.  Mr. Williams noted that the AD met regularly with the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee throughout the year (the IAC report is separate from this report).  Lastly, Mr. Williams reported that the NCAA has adopted new benchmarks to assess student athletes’ academic progress.  Academic progress of some UO student athletes has not been satisfactory the past year and steps have been taken to make improvements and insure compliance with the regulations.


During a brief question and answer period, Senator Renee Irvin, PPPM, commented about the goal of self-sustainability, suggesting that the department consider setting a minimum target amount for reserves and a maximum cap, high enough to smooth over years when revenue is down.  She added that she would like to see fiscal measures tied into academic performance of student athletes.  Mr. Williams responded that are no reserves currently and the department is starting from scratch; addressing the latter point, Mr. Williams indicated that there are some benchmark incentives in a number of coaches contracts to encourage better academic performance of their student athletes. 


Remarks from UO Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny.  Mr. Kilkenny opened his remarks saying that he was delighted to be serving as the new AD.  He indicated that his contract was for a 2-year period, and that in his discussions with the president, he would be turning his attention to improving the perceived differences between student athletes and academics, improving the department’s financial situation and operations, and moving the new basketball arena project along.  AD Kilkenny acknowledged that some student athletes have a difficult time being competitive on athletic fields and competitive in classrooms at the same time.  He noted that the department will invest in the infrastructure support for student athletes (in the proposed academic learning center) that will benefit the entire campus.  Mr. Kilkenny commented that the IAC is a great platform to communicate with the campus and he will continue that interface.  The AD remarked that the UO can be proud of the department’s financial position – very few schools are self-supporting – but noted that the position is fragile.  He hopes to broaden the donor base to develop unencumbered dollars, and he will be cautious about expenditures.  These types of reserves take time to develop, but the AD wants to get the process started. 


Moving to the issue of building a new arena, Mr. Kilkenny acknowledged the need for a new facility and said the scope of the original planning will be reviewed; that is, he is looking at building options for an arena if a “world class” gift is involved, and also for a scaled back arena option that would serve the university well for the next 75 years.  On a more personal level, Mr. Kilkenny expressed his excitement about the innovative thinking present at the UO, saying that he wants to build on that innovative spirit.  He hopes to do a better job of explaining the good things that have been accomplished, too.  For example, the men’s basketball team finished 8th in the nation, all its players are on track for graduation, and they competed against teams from athletic departments, that on average, receive $7 million in subsidies from their schools.  The UO on the other hand, receives no subsidies and returns $8.2 million to the campus, including $4 million in out-of-state tuition/scholarships.  The new AD concluded his remarks saying that there are many brilliant minds on campus that he hopes to consult with in the process of improving the athletics department, and that he appreciated the opportunity to speak to the senators. 


To a question from Senator Nate Gully, ASUO, concerning the future of basketball coach Ernie Kent’s contract Mr. Kilkenny replied that a press conference is being held later in the afternoon regarding that topic with a positive outcome expected.


Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS) report.  IFS representative Peter Gilkey, mathematics, provided a paper copy handout reporting the recent (April 6-7th) IFS meetings (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~ifs/dir07/IFSApr67-07.html for meeting minutes).  In particular, Senator Gilkey highlighted the proposed HB2823 piece of legislation which is related to awarding honorary degrees to students relocated to internment camps during World War II.  Senator Gilkey said that the UO is appointing a committee to explore appropriate ways to address this issue and that he will give notice of motion to this effect later in the meeting.  On another matter, Senator Gilkey reported that the IFS voted to endorse HB 2579 which proposes to increase the faculty representatives on the State Board of Higher Education from one member to two members (one from OSU/PSU/UO and the other from EOU/OIT/SOU/WOU).


Distinguished Service Awards.  The senate moved to Executive Session to for approximately 15 minutes to discuss nominees for the university’s Distinguished Service Awards. 




The secretary noted that the election page to date has been posted and that there remain a number of open positions.  Elections will be held April 27th through May 7th with results available by the May senate meeting. 




Notice of Motion.  Senator Gilkey gave notice of a motion regarding the awarding of honorary degrees for UO students evacuated to internment camps during World War II.


Motion US06/07-11 – To expand criteria for officers-of-instruction who may serve as University Senate vice president and president.    Senator Jeffrey Hurwit introduced the following motion, sponsored by the Senate Executive Committee:   


BE IT MOVED that Article 5.2 of the Enabling Legislation be amended to state:

5.2 At the December 1995 meeting of the University Senate, as constituted at that time, the senate shall elect from among its second-year officer-of-instruction senators both a president and a vice president/president-elect for the newly formed University Senate that will be seated in January 1996. The terms of office for both shall be January 1, 1996, to May 22, 1996; the vice president shall become president at that time by confirmation of the senate. On May 22, 1996, and thereafter the election of senate officers shall take place at the last meeting of the University Senate each spring. The vice president shall be elected from among the officers-of-instruction who have served on the University Senate in the previous five years (inclusive of the academic year in which they are elected vice president) and will become president at the end of the following year by


Senator Hurwit explained that the basis for the motion is to increase the pool size of the number of senate vice president candidates that would be eligible to serve first as vice president of the senate and as president the ensuing year.  Currently, only half of the senate membership, that is, 24senators each year, are eligible to serve as vice president.  The proposed legislative change would increase the pool of possible candidate to include instructional faculty who have had relatively recent senate experience.  Senator Hurwit also noted a recent Department of Justice ruling which permits the senate to amend the enabling legislation.  With little further discussion, the question was called and the motion put to a vote.  US Motion US06/07-11 which expands the criteria for officers-of-instruction who may serve as University Senate vice president and president passed unanimously by voice vote.





With no other business at hand, the meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.



Gwen Steigelman


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