Minutes of the University Senate Meeting October 8, 2006
Present: C. Bengston, H. Briston, S. Brownmiller, C. Cherry, M. Chong*, S. Cohen, A. Coles-Bjerre, M. Dennis, C. Ellis, A. Emami, N. Gulley, S. Holmberg*, J. Hurwit, R. Irvin, L. Karim, P. Lambert, L. LaTour, P. Lu, B. Malle, Corlea (Sue) Martinez*, A. Mathas, K. McPherson, T. Minner, C. Minson, K. Mourfy, J. Newton, D. Olson, V. Ostrik, M. Pangburn, C. Parsons, F. Pyle, G. Sayre, A. Schulz, J. Sneirson, J. Wagenknecht
Excused: J. Daniels, N. Fujii, P. Gilkey, A. Papiliou, G. Psaki, A. Sherrick, J. Stolet, N. Tublitz,
Absent: C.A. Bassett, G. Berk, A. Djiffack, S. Gary, L. Richardson, P. Rounds, K. Wagle
CALL TO ORDER
University Senate President Jeanne Wagenknecht called the first regular meeting of the academic year to order in 150 Columbia at 3:04 p.m.
RESIGNATION OF SENATE PRESIDENT
President Wagenknecht welcomed everyone to the start of the academic year. She indicated that she spent a good amount of the summer months dealing with a personal health issue, and as part of her treatment regime she had been advised to reduce sources of stress. After giving much consideration and in consultation with members of the Senate Executive Committee, President Wagenknecht determined it was in the senate’s and her best interest to resign her position as president. Because a vice president had not been elected at the previous May organizational meeting (and thus was not available to step in as president), some members of the senate executive suggested tapping the expertise of former senate presidents and campus leaders to serve as president for the 2006-07 academic year. Accordingly, President Wagenknecht asked if there were any nominations for president of the senate. Senate Executive member Matthew Dennis said he was sorry for the circumstances that gave rise to President Wagenknecht’s resignation and wished her the very best of health. He then put forth a slate of three nominees to share serving as president through the year: former senate president Jeffrey Hurwit, art history, to serve Fall term 2006; AAUP Vice President Suzanne Clark, English, to serve Winter term 2007; and former senate president W. Andrew Marcus, geography, to serve Spring term 2007. The slate of candidates was elected unanimously by hand vote.
Newly elected Fall Term Senate President Jeffrey Hurwit thanked senate executive member Nathan Tublitz and Provost Linda Brady for their work in crafting a smooth transitional solution to the unforeseen circumstances that required a change in senate leadership. He also thanked the senators for their confidence in each of the new elected presidents. President Hurwit explained that the first order of business was to elect a vice president for 2006-07. Senator Dennis, on behalf of the Senate Executive Committee, nominated Gordon Sayre, English, who was elected unanimously.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Minutes of the extra May 24, 2006 senate meeting, and the May 31, 2006 organizational meeting were approved as distributed.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
Remarks from President Dave Frohnmayer. University President Dave Frohnmayer expressed appreciation to the newly elected presidents as well as the senators for volunteering their time and energies to engage in university governance. He began his remarks noting that with an election nearly upon us it was extremely important for everyone to become informed regarding the various measures on the ballot and how they might impact the university. The measure will help to determine future funding for the university system. The president said he and others have been working with the state board which has determined that incrementalism is no longer a useful budgeting strategy, and consequently, the board will be asking the legislature for an increase of approximately 26%. The needs of faculty, students and staff have been foremost in considering the proposed budget request. The president said he is optimistic regarding the budget request and reported that we are on target with the Campaign Oregon fundraising progress to date (scheduled to end in 2008).
The president next commented on some of the successes the university has realized regarding external research funding. Funds received competitively reached nearly $96.5 million in 2005-06, which represents a 67% increase since 2000-01, and is a direct testament on the quality of our faculty. Similarly, technology transfer income has increased 11-fold in the last 5 years, and there have been 226 new inventions in the last 6 years. On a per capita faculty basis, the UO is among the nation’s very top universities by these measures. He noted too, that we have begun work on the Integrated Science Center.
President Frohnmayer reported he has just returned from celebrating the Chinese scholarship and language program in which we are partnered with the Portland public schools. The program is the first of its kind in the nation. The program will have enormous impact on the teaching of Chinese language and culture. The president also reported that for the first time in 40 years, the UO opened the doors on a new undergraduate residence hall, the Living Learning Center. In addition, President Frohnmayer said he was pleased to see so many people at Convocation at which former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins spoke and read his poetry. Lastly, the president noted that enrollment projections appear to be slight less than robust but happily, full. A near record freshman class has arrived, with non-resident enrollments healthy, foreign student enrollment up, and slightly greater diversity among the students. He concluded his brief remarks by saying that the enrollment reports indicates that the university is on the right track.
Remarks from Provost Linda Brady. Provost Linda Brady expressed her regrets at not being able to work with former president Wagenknecht this year, but was pleased to see her here at the meeting and in good spirit. The provost said she was pleased to be able to work three senate presidents with extensive experience and knowledge of the university, and was confident in the new leadership group. She confirmed her desire to work together collaboratively, and to move forward in the best interests of the university community.
The provost commented that in recent weeks she has spoken with a number of groups about the challenges faced and the opportunities that lie before us. She emphasized that academic quality is the cornerstone of our identity as a public, research university, and further that the commitment to quality is defined in the university’s mission, “a community of scholars dedicated to the highest standards of academic inquiry, learning, and service.” She indicated that in the coming weeks and months, she plans for us to engage in conversations across our community that will define a renewed commitment to academic excellence in all that we do, and in all quarters of the university. The provost explained that in the next weeks she will be consulting with deans, department heads, Senate leadership and others about how best to structure these conversations. She remarked that it is essential for outstanding faculty from across this university to be actively involved in these conversations. The provost went on to say that a commitment to enhancing and sustaining academic quality at the University of Oregon is her top priority. Further, she stated her belief that we define ourselves as a quality institution by setting clear educational goals, focusing on learning outcomes for our students, making strategic investments, including the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, and holding ourselves accountable.
Provost Brady focused on two elements of the quality agenda: (1) student success, and (2) the scholarship, creative activity, and support of faculty. Regarding student success, we are committed to educating the next generation of leaders and citizens, graduates who are intellectually curious, knowledgeable of themselves and the world, and committed to engaging in the life of their communities. The UO’s modest size among research universities opens up many possibilities for students, as undergraduates, to be involved in research, working with top faculty. Moreover, as a public institution, we have a responsibility to provide access as well as a high quality education for students who are prepared to succeed at the university. And, in addition, we have a responsibility to ensure that all of our students, under-represented students, as well as those who are not from traditionally underrepresented groups, are prepared to live and work in an increasingly global and diverse environment.
The second element of the quality agenda relates to research, scholarship, creative activity, and the support of faculty. She noted that 50% of our faculty will reach retirement age in the next decade and the competition in recruitment of the very best faculty will be fierce. She acknowledged the below average status of faculty salaries and stated that the university is committed to a sustained focus on improving faculty salaries, which we must to do recruit and retain the best and the brightest – she supports the recommendations of the University Senate Budget Committee’s white paper on faculty salaries, and is committed to working with the senate to develop a strategy for addressing the issue over the next several years. Provost Brady said she was encouraged by the OUS budget request which includes $29 million in additional funding for faculty salaries across system universities. Along similar lines, she commented that the university is pursuing external funding to faculty work. One initiative is the creation of a Fund for Faculty Excellence, supported by a $5.2 million endowment (from an anonymous donor) which will enable additional support for our best faculty who are at risk of being recruited by other top institutions. The provost noted that to date, the university has raised nearly $50 million in support of faculty, and it will continue to be a priority of advancement efforts. Beyond issues of salaries and benefits, the provost remarked that we also must focus on issues related to start-up and research support. Lastly, the provost expressed her commitment to engage these and other issues in an active and transparent way, and looks forward to visiting throughout the year for further discussion of these and many other issues.
Update on Campaign Oregon. Vice President Allan Price began his remarks by first giving a brief overview of the mission and objectives of the advancement office. He commented that the mission is to build relationships that are designed to strengthen the university. One objective is to strategically position the UO in the mindset of constituent groups, and secondly to acquire resources, both publicly and privately. He noted that there are four divisions in the advancement office: public and governmental affairs, which deals with state and local funding as well as how to get the message out; Alumni Association, which works to create lifelong connections between the UO and alums; Institutional Affairs, which addresses local and community relations; and University Development, which shares some funding raising with the schools and colleges, and which also partners with the UO Foundation.
Regarding the Oregon Campaign itself, Vice President Price said the goal of the campaign is to raise $600 million and spend it well. Within the goal, the aims are to raise $100 million for student scholarships and opportunity initiatives, double the endowment, increase alumni to mean of UO peers, and increase support for academic programs and faculty research. As of the end of September, we have raised $440.9 million. He commented that athletic giving in comparison to academic giving represents about one third of the money raised (and includes the $50 million Autzen restoration, which was part of the 125th year celebration begun just before the campaign was launched). In the last two years, athletics accounts for approximately 17% of overall fundraising. Non-athletic fundraising has been “ramped up” over the past two years especially. The vice president continued by saying that the endowment goal was about $160 to $170 million at the start of the campaign and approximately $116 has been raised so far. Similarly, about $65 million has been raised toward the $100 million goal for student scholarships – on track but we have not received enough large lead gifts yet. Nevertheless, 184 student scholarships have been created.
Regarding the faculty support goal, the vice president said the goal was to double the number of endowed chairs from 75 to 150. So far, 30 new chairs/professorships have been created. Almost $42 million has been raised in support of faculty (in the form of new endowments) and about $48 million all together for faculty support, which includes the Fund for Faculty announced earlier in the meeting. For non-athletic program support, $90 million has been raised. And, the vice president noted there has been tremendous support in capital buildings started or completed during the campaign, such as phase two of the Lillis complex, groundbreaking for the music school improvements, and the Integrated Science Center to name a few. Lastly, Vice President Price said that he is focusing efforts to meet specific unit goals. Ultimately, the goal is to sustain fundraising at the $90 to $100 million level for each year.
Update on the Diversity Plan Implementation. Vice Provost Charles Martinez informed the senators that he and Provost Brady had just sent out a memo to the campus addressing topics on strategic planning for implementing the Diversity Plan. He noted that we are at a critical juncture in that each unit is making plans on how it will implement the campus Diversity Plan. He emphasized that the plan is a set of guiding principles and that continuing discussions from all sides are needed as implementation proceeds. The memo intended to provide a basic template for strategic planners in each unit to move forward and to assure them that there is support for them in such planning.
The vice provost outlined the three organizing elements of the plan: first, each unit’s plan will include an environmental analysis of what it is doing well and where there are gaps. Second, target specific strategies aimed at weaknesses identified. And third, each unit’s plan must include measurable markers of progress. The plan should be based around the six content areas of developing an inclusive responsive community, building a pipeline, creating a critical mass, reinforcing infrastructure, building community linkages, and creating a better campus climate. He commented too, that plans from different units will not all look the same.
The vice provost mentioned that considerable time at the dean’s retreat had been given to determining timelines for implementation. This fall and winter term is for engagement in the basic work of strategic planning, with the aim to submit the plan to the provost and institutional equity and diversity offices as well as the Diversity Advisory Committee for review. The review process is designed to be collaborative with consulting support as needed. Feedback from the review will be provided, with revision and refinement occurring during spring term. The vice provost reminded everyone that discretion for the content of the plan lies with each unit, not the central administration, and that the goal is for plans to be adopted by the end of the academic year. Vice Provost Martinez indicated that several work sessions are scheduled and in progress to help provide organizing templates for plans’ contents. Additionally, resource material will be provided electronically. Mr. Martinez said he expects many ongoing discussions throughout the planning and implementation process.
The vice provost then answered a question from Senator Nate Gulley, ASUO, who asked if there were provisions for student input in each of the schools and colleges. Mr. Martinez replied that he has met with the ASUO leadership for their diversity plans, and that students have been included in the formation of strategic planning committees in the various units.
Interinstitutional Faculty Senate. President Hurwit indicated that there were two vacant IFS representative positions, and noted that Senator Peter Gilkey, mathematics, was willing to stand for one of the positions. The president asked senators if they or anyone else were interested in serving as an IFS representative, to let either him or the secretary know as soon as possible. Senator Gilkey was then elected to a three year term (January 2007 through December 2009) by unanimous acclamation to fill one of the two vacancies. President Hurwit then recognized IFS representative John Nicols, history, to report on the recent IFS meeting. Mr. Nicols reported that Chancellor Pernsteiner discussed Ballot Measures 41 and 48 regarding the fiscal impact on the university system, saying that if both the measures passed the system would have to give serious consideration to moving to a public corporation setup similar to that of Oregon Health Sciences University. The major difficulties lies with spending limits imposed, especially on auxiliary units, such as building maintenance and athletics. Mr. Nicols also reported that PERS is solvent, and that the 6% rollover put onto the separate IAP accounts were still being calculated. He noted, too, that PEBB is likely headed toward major changes, but that nothing was actually on the table yet, but it is coming. Mr. Nicols also reported on an idea that was floating about to have the various campus vice presidents for research report directly to the campus presidents. IFS uniformly felt that this was a bad idea. Lastly, Mr. Nicols spoke of concerns about the College Now program in which high school students take college classes in their high schools taught by high school instructors. Many of these students are arriving on campus with levels of proficiency that does not pass the college entrance placement tests. He indicated that the issues are how to identify just how extensive the problem is, and how to find out what and where the courses are given and how they are monitored. Mr. Nicols said the IFS has asked the Provosts’ Council to find out what the realities are with this disturbing, unmonitored trend, and identify a means for addressing the issues it raises.
Motion US06/07-1 to amend wording in the Diversity Plan. Senator Peng Lu, mathematics, introduced the following motion to revise wording of the University of Oregon Diversity Plan adopted May 14, 2006 as follows:
The University Senate recommends that the word "underrepresented", which appears three times on page 33 of the University of Oregon Diversity Plan adopted May 14, 2006, be replaced with the word "all".
[Note: The relevant page 33 currently reads as follows (affected text highlighted in bold): OFFICERS OF ADMINISTRATION AND CLASSIFIED STAFF RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION. 1. Strategic Action Plans Developed by Colleges, Schools, and Administrative Units. The Strategic Action Plans developed by each school, college, and administrative unit should address the hiring and retention of high-quality persons from underrepresented groups as officers of administration and classified staff. Job announcements. Job announcements should indicate that persons from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply, with language framed as broadly as possible to indicate the University’s interest in attracting candidates from underrepresented groups. The Office of Affirmative Action has developed specific language for use in job announcements, but in addition units should consider consulting with the Office of Affirmative Action or with OIED to write job announcements that express a commitment to diversity in a way that will attract persons from underrepresented groups. Job announcements should be circulated as widely as possible, using means likely to reach candidates from diverse backgrounds. Units should not merely seek to comply with the affirmative action rules but should attempt to develop as diverse a pool of applicants as possible for each search.]
Senator Lu yielded the floor to Mr. Huaxin Lin, mathematics. Mr. Lin stated that the proposed change in wording was very important because by encouraging underrepresented individuals to apply for positions, the language implicitly discourages others to apply. He felt this was especially true in discouraging Asians to apply for jobs or feel welcomed on campus, because in his experience, as an Asian professor, some people on campus have said that they believe that Asians are overrepresented. Mr. Lin stated that by changing the word “underrepresented” to “all,” the language would be even-handed and not discouraging to certain groups. Senator Lu also spoke in support of Mr. Lin’s reasoning.
Senator Gulley spoke in opposition to the motion, saying that the wording was fundamental to the Diversity Plan. Senator Dennis also spoke in opposition to the motion, saying that there a number of places in the plan where individuals might like different wording, but that the plan was adopted as a compromise document that was the will of the majority as a means to improve diversity on campus. The spirit of the plan is to be inclusive and welcoming, thus it is not at odds with welcoming all individual to campus. Senator Lamia Karim, anthropology, opposed the motion, saying that the term underrepresented has a long history and speaks to the notion of minority groups. People reading the plan are generally familiar with the term and understand its meaning is to encourage, and not discourage job applicants. Mr. Lin spoke again to say that the term underrepresented was offensive to him as identifying him as “different”. Mr. Martinez commented that Mr. Lin’s position had been heard by the Diversity Committee, but that the term underrepresented was used to identify gaps in representation; there is no intention to ask people to leave if they belong to overrepresented groups. He also suggested that making wording changes in a document arrived at after a number of compromises would be an unworkable precedent.
With the discussion winding down, Motion US06/07 – 1 to change the word “underrepresented” (on page 33 of the Diversity Plan) to “all” was put to a vote and defeated by hand vote.
Notices of motions. Mr. Frank Stahl, emeritus biology, gave notice of a motion to make available to qualified assembly meeting petitioners a paper copy of the faculty voting list organized by departments. He said such a change to current legislation would facilitate the calling of assembly meeting by petitions. Also, Senator Ali Emani, business, gave notice of a motion help change possible military action of the US against Iran. He believes such action was imminent.
With the business of the meeting concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 5:03 p.m.
Secretary of the Faculty
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