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Present: H. Briston, S. Brownmiller, C. Cherry, M. Chong*, S. Cohen, M. Dennis, A. Emami, P. Gilkey, O. Guerra, N. Gulley, J. Hurwit, P. Lambert, L. LaTour, P. Lu, B. Malle, A. Mathas, K. McPherson, T. Minner, C. Minson, J. Newton, D. Olson, V. Ostrik, M. Pangburn, C. Parsons, G. Psaki, F. Pyle, G. Sayre, J. Sneirson, N. Tublitz
Excused: N. Fujii, S. Holmberg*, R. Irvin, L. Karim, A. Schulz, J. Stolet
Absent: C.A. Bassett, C. Bengston, G. Berk, A. Coles-Bjerre, J. Daniels, A. Djiffack, C. Ellis, S. Gary, L. Karim, Corlea (Sue) Martinez*, K. Mourfy, A. Papiliou, L. Richardson, P. Rounds, A. Sherrick, K. Wagle. *non-voting participants
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. in 150 Columbia by winter term Senate President Suzanne Clark, who, from a personal perspective, remarked that it has been a pleasure for her to step in as winter term president and that it has been a good experience for her.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Minutes of the regular University Senate meeting of February 14, 2007 were approved as distributed.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
Remarks from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Karen Sprague. Vice Provost Sprague provided information concerning discussions surrounding the development of east campus areas into an academic learning “neighborhood”. She indicated that the idea is to create an inviting public face for the university in that part of campus and to promote engagement with its intellectual life for both students and community members. The vice provost noted that the recently completed residence halls were built with the expectation that all freshmen would live on campus as would a greater number of upper classmen. One notion is to blend the new residence halls with academic support resources (e.g., combine academic advising programs with academic learning services in this area of campus) to create an inviting campus/community interface in the east campus area. Vice Provost Sprague noted that several groups are thinking about this concept: a strategic housing planning group (chaired by Dennis Howard) and the Enrollment Management Council. The University Planning Office and the Provost’s Office are also involved. The area under planning consideration is the campus approach from Franklin Boulevard. In the short term, a new academic learning center and alumni center are proposed for the area, but ultimately the idea is to create an integrated community with improved residence halls and academic resources. Eventually the area might include resources for various forms of student advising/support (international, multicultural, and athletic students), a library/reading room, meeting spaces, short-term accommodations for visiting scholars, and an expanded career center with coordination of applied learning opportunities and career services (research, internships, service learning, peer tutoring, study/work abroad). The concept of the neighborhood is to be attractive to academically engaged students, suitable for students of various ages, academic interest, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
During a discussion period, Senator Nate Gulley, ASUO, inquired about any plans for low income and subsidized housing. Frances Dyke, vice president for finance and administration, replied that one of the goals of the strategic housing planning group is to address the broad scope of demand of housing on campus. In another vein, Senator Nathan Tublitz, biology, expressed a need for the senate to be integrated with the various committees working on the east campus development. Spring term senate president Andrew Marcus, geography, also emphasized the importance of explicit senate involvement sooner rather than later in the planning process. Vice Provost Sprague agreed, noting that the Campus Planning Committee reports to the senate. She implied that the various groups working on the project would be expanding their membership as they begin to make headway with this project.
Senator Gina Psaki, romance languages, raised the issue of the poor physical state of many current campus classrooms as an important consideration in looking at improving the condition of campus educational settings as a whole. She suggested that some monies need to be directed toward renovating existing classrooms. Senator Psaki also wondered how greater integration with the community at large might impact security issues in campus residential housing. The vice provost commented that access from the Living Learning Center’s ground floor classrooms to student housing areas was limited by locked doors. Lastly, Vice President Gordon Sayre, English, emphasized the need to improve the attractiveness of the Moss and Columbia Street areas that have old, unattended campus houses on them. As these houses are now, the area is less than welcoming.
Athletics Department Annual Report. President Clark reported that she had received a notice from Athletic Director Moos’ assistant explaining that Mr. Moos would be unable to attend and make his report due to the men’s basketball team competition in the NCAA tournament (he was traveling with the team). A discussion ensued with regret and disappointment that AD Moos was unable to attend and that, in his absence, he did not send his representative or the required written report. In response, Senator Tublitz asked spring term senate President Andrew Marcus to formally request the presence of the newly appointed athletic director, Pat Kilkenny, at the April senate meeting as well as the written report of athletic department activities for the past year. Mr. Marcus agreed to make the request.
Winter 2007 Preliminary Curriculum Report. Mr. Paul Engelking, chair of the Committee on Courses, noted several corrections to the preliminary report as follows.
Additions: Page 5 --HIST 310 Early Modern Women. (4) Approved to satisfy Group II: Social Science general-education group requirement. Page 6--Medieval Studies-adding credits for generic courses for new subject code. Previously not listed on preliminary report for the following courses: MDVL 403 Thesis (1-8R); MDVL 405 Reading and Conference: [Topic] (1-4R); MDVL 406 Field Studies: [Topic] (1-4R); MDVL 408/508 Workshop: [Topic] (1-4R); MDVL 503 Thesis (1-8R). At the department's request these courses will be effective summer term 2007. Page 7--Religious Studies -- REL 222 Introduction to the Bible II (4)-This was an existing course change; omitted from the report was this course retained Group I: Arts & Letters general-education group requirement. REL 223 Introduction to the Bible II (4)...Approved to satisfy Group I: Arts and Letters general-education group requirement. Page 10-Under Pending Proposals, BI 464/564 Biological Clock (4) has been approved by the UOCC on 3/14/07. This course will be moved from the pending section of the report to the approved section under Biology. Corrections: (From the Final Fall 2006 Curriculum Report) REES 503 Thesis (1-9R); RUSS 503 Thesis (1-9R). At the department's request these courses will be effective spring term 2007. (See http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen067/FinCurRptW07.html for Final Winter 2007 Curriculum Report.)
Mr. Engelking drew senators’ attention to the multicultural requirement policy, saying that the Committee on Courses will be enforcing the policy that departments must provide a clear rationale and justification for requesting multicultural course designation for 400-level courses. He indicated that the Undergraduate Council is undergoing a review of multicultural and general education courses. Originally, all general education and multicultural education requirement courses were 100-300 level courses. When the motion was put through to allow 400-level courses to count toward these requirements, there were very few of them, and exceptions were made. But essentially, the policy is for these requirements to be met with 100-300 level courses. A spirited discussion ensued. A point was made that many prerequisites for 400-level courses meet the multicultural requirement; further, it is still possible for a 400-level course to be counted, but the department must provide documented justification for the designation. In response to a statement from Senator Malle saying that 400 level courses in his department cannot be changed to 300 level courses, Mr. Engelking said that psychology students should have no difficulty satisfying the requirement with a wide variety of lower level courses available. There was some discussion about eliminating the relevant portion of the curriculum report that gave rise to the current discussion, but Mr. Engelking indicated that the policy was already in place and that his committee was simply enforcing it.
Acknowledging that this topic may indeed need further discussion at a future meeting, the Preliminary winter term 2007 curriculum report, as amended, was put to a voice vote and passed with several dissenting voices.
Report by the OUS Advisory Committee on Retirement Plan Changes. President Clark reported that in conversations with committee representatives Joe Stone, economics, and Larry Dann, finance, the committee is making good progress. Two very successful meetings were held that attracted a number of people. She noted, too, that there are links on the web to the latest information (see http://www.ous.edu/dept/hr/benefits/redesign.php).
ANNOUNCEMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Senator Tublitz raised a concern he has that few top administrators are attending senate meeting for the entire meeting; rather, he noted, they tend leave shortly after the State of the University and Reports sections of the agenda are completed. Senator Tublitz opined that their absence is disturbing and that the senate is not taken as seriously as it should be. He feels that senate meetings are an important means of communication with the faculty. Further, he suggested that the senate president convey these sentiments to the administration. Senator Craig Parsons, political science, commented that the tradition in many states is that executives to not attend faculty senates. Senator Tublitz replied that the UO has a history of consensus building and shared governance, and if the senate needs to have private discussions it can move to executive sessions. Senator Psaki concurred, adding that there have been several occasions in which administrators felt they had consulted faculty widely and many faculty felt they were not consulted. The consensus was that this issue should be brought to the attention of administrators through the senate president. Senator Hurwit, looking around the room, noted that the trend of senate member attendance also was very poor, especially toward the end of meetings, and that senate members needed to do better. Lastly, Senator Hurwit thanked President Clark for her leadership in the senate during winter term, which met with applause of appreciation.
Motion to Rescind US06/07-7 passed January 10, 2007 concerning the timing of course evaluations.
Senator Malle moved to rescind motion US06/07 passed at the January 10, 2007 which reads:
At such time as the University of Oregon implements an on-line course evaluation system, the window of opportunity for students to fill out course evaluations will be Monday of Dead Week through the Monday following finals week.
1. This rule does not apply to the School of Law. The faculty of the School of Law will establish a similar window of opportunity that suits the needs of their academic calendar.
2. This rule does not apply to summer session. The rules for summer session courses will be established after a course evaluation instrument has been chosen.
Mr. Brad Shelton, mathematics, spoke in support of the motion to rescind the motion he sponsored and which passed in January. He explained that as more of the technical issues of moving to an on-line evaluation system were explored, it became clear the necessary programming would be much easier if the window of opportunity for students to complete their course evaluations closed at the end of dead week. Such closure would afford a single data transfer between the software vendor and the university; on the other hand, if the opportunity to do course evaluations were to continue into finals week, continual data streams going back and forth between the university and vendor would be needed. Mr. Shelton suggested the more difficult programming probably could be achieved, but it would delay getting the system operational during fall term 2007.
Senator Malle spoke in favor of rescinding the motion on the basis of the evaluation bias that likely would be produced, thus questioning whether the instrument measures what it is supposed to measure. He reported on research done on the factors that influence teaching evaluations: teaching quality, “sexiness” of the instructor, students’ course performance (expected grades), and students’ feeling after the exam. Senator Malle explained that he feels if course evaluations are completed after the final exam, the students’ feeling after the exam will have a disproportionate effect on the evaluation. In other words, the most recent experience has a strong influence, and a negative experience and even stronger influence on the evaluation. Similarly, there is evidence that a student’s perceived or real experience of the final exam influences the evaluation (the actual grade, the percentage of A's, correlates with instructors’ evaluations).
Senator Christopher Minson, human physiology, spoke against rescinding the motion, saying that the final exam is part of the course; if an instructor receives a series of poor evaluations over a period of time, the instructor is probably a poor teacher. Senator Malle replied that if there could be some distancing between the final exam and the evaluations, he would be less concerned However, the additional amount of evaluative information that is provided by the final exam (compared with the entire course) is small, but the influence of the exam is disproportionately large. Mr. Shelton commented that doing evaluations later raised some legal issues involving anonymity. Others questioned whether it was worth it to move to on-line evaluation, whether grade inflation might be influenced by evaluations done after the final, and how students might express their dissatisfaction with the final exam if evaluations were completed prior to the final. Registrar Herb Chereck expressed concern that if evaluations are closed after dead week, a large number of students will not have access to their grades for a two week period of time; he was concerned that end of term processes would not be done on time.
With the discussion winding down, a motion to call the question was passed. The motion to rescind US06/07-7 was put to a voice vote and passed with several dissenting voices. Thus Motion US06/07-7 is repealed.
Be It Resolved that,
The University Senate reaffirms the suggestion that major sports events should not interfere with dead week and final exams. The decision to schedule major sports events at this time should only be made in exceptional circumstances, with the academic needs of students remaining the top priority.
The decision to schedule major sports events that conflict with dead week or exam week should only be made in consultation with the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, the Faculty Advisory Council, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Provost, and the President of the University. All parties should be informed of University Senate resolutions relating to this matter.
As background information, Mr. Ryan explained that in April 2001, after extensive discussions in the senate and the Faculty Advisory Council, Resolution US00/01-4 was passed suggesting that major athletic events not be scheduled during dead week and exam week. The text of the 2001 resolution states:
The growth of intercollegiate athletics has made the scheduling of athletic events more complex, and conflicts with the academic calendar are almost inevitable. A recent scheduling decision causes special concern: the Civil War football game for 2001 has been scheduled for the Saturday before fall final exams. Such conflicts may be unavoidable, but we should not lose sight of the principle that the academic needs of our athletes and other students are always our top priority.
The combined university senates of UO and OSU therefore made the following recommendations to our Presidents and Provosts: in the future, the academic calendar should be of paramount consideration in the scheduling of athletic events. In particular, we suggest that major events should not interfere with dead week and final exams; in general, we urge a heightened sensitivity to the academic calendar by the athletic departments of our two universities.
Mr. Ryan noted that there was no administrative dissent to the 2001 resolution, and that he had a commitment from the administration that scheduling football games during the dead week – exam week period would not happen again except under exceptional circumstances. The recent disclosure that the 2007 football Civil War game has been scheduled during the fall term exam period thus prompted the current motion. Mr. Ryan continued that it appears that the scheduling decision was made by Athletic Director Moos independent of any consultation with President Frohnmayer, and with differing opinions about the degree to which the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee was consulted. The president’s task force on athletics went on record indicating that television revenues should not dictate the scheduling of major athletic events, and the co-sponsor of the motion, Mr. Jim O’Fallon, has noted some concerns he has about the entire scheduling issue (increased number of football games). Mr. Ryan expressed his disappointed that Mr. Moos was not at the meeting to explain his scheduling decision; further, because his position at the university was due to end March 31, 2007, he would not be appearing before the senate to respond directly to questions raised. In supporting the motion, Mr. Ryan noted that the motion before the senate is a fairly innocuous motion, saying that the right people should be consulted when such a scheduling decision is made. It affirms that athletic scheduling decisions can only be made with the academic needs of students remaining the top priority. Mr. Ryan concluded his comments by asking that the senate not amend his motion. He believes that the expansion of the PAC-10 football schedule is a serious problem that needs a sober discussion. He suggested that rather than amending the motion (to provide more structured provisions or restraints), the motion should be passed and the discussion continue with conversations with the president and AD about TV revenue and scheduling conflicts.
Others joining the discussion focused on whether to put more “teeth” in the motion or not. A number of senators expressed frustration that neither Mr. Moos nor President Frohnmayer was at the meeting to engage the senators in a conversation about the issues raised. After considerable more discussion, the general consensus seemed to be that under the circumstances (with neither Mr. Moos nor President Frohnmayer present to provide more information), passing the current motion was reasonable but another motion would be forthcoming with explicit wording that could be debated with the president and AD in attendance. Senator Tublitz indicated that he would be happy to put forth such a motion. Another senator raised the issue of the basketball season scheduling and the NCAA tournament that occurs during the winter term exam period. Clearly, the scheduling of athletic events that conflict with academic priorities needs to have a wider airing.
As the discussion wound down, the question was called. Motion US06/07-12 to amend US00/01-4 regarding scheduling of athletic events passed unanimously by voice vote.
Resolution US06/07-13 to endorse IFS’ request to for Provosts Council analysis of the College Now! program. Interinstitutional Faculty Senate representative John Nicols, history, moved the following resolution co-sponsored with fellow IFS representative Peter Gilkey, mathematics:
The University Senate of the University of Oregon concurs with the request of the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate that the Oregon University System Provosts' Council undertake a formal evaluation of how the College NOW! program serves the students of Oregon.
Mr. Nicols stated that his concern was to assure that college credit goes for college level work. He noted that the College Now! program was originally intended for gifted students and taught by high school teachers who certified the course work as college level. As the program has evolved, there is some concern that there may be some discrepancy in actual level of student performance, which is very noticeable in romance languages, writing, and mathematics classes. The program is not well monitored once grades are transcripted, thus it is very difficult to determine how well the program is working. The motion at hand simply asks the Provosts' Council to evaluate how the College Now! program serves the students of Oregon. Mr. Nicols noted that all the institutions in OUS share his concern and believe the issue needs to be explored, namely, whether the level of credit is consistent with the level of work expected in a college course. The provost, vice provost for undergraduate studies, and romance languages department all are supportive of examining this issue further. With no further discussion, Resolution US06/07-13 passed by voice vote with one senator dissenting.
Other business. Senator Tublitz gave notice of a motion concerning the scheduling of athletic events.
With no other business at hand, the meeting was adjourned at 5:06 p.m.
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