Minutes of the University Senate Meeting Wednesday December 2, 2009

 

 

Present:  T. Bars, A. Berenstein, J. Bonine, C. Bybee, K. Dellabough, L. Forrest, H. Gangadharbatla, P. Gilkey, N. Gower, M. Henney, A. Hilts, J. Hurwit, K. Jensen, C. Jones, D. Kennett, H. Khalsa Kaur, R. Kyr, K. Lenn, H. Lin, C. McNelly, L. Middlebrook, S. Midkiff, D. Olson, N. C. Phillips, M. Price, N. Proudfoot, L. Reichardt, L. Sugiyama, T. K. Thompson, N. Tublitz, S. Verscheure, M. Williams

 

Excused: A. Laskaya, J. Piger

 

Absent: G. Baitinger, C. Bengtson, S. Chakraborty, E, Chan, T. Dishion, C. Ellis, A. Emami, M.A. Hyatt, M. Jaeger, T. Minner, P. Southwell, Z. Stark-Macmillan, T. Toadvine, L. Van Dreel, P. Walker, P. Warner

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

University Senate President Peter Gilkey called the regular meeting of the University Senate to order at 3:05 p.m. in room 220 HEDCO Building.

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

 

Minutes of the November 11, 2009 senate meeting were approved as distributed.

 

STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY

 

Remarks from University President Richard Lariviere.  The president began his remarks by reminding everyone that the university is reaching the end point of the annual charitable giving drive and he emphasized the importance of donations with so many people in need during these difficult financial times.  He commented next regarding the fiscal situation of the state and the university, reaffirming that this past year has been very bad financially for the state and that next year may be even worse.  The president reported that the state contributes a mere 8% to the university’s general fund; consequently, the anticipated 20% budget cuts yet to come will have less impact on our campus than if we had been funded at a higher percentage (like many of the other state supported institutions across the country).  The president went on to say that in order to meet the funding challenges, we need to change the manner in which we receive funding from the state.  Currently, the annual appropriation process is designed so that whatever the fiscal shortfall, the state first meets legislated mandates for other state agencies, then makes up the shortfall from the higher education budget.  We must address the fact that there are no mandates for higher education.  For the current biennium, the state appropriated $650 million dollars for state agencies, and higher education will only receive $128 million of that amount; however, there may be more budget cuts in February 2010 depending on whether proposed tax increase Measures 66 and 67 pass in the special election.  In general, the budget for this biennium looks rather grim.

 

The president went on to express the frustration of not knowing what the university’s budget was until well into the fall term of classes.  He suggested several changes that are needed: one is to regularize the state’s funding of higher education, that is, to change the manner in which we receive funding from the state so that what we receive is predictable.  Another is to change the governance of the university in relation to the state; for example, the president would like to see a board of regents or a board of governors governing the UO specifically, with sole responsibility for ensuring the institution is making policies and directing its mission based on what optimally affects the institution.  He noted there are a number of models that could be explored in this regard.  President Lariviere said that it is important for the university to have accountability with the state, so he would like the faculty to devise a set of metrics to determine whether the university is doing its job or not.  And third, the president suggested that we should examine ways to re-cast our relationship with the state – some suggestions are provided in former President Frohnmayer’s recent report to the chancellor (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/DF-18Nov09.pdf ).

 

During a question period, President Lariviere amplified several points.  He noted that the UO already has many accountability measures – but he would like the faculty to advise him on the types of meaningful metrics that can explain and articulate to the public what we do at the UO.  Regarding the governance of the university, the president said an ideal set up would be the UO having its own board that understands its role, one that says the president is in charge of running the university and managing the accountability metrics.  He commented further that the Frohnmayer document only speaks of the three big research institutions (UO, OSU, and PSU), and we need all seven OUS institutions agreeing that some kind of changes must be made.  The president that what is clear is that we have to go into discussions with the state as a group of seven universities and with a common agenda to change the way we see things, that is, to work collectively on this issue.  President Lariviere recognized that a considerable amount of consultation between faculty, staff, and students is required on all of these issues so that the outcome is meaningful to all people involved.  He plans to consult with the faculty in the near future and has asked Senate President Gilkey to suggest faculty members for a joint task force to begin this process.  Lastly, regarding the relationship between the faculty and the administration, the president said that the faculty and the administration must work together.  He went on to say that the faculty determines the quality of the institution, and he would like to see the faculty’s focus and judgment be on such matters. 

 

Remarks from Vice President for Student Affairs Robin Holmes.  Vice President Holmes opened her remarks explaining that a general goal of Student Affairs is to enhance the overall quality of the student experience at the university, which is done through strategic partnering that provides learning opportunities, programming, and services supporting the academic mission of the UO.  She noted that Student Affairs seeks to create purposeful environments that will enhance the students’ experience both in and out of the classroom.  The vice president said that students attending the UO are better prepared academically than in previous years and they have higher expectations.  In the current year, there are record numbers of out-of-state and international students, and the ethnic and racial diversity of the student body continues to increase as well.  Student Affairs works to ensure that students are prepared academically, emotionally, and physically to take their place in the UO’s community of scholars, and to benefit from the academic opportunities provided by the faculty.  She commented that Student Affairs is taking a holistic approach to educating the entire student, by moving from a purely service-oriented approach in student services to a student learning paradigm that better aligns with the academic mission and academic plan of the university.

 

The vice president provided a visual presentation that outlined goals that Student Affairs would like to achieve by 2020 (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/Holmes02Dec09.pdf).  Included in the presentation were four cornerstones: (1) community, the notion that students can be part of something at the UO; (2) capacity, which includes a plan to build and renovate facilities that are reflective of a preeminent residential university; (3) quality, that is, support for the metrics that support institutional quality, such as the positive reputation of our students demonstrated by acquiring the best jobs and being admitted to the most prestigious graduate schools; and (4) capitalizing on what makes the UO so special, the physical environment, people, hands-on learning, student engagement, student activism, and preparing future leaders and global citizens.

 

Vice President Holmes commented briefly on progress made in the strategic housing plan, which will lead to replacing all the older residence halls between by 2027.  An East campus residence hall that is nearly ready to break ground for construction will be the largest residence hall with over 170,000 square feet, providing 450 more beds with traditional rooms and semi-suites that will be attractive to freshman and sophomores.  It will be built with “green” efficiencies and will have specific academic functions within the building, such as honors programs and language immersion, and a resident scholar apartment so that the faculty member that has the responsibility for the curriculum that he/she is leading can be on site with the students.  In addition, the building would have a learning commons, including a librarian office and a librarian on staff, study rooms, computer labs, and classrooms.  The vice president concluded her remarks by noting that the building will have the same architect as the new Living Learning Center in order to capture the same efficiencies built into that residence.  Also, honors and language immersion programs are planned for the new building; as future needs change, the academic focus of the building may change as well. 

 

REPORTS

 

Move to paperless UO Catalog.  Mr. Colin Miller, director of Design and Editing Services, updated the senators regarding progress on having the UO Catalog and Law School Catalog go paperless (see SenateCatalogHistory.pdf and SenateCatalogTimeline Going paperless.pdf).  A paperless catalog is supported by the major consumers of the catalog as well as the president and provost.  The conversion from paper has begun and will proceed in 2010.  Mr. Miller explained that the entire catalog currently is on-line at the UO as it is with all the AAU schools.  Printed copies are available for $25, and soon the on-line catalog will be formatted to have a “print” feature that individuals can use if desired (currently, a PDF version is available).  During a question period Mr. Miller clarified that student advising units agreed that a paperless catalog was the right direction for the catalog.  Also, the catalog will follow the same schedule for updates that is in place now and will have previous versions of the catalogue preserved for access in future years for reference. 

 

Fall 2009 Preliminary Curriculum Report.  With Committee on Courses Chairman Paul Engelking unavailable to present the Preliminary Curriculum Report, UO Registrar Sue Eveland moved to have the report accepted with a couple noted corrections: (1) eliminate the Multicultural title under the Other Curriculum Matters section, and (2) ART Drawing II has been approved.  The report was approved as amended (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/FinCurrRptF09.html for the corrected, final version of the fall 2009 report).

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE FLOOR

 

Senate President Gilkey noted that the next meeting of the Faculty Governance Committee was scheduled for Thursday, December 4th from 9:30 to noon in the Lewis Lounge (see Report for more information).  Also, President Gilkey drew attention to a November 18, 2009 report from Dave Frohnmayer to George Pernsteiner (alluded to earlier by President Lariviere) regarding a document titled The Coming Crisis in College Completion: Oregon’s Challenge and a Proposal for First Steps, and encouraged the senators to peruse the report if they had not already done so (see The Coming Crisis in College Completion: Oregon's Challenge and a Proposal for First Steps).

 

Notice of Motion – US09/10-11 regarding the Riverfront Research Park.  Senator Zachary Stark-MacMillan, ASUO, gave notice of a motion that would declare senate opposition to the renewal of the conditional use permit extension for the planned development of the first 4.3-acre increment of the Riverfront Research Park North of the railroad tracks (on the South bank of the Willamette River).  The opposition would allow for a student and faculty inclusive permit review process and an updated evaluation of the UO owned Willamette Riverfront property (see US09/10-11). 

 

Motion US09/10-6 – concerning nominations for the Senate Vice Presidency.  Action on this motion was postponed until the January 13, 2010 senate meeting (see US09/10-6).

 

Motion US09/10-7 – concerning increasing access to public records.  Action on this motion was postponed until the February 10, 2010 senate meeting (see US09/10-7).

 

Town Hall meeting regarding unionization.  President Gilkey announced that he is working with the FAC, at their request, and with the OA Council to set up a Town Hall meeting on the topic of unionization.  (Date for the meeting has been changed from January 15th to Friday, January 29th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in 150 Columbia. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Motion US09/10-9 – concerning the appointment of members to a joint administration/senate committee on state accountability metrics related to a possible new governance model with the state.  President Gilkey asked Senate Vice President Nathan Tublitz to preside over the meeting for this and the next motion so that he could put the motion on the floor for discussion and speak to it.  President Gilkey moved the following:

 

The UO Senate directs the UO Senate President to recommend faculty members to the UO President for appointment to a joint administration/faculty committee concerning state accountability metrics that may be part of a new governance structure/relationship to the State of Oregon. The UO Senate President shall consult widely and shall contact the UO Senate, the Faculty Advisory Council, the Senate Budget Committee, and the Senate Nominating Committee in this regard.

 

University of Oregon leaders are currently engaged in conversations with the chancellor, OUS presidents, and elected leaders regarding fundamental changes in how OUS institutions are funded and governed by the state. This conversation will continue to occur over the next few months and will include a dialogue with our campus community and state policy leaders. The internal conversation will focus on how the UO can continue to fulfill its critical public mission and remain accountable to the state under a more autonomous structure. The campus conversation will help reinforce the idea that under any model, the University of Oregon remains focused on meeting the needs of Oregonians.

 

Discussion on the motion centered on concerns as to whether the joint committee should be appointed by the university president or the senate president.  Senator John Bonine, law, expressed concerns about erosion of faculty responsibility if President Lariviere appointed the committee instead of Senate President Gilkey.  He moved to amend the first sentence to change the word “recommend” to “appoint” and to remove the words “to the UO President for appointment”.  There was general consensus around this wording change as senators wanted to avoid setting a precedent for how such committees are appointed.  Mr. Dave Hubin, president’s office, pointed out that the president has appointed standing committees in past years; however he saw no difficulty in the proposed amended wording.  The amendment was put to a vote and passed by voice vote.  The first sentence now read: 

 

The UO Senate directs the UO Senate President to appoint faculty members to a joint administration/faculty committee concerning state accountability metrics that may be part of a new governance structure/relationship to the State of Oregon.

 

The main motion, as amended, was again back on the floor for discussion.  Mr. Nick Gower, ASUO, asked why the committee was limited to faculty members and had no students.  He proposed amending the first sentence further to read “faculty members and other members of the university community”, which after a brief discussion was simplified to strike the word “faculty” read “members of the university community”.  Mr. Hubin expressed his belief that the original wording of “faculty members” reflected the president’s belief that accountability metrics were primarily a faculty issue; however Mr. Hubin indicated that he would convey the desirability of student input to the president.  With little further discussion, Senator Gower’s amendment was put to a vote and passed.  The first sentence now reads:

 

The UO Senate directs the UO Senate President to appoint members of the university community to a joint administration/faculty committee concerning state accountability metrics that may be part of a new governance structure/relationship to the State of Oregon.

 

Senator Leah Middlebrook, comparative literature, expressed concern that a senior faculty member from the humanities be included on the committee, and proposed simplifying the second sentence to end with the word “widely” and to delete the rest of the sentence.  This amendment also met with approval and passed.  With no other amendments forthcoming, motion US09/10-9, as amended, was put to a hand vote and passed (24 in favor, 4 opposed, and 3 abstentions).  

 

The final version of motion US09/10-9, as amended reads:

 

The UO Senate directs the UO Senate President to appoint members of the University Community to a joint administration/faculty committee concerning state accountability metrics that may be part of a new governance structure/relationship to the State of Oregon. The UO Senate President shall consult widely.

 

University of Oregon leaders are currently engaged in conversations with the chancellor, OUS presidents, and elected leaders regarding fundamental changes in how OUS institutions are funded and governed by the state. This conversation will continue to occur over the next few months and will include a dialogue with our campus community and state policy leaders. The internal conversation will focus on how the UO can continue to fulfill its critical public mission and remain accountable to the state under a more autonomous structure. The campus conversation will help reinforce the idea that under any model, the University of Oregon remains focused on meeting the needs of Oregonians.

 

Motion US09/10-10 – to authorize the Senate President to appoint a Senate Advisory Group to implement US08/09-8 concerning fiscal transparency.  Senate President Gilkey indicated that Vice President for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke requested having an advisory group to help with the implementation of senate legislation US08/09-8 passed last May, which deals with creating an on-line, publicly accessible budget reporting system.  The system will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently available at Oregon State University.  (See OSU budget reporting website at https://bfpsystems,oregonstate.edu/webreporting/).  The administration has made good progress, but a working advisory group will help to remove any “bugs” in our on-line system.  The proposed motion reads:

 

The UO Senate passed a motion (US08/9-8) stating The University Senate respectfully requests the University of Oregon Administration to establish a publicly accessible, on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon by 15 November 2009 that will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently done at our sister institution Oregon State University on their budget reporting website ( https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/ ). "

 

At the 11 November 2008 UO Senate meeting, Frances Dyke reported "The tool you will be able to access starting next Monday is the initial roll out of a financial reporting tool for compliance with the university Senate motion on financial transparency. In the course of discussions related to development the work group has identified impediments to our ability to provide transactional level detail in a publicly available financial reporting tool. There are issues of both security and legally binding confidentiality that must be balanced against the desire for full transparency. As mentioned at the October Senate meeting I am now asking the Senate President to appoint an advisory group to help analyze these problems and find solutions that can be legally and operationally implemented. In making this request I also recommend that the Senate President consider creating this advisory group by drawing on membership of the Senate Budget Committee and other members of the Senate or university community who have a particular interest or expertise in financial management reporting."

 

The Senate President is directed to consult widely and to appoint the advisory group recommended above.

 

Vice President Tublitz spoke briefly to provide background information on the motion saying that OSU has a very good on-line system that allows users to view budgeting information directly.  He agreed that the administration has made a good first step to implement a similar system for the UO.  Ms. Carla McNelly, multicultural academic success, suggested that classified and administrative staff members that work with the Banner system and budgeting would make very good members for the committee.  With no other discussion forthcoming, the question was called.  Motion US09/10-10 to appoint a working group for implementation of US08/09-8 was passed by voice vote.  Senate President Gilkey asked Vice President Tublitz to chair the committee. 

 

Other Business.  Senator Bonine referred to a posted email he sent to the senators concerning General Counsel Melinda Grier’s recent statement about the faculty’s role in shared governance at the UO (see Email on shared governance).  He was concerned that Ms. Grier’s statement was a very narrow view of the faculty’s role in shared governance.  His basic message was that the General Counsel Grier cited several statutes giving power to the president but did not cite the statement about the “president and the professors” having the “immediate governance” of the university.  He opined that the statutory authority of the faculty has long been recognized at the University of Oregon, and that the statutory faculty authority is not limited to curriculum and student discipline.  In disagreeing with Counselor Grier’s statement, Senator Bonine argued that one should not accept words that come from a lawyer simply because they come from a lawyer – they can be challenged. (General Counsel Grier’s statement can be viewed at http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/Grier-10Nov-PublicMeetingspdf.)

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

With no other business at hand, the meeting was adjourned at 4:51 p.m.

 

 

Gwen Steigelman

Secretary of the Faculty