Minutes of the University Senate Organizational Meeting May 23, 2007




Present: A. Adell, H. Briston, D. Falk, P. Gilkey, N. Gulley, J. Hunter, J. Hurwit, R. Illig, K. McPherson, C. Minson, W. A. Marcus, C. Moore, V. Ostrik, M. Pangburn, A. Papailiou, E. Peterson, T. Pyle, M. Redford, P. Rounds, J. Rowell, G. Sayre, J. Sneirson, A. Taylor, P. van Donkelaar


Excused: M. Chong, R. Davies, A. Schulz, L. Stephen, L. Vandenburg


Absent: C.A. Bassett, C. Bengston, G. Berk, R. Bramhall, H. Briston, C. Cherry, L-S. Chou, A. Coles-Bjerre, B. Daley, E. Herman, K. Kennedy, P. Lambert, D. Levin, P. Lu, B. Malle, S. Martinez, A. Mathas, L. Middlebrook, T. Minner, D. Olson, S. Paul, C. Parsons, T. Toadvine, N. Tublitz






Spring term Senate President Andrew Marcus called the organizational meeting of the University Senate to order in the Knight Library Browsing Room at 3:10 p.m.





President Marcus asked newly elected senators to introduce themselves (see members listed for terms 2007-09 at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen078/memsen078.html). After introductions of continuing senate members, the secretary of the senate, Gwen Steigelman alerted the new members to some of the organizational aspects of senate meetings and participation. She noted that name tags will be available at each meeting for senators to wear during the meeting and return at the end of the meeting (these help to identify senate members who are eligible to vote at meetings). The name tags can be picked up as member sign in for meetings on the attendance sheet. The secretary noted that she is required to keep a record of attendance at each meeting as well as absences and excused absences. Members who have more than two unexcused absences during a term are removed from senate membership. Excused absences include meetings missed due to illness or other university related business. Members should notify the secretary of their absence in advance of the meetings if known.


Although most meeting materials, as well as the agendas and minutes of meetings, are posted on the senate web page and/or circulated via a closed senate email listserv, some handouts of meeting materials will be available usually where the names tags can be picked up. The secretary noted that virtually all of current and past senate information – minutes of meetings, agendas, legislation, curriculum reports, committee charges and membership, past committee membership (where known), committee annual reports, other miscellaneous reports, letters and correspondence, and a wealth of links to other university and system websites can be found on the senate web page (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/senate.html). She noted that the availability of the treasure trove of governance information is due to the exceptional dedication and effort of Senate Webmaster Peter Gilkey, mathematics.




Comments from Provost Linda Brady. The provost began her remarks saying that earlier in the day she had met with the OSU provost and they discussed collaboration between our two universities regarding spousal and partner hires. She noted that this is a concern for our universities, both in matters of retention and new hires. Though not in the same city, we are close enough geographically to explore possible cooperative efforts. The respective vice provosts dealing with personnel will work on how such cooperation might be structured.


The provost then added her welcome to the newly elected senators and took a few moments to personally thank everyone who has served on the senate during the past year. She hoped to have a chance to say hello at the reception following the meeting, and looked forward to working with the senators in the coming academic year. She noted that in addition to the new members, several current senators either have been serving a second term or are about to. Repeated service speaks well about commitment to the university and its governance, and to the nature of the senate experience itself. The provost remarked that if President Frohnmayer were able to attend (he was in China) he would join her in expressing deep appreciation and gratitude for senate members’ effort and contributions throughout the past year, and eagerly anticipates their participation in the next academic year.


The provost commented that it was fortunate to have three extremely capable, “seasoned” faculty members to share the duties and responsibilities of the senate presidency after personal illness precluded Jeanne Wagenknecht from serving as president. She thanked Jeff Hurwit, Suzanne Clark, and Andrew Marcus personally, saying how grateful she was for their willingness to step into the senate president leadership role. The provost said their collective ability to share the senate presidential responsibilities and move seamlessly through the academic year affirmed not only their individual leadership skills, but also the high esteem in which they are held by faculty colleagues and university administrators alike. Especially during her first full year on campus, Provost Brady remarked how thankful she was for the wisdom, counsel, and advice of three outstanding presidents


Provost Brady went on to say that it has been a productive year, the highlights of which President Marcus would mention shortly. She looks forward to working with the senate leadership, the Senate Executive Committee, the Senate Budget Committee, and the Senate Academic Excellence Committee to continue making improvements in faculty salaries and tackling issues of academic excellence and importance framed by these committees’ recent reports. The provost noted that next year will likely have its own set of challenges and opportunities, but she appreciates the sense of collegiality with which each approaches his or her respective responsibilities; she expects it will be a busy and active year. Lastly, the Provost Brady spoke directly to the three senate presidents saying that President Frohnmayer wished he could be there to thank each publicly and personally for the leadership they each provided the senate this year, and to present each with this small token of his appreciation (small gift presentation to each).


Reflections on the past year. Andrew Marcus, outgoing senate president for the spring term, commented on the activities of the past year. He acknowledged the work of the other senate presidents for the year (Jeff Hurwit and Suzanne Clark) and noted that one of the best aspects of being senate president is having the opportunity to work with so many fine people. In particular, he commented about the value of the biweekly meeting he and Vice President Gordon have had throughout the year with President Frohnmayer and Provost Brady in which there was an opportunity to raise issues directly and be heard on concerns of the faculty. These were beneficial interactions which helped to improve governance at the university. President Marcus also took the opportunity to thank a number of people – the secretary, Parliamentarian Paul Simonds, Webmaster Peter Gilkey, University Archivist Heather Briston, Vice President Gordon Sayre, and the members of the Senate Executive Committee. He also highlighted the work of fall term president Jeff Hurwit on the Oregon Retirement Plan and the proposed OUS changes to retirement plan options. Jeff’s persistence in getting the Chancellor’s attention on this matter, as well as the superb contributions of professors Joe Stone and Larry Dann resulted in a plan far superior to the one originally offered. This was no small feat. Similarly, President Suzanne Clark took on the issue of faculty and course evaluations and created the joint senate and academic affairs committee on course evaluations, which did a wonderful job of examining the inherent issues and providing a set of recommendations to improve the quality of the course and faculty evaluations. Suzanne also served on the search for a new athletic director, which again, required extraordinary time and commitment to what can feel like a thankless task.


President Marcus commented briefly about the productive year it has been for the senate in breath and scope of the motions passed. He also emphasized the importance of committee work. He remarked that committees are the mechanisms for change through the senate, and that the senators help to steer the work of committees and validate their work with appropriate legislation. Although there is some frustration with the process – notably the time it takes – it is a process-rich experience that is advantaged by the engagement with other people and ideas. He commented that he feels a sense of moving forward, not always arm in arm, but nevertheless moving forward. President Marcus acknowledged there is remarkable pressure to not be engaged in the process, but he opined that we have an opportunity to engage in the reinvention of the modern university. The last point President Marcus made was a somewhat discouraging growing sense of cynicism that the senate is being shut out of the process. He suggested that this may sometimes happen, but more often there is collaboration taking place that morphs into better results. Consequently, President Marcus urged members of the senate to reject such cynicism as they go about their duties, to keep engaged in the process, and think of the long-term good of the university.





Election of Committee on Committees. Vice President Sayre presented the slate of new Committee on Committee members as follows: William Ayres, anthropology, Marcin Bownik, mathematics, Deb Carver, library, Debra Eisert, education, David Hulse, landscape architecture, Regina Psaki, romance languages. The slate was unanimously approved.


Election of the Senate Vice President. Vice President Sayre spoke on behalf of the nominating committee in reminding senators that earlier in the year the senate passed a motion to expand the criteria for the vice presidency so that the vice president would 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 (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen067/US067-11.html). The following year, the vice president becomes president by confirmation of the senate. The candidate for vice president for 2007-08 is Paul van Donkelaar, human physiology. Vice President Sayre indicated he would be pleased to have Paul serving as vice president next year. There were no other nominations from the floor. Professor van Donkelaar was elected unanimously as vice president for 2007-08.


Confirmation of the new senate president. With the vice president election completed, President Marcus ceremoniously embarked on his last official duty, which was to turn the gavel over to the new Senate President for 2007-08, Gordon Sayre.




As chair of the Committee on Committees, newly confirmed President Sayre presented the Wayne T. Westling Award for University Service and Leadership to this year’s recipient, Professor Suzanne Clark, English. President Sayre reminded all that the award is named in honor of Wayne T. Westling, professor of law from 1979-2001, who was renown across campus for his unswerving and selfless commitment to faculty governance at the University of Oregon. The award was created by an act of the senate in November 2001 following Wayne's untimely death, and is awarded annually to a faculty or staff member for their outstanding and long-term leadership and service to the university.


President Sayre noted that Professor Clark has served on several key university committees which have tackled often contentious and high-profile topic such as post-tenure review, athletics, and diversity. Her leadership and working with others helped yield successfully solutions which respect the needs and interests of faculty, students, staff, and administrators. The author of two books, Professor Clark’s research and writings have helped lead the Humanities Center toward projects which emphasize community service, outreach, and activism. For example, one of Professor Clark’s English courses annually trains dozens of undergraduates in teaching reading to Eugene/Springfield residents. In addition, Suzanne has built alliances and earned support for new initiatives that advance the educational mission at the UO, such as her work with University Archives, which has resulted in two interdisciplinary courses, and a website devoted to the Vietnam War era, a period which included the UO presidency of her father, Robert. D. Clark.


Professor Clark’s contribution to her department is framed with extensive committee work including 12 tenure and promotion committees and five search committees, as well as directing seven undergraduate honor's theses and 15 doctoral dissertations. The list of Professor’s Clark’s service and leadership was only highlighted by President Sayre, who then offered his English department colleague his sincere congratulations and presented her with the award. Professor Clark thanked President Sayre and members of the senate, saying that she was greatly honored. (For full text of President Sayre’s remarks, please see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen067/WestlingAward2007.html.)





The organizational meeting was adjourned at 4: 10 and followed by a reception welcoming the new members of the senate and honoring the Westling Award recipient.



Gwen Steigelman


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