March 7, 2014

MEMBERS PRESENT: Barraco (by phone), Berman, Boikess, Burrell (by phone), Cotter (Vice Chairperson/New Brunswick Faculty Liaison), Gillett, Gould (Chairperson), Oliver, Puhak, Swalagin (Executive Secretary), Thompson, Vodak

MEMBERS EXCUSED:  Benjamin, Sheth

ALSO ATTENDING: Borisovets (Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee Chair/Liaison), Cashin (Student Representative to the Board of Governors), Hughes (Undergraduate Program Director, Associate Professor Anthropology), Otto (Research, and Graduate and Professional Education Committee Co-chair/Liaison), Samant (Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees), Spiegel (Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees), Vaz (Student Representative to Board of Trustees)

The regular meeting of the University Senate Executive Committee was held on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 1:10 p.m. in the Executive Board Room of Administrative Services Building-III, Cook Campus.

1.     Chairperson’s Report 

Senate and Executive Committee Chairperson Ann Gould called the meeting to order at 1:20 p.m. She said that there would be no administrative report, but that Professor David Hughes would attend the meeting to discuss his views on the Pearson contract to balance what Richard Novak reported to the Executive Committee in December.

2.    Secretary’s Report - Ken Swalagin, Executive Secretary of the Senate
4.    Standing Committees/Panels

Selection of Nominating Panel Members - Secretary Swalagin explained that Article IV of Senate Bylaws states: "Prior to March 15: The Executive Committee appoints a Nominating Panel to recommend candidates for chair, vice chair, members of the Executive Committee, and representatives to the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees," and that, in recent years, the Nominating Panel has consisted of the Executive Committee members, and a selected chair. He said that he has added Executive Committee positions for student and faculty members from RBHS to the Nominating Panel charge. Senator Boikess suggested that the panel should include chairs of all Senate committees. Senator Oliver was selected to chair the panel.

Related to Nominating Panel -
Staff and PTL/AAF Elections for RBHS: Swalagin explained that, although proposed changes to Senate bylaws enabling staff and PTL/AAF elections for the RBHS campus are still pending, the election processes for those two categories begin the following week. The elections must be done because RBHS is now a fourth campus/division, and is entitled to representation in those categories. However, the number of Senators for each category is not yet adopted. Swalagin proposed calling for election of Senators as indicated below. If additional staff Senators are allocated later, the next-highest votegetters can be appointed. The Executive Committee approved this year's election of:
Committee Reports

Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) Response to Charge S-1312 on Responsibility Center Management Models  - [Note: This report was not finalized at the time of this meeting. The link above goes to the report as docketed for action at the March 28, 2014 Senate meeting.] - BFC Chair Menahem Spiegel summarized his committee's deliberations and ongoing work on the report on Charge S-1312 on Responsibility Center Management Models. The BFC had been charged as follows:

Charge S-1312 - Responsibility Center Management Models: Evaluate proposals for the implementation of the responsibility center management (RCM) budget model.

The report was discussed, and Spiegel was asked to make more clear which elements of the report were recommendations to the administration. The report was then docketed provisionally for introduction at the upcoming Senate meeting.

Issues/Proposed Charges:

Potential Charge to Academic Standards, Regulations, and Admissions Committee (ASRAC) on University Closures During Exam Periods - Submitted by Chris Morett, Director of Scheduling and Space Management

Mr. Morett wrote: "Has the Senate ever discussed what it would do if the university were closed during finals?" The committee discussed the issue, and instructed Swalagin to request that Mr. Morett propose a plan that the Senate could then consider. No charge was issued.

Proposed Charge to Student Affairs Committee (SAC) on Taking Classes on Other Campuses - Submitted by Samuel Berman on behalf of the Student Caucus

The following had been submitted by Senator Berman on behalf of the Student Caucus:

Proposed Charge: A number of obstacles currently prevent students across all three of Rutgers' campuses from accessing educational resources located on any of the other two campuses. One such obstacle is the administrative difficulty of transferring course credit; another are the logistical difficulties associated with transportation and parking; still another is the low visibility of some of Rutgers' most prestigious programs on other campuses. Many more exist. The Student Affairs Committee shall look at these obstacles, as well as others not enumerated in this charge but which the Committee may find relevant in the course of its discussion, and investigate changes the University can make to promote and encourage the growth of inter-campus collaboration on the part of students. This includes not only changes to current policies which may inhibit such activity, but also affirmative steps the University may take to promote such a vibrant student culture. 

Rationale: New Brunswick students are actively discouraged from taking classes at Newark and Camden. Various administrative and academic barriers disincentivize taking these classes to fulfill requirements, or in many cases at all. The same is true for students at Newark and Camden campuses seeking to take advantages of programs and opportunities on the New Brunswick campus; a range of logistical considerations stymie most students who may otherwise benefit from such opportunities. While there are certainly natural geographic barriers to this type of activity on the part of students, it is unconscionable for Rutgers, through administrative negligence, to continue erecting additional barriers or exacerbating the natural ones further. It is a direct contradiction of our professed commitment to the principle of "One Rutgers", and as long as our actions and our words differ in this regard, feelings of mutual mistrust and competition (instead of cooperation) will continue to characterize the relationship between the three campuses. If we are to truly consider ourselves One Rutgers, it is incumbent on us to seek to mitigate these barriers as far as the natural geographic distance will allow.

The proposed charge was discussed, and it was decided that it would be edited to be concise, and issued to the Student Affairs Committee with a November 2014 deadline. The Student Affairs Committee will be given the option of referring any unresolved elements of the issue to the Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee if necessary.
Proposed Charge to Student Affairs Committee (SAC) on Cost of Textbooks
- Submitted by Samuel Berman

Senator Berman wrote: [This] “item, brought up by Senators Baffo and Nieman, is a discussion of the costs of textbooks, the negative impacts this is having on student education, and any possible role the Senate could play in helping to combat this disturbing trend. For additional information, see the attached report, compiled by the Public Interest Research Group.”

As additional background, Secretary Swalagin had also linked previous Senate reports on Textbooks:
December 2007 Senate Response to Charge S-0607, Sale of Examination and Desk Copies of Textbooks
April 2007 Senate Response to Charge S-0602, Course-Textbook Reserve Requirement  
March 2005 Report on Possible Conflict of Interest in Assignment of Textbooks
May 2003 Report on  Textbook Buyback

The issue was discussed, and a charge issued to the Student Affairs Committee as follows: Examine the current practices involving purchasing and cost of textbooks, and investigate possible solutions to mitigate the costs. Consider previous Senate reports and recommendations on textbooks, as well as practices at other institutions, and possible benchmarks. Respond to Senate Executive Committee by November 18, 2014.

Discussion and Potential Charge to Committee on Budget Transparency  - Submitted by Samuel Berman

Senator Berman had requested “a discussion of budget transparency and ways to improve the Budget and Finance Committee's ability to effectively answer its standing charges with respect to the same (including, potentially, a new standing charge or changes to current standing charges, requiring the creation of a budget-in-brief type document in cooperation with University Administration).” Berman said that he had spoken with Nancy Winterbauer, Vice President for University Budgeting, about what could be a baseline template for release of budget information every year. Senator Spiegel, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC), said he would like to wait for another meeting to see what comes out of the BFC's current report. This potential charge will be brought back to the Executive Committee in April.

Proposed Charge to Committee on Policy and Processes Relating to Structural Changes to University Units - Submitted by Jon Oliver

Senator Oliver had submitted the following proposed charge and rationale: Consider whether the University Senate should establish a general procedure, timeline, template and process for any university unit that wishes to merge, disband or make any structural change. This would assist units in working in a deliberate, consultative and rational way so that all issues, impacts, concerns and benefits can be properly considered. Make recommendations on time limits, and process.

Rationale: Within the past two years, the University Senate has had to scramble to investigate and approve two requests for the merger of schools within the university. Both times the proposals were presented for decisions within days for processes that had been ongoing for months unbeknownst to the Senate. Rapid decisions are not always good decisions. Creating a process and timeline should alleviate some of these issues, providing for a more deliberate and consultative process.

The proposed charge was discussed. Oliver and Chairperson Gould will edit the charge and send it to Secretary Swalagin, who will issue the charge to the University Structure and Governance Committee with a January 2015 deadline. [Note: The charge was later issued as proposed.]

Proposed Charge to Committee on Processes Relating to Revising University Policies - Submitted by Karen Thompson

Proposed Charge: Investigate the procedure for disseminating revisions to University Regulations in the University Policy Library and make recommendations for improved communication within the University community.  Consider to what extent the Senate, students,  academic units, and other affected constituencies are informed of changes made to the University Policy Library.  For instance, Section 50.1.8 “Administrative Governance” (issued in 1959 and revised in 1990) was rescinded.  Who was informed of this change and how?

The charge was discussed, and issued with some modification, and with a deadline of March 2015.

Issue: Response in Opposition to Naming of Condoleezza Rice as Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient - Submitted by Robert Boikess

Senator Boikess proposed that the Senate respond with opposition to the selection of Condoleeza Rice as Commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He cited the following in support of his proposal:
Senator Boikess summarized his views on this issue, and asked that a resolution be docketed for the upcoming Senate meeting. There was discussion of the NBFC's action and resolution on the matter, and of the responses thereto, both negative and positive. Senator Berman noted that RUSA has discussed this, and that bills are being drafted, but no vote had yet been taken. It was noted that it is unlikely that Rice will be disinvited now. It was decided that a charge would be drafted and issued to the Student Affairs Committee calling for a review of the process and procedures relating to selection of commencement speakers and recipients of honorary degrees, and that the Senate would be informed of the charge.

Charge Deadline Extension: At the request of University Structure and Governance Committee (USGC) Co-chair Peter Gillett, the deadline on USGC Charge S-1309 on Senate Election Procedures was extended to December 2014.

5.    Discussion of Senate Response to the Nursing Units Merger Proposal: The Executive Committee discussed how to proceed regarding the Senate's response to the proposed merger of the Newark/New Brunswick nursing units. The following documents had been provided to facilitate the discussion:
Chairperson Gould said she would draft something that would respond to the issue, and would address the process violation in terms of timing of the administration's request for Senate consideration of the proposal. That document is to be circulated to the Executive Committee for docketing at the upcoming Senate meeting.

6.    Discussion of Pearson eCollege Contract - Professor David Hughes

Professor David Hughes had been invited to attend the meeting to present his perspectives on the Pearson eCollege contract, in counterpoint to the discussion held previously with Richard Novak, Vice President for Continuing Education and Distance Studies. The following documents had been posted online for the Executive Committee's information, and to facilitate this discussion:
The discussion continued until the meeting adjourned. It was decided that the Executive Committee may want to consider the matter further, and would discuss how to address it at the next meeting. If a charge is issued in the future, Professor Hughes is to be invited as a resource to the charged committee.

7.    Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 3:57 p.m.

Minutes written and submitted by,

Ken Swalagin
Executive Secretary of the University Senate