September 6, 2013

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

MEMBERS EXCUSED:  Dantzler, Rosario

ALSO ATTENDING: Barchi (Administrative Liaison/University President), Cashin (Student Board of Governors Representative), Edwards (Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs), G. Jackson (President's Chief of Staff), M. Mickelsen (Senate Administrative Assistant), Rabinowitz (Faculty Representative to the Board of Governors/Camden Faculty Liaison), Samant (Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees), Vaz (Graduate Student Representative to the Board of Trustees)

The regular meeting of the University Senate Executive Committee was held on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. in the Executive Board Room of Administrative Services Building-III, Cook Campus.

1.    Chairperson’s Report  - Ann Gould, Senate Chairperson

Senate and Executive Committee Chairperson Ann Gould called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m. She called for introductions all around. She noted that, on July 26, 2013, the Senate Executive Committee, on behalf of the University Senate, sent to Governor Christie and State Senator Sweeney an open letter opposing proposed legislation that would abolish Rutgers' Board of Trustees. Gould then asked everyone to limit discussions of potential committee charges to whether or not items should be charged to committees, rather than discussing the issues themselves.

2.    Secretary’s Report - Ken Swalagin, Executive Secretary of the Senate
3.    Administrative Liaison

University President Robert Barchi presented an administrative report, which included comments on:
Barchi then responded to questions, or heard comments, on topics that included:
[Senator Cashin joined the meeting at 1:56 p.m.]

4.    Standing Committees - Proposed Charges, Issues

The following issues were discussed, and acted upon as noted:Issues/Proposed Charges:

Review of Standing Committee Membership/Rosters: Draft rosters of Senate standing committees were distributed by the Executive Secretary Swalagin, and approved by the Executive Committee. Greg Jackson asked Swalagin to send him the rosters of those committees that lack administrative liaisons so that liaisons could be selected.

Proposed Committee Charge on MOOCs, submitted by Senator Robert Boikess: Senator Boikess wrote, in part, "The piece . . . from today's Inside Higher Ed raises some interesting issues and is the latest in an almost continuous stream of reports about MOOCs. I recall that last year the Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee produced a resolution on MOOC's that was adopted by the Senate. Perhaps this committee (or another one) should be charged with looking at the current MOOC situation, which has been changing rapidly, and updating our recommendations about policies and procedures related to them." The Executive Committee issued a charge on this issue to the Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee, as follows:

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Reconsidered: Reconsider and make recommendations regarding the current and rapidly changing situation with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and Rutgers policies and procedures related to MOOCs. Respond to Senate Executive Committee by January 2014.

Proposed Committee Charge on Senate Involvement in High-Level Searches, submitted by Senator Robert Barraco as follows: "Examine the issue of the conduct of high-level searches in general that have universitywide implications, as well as a future role for a representative of the Senate Executive Committee to be involved in those searches." This issue was discussed, and it was noted that there is an expectation that administrative liaisons will inform the Senate on such matters, but that once a search begins it is confidential. President Barchi said that the administration tries to have Senate representation on search committees. Gould asked all Senators present to inform the Executive Committee if they are selected for a search committee. No committee charge was issued.

Exercising the Senate's Legislative Power to "Regulate formal relationships among academic units within the University, " issue submitted by Senator Martha Cotter: Cotter summarized this issue, noting that there is some ambiguity in the meaning of this aspects of the Senate's legislative authority, but that it seems that the Senate might want to look at current issues about relationships among the geographic campuses and various units of Rutgers Biological and Health Sciences, and make recommendations thereon. Barchi said that the administration would welcome the Senate's advice, but that it should be done soon. He also said it would be useful to know if there is a constraint that the administration should be aware of so that it isn't overlooked. The Executive Committee decided to reconsider this issue at another time.

Representation on Rutgers' Governing Boards Joint Task Force on University Governance
, issue submitted by Senator John Pintar, Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program: Professor Pintar wrote, in part, "Our faculty council at Rutgers-RWJMS noted with interest the announcement from Gerald Harvey regarding the appointment of a Task Force to examine governance at Rutgers. As a member of the Rutgers-RWJMS faculty council, as well as the representative of that group to the Rutgers Senate, I (we) wondered what the faculty representation on the Task Force may be, and whether, for example, any of the several faculty councils can expect to be represented on this committee." This issue was discussed, and President Barchi said he would suggest to the board that it would be good to take advice from the Senate, but that it was not likely that the task force membership would be changed or increased at this time.

[Executive Vice President Edwards left the meeting at 2:26 p.m.]

Scheduling of final exams, issue submitted by Professor Leslie Fishbein: Professor Fishbein wrote: "Since students are able to take courses in schools other than the ones in which they originate, there is lots of opportunity for final exam conflicts. For example, I had one student whose final exam in a course that originated in the School of Communication and Information conflicted with the final exam in a course that I gave that originated in the School of Arts and Sciences. I already was giving makeup exams to three students in the course at two separate times and was not eager to have to deal with yet another arrangement so was happy when the other instructor arranged for a makeup exam in her course instead.  However, there should be some protocol to resolve who has to arrange for the makeup exam. These are some of the issues that the University Senate might want to address:

a. Should the primary scheduling of the final exam follow the registration of the student, that is, should the instructor in any course given by a school in which the student is registered be given priority in the scheduling of that student’s final exam? 

b. Should there be any effort to arrange for a common exam schedule for all units in New Brunswick, all units in Newark, all units in Camden, and all units in UMDMJ? 

c. Should there by a university-wide policy on scheduling final exams in order to minimize conflicts between units, and, if so, what should that policy be?

d. Is there any need to alert students, faculty members, and staff members who advise students each semester of the possibility of such conflicts in order to make it more likely that such conflicts are resolved earlier rather than later in the semester?"

This issue was discussed, but no charge was issued.

[President Barchi and Chief of Staff Jackson left the meeting at 2:31 p.m.]

Teaching evaluations, issue submitted by Professor Leslie Fishbein: Professor Fishbein wrote: "I learned that a departmental administrative staff person has been checking teaching evaluation paper forms and had discovered that many of the students fail to fill them out properly, using xes, for example, instead of completely filling out the bubble, so that the form, when read electronically, will not record their actual input.  That staff person has been correcting the inputs without changing the evaluations.  When I and other faculty members learned of this procedure, we were upset on several counts:

a. Now that teaching evaluations are so routine, students are unlikely to be instructed as to how to fill the forms out properly if paper forms are used.

1)  Do we need to emphasize the need to instruct the students before the forms are distributed?

2)  Who, if anyone, should be responsible for making sure that students have filled out the forms that reflects their actual opinion of course and teacher? 

3) Should administrative staff in each unit screen the forms?  If not, should we not warn faculty who receive the forms that they should report any discrepancies immediately to the Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research in order to have that form corrected officially?

b. I have had to consider teaching evaluation statistics for work on the SAS Third Year Review Committee and the SAS Committee for Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor.  In that time there were instances when the students' comments were the exact opposite of the way in which they had filled in the Scantron portion of the form.  I assume that the same must be true of  electronic forms submitted, that in some cases a faculty member can be rated disastrously on the Scantron and have comments indicating excellence and vice versa. 

1) Who should be responsible for addressing such discrepancies?  This is not a minor issue since in departments in which faculty members up for promotion and/or tenure wind up teaching small courses, the difference in interpreting a few forms can substantially enhance or damn their candidacy.

c. At the very least should University Senate pass a resolution instructing CTAAR each semester to instruct all faculty members to report any discrepancies immediately to some point person, described by position rather than name, at CTAAR, so that such problems do not adversely affect that faculty members' teaching portfolio?"

This issue was discussed at some length. It was suggested that the bigger issue of teaching evaluations should be explored, including "examining the methods and utilization of teaching evaluations, with the goal of standardization of such processes in the future." Robert Barraco was asked to draft a charge.

[Mary Mickelsen left the meeting at 2:33 p.m.]

Alumni Representatives to the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, issue submitted by Alumni Senator Robert Barraco on behalf of the Senate's Alumni Caucus:
Dr. Barraco wrote on behalf of the Alumni Caucus asking why there are no alumni Senator representatives to the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees. He withdrew this suggested issue, noting that he now knows that there are alumni on both boards.

Senate Election Procedures, issue raised by Senator Peter Gillett, who suggested that the University Structure and Governance Committee be charged with making recommendations on improved Senate election procedures. The issue was discussed, and a charge issued to the University Structure and Governance Committee, as follows:

Senate Election Procedures: Review election procedures used by the Senate, and, if appropriate, recommend improved procedures. Respond to Senate Executive Committee by February 2014.

Students Retaking Classes on Other Campuses for Credit, issue raised by Senator Samuel Berman. Berman withdrew this issue, noting that he would reconsider it and bring it back to the Executive Committee.

Strategic Planning Response(s) from the Senate: The issue of strategic planning responses from the Senate was discussed at some length. It was decided that an ad hoc task force would be formed to consider these issues, and perhaps hold a related committee-of-the-whole discussion at the October Senate meeting.

5.    University Senate Agenda

September 27, 2013 Senate Meeting:
It was agreed that the September 27, 2013 Senate meeting would include the following elements:
6.    Old Business

Senate Parliamentarian: Ann Gould suggested Peter Gillett as the new Senate Parliamentarian. [Note: Gillett later accepted the role, and the Executive Committee approved the appointment by email poll.]

7.    New Business

Code of Student Conduct (CSC), and Academic Integrity Policy (AIP): Martha Cotter briefed the Executive Committee on issues related to the CSC and AIP, particularly as they relate to legacy UMDNJ units (to which they do not yet apply). She noted that the Senate now has control over the AIP. Cotter will keep the Executive Committee informed on these issues.

Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) Questionnaire: Ann Gould said that Bob Enot of COIA had sent her a questionnaire consisting of four questions, and that she needed input and more background before she could respond. Robert Boikess and Robert Barraco volunteered to assist Gould with the response.

8.    Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 3:51 p.m.

Minutes written and submitted by,

Ken Swalagin
Executive Secretary of the University Senate