Executive Committee


Cook Student Center, Room 202 ABC, Cook Campus
September 6, 2019 - 12:00 noon


1. Chair's Report - Jon Oliver, Senate Chair

2. Secretary’s Report - Mary Mickelsen, Senate Executive Secretary

3. Parliamentarian's Report - Peter Gillett, Senate Parliamentarian and Vice Chair

4. Administrative Report - Barbara Lee, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

5. Standing Committees/Panels

Appointment of 2019-20 University Commencement Panel (UCP) - Peter Gillet, UCP Chair

Proposed Committee Composition:

Issues/Proposed Charges:

Proposed Charge to Faculty and Personnel Affairs Committee (FPAC) on Senior Leadership Searches - Submitted by Jon Oliver

Proposed Charge: Investigate the processes used by Big10 and AAU institutions to identify senior leaders and recommend best practices at Rutgers.

Background: The integration of UMDNJ and legislation that created RBHS in 2013, restricted the President of the University from also having the role as New Brunswick Chancellor and brought major changes to the senior leadership structure of the university. The Senate's role in shared governance and its role advising the President might serve the Rutgers community well by providing input in the hiring process for Chancellors and possibly other senior leaders. School bylaws often provide for faculty, student, and staff input into search committees used to recommend new Deans, but our present policies do not appear to require similar arrangements for more senior leaders.

Proposed Charge to Instruction Curricula and Advising Committee (ICAC)) on Grade Inflation - Submitted by Karen Thompson

Proposed Charge: Investigate the extent of grade inflation at Rutgers over the past 20 years. Determine what factors contributed to whatever grade inflation exists and make recommendations to rectify any improprieties.

Background: Senator Thompson referenced the following article as background: "The Fruits of Commodification" by Ed Burmila

Issue regarding the possibility of White Labeling at Rutgers - Submitted by Karen Thompson

Senator Thompson sent the following article to Executive Secretary Mickelsen on July 16, suggesting the Senate may want to take a closer look at Rutgers practices around "White-Labeling". Mickelsen discussed the issue with Senate Chair Jon Oliver, Vice Chair Peter Gillett and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara Lee. SVP Lee conferred with Rich Novak, Vice President for Continuing Studies and Distance Education, and after which replied with the following response:

Dear Mary, Thank you for contacting me about Karen's concerns. I spoke with Rich Novak about this. As often happens, his alleged quote was mangled and taken out of context. But more importantly, Rutgers' relationship with Trilogy, the company cited in the Inside HigherEd article, is only for a non-credit coding "boot camp' that DOCS has run for the past five years. And there is no "white-labeling" at Rutgers, to my knowledge.

In developing the coding boot camp, Rich and his colleagues consulted with faculty in our School of Communication and Information, who reviewed the course content, suggested and made changes in the curriculum, and specified the qualifications of the individuals who teach the coding noncredit courses. Trilogy courses are NOT credit-baring courses and are NOT offered by any degree-granting unit at Rutgers. Furthermore, Harvard, Northwestern, and Georgia Tech are among 45 universities, including Rutgers, that participate in Trilogy coursework for noncredit courses. Faculty at these universities reviewed the curriculum and maintain oversight, meeting quarterly to ensure that the curriculum is appropriate for students learning coding (which involves creating apps for iOS and Android devices and coding websites).

Faculty who teach in the coding bootcamp are screened, hired, and evaluated by DOCs, just as adjunct faculty who teach non-credit courses are. A very large proportion of coding bootcamp graduates either land well-paying jobs or are promoted within a few months of completing the course.

It sounds to me as though the author of the Inside HigherEd article misunderstood Rich's comment and conflated his "bootcamp" comment with a practice (white-labeling) that, to my knowledge, does not exist at Rutgers.

Thank you for alerting me to Karen's concern, and please feel free to share my response with her. Sincerely, Barbara

6. New Business

7. University Senate September 20, 2019 Agenda

8. Adjournment