Executive Committee Meeting - Rutgers University Senate Skip to main content
Loading Meetings
  • This meeting has passed.
Nov 6th
12:00 pm

Executive Committee Meeting


Agenda Items Due On
Wednesday, October 28th

Agenda Distributed On
Saturday, October 31st

Executive Committee


November 9, 2020 – 12:00 noon


1. Chair’s Report– Jon Oliver, Senate Chair

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

3. Chancellor Q&A – Brian Strom, RBHS Chancellor

4. Administrative Report– Prabhas Moghe, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

5. Standing Committees/Panels

Issues/Proposed Charges:

Proposed Charge to Faculty and Personnel Affairs Committee on Annual Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Bias Education Courses for Faculty – Submitted by: Senator Jose Ward, Law-N (S) and Ryan Brinkerhoff, Newark Law Student

Proposed Charge: Adopt a mandatory requirement that all faculty University-wide complete annual diversity, inclusion, and the elimination of bias programs.

Background: The significance of this moment in our country’s history needs little explanation. There is a heightened awareness for all our biases, on personal, community and institutional levels – and that includes here at Rutgers. While we do have mechanisms in place for bias reporting and certain schools within the Rutgers ecosystem have undertaken committee work to make the curriculum more anti-racist, there are other reasonable proactive steps that can be taken university-wide to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students. Specifically, we are calling for faculty across all Rutgers campuses to be required to complete annual diversity, inclusion, and anti-bias education programs.

This is not at all to suggest we have bad or hateful faculty at Rutgers – on the contrary, we have phenomenal educators here. But if anything has been made clear in this moment it is that each of us, no matter how educated and sensitive, has room to learn and grow as we interact with people from all backgrounds, identity groups and lived experiences. This is particularly true for faculty who are admired by students. We hang on their every word and look to them for guidance, and when questionable or offensive comments come from them, even subconsciously, it creates a negative atmosphere for the very thing we came here for: learning. Further, it is for this same reason, admiration for our faculty, that it is near impossible to approach or report them for these incidents. The most logical solution is to implement annual anti-bias training, allowing faculty to continue learning as we all are, and proactively addressing complex issues that arise in the classroom as much as they do our general society.

Whereas faculty are already required to complete annual employment discrimination training, the addition of anti-bias training that would positively impact the classroom environment would not be overly burdensome and would yield great benefits to the students of Rutgers. Other universities, including Harvard, Michigan State and University of Colorado – Boulder, have all implemented similar mandatory education for their faculty, and it would be a beautiful and strong gesture of solidarity with marginalized students for this institution to do the same. We urge you to do so.

Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias courses, programs and activities must relate to the educators and administrators and may include, among other things, implicit and explicit bias, equal access to education and justice, servicing a diverse population, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the profession of education, and sensitivity to cultural and other differences when interacting with members of the public, students, alumni, administrators, educators, affiliates, vendors, and government personnel.

Proposed Charge to Information Technology Committee on Dissolution of the Cyberlearning Innovation and Research Center (CIRC)– Submitted by: Darrin York, SAS-NB, Chemistry Professor

Proposed Charge: The violation of policies on Centers and Institutes related to the abrupt dissolution of the Cyberlearning Innovation and Research Center without consultation or evaluation, and breach of contract in the implementation of the centers business plan.

Background: The CyberLearning Innovation and Research Center (CIRC) has been operational since 2016 and has developed custom technology for research and education that currently serves thousands of Rutgers students and provides critical data for ongoing education research studies. This innovative technology is actively being developed under the leadership and vision of the director, Darrin York. The technology is currently used in remote-instruction for conducting online recitations, homework in general and organic chemistry (~3000 students), customized assessments that do not require proctoring software, placement exams for tens of thousands of students, and other important projects in mathematics, the School of Nursing, Langue arts, and elsewhere). Recently, Executive SAS Dean Peter March, along with SAS MPS Vice Dean Thu Nguyen announced the dissolution of CIRC and re-orientation of its “assets” away from innovation and toward sustaining existing technology. Tom Vosseler, Director of SAS IT, will take over the entire CIRC technical team (and presumably the technology) on Nov. 9 (one month after the announcement). This decision has occurred without forewarning or consultation with the CIRC director, Darrin York, and without any evaluation of the CIRC as a center in violation of University policy on Centers and Institutes (section 10.1.5, “Academic Matters”), subsection C “Review and Renewal, Suspension or Dissolution of a Center or Institute”. There was no consultation with those affected by this action. This is an urgent matter, as it cripples ongoing faculty-led research and development efforts in creating custom teaching and learning technology for general and organic chemistry that is currently being used by thousands of students in the spring. This technology includes a homework and assessment system built on an adaptive eLearning platform that has allowed the use of student data to focus and improve instruction. Among other things, the system allows us to create custom quizzes, midterm and final exams that are more difficult to game (and can be used without invasive, insecure proctoring software), which has made a big difference during the pandemic. Finally, there is further grave concern about the authority of the MPS Vice Dean and SAS IT Director to take over innovative software for research and education designed by a faculty member and developed under his/her direction, and partially supported by government grants.

Proposed Charge to University Structure & Governance Committee on Review the Senate’s Relationship with the Rutgers Governing Boards – Submitted by: Senator Troy Shinbrot, Engineering (F)

Proposed Charge: Consider and recommend appropriate communication pathways and relationships between the University Senate and Governing Boards of Rutgers. Recommend policy changes, if any, for improved robust communication and input.

Background: Currently the Board of Governors (BoG) receives budgetary and policy information from the Central Administration. The BoG submits to limited public comment after a motion (e.g. for budgetary consent) has already been decided upon. It receives little or no information from the University Community (especially the Senate) before such decisions, and input by the Senate Representative to the BoG is extremely limited. A minimum prerequisite to providing meaningful co-governance would be for the Senate to have a mechanism for providing input in advance of budgetary and policy motions as well as in BoG meetings.

Charge Extension Requests

The Academic Standards, Regulations, and Admissions Committee requests an extension to March 2021 for the following charges:

      • S-1910: Grade Inflation – Due April 1, 2020 (The report for this charge was submitted for review at the June 2020 EC meeting. It was determined the report was not ready for docketing and sent back to ASRAC.)
      • S-2012: Procedures for Handling Student Complaints Against Rutgers Personnel Regarding Instruction – Due November 23, 2020

The Research and Graduate & Professional Education Committee requests an extension to April 7, 2021 for Charge S-2013: Preparing Graduate and Professional Students to Teach in the 21st Century.

6. New Business

7. Old Business

Faculty and Personnel Affairs Committee Position on Charge S-1912: Policy Prohibiting Consensual Relationships in Academic Settings

The following is an email sent on October 12, 2020 to Senate Executive Secretary Mickelsen from FPAC Chairs, Farid Alizadeh and Joe Markert regarding Charge S-1912.

The Faculty and Personnel Affairs (FPAC) committee has reviewed the above charge. Please recall that this charge was sent to FPAC on an urgent basis in the November 2019 meeting. Due to the charge’s rush nature, the committee pre-empted the discussion of several other charges to attend to S-1912.The committee drafted a proposed resolution that suggested important changes to the policy and forwarded it to the EC back in April. However, the April Senate meeting was to be conducted by WebEx. Since, at the time, we believed that the debate on this issue would be extensive, and since we hoped then that by Fall 2020, life would go back to pre-Covid normal, we asked the EC to postpone presenting this resolution to the Senate until the beginning of the academic year.

In the meantime, the university adopted this policy in the summer without input from the Senate.

After the Senate president asked us about what to do with this charge, we discussed the matter with our membership in the September 2020 meeting. The consensus was that the EC should present the Senate’s resolution for adoption and communicate it to the university. We also believe that the Senate should express its displeasure and disappointment that the university adopts such an important policy without the Senate input.

8. University Senate November 20, 2020 Agenda

  • Regular Senate Meeting via Zoom
  • Administrative Report by University President Jonathan Holloway
  • Chancellor’s Report by Interim Camden Chancellor Margaret Marsh

9. Adjournment

No minutes have been recorded for this meeting.

Present Senators

Robert Boikess Natalie Borisovets Russell Crews Peter Gillett Ralph Giraud Jon Oliver Robert Schwartz Sarah Shobut Adrienne Simonds Thomas Struble Karen Thompson Michael Van Stine Laura Willett Marie Yamaoka

Excused Senators

Absent Senators

Amanda Immidisetti