Category: Uncategorized

Clarification of the intention of the University System with regard to the Shepherd Bend site

The Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama received inquiries from the faculty with regard to rumors of the development of a surface coal mine on a UA-owned property, the Shepherd Bend Mine site. In response to these rumors, the Presidents of the Faculty Senates of UA, UAB and UAH and the Student Government Presidents of UAB and UAH wrote to Chancellor Witt requesting a clarification of the University System’s intentions with regard to the development of the site. The letter to Chancellor Witt and his response are as follows.

Senate_letter_to_Chancellor 1013

Chancellor_response 110813

The Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Donation Program

To encourage the participation of faculty at commencement exercises, the Faculty Senate is assembling a collection of academic regalia . These regalia will be maintained by the Senate and loaned to faculty. This project was initiated by the late Dr. Karen Steckol, former President of the Faculty Senate, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders; in her memory the program will be known as the Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Project.

Donations of academic regalia are now being accepted. Please fill out this form and bring regalia to Linda Knowles, Administrative Secretary to the Faculty Senate, 401 Martha Parham West.

Faculty Senate Constitution

ARTICLE I. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Faculty Senate is to aid The University of Alabama in making judgments on questions of policy, development, and operations and thereby to assist the University in its continuing quest for excellence. It seeks to accomplish this goal by:

  1. Facilitating and encouraging meaningful input on matters of general faculty concern.
  2. Providing a readily accessible channel of communication through which continual dialogue and exchange of information and ideas may be carried on between the Faculty and University Officials.

ARTICLE II. RESPONSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS

The responsibilities of the faculty rest with the faculty as a whole, but faculty opinion will normally be articulated through a Faculty Senate as herein constituted.

The Faculty Senate has the responsibility and authority to deliberate issues of general faculty concern and to communicate the results of these deliberations and its recommendations to the President of the University.

The Senate receives information from the administrative officers of the University regarding pending policy decisions, or it determines through independent study that certain policy decisions appear to be appropriate; in either instance its function is to aid in the formulation or re-formulation of University policy.

The function may be served in some instances by discussion in which Senate members contribute their advice for consideration by those who are responsible for formulation and implementation of policy regarding the matter in question. In particular instances, on the other hand, the Senate may choose to make formal statements by majority vote.

The Faculty Senate is entitled to be advised of the disposition of any recommendations it makes.

Some general matters appropriate for faculty deliberation include:

  1. General policies for admission of students to the University and the establishment of academic standards and requirements for graduation.
  2. Establishment of the terms and conditions of faculty service and wellbeing.
  3. Selection of a University President or Vice-President. The views of the Faculty Senate should be solicited and considered before an appointment is made. In the case of selection of a divisional Dean only the faculty of that particular division should be consulted.
  4. Budgetary Matters: Reviewing past and current allocations; Faculty Senate will designate one of its members to be available to the President to serve on all groups which make budgetary decisions on a campus-wide basis. Such groups include those concerned with establishing need, establishing priorities for allocations, and deciding on allocations.
  5. Establishment of the University calendar.
  6. Major changes in academic or research programs which are of an interdivisional nature or which have significant interdivisional impact.

Repudiation by a majority vote of the faculties of 2/3 of the divisions voids an action of the Faculty Senate.

ARTICLE III. APPORTIONMENT OF SENATE REPRESENTATION

Each division of the University, including colleges, schools, and the University Libraries, is represented in the Faculty Senate by one senator for each twenty persons, or fraction thereof, serving on the date of the election under a regular appointment as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor engaged in teaching or research at least half of a normal load during the regular year, or a librarian having corresponding rank and professional engagement.

Each division of the University shall elect alternate senators in a number equal to the number of its senators. Such alternate senators can substitute for any senator within the alternate’s division of the University on request of the Senator. When serving for a senator, an alternate may perform any of the functions of a senator with the full power of the senator. No senator may be represented by other than a duly elected alternate from the same division of the University.

A person holding a joint appointment involving more than one division must choose the division through which to participate in senate representation.

The dean or corresponding administrative officer of each division will be responsible for certifying the number of persons who qualify under this section to be counted in determining the number of senators for the division.

ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS

The divisions of the University will hold elections for Senators and alternates by secret ballot during the last two weeks of February or the first two weeks of March, for a term of two years commencing April 1. In the divisional elections nominations may be made anonymously or from the floor. Only regular faculty members as defined in Article III are eligible for election to the Senate. However, the faculty of each division may determine who is eligible to vote in its particular election and in making this determination is not governed by the factors of eligibility to be counted for apportionment purposes under Article III.

The faculty of a division either may elect its senators at large or assign them for election by any arrangement of faculty subgroups as determined by faculty vote.

The dean or corresponding administrative officer of each division will conduct the election. Except for Special elections, election as a senator is for a two-year term of office and to replace those senators whose terms are expiring. The Senate Secretary will notify the deans of the divisions by February 14 of the number of Senate vacancies which will occur that year in each division.

The term of office for a senator elected in a Special election is for the remaining portion of the term of the senator being replaced.

ARTICLE V. ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURES

At its last regular meeting in March, the first order of business for the Senate shall be to elect a President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary of the Senate for the ensuing year, from those Senators recently re-elected to the Senate or whose Senatorial term does not expire the ensuing April 1. No person elected to the Senate for the first time shall be eligible for such offices. The new officers shall take office on April 1.

The presiding officer of the Faculty Senate will call a meeting of the faculty of the University when so requested by a petition from one-fifth of the members of the faculty as determined by the total number of persons certified by the administrative officers of the divisions of the University at the time of the last General Senate election, by a vote of the majority of the Senators present at a meeting of the Senate, or by the President of the University.

The elected officers, the immediate past President of the Faculty Senate, and chairpersons of standing committees will constitute a steering committee. If the immediate past President of the Faculty Senate is no longer a senator, ex officio status in the steering committee will be automatic. The immediate past President who is no longer a senator will be privileged to attend all open and executive sessions of the Senate with right of debate but without vote. The steering committee will determine the agenda of all Senate meetings. Anyone may propose agenda topics for Senate meetings. A topic must be put on the agenda if as many as five senators, twenty faculty members, or the President of the University request it.

The Senate will meet each month during August through April, according to a schedule. The steering committee may call special meetings at any time while the University is in session during the regular academic year or a summer term (not including the interim term), and must do so when as many as ten senators, forty faculty members, or the President of the University request it.

A senator’s absence from three meetings during a term of office without being represented by a duly elected alternate may vacate the office. The Senate shall be the judge of the reasonableness of the senator’s absence without representation. Upon notification by the Senate, the dean of a division in which a senator’s office is vacated shall hold an immediate Special election for a replacement.

The dean of a division also will hold Special elections to senate seats when these seats are vacant because of death of the senator, resignation of the senator from the Senate, resignation of the senator from the faculty of the University, or for vacancies caused by a change in the status of a senator of such nature that the senator no longer is eligible to hold the office under provisions of 4 this constitution. Such Special elections will be held following notification by the Senate of a vacancy and as promptly as feasible after this notification.

Action to recall a Senate member from a division or faculty subgroup may be initiated by petition of not less than one-third of the voting members from that division or subgroup. Upon receiving this petition, the dean of the division shall notify the Senate member promptly and convene a special meeting of the voting members of the division to consider the petition. After opportunity for discussion of the substance of the petition, a secret vote shall be taken. If two-thirds of the voting members present vote to support the petition to recall the Senate member, the seat shall be declared vacant. The dean shall hold a Special election promptly to select a replacement and will notify the Senate President of the action. In such a meeting for recall and in all General and Special elections, a vote will be taken only after it is determined that a quorum is present as defined by the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order will govern the proceedings of the Senate except when they contravene a rule adopted by the Senate.

ARTICLE VI. ADOPTION

Approval of this Constitution by a simple majority vote of the eligible faculty and by the President of the University will have the effect of establishing a University of Alabama Faculty Senate as herein defined.

ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENT

Amendments to this Constitution will originate in the Senate. An amendment will be proposed and debated at a meeting of the Senate, and following further debate will be voted on at the next subsequent meeting of the Senate. If the amendment receives a majority vote of the Senate, it will be presented to the faculty of the University for its action in a University-wide referendum. There will be a 30-day period between the announcement of the referendum and the date of the ballot. Amendments which receive a favorable vote of the majority of the faculty voting in the referendum will be presented to the President of the University for approval.

Approved:

Rona J. Donahoe, Secretary, Faculty Senate

Date: October 7, 2013

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Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu

Research and Service (R&S) Committee Year End Summary 2017‐18

Committee members: Ajay Agrawal; Silas Blackstock; Cory Callahan; Andrew Dewar; Peter Jensen; Sushma Kotru; Michael Kreger; Shuhui Li; Tom Lopez; John McDonald; Michael Parrott; Edward Sazonov; Kelly Shannon

Co‐chairs: Ajay Agrawal, and Michael Kreger

R&S Committee focused on the following tasks during the year:

  1. Data on faculty hires
  2. Search for VP for R&ED
  3. Research survey questionnaire
  4. Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean 5. Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

1. Data on Faculty hires

The committee prepared a memo sent to the provost in November 2017 requesting that the administration develop a matrix with quantitative and qualitative criteria to assess the progress made in faculty hiring, update the matrix on a regular basis (say each semester), and, in the spirit of transparency, make it available to the university faculty and/or community.

The committee identified a list of items to include in this matrix to help the UA community understand the impact of the recent research initiatives and, thus, become an effective partner as the University seeks to achieve the primary goals of the Strategic Plan.

In meetings, the provost mentioned that the Board of Trustees has also asked for similar data, and indicated that his office will coordinate with the R&S committee to make the information available while serving both faculty and Board of Trustees’ needs.

2. Search for VP for R&ED

R&S Committee member Si Blackstock was selected to serve on the search committee as faculty senate representative. The committee was asked to provide the 2‐3 most important skillsets, attributes, or types of experience that UA’s next VPR needs to have in order to be successful in this role. The committee provided the following input:

(a) Teaching, research, and administrative experience at a Tier I research university.

(b) Broad understanding of research beyond a disciplinary boundary and appreciation of the dual education‐research mission in PhD programs across a wide range of disciplines.

(c) Demonstrated skills to acquire and manage significant research funding (government, private, or a combination) including assignment as a research program monitor.

Si Blackstock provided periodic updates to the committee and faculty senate about the hiring process.

Candidates have been identified for on‐campus interviews in April 2018. The R&S committee is scheduled to meet with candidates during interviews.

3. Research Survey Questionnaire

R&S sought to seek faculty input to support the University’s research strategy, and thus, the task of developing a survey was undertaken throughout the year. The committee reviewed the Faculty Life Survey conducted in 2014, and initially sought to repeat it in 2017 working in conjunction with the Faculty Life Committee. However, the University is partnering with ModernThink to survey faculty and staff regarding their workplace experience and thus, to provide opportunities and resources that facilitate work‐life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff.

This survey does not focus on research.

The R&S committee developed a survey to collect faculty/staff input regarding research to support the research strategy announced by President Bell to “Increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities that impact economic and societal development.” The survey contains 24 questions divided into six categories. Multiple options are provided for each question. Response to questions can be to (1) either rank the answers in the order of importance, or (2) assign weight to each answer so the total adds up to 100. In addition, comments and ideas not covered by the possible responses provided can be entered in a free‐response space provided for each question.

The steering committee of the faculty senate has endorsed the survey. Input has also been sought from the University’s Research Advisory Committee. Plans are underway to work out the logistics and implementation of the survey in coordination with the administration.

4. Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean

The R&S Committee met with Cindy Hope, Director of ORA, and discussed several ideas to enhance the services. Through the course of the meeting, Ms. Hope informed R&S committee members that a proposal development team is being formed to assist faculty in preparation of proposals of any dollar amount. A technical editor has already been hired and is available to provide editing services. The committee also met with Graduate Dean, Dr. Susan Carvalho, and discussed several ideas to increase graduate enrollment.

5. Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

The R&S Committee co‐chairs Ajay Agrawal and Mike Kreger had multiple meetings with the provost and VP for R&ED, and were asked to identify high‐priority items concerning research at the University. A white paper was developed to make the case for research infrastructure needs and priorities for the Capital Campaign.

To view the content above as a pdf, click here.

Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu

Faculty Life Committee Year-End Summary 2017-2018:

Committee members: James Gilbreath, Julia Cartwright, Andrea Glenn, Kelley Schoger, Daiquiri Steele, Adam Knowlden, Michelle Hale.

James Gilbreath & Bill Martin were co-chairs from April 2017 – August 2017.

Julia Cartwright took over from Bill in September 2017.

Overall, there have been ~7 policies that we have focused on as a committee from September.

  1. Daycare opportunities & policies regarding inclement weather.
  2. Temporary Housing.
  3. Gym membership.
  4. Maternity/paternity leave.
  5. Development of a website for new faculty.
  6. Hayes’ Charge of UA/UAH/UAB
  7. Faculty surveys.

1) Daycare

There is a significant need for daycare on campus. There are long waitlists to get into certain daycares around Tuscaloosa.

The committee did some data gathering to determine how extensive the problem is.

  • It’s a massive problem. E.g. Some daycares have long lists and limited places & have some slightly unconventional methods for requiring parents to sign up.

Faculty and Staff Benefits committee are also working on this. They are putting forward a charge for a separate daycare facility on campus. We are composing a resolution in support of this proposal. This needs to be done. With increasing hires = more potential for daycare issues. This is not going to go away.

Other concerns include inclement weather – we are working to try to implement some support on campus in instances when local schools close, but the university does not.

2) Temporary Housing

The university has very limited accommodation available for incoming faculty. A few colleges have access to some property for temporary living, at the discretion of the dean. These limited accommodations are heavily oversubscribed – there is clearly a market to expand this.

Many other universities have support for new faculty, including temporary housing.

We are drafting a proposal to suggest that the university invests in some accommodation for incoming new faculty and staff, especially those from further afield, who would greatly benefit from having a temporary residence in order to establish an identity (SSN) and bank account etc.

3) Gym membership

The university are very proud of their sporting heritage and have multiple facilities across campus. Many other universities offer free membership to their faculty and staff.

James and I met with the director of the Rec Center to negotiate allowing free access to faculty and staff. As they are a separate franchise, total free membership is apparently out of the question. We countered that offering free access to facilities for a couple of days a week would be beneficial to the faculty and staff bodies as a whole, especially in the interests of supporting the 4th pillar of the UA system – to promote a healthy work:life balance.

We have drafted a proposal to suggest a pilot study over the summer in which the Rec Center would allow free access to faculty and staff during time periods that are typically low frequency.

We are in the process of finishing this.

The idea is that it would provide both the senate and the rec center with valuable data with which to determine the cost/benefit ratio for the proposal.

An additional consideration is that a program such as Wellbama may be able to incorporate a similar benefit through participation in a program.

4) Maternity/Paternity Leave

This is also a subject that has been worked on by the Faculty and Staff benefits committee – they drafted a proposal to suggest maternity leave for staff.

We support this motion, and hope that it will be expanded on in the future.

We also propose that language in the handbook be gender-neutral to highlight equality within the family unit.

5) Development of a website for new faculty/current faculty

We have been working on an idea to implement a new website with which to provide information for incoming and current faculty about the Tuscaloosa area in general. This website would provide a useful tool for staff and faculty to learn information ranging from where the post offices are, to how to open a bank account, as well as providing an example of overall budgets based on living expenses. Many universities have similar tools that are invaluable for those that are not local to the area, and this information is not currently available in a single place for UA staff and faculty.

James, Julia and Barb Dalhbach (Strategic Communications) met with Monica Watts (Ass. VP for Communications) and Andy Rainey (Director of Web communications) to discuss the idea of this website. The conclusion of the meeting that they are very supportive of this action and would be happy to build the website. However, the question of where it should be hosted came up. HR seems like an obvious platform, and we are hoping to meet with the HR director to discuss this soon.

Additionally, the concept of how to acquire all of this data and who would maintain it is a significant issue. While some minor data mining could be done by the committee, it was judged that this would need to be undertaken by an individual over a period of time.

Barb and James (both in libraries) mentioned that there is an internship opportunity within libraries for data conservation and curation. Maybe a student intern could spend a summer gathering this information, and later interns could work to update the material?

Julia, James and Barb met with Sybil Bullock – who is the internship coordinator in the College of Communications and Information Sciences – to discuss the possibility of having a summer internship project for a student. She was in support of this idea and was going to take it further within her college. One question of advising came up – and there was the question of whether this could be overseen by someone in HR, with some updates provided to the Faculty Life committee. We are still following this up.

6) Chancellor Hayes’ Charge

We discussed the charge from Chancellor Hayes at length during multiple committee meetings, and highlighted that the charge could be something that affects multiple committees. Both encouraging research, and promoting some work/life balance.

Overall, there was concern that a bus tour would require significant planning, and some faculty and staff may not be that interested in visiting other places.

Some departments already have collaborative conference between the three UA campuses.

This topic was raised at the BOT meeting, and with little interest from UAB (lots from UAH!), the conclusion was that it may be a good idea to have common issues highlighted in some sort of online platform – which may also provide a basis with which to encourage collaboration.

7) Faculty Surveys

The committee went through the Climate Survey data and highlighted various areas where problems may have arisen. Additional James and Julia met with the Title 9 lawyers to ensure that there were no responsibilities as required reporters.

We discussed the idea of sending out another survey to the faculty, but decided against that at this point, as multiple surveys have been launched recently, including the Mindat survey.

As a final point, I would like to urge that the members of the senate please update their faculties about issues that the senate are raising. On more than a number of occasions, I have been contacted by people (and friends) suggesting that the university open a daycare or that free gym membership be offered. This highlights that some of the hardwork that these committees are doing is not being passed on to our colleagues. We want the senate to be shown to be a driver of change in the university, and without the senate members passing on this information, our colleagues are non-the-wiser regarding ideas and policies.

To view the content above as a pdf, click here.

Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee Annual Report 2017-2018

2017-2018

University of Alabama

Faculty Senate

Mirit Byal-Cohen & Osiris Molina, Subcommittee Co-Chairs

Kelly Guyotte, Sheila Black, Ignacio Rodeno, Melvin Lewis, Anne Levy

The 2017-2018 incarnation of this committee was inaugurated by the Faculty Senate in October 2018 in response to the hiring of Dr. Christine Taylor, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The committee began to meet monthly with Dr. Taylor to create a dialogue between her office and the faculty and to establish new and improved methods of bringing together the many disparate activities on campus that are designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Important to that mission is creating a stronger bond with the Crossroads Center and its director, Lane McClelland. Lane’s efforts to bolster diversity at UA have been significant, and the committee will make every effort to support her efforts.

One of the principal issues that our committee will address in the next academic year includes the possibility of adapting or adding a diversity component to the university core curriculum. How and where this component is implemented will be a point of discussion.

Establishing caucus groups among the faculty to create greater awareness and connectivity is another proposal before the committee for the next academic year. A brief incarnation of this occurred a few years ago in the College of Arts and Sciences bringing together Hispanic faculty, and more can be done in this regard.

Our committee can and will serve as a sounding board for Dr. Taylor’s office in all manner of activity, from addressing student behavior issues to faculty recommendations for addressing diversity and equity issues in and out of the classroom.

This committee is highly energetic and committed to make a difference for all university constituents. We look forward to continued success in 2017-2018.

To view the content above as a pdf, click here.

Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu

Research and Service (R&S) Committee Year End Summary 2017‐18

Committee members: Ajay Agrawal; Silas Blackstock; Cory Callahan; Andrew Dewar; Peter Jensen; Sushma Kotru; Michael Kreger; Shuhui Li; Tom Lopez; John McDonald; Michael Parrott; Edward Sazonov; Kelly Shannon

Co‐chairs: Ajay Agrawal, and Michael Kreger

R&S Committee focused on the following tasks during the year:

  1. Data on faculty hires
  2. Search for VP for R&ED
  3. Research survey questionnaire
  4. Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean 5. Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

1) Data on Faculty hires

The committee prepared a memo sent to the provost in November 2017 requesting that the administration develop a matrix with quantitative and qualitative criteria to assess the progress made in faculty hiring, update the matrix on a regular basis (say each semester), and, in the spirit of transparency, make it available to the university faculty and/or community.

The committee identified a list of items to include in this matrix to help the UA community understand the impact of the recent research initiatives and, thus, become an effective partner as the University seeks to achieve the primary goals of the Strategic Plan.

In meetings, the provost mentioned that the Board of Trustees has also asked for similar data, and indicated that his office will coordinate with the R&S committee to make the information available while serving both faculty and Board of Trustees’ needs.

2) Search for VP for R&ED

R&S Committee member Si Blackstock was selected to serve on the search committee as faculty senate representative. The committee was asked to provide the 2‐3 most important skillsets, attributes, or types of experience that UA’s next VPR needs to have in order to be successful in this role. The committee provided the following input:

(a) Teaching, research, and administrative experience at a Tier I research university.

(b) Broad understanding of research beyond a disciplinary boundary and appreciation of the dual education‐research mission in PhD programs across a wide range of disciplines.

(c) Demonstrated skills to acquire and manage significant research funding (government, private, or a combination) including assignment as a research program monitor.

Si Blackstock provided periodic updates to the committee and faculty senate about the hiring process.

Candidates have been identified for on‐campus interviews in April 2018. The R&S committee is scheduled to meet with candidates during interviews.

3) Research Survey Questionnaire

R&S sought to seek faculty input to support the University’s research strategy, and thus, the task of developing a survey was undertaken throughout the year. The committee reviewed the Faculty Life Survey conducted in 2014, and initially sought to repeat it in 2017 working in conjunction with the Faculty Life Committee. However, the University is partnering with ModernThink to survey faculty and staff regarding their workplace experience and thus, to provide opportunities and resources that facilitate work‐life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff.

This survey does not focus on research.

The R&S committee developed a survey to collect faculty/staff input regarding research to support the research strategy announced by President Bell to “Increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities that impact economic and societal development.” The survey contains 24 questions divided into six categories. Multiple options are provided for each question. Response to questions can be to (1) either rank the answers in the order of importance, or (2) assign weight to each answer so the total adds up to 100. In addition, comments and ideas not covered by the possible responses provided can be entered in a free‐response space provided for each question.

The steering committee of the faculty senate has endorsed the survey. Input has also been sought from the University’s Research Advisory Committee. Plans are underway to work out the logistics and implementation of the survey in coordination with the administration.

4) Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean

The R&S Committee met with Cindy Hope, Director of ORA, and discussed several ideas to enhance the services. Through the course of the meeting, Ms. Hope informed R&S committee members that a proposal development team is being formed to assist faculty in preparation of proposals of any dollar amount. A technical editor has already been hired and is available to provide editing services. The committee also met with Graduate Dean, Dr. Susan Carvalho, and discussed several ideas to increase graduate enrollment.

5) Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

The R&S Committee co‐chairs Ajay Agrawal and Mike Kreger had multiple meetings with the provost and VP for R&ED, and were asked to identify high‐priority items concerning research at the University. A white paper was developed to make the case for research infrastructure needs and priorities for the Capital Campaign.

To view the content above as a pdf, click here.

Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu