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University Senate
December 5, 2011

I. Approval of agenda: approved.

II. Approval of tentative agenda: approved.

III. Senate President’s Report (F. Walter)

  • The Administrative Review Survey will be up on Solar until Monday. Some people were not able to vote because they are on sabbatical. Research faculty were also not able to vote. This needs to be changed in the future.
  • The EC has expressed their displeasure that governance was not involved in the planning process of the new University Calendar.

IV. Presentation of the proposed new University Calendar (C. Robbins)

  • Principles: design an academic calendar that is consistent and predictable from year to year
  • Duration: fall to spring with 14 weeks of classes plus one week for finals.
  • Winter will be 3 weeks and summer will be 12 weeks (6 + 6).
  • All of campus will follow the same calendar.
  • Standardized academic breaks.
  • Classes will remain in session for religious holidays except the ones mandated by contract. Reviewed all calendars of all AAU universities. The only ones that have off are Stony Brook, Buffalo and Brandeis Universities. All others have strong policies regarding respect for faculty and students religious beliefs. The Provost’s Office will provide each year a listing of all the major holidays of all religions represented on campus.
  • Finals begin on Monday and end on Sunday.
  • Commencement ceremonies should be on a Thursday – Friday and not on the weekend.
  • Provide one week administrative break between end of the summer session and the fall start.
  • Benefits: increased consistency from year to year. Demonstrates equal respect for students and faculty of all religions. No modified class meeting times or weekly schedules. Consistent academic breaks.

V. Senate Business:

A. Election of the University Senate President (E. Feldman).

  • This was done in accordance with the recently passed by-law changes in regard to the election of the University Senate President. There were two candidates that were brought forward to the Executive Committee in its October or November meeting. One withdrew and the remaining candidate was vetted by the Executive Committee, Dr. Fred Walter. There was a 10-day period after that during which there could be nominations from the Senate – there were none. The ballot choices are for Fred Walter, no or abstain. Only Senators can vote.

B. Shared Service Centers resolutions from the University Senate and the A&S Senate (F. Walter)

  • The University Senate Executive Committee approved the A&S Resolution on Shared Service Centers this past Monday and we are going to put it up for a vote. The University Senate Executive has also produced a resolution on Shared Service Centers.
  • The reason for this is that we are a research institution and we believe in the value of data. We are not the first university that has tried Shared Service Centers. We do not know what the experience has been at those places. It is time to gather data. We are not opposed to Shared Service Centers but opposed to rushing into something that may or may not work without understanding what the full consequences are.
  • The Executive Committee has asked the Research Committee to poll colleagues at universities who have gone through the process. We hope to expedite this and have a report by the end of the spring semester.

Discussion about poor morale among faculty and staff, harmful to students, and staff are fearful of losing their jobs. Shared Services may be good if we knew what we are working towards – perhaps there would be more enthusiasm about it. Shared services has worked so far in Theatre Arts.

President Stanley:

  • Felt that a lot of the discussion so far is predicated on the idea of status quo, which it is not. The University cannot maintain the administrative structure with $82 Mil. in budget cuts. We have avoided layoffs and closures. We have found ways not to replace faculty members who have retired by using shared services approach.
  • Need to define a model and make sure it fits for the departments.
  • Stony Brook is not an institution that can afford to take a year while people try to gather data in a haphazard manner from other institutions about what should be done. Highly unlikely that you will get solid research data.
  • Nancy Squires has worked very hard to be consulted on the shared services process. The process has been proceeding at a reasonable pace.
  • Disappointed in the shared services resolutions. They suggest we have all the time in the world. We need to take action sooner rather than later.

Vote taken to accept A&S Senate Resolution on Shared Services:
28 in favor, 2 opposed and 12 abstain. Resolution passes.

Vote taken to accept University Senate Resolution on Shared Services:
22 in favor, 5 opposed, 18 abstain. Resolution passes.

VI. Report from the President (S. Stanley)

  • The President deferred his report.

VII. Report from the Provost (D. Assanis)

VIII. Report from East Campus (K. Kaushansky)

  • Good news Report deferred until next meeting.

IX. Report from UUP (A. Shertzer)

  • Hope to have union news at the next senate meeting.

X. New business: Online Course Evaluations (B. Selvin)

  • There are concerns about the marketing of the online course evaluations. The response rate of less than 20% makes evaluations useless as far as providing guidance to instructors and new programs like the School of Journalism. The faculty in the SOJ would like the university to invest a broader marketing effort such as newspaper ads and fliers.
  • Suggestions from the floor: release course grades contingent on submitting the evaluations, adding a pop-up reminder on SOLAR that wouldn’t go away until a student’s evaluation were complete, and making links to the evaluations during the registration period to encourage students to look at previous evaluations

IX. Results of Senate President election (E. Feldman)

Ballots were counted: 48 for, 0 against and 3 abstentions for Dr. Fred Walter. Congratulations to Fred.

X. Old business: no old business.

Meeting adjourned.

Submitted by:

Laurie Theobalt

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