Faculty Senate Meeting
August 29, 2018
Kyle Morrow Room, Fondren Library
Senate Meeting Agenda (and actions taken):
Senators present: Graham Bader, Lisa Balabanlilar, Gwen Bradford, Nate Citino, Dennis Cox, Erik Dane, Michael Diehl, Daniel Domingues, Mahmoud El-Gamel, Christopher Fagundes, Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Charles Geyer, Pat Hartigan, Christopher Johns-Krull, Marek Kimmel, David Leebron, David Messmer, Marie Lynn Miranda, Ed Nikonowicz, Rob Raphael, Laura Segatori, Ray Simar, Scott Solomon, Kurt Stallman, Jesús Vassallo, Michael Wolf, Pablo Yepes, Colin Zelt
Senators absent: Martin Blumenthal-Barby (Proxy Lida Oukaderova present), Sergio Chavez, Angel Marti-Arbona, Emilia Morosan, Doug Schuler
(To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Chief Compliance Officer Ken Liddle and Vice Provost for Research Yosif Shamoo were present to explain the Intellectual Property Assignment. Liddle began by stating that over 800 forms have already been returned and that the also received about 60 really good questions. He reviewed the need for the agreement beginning with the Stanford v. Roche Supreme Court case in 2011. He said Rice University did not change their practice until the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued new rules in April of 2018. The NIST ruling allowed for a one month turnaround but also made a distinction between future assignments and present assignments.
Shamoo explained that Rice had a gap in their policy after the Stanford v. Roche case and they were working toward addressing it when the NIST ruling told them they had one month. 22 of Rice’s peer institutions had already addressed the Stanford v. Roche case. After the NIST ruling, Shamoo said, they formed a working group. The working group based the assignment on those of MIT and Stanford. Then, a revised version went out on Tuesday, August 28 that reflected faculty concerns and questions. Shamoo said the main difference in the new revision is in clause four.
Liddle said that the two main questions his office received from faculty were 1) who is required to sign the assignment and 2) how is it related to copyright? For the first question, Liddle said they started with anyone who does research. They did not want to make hard distinctions, and so it includes all faculty. For the most part, he stated, adjuncts and instructors are included. He said their intention is to be reasonable. For the second question, Liddle said, the copyright policy has not changed. Faculty still own their work. There are only two small exceptions: sponsored research and specific agreements with Rice. Shamoo added that faculty still own all their instructional materials.
Senator Mike Wolf thanked Shamoo and Liddle for revising the document. He commented that the revision is much better because in the previous version confidentiality isn’t defined. A discussion about confidentiality followed. Wolf said that he does not think it is clear in written language and Liddle responded that Clause D deals with that.
Deputy Speaker Chris Johns-Krull reported that all university committees have been staffed. He presented a list of committees and chairs, noting that there is a new committee on Information Technology that will be chaired by Farés el-Dahdah and Paul Padley. The list is as follows:
|Paula Sanders||Faculty & Staff Benefits|
|Matthew Baring||Fellowships & Awards|
|April DeConick||Graduate Council|
|Duane Windsor||Graduate Honor Council|
|Farès el-Dahdah||Information Technology|
|Will Cannady||Parking & Transportation|
|Kathy Matthews||Faculty Advisory to OFD|
|Carl Caldwell||Faculty Advisory to PWC|
|Jeff Fleisher||Undergraduate Curriculum|
Johns-Krull also said that a list of all faculty serving on University Committees, the Senate, and/or the P&T Committee has been sent to the deans and department chairs. Johns-Krull reminded senators that as a result of a Benefits Committee recommendation, “nudging” will begin soon. Beginning with the January 15, 2019 paycheck, all benefits eligible employees who are not already contributing at least 4% to retirement will be defaulted to a 4% retirement contribution unless they opt out. Faculty will have ample time to consider their options and to opt out. Employees can change their election at ANY time, and it will be effective the first of the following month. Susan Prochazka is working on a communications plan for faculty.
Registrar Tenney introduced the calendar by explaining that the calendar is approved 2 years in advance. A 2008 working group created a formula for setting the calendar. A 2015 working group kept the formula intact but moved Spring Break to align the Houston Independent School District break. He said the 2020-2021 proposed calendar is a reflection of the formula.
Senator Gwen Bradford said she was aware of the previous agonizing over the calendar but there are more days of instruction in the fall than in the spring. She expressed concerns over the inequity to both students and faculty in the differing number of class days. She also said she heard that HISD is now granting a full week off for Thanksgiving. Senator Scott Solomon pointed out that this year HISD also began a full week after Rice classes began and it was difficult to find summer camps for children. Senator Christopher Fagundes added that students are paying the same for both semesters despite the inequity in class days. Johns-Krull said that he would be happy to add two days to the spring semester to make the semesters even. Nikonowicz stated that he would be reluctant to give up his fall teaching dates. Solomon then noted that he thought the large gap between spring finals and commencement was due to calculating Latin Honors and wondered if class days could push into that gap. Tenney responded that many of these things had been considered before but that perhaps it was time to do so again. Senator Mike Wolf said the issue is whether people want to create another committee and he thinks it would be okay to wait until October to approve the calendar.
Bradford moved to table the calendar until a working group could be formed to study the inequity in the number of class sessions and report back in November. Senator Charles Geyer motioned to second. Senator Mahmoud El-Gamal said that perhaps a committee was not needed to reconsider things already addressed by previous committees. Nikonowicz said that he thinks it would take more than two months and he would rather see a group study the issue for 8-9 months if the Senate is going to do it. Senator Julie Fette added that even if the current calendar was approved, a working group could still be created to study the issues after. Senator Lisa Balabanlilar asked if three months was enough time for faculty and administration to be consulted. Senator Pat Hartigan asked if the group should continue to spend time on the calendar and said he preferred to approve the current calendar and then form a working group. Deputy Speaker Johns-Krull then moved to end discussion. Fleisher seconded that motion and a hand vote unanimously agreed to end the discussion. The motion to table the vote on the current calendar and create a working group to report back in November passed 17-6-1. The voting record can be found HERE.
Nikonowicz returned to the proposed new P&T guidelines and reminded those present that this was just a discussion and not voting item at this point. The senators asked for a summary of changes in the two documents.
Louma Ghandour, Director of the Office of Faculty Development, explained that the document had been updated in 2013. Since then some gaps have been revealed. Issues addressed included the difference between promotion to tenure and promotion with tenure, the role of the chair, and whether faculty can be put up for tenure more than once. This document makes it clear that faculty can only go up for tenure one time. (Following the meeting, Ghandour provided a document summarizing changes that can be found HERE.)
Senator Wolf said that he had a philosophical and technical concern about the proposed document. His philosophical feeling is that tenure should be about celebrating people and securing talent. It should be as early as possible. Some of the discussions have the tone of the tenure process happening very late. His technical comment what his concern that you can limit the information gathered about a candidate, specifically about whether letters from post-doctoral advisors and collaborators should be included in the “other letters” section of the dossier. A discussion followed about the context in which these letters should be considered and how it might differ for various fields. Provost Marie Lynn Miranda explained that if department chairs want a letter to be included, they can explain why it’s important.
Kathy Matthews, Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Office of Faculty Development, responded that for any documents, there are sometimes specific issues that people will have to work around. Rob Raphael stated that it should be clear whether or not faculty advisors’ letters will be included. Nikonowicz wrapped up the discussion by encouraging senators to go back to their constituents to receive feedback. Fleisher reminded those present that they could use the wiki to make comments.