May 15, 2014

Plenary Meeting of the Rice University Faculty

May 15, 2014

10:00 a.m.


I. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Degree Candidates

II. Presentation of Undergraduate Honors

III. Presentation and Approval of Candidates for Advanced Degrees

IV. President Leebron
A. Faculty Deaths and Moment of Silence
B. Retiring Faculty Members
C. Brief Remarks

V. Year-End Summary of Faculty Senate Activities

VI. Looking Ahead to 2014-2015

VII. Announcements

I. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Degree Candidates

Faculty Senate Speaker James Weston convened the meeting at 10:00 a.m. He called on Professor Stan Dodds, chair of the University Committee for Examinations and Standing (EX&S), to present the list of baccalaureate degree candidates for faculty approval. Registrar David Tenney provided a written copy of all information for everyone present.

Recommended Undergraduate Degrees

May 2014

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Bachelor of Science (BS)


BS in Bioengineering (BSBE)


BS in Chemical Engineering (BSCHE)


BS in Civil Engineering (BSCE)


BS in Computer Science (BSCS)


BS in Electrical Engineering (BSEE)


BS in Mechanical Engineering (BSME)


BS in Materials Science (BSMS)


Bachelor of Music (BMUS)


Total (undergraduate degrees)


Bachelor of Architecture (UP)


Grand Total (undergraduate degrees)


Actual # of students: (423 Men, 426 Women) 849 UGs and (9 Men, 5 Women) 14 UPs

The assembled faculty members voted unanimously to approve the awarding of the degrees.

II. Presentation and Approval of Undergraduate Honors

Dodds and Tenney presented the Undergraduate Honors information, as shown below. Tenney noted that there were 85 students with a grade point average of 4.0 or above.

information on honors received by students with more than 1 major

Tenney also presented information on honors received by students with more than one major:

information on honors received by students with more than one major

The faculty voted unanimously to approve the undergraduate honors candidates. Dodds reminded the group that the information is confidential until the commencement ceremony.

III. Presentation and Approval of Candidates for Advanced Degrees

Weston called on Professor Ken Whitmire, chair of the Graduate Council, and Registrar David Tenney to present the candidates for advanced degrees. Whitmire and Tenney announced that there are 662 candidates for advanced degrees.

Recommended Advanced Degrees

May 2014

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Master of Arts (MA)


Master of Science (MS)


Master of Architecture (MARCH)


Master of Music (MMUS)


Master of Business Administration (MBA)


Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


Master of Bioengineering (MBE)


Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering (MCEE)


Master of Computer Science (MCS)


Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE)


Master of Mechanical Engineering (MME)


Master of Statistics (MSTAT)


Master of Science Teaching (MST)


Master of Science in Bioscience Research and Health Policy (MSBRHP)


Master of Science in Environmental Analysis & Decision Making (MEADM)


Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience (MSG)


Grand Total (Advanced Degrees)


The faculty voted unanimously for approval of the graduate degrees. Tenney noted that the number of MBA’s awarded has grown, while the number of Ph.D.’s has remained constant. Weston thanked Dodds and Whitmire for their dedicated service to Rice University.

IV. President Leebron

A. Faculty Deaths and a Moment of Silence

Riki Kobayashi

Edward O. Doughtie

G. King Walters

Cylde Holloway

Madeleine Rousseau-Raaphorst

B. Retiring Faculty Members

Jung Won Han, 10 years

Javier Rojo, 12 years

Patricia Brogdon-Gomez, 14 years

Liliana Borcea, 17 years

Marian Fabian, 22 years

Thomas Hill, 41 years

C. Herb Ward, 48 years

Herb Ward was present for the ceremony, and he received a hearty round of applause.

C. Remarks

President Leebron thanked Dodds and Whitmire for their service, saying that they had performed valuable work on behalf of Rice University. He also thanked Carl Caldwell, outgoing Faculty Senate Speaker. He said that the leadership of the Faculty Senate has been remarkable. Leebron also said that the Senate and the administration have a good relationship and have worked together to achieve success on important issues such as faculty retirement, decanal reviews, and grade inflation.

V. Year-End Summary of Faculty Senate Activities

Carl Caldwell stated that about ten years ago, he was among a group of faculty members who rewrote the Rice faculty governance documents. He said that what the group really wanted was shared governance with the administration, and through constant communication, it has been successful. Caldwell said that this everyday communication has allowed each party to hear the other side, acknowledge conflicts, and realize limitations.

Caldwell then presented a summary of the Faculty Senate activities for 2013-2014:

Approved University Policies

• Interim Policy: Elimination of Graduate Programs; Procedures and Best Practices

• Change of name for University Policy 216: Conflict of Interest and Commitment for Faculty (Including Faculty Fellows and Investigators)

• Revisions to University Policy 313: Laboratory Safety Policy

Approved Academic Policies

• Policy on Transfer Credit (as well as advice on best practices for Advanced Placement)

• Guidelines for the Awarding of Undergraduate Academic Credit for Study Away from Rice

• Guidelines for Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Approved Academic Programs

• Bachelor of Science, Mathematics

• Bachelor of Arts in Medieval and Modern Studies (name change)

• Minor in Naval Sciences

• Non-Thesis Master of Arts in Religious Studies

• Master of Arts in Global Affairs

• Master of Arts in Accounting

• Non-thesis Master of Arts in Art History

• Certificate in Civic Leadership

• Change Name of Undergraduate Degree from “Bachelor of Science in Materials Science” to “Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and NanoEngineering (BSMSNE),” with no additional curricular changes.

• Change Name of Professional Master’s Degree Program in Engineering from “Master of Materials Science” to “Master of Materials Science and NanoEngineering (MMSNE),” with no additional curricular changes.

• Change Name of Professional Natural Science Master’s Program from “Master of Science in Bioscience Research and Health Policy to “Master of Science in Bioscience and Health Policy (MSBHP),” with no additional curricular changes

Working Groups

• Task Force on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (comprised of faculty and administrators)

• Working Group on the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics

Senate approved recommendations (summarized):
Rice University joined the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA); one member of the Rice University Committee for Athletics (RUAC) will be a member of the Faculty Senate who will also serve as the official Rice representative to COIA.

• Working Group on Decanal Reviews

• Working Group on Distance Education

• Working Group on Grade Inflation

Senate approved recommendations (summarized):
1. Every academic program that offers 100 to 300 level courses will have a faculty-wide discussion about grading practices.
2. Effective the Fall 2018 semester, the grade A+ will be worth 4.0, not 4.33, in calculating the GPA.
3. In promotion and tenure abstracts, student ratings of instructor effectiveness should be supplemented by additional evidence of effective, quality teaching.

• Working Group on the Honor Council and Graduate Students

Senate approved recommendations (summarized):
1. That the current Honor Council be bifurcated to form separate undergraduate and graduate honor councils;
2. That the newly formed Graduate Honor Council be comprised of both faculty and graduate-student members, with the goal of full operation by fall 2015;
3. That the formative group promptly establish processes to recruit, train, and ensure continuity of Graduate Honor Council members;
4. That a triage committee be formed to vet all cases of possible graduate-student honor code infringement before further action is taken upon them;
5. That more rigorous introduction to the honor code be integrated into graduate student orientation.

• Working Group on Research and Scholarship

Other Actions

• Approved Resolution: The Faculty Senate recommends that the administration address the issues raised in the report on the state of the Library presented by the University Committee for the Library, and strongly urges the administration to find ways to ensure the adequate funding of the Library.

• Provided important material for regular faculty salary reviews to be carried out by the Office of Faculty Development

• Approved amendment to Senate Bylaws, Section 6.2, to reflect end of University Council.

Other Discussions

• Update from the Program in Writing and Communication

• Update from the Office of Faculty Development

• Report from Council on Diversity and Inclusion

• Updates on BioScience Research Collaborative space allocation issues

• Update on Campus Space Task Force

• Ongoing updates on the Graduate Program in Linguistics

• Updates on changes in the administration of summer school courses

• Updates on changes in commencement ceremonies

• Update on IT Management Task Force

Caldwell then thanked the following individuals:

• Working Group Chairs:
Graham Bader
Leo Costello
Jeff Fleisher
Jane Grande-Allen
Richard Grandy
Evan Siemann
Stan Sazykin
Moshe Vardi

• Stan Dodds, Chair of EX&S

• Susan McIntosh, Chair of University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum

• Doug Natelson, Chair of University Committee for Research

• Paula Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

• Ken Whitmire, Chair of Graduate Council

Caldwell recognized the senators whose terms have ended:

Carl Caldwell
Dawn Finley
Jane Grande-Allen
Helena Michie
David Scott
Ruth Lopez Turley

and he welcomed the incoming senators:

Michael Diehl

Marek Kimmel

Daniel Cohen

Luis Duno-Gottberg

Timothy Morton

Jones School

Erik Dane

The Senate officers for 2014—2015 were announced:

Speaker: James Weston (Jones School)

Deputy Speaker: Rachel Tolbert Kimbro (Sociology)

Convener: Brian Rountree (Jones School)

Parliamentarian: Fred Oswald (Psychology)

VI. Looking Ahead to 2014-2015

Incoming Speaker James Weston reviewed the issues that the Faculty Senate is expected to address in the coming year:

• Development of Graduate Program Certificate Guidelines by the Graduate Council

• Review academic advising of undergraduate students by faculty members

• Review Pass/Fail for distribution credit

• Review Academic Calendar

• Committee for the Rice Undergraduate Program (CRUP) principles need to be revised per Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SAC)

• Presentation by VPII Levander regarding Rice’s online education programs

• Final policy on Elimination of Graduate Programs

• Report from the Working group on Decanal Reviews

• Potential changes to Add/Drop

• Further actions from the Non Tenure Track Faculty (NTT) Task Force

• Formation of Graduate Honor Council Process

• Review of Patent Policies and Best Practices

• University Committee on Teaching to review evaluation of teaching for faculty promotion and tenure

• Review of emeritus status for faculty appointed before July 1, 1995; currently University Policy 201-87

I. Announcements

Head Marshall Keith Cooper explained to the faculty the five different commencement-related ceremonies that were scheduled to occur in the next 48 hours:

· Masters Convocation

· Jones School Investiture

· Doctoral Hooding

· Baccalaureate Presentation

· Traditional Saturday Morning Plenary

The meeting was adjourned at 10: 45 a.m.