Faculty Senate Meeting
March 21, 2018
Kyle Morrow Room, Fondren Library

Senate Meeting Agenda (and actions taken)

I. Call to Order

II. Announcements

A. Plenary Meeting to Approve May 2018 Degrees

B. Introduction to Faculty Ombuds Anne Schnoebelen

C. Student Association: Mental Health Statement

D. Announcements from the floor

III. Reports from Officers

A. Working Group for Shared Governance

B. Nominations and Elections Committee

IV. New Business

A. Proposed Major in European Studies (Approved)

B. Proposed Master in Human-Computer Interaction and Human Factors (Approved)

C. Proposed 4-term Academic Calendar (Approved)

V. Adjourn


Senators present: Graham Bader, Martin Blumenthal-Barby, Gwen Bradford, Nathan Citino, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Michael Diehl, Daniel Domingues (proxy for Lisa Balabanlilar), Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Charles Geyer, Patrick Hartigan, Christopher Hight, Christopher Johns-Krull, Stephen Klineberg, Michael Schweinberger (proxy for Marek Kimmel), David Leebron, Susan McIntosh, David Messmer, Marie Lynn Miranda, Nancy Niedzielski, Ed Nikonowicz, Rob Raphael, Doug Schuler, Laura Segatori, Scott Solomon, Kerry Ward, Michael Wolf, Pablo Yepes, and Colin Zelt.

Senators absent: Lisa Balabanlilar, Keith Cooper, Marek Kimmel, Balaji Koka, Angel Marti-Arbona, Emilia Morosan.


(To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email senate@rice.edu .)


I. Call to Order
Speaker Jeffrey Fleisher called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.

II. Announcements

A. Plenary Meeting to Approve May 2018 Degrees
The plenary meeting of the faculty to approve the May 2018 degrees will be held Thursday, May 10, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. in McMurtry Auditorium of Duncan Hall.

B. Introduction to Faculty Ombuds Anne Schnoebelen
Fleisher said that due to the efforts of a Faculty Senate working group, an ombuds for faculty has been established at Rice. He introduced Anne Schnoebelen to the senators, stating that she was appointed as faculty ombuds in August 2017. Schnoebelen is a retired faculty member from the Shepherd School of Music.

Schnoebelen thanked the Faculty Senate for inviting her to speak. She said that the Rice faculty ombuds follows the four principles of the International Ombuds Association: independence (she reports only to the president and provost, and in summary form only), neutrality/impartiality, informality, and confidentiality. She invited faculty members to visit her office, located in Fondren Library, room 434, to email her ( ombuds@rice.edu), and to see the ombuds site: https://facultyombuds.rice.edu/.

C. Student Association: Mental Health Statement
Fleisher stated that the Student Association (SA) has passed a resolution asking that a statement be posted on each class syllabus regarding mental health. Justin Onwenu, President of the SA, said that the SA was overwhelmingly in support of Resolution #9, To Encourage the Adoption of a Mental Health Statement on Academic Syllabi:

“The Rice University Student Association encourages faculty members to include a mental health statement on academic syllabi acknowledging the relationship between mental health and academic success and detailing campus student wellbeing resources.”

Onwenu presented background information to the Senate regarding the resolution, as well as the purpose of the proposed statement. View his full presentation. Following the presentation, several senators expressed concern that faculty members do not have the expertise to handle mental health issues. One senator suggested that faculty receive training on how to spot warning signs and where to direct students for help. Another faculty member said that placing the statement on the syllabi acknowledges that Rice faculty recognize the importance of this issue.

D. Announcements from the floor: none

III. Reports from Officers

A. Working Group for Shared Governance
Fleisher said that since attending an AAUP Conference in 2016, he and Deputy Speaker Julie Fette have worked towards improving shared governance at Rice University. He listed some of their achievements: the Senate has participated in conversations regarding Rice’s instructional budget, the Speaker now attends the Board of Trustees meetings, and the administration has agreed to a University Policy for Shared Governance. Fleisher presented the charge and members of the working group that will draft the policy.

Charge: Draft a University Policy on Shared Governance, describing the joint efforts of the Administration (President, Provost, Deans), Faculty, and Board of Trustees. This work will be carried out in consultation with the President’s Office.
Members: Don Morrison, Chair
Jane Grande-Allen
Thomas C. Killian
Jeffrey Fleisher

B. Nominations and Elections Committee
Deputy Speaker Julie Fette, chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), presented a list of the NEC members:

Lisa Balabanlilar (Humanities)
Keith Cooper (Engineering)
Erik Dane (Business)
Patrick Hartigan (Natural Sciences)
Stephen Klineberg (Social Sciences)
Emilia Morosan (Natural Sciences)
Nancy Niedzielski (Social Sciences)
Rob Raphael (Engineering)

Fette announced that the Promotion and Tenure Committee elections have been completed: Ashley Leeds (Social Sciences) and James Weston (Jones Graduate School of Business) will serve Fall 2018 - Spring 2021.

Fette announced that the Faculty Senate elections have also been completed. She provided a list of the newsly elected and re-elected senators.


Natural Sciences: Pat Hartigan, Colin Zelt

Engineering: Dennis Cox, Michael Diehl, and Rob Raphael

Humanities: Daniel Domingues

Social Sciences: Sergio Chavez, Mahmoud El-Gamal, and Christopher Fagundes

Shepherd School of Music: Charles Geyer, Kurt Stallmann (one-year rotating seat)

Architecture: Jesus Vassallo

Jones Graduate School of Business: Erik Dane

NTT-Teaching: Ray Simar

NTT-Research: Pablo Yepes

Fette reviewed some of the issues that the NEC encountered during the election season, which she recommended the Senate address in the fall semester 2018:

1. Ten signatures from constituents are required on the nomination form for each seat on the Senate. It can be difficult for faculty nominees to locate colleagues while on campus. Should the Senate change the nomination form to an electronic format?

2. The NTT-Research faculty consists of ten individuals. Should that seat convert to NTT-Teaching/Research or to another method for effective representation?

3. Who can nominate whom? The NEC has stated that faculty signatures on the nomination form must be from each specific constituency. For example, Humanities tenured/tenure track faculty must sign the form of the person running for the tenured/tenure track Humanities seat on the Senate. The Senate Constitution is not explicit about the nomination process, only the election process. However, due to uncontested elections, the nomination often becomes the election.

Finally, Fette announced that a new Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be elected at the last Senate meeting of the year on April 11, 2018. She encouraged senators to run for these leadership positions. Fette said that a slate for the new Executive Committee would be presented at the April meeting, but the vote for approval would not occur until the first Senate meeting in fall 2018.

IV. New Business

A. Proposed Major in European Studies
Fleisher stated that the proposed Major in European Studies was reviewed and approved by the University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) and then by the Executive Committee. He introduced Scott McGill (Classical and European Studies), who was present to discuss the proposal. McGill said that the major is meant to provide an overview of European history, traditions, and heritage. There was a motion to approve the proposal, which was seconded, followed by a short discussion.

McGill was asked about this phrase in the proposal, “…students must take four elective courses and no more…” He explained that, for this major, students must take the majority of their courses from the Department of Classical and European Studies, but to provide greater breadth, students must take four courses from outside the department.

McGill was also asked whether the study of Russia and Turkey was included in the program. He replied that the study of these countries is included but it is limited, due to a lack of faculty members. He said that the goal is for the major to expand and to hire additional faculty.

Mike Wolf expressed concern about the overlap or duplication of programs, the proliferation of academic credentials at Rice, and double majoring by students. He wondered if the CUC should consider such issues when it approves proposals. CUC Chair Susan McIntosh said that the charge for the CUC does not include the overall vision for the curriculum. She said that the CUC considers each program on its merits, including what it will add to the curriculum. McIntosh said that the Senate could ask the CUC to consider the overall curriculum, if desired.

Following this discussion, the senators voted to approve the proposal. See the approved proposal and the voting record on the Senate wiki site.

B. Proposed Master in Human-Computer Interaction and Human Factors
Fleisher stated that the proposed Master in Human-Computer Interaction and Human Factors was reviewed and approved by the Graduate Council and then by the Executive Committee. He introduced Michael Byrne (Psychology) who presented the following information regarding the proposed master’s degree program.

Human Factors is the scientific consideration of people in the design of products, services and systems.

Human-Computer Interaction is the subarea within Human Factors particularly concerned with computer systems (CIP code 30.3101)

Byrne said that the proposal is for a small group of students (4–5 per year), with fall entry only, for the two-year, full-time program. He explained that the Department of Psychology already offers a Ph.D. in this area. He said that only one new course is being created, which would not require any additional faculty. Byrne said that almost all of the Ph.D. students work in industry upon graduation, not academia, and he described the degree as a high demand credential.

There was a motion to approve the proposal, which was seconded, followed by discussion. Scott Cutler recommended that the proposal include artificial intelligence courses. Byrne said that he would like to add them, but it was not feasible at this time. Byrne was asked if the master’s students were likely to seek a Ph.D. Byrne said that the master’s students would have to apply to the Ph.D. program, but he said it was possible.

The Faculty Senate voted unanimously for approval. The approved proposal can be viewed HERE and the Senate voting record can be viewed on the wiki site HERE .

C. Proposed 4-term Academic Calendar
Fleisher asked Registrar David Tenney to discuss the proposed academic calendar. Tenney said that his office originally thought that the recently approved MBA online program offered by the Jones Graduate School of Business would use Rice’s existing three-semester academic calendar. Tenney said that his office discovered, however, that due to financial aid requirements and other issues, a second academic calendar with four equal terms of 11 weeks each would be required. He noted that graduate students in the program would achieve full-time status with six semester credit hours. Tenney was asked if the online MBA program would be the only program to use the second calendar. His reply was yes, but he said that as Rice expands its offerings, and additional programs proceed through the full approval process, it was possible that they would use the second calendar.

There was a motion to approve the calendar, which was seconded, followed by a vote for approval. The calendar may be viewed HERE and the Senate voting record may be viewed on the wiki site HERE .

V. Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at 1:25 p.m.