April 21, 2010

Faculty Senate Meeting - April 21, 2010

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall

Senators present: Gregory Barnett, Randy Batsell, John Casbarian, Steven Cox, Sarah Ellenzweig, Bridget Gorman, Jane Grande-Allen, Deborah Harter, John Hempel, Tom Killian, Phil Kortum, Mark Kulstad, David Leebron, Scott McGill, Susan McIntosh, Matteo Pasquali, Rob Raphael, Brian Rountree, Dale Sawyer, Robin Sickles, Evan Siemann, Meredith Skura, Devika Subramanian, Duane Windsor (Speaker), and Jim Young (Deputy Speaker).

Senators absent: Eugene Levy, Gautami Shah, John Sparagana, Randy Stevenson, and Yizhi Jane Tao.


      I. Call to order and introduction of new Provost George McLendon
      II. Announcements
      III. Reports
      A. Senate election results for 2010-2011
      B. Motion for temporary suspension of Bylaws 6.1
      C. Election of new Speaker and new Deputy Speaker for 2010-2011
      D. Other reports
      IV. Working group report: Brown Teaching Awards Subcommittee update
      V. Old business
      A. Update concerning Working Group in collaboration with Jim Coleman
      B. Discussion of two documents reviewed by the CUC and Executive Committee
      1. “Faculty Senate Oversight of the General Announcements”
      2. “Creating, Administering, and Eliminating (Undergraduate) Majors and Minors at Rice University”
      C. Update regarding the Working Group on Grade Inflation/Academic Honors

      VI. New business

      • Ph.D. in Sociology proposal
      • Possible new working groups
      • Working Group on the Process of Appeals and Grievances
      • Working Group on Enhancing Faculty Input to Curricular Change
      • Working Group on Senate Governance
      • Additional possible items for study by the Senate:
      • Teaching Effectiveness
      • “Resolution and Recommendation of the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) Concerning Impact of Budget Cuts and Expansion of Student Body on Quality of Undergraduate Education at Rice University.”
      • Request from Humanities Senators regarding writing by students at Rice


      I. Call to order and introduction of Provost George McLendon

      Duane Windsor, Speaker, called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. President David Leebron introduced George McLendon, new Provost of Rice University, to the Faculty Senate. McLendon said he expects to have many more opportunities to meet with the Senate members, and he said he will call on them for their wisdom and advice. He thanked the group for the warm welcome he received today at his first official event at Rice. President Leebron thanked the provost search committee, especially Kathy Matthews, chair.

      Leebron then gave a brief report to the Senators regarding the economic health of the university. He stated that more detailed information would be presented at the State of the University address in the fall.

      II. Announcements

      1. The end-of-year Senate social event will be held Friday, April 23, from 4:00- 6:00 p.m. in the Brochstein Pavilion. Current and new Senators are cordially invited. The Rice Philharmonics are expected to perform.
      2. The plenary meeting to be held Friday, May 14, has been moved to the Baker Institute and will begin at 10:45 a.m., followed by an RSVP luncheon to begin at 11:30 a.m.
      3. The January 2011 plenary meeting will be combined with the January Senate meeting and will be held in Farnsworth Pavilion of the Rice Memorial Student Center.

      III. Reports
      A. Deputy Speaker Jim Young announced the results of the recent Faculty Senate elections for 2010 – 2011:

      Natural Sciences: Danijela Damjanovic (new), John Hutchinson (new), Tom Killian, Dale Sawyer, Yizhi Jane Tao

        Engineering: Jane Grande-Allen, Matteo Pasquali (reelected), Moshe Vardi (new), Jim Young

        Humanities: Shirine Hamedah (new), Matthias Henze (new), Mark Kulstad (appointed), Scott McGill, Meredith Skura (appointed)

        Social Sciences: Susan McIntosh, Robin Sickles, Randy Stevenson

        Shepherd School of Music: Gregory Barnett

        Architecture: John Casbarian

        Jones Graduate School of Business: Randy Batsell (reelected), Duane Windsor

        Assistant Professors: Sarah Ellenzweig, Ramon Gonzalez (new), Brian Rountree

        Presidential Appointee: Devika Subramanian, one Senator TBA

        NTT-Teaching and NTT-Research: TBA

        Ex-officio members: President Leebron and Provost McClendon

        B. Motion for suspension of Bylaws 6.1

          Young introduced a motion for temporary suspension of Bylaws 6.1 to postpone presentation of the Nomination and Elections Committee’s slate for the 2010-2011 Executive Committee until after the April 2010 meeting, but before the next Senate scheduled meeting. The motion was seconded and approved by the Senate.

          C. Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker for 2010-2011

            Former Speaker Deborah Harter thanked Windsor for his commitment to the Senate, not just this past year as Speaker, but for the five years he has served on the Senate’s Executive Committee. Young also spoke about the great amount of time that Windsor spent serving the faculty as a Senator, Deputy Speaker, and as a member of the Faculty Merger Review Committee. Windsor received a hearty round of applause from the Senators and all assembled.

            Meredith Skura nominated Susan McIntosh for Speaker, and she gave several examples of McIntosh’s accomplishments on behalf of the faculty. Skura’s motion was seconded. As there were no other nominees, there was a motion to close the nominations for Speaker, which was seconded and approved. McIntosh was elected and will serve as Faculty Senate Speaker for the 2010-2011 academic year.

            Windsor thanked Jim Young for his year of service as Deputy Speaker, as well as his many years serving on the Executive Committee, and noted how Young had helped write the original Faculty Senate Bylaws. President Leebron stated that he deeply appreciated the work of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker during this past year. Harter reiterated these comments and stated that much of the work of the Deputy Speaker often goes unnoticed and behind the scenes. Young also received a hearty round of applause.

            Harter nominated Tom Killian for Deputy Speaker, and she listed some of his accomplishments while representing the faculty as a Senator and on various working groups. Harter’s motion was seconded, and there were no other nominees. There was a motion to close the nominations, seconded, and approved. Killian was elected and will serve as Faculty Senate Deputy Speaker for the 2010-2011 academic year.

            The departing Senators were recognized for their service to the Senate. Steve Cox, Bridget Gorman, Deborah Harter, John Hempel, Phil Kortum, and Rob Raphael were asked to stand and were given a round of applause by their colleagues.

            D. Other reports

            • Windsor stated that he has received a report comparing faculty salaries at Rice with other universities, and additional information, as requested by the Senate. He said that Kathy Collins, Vice President for Finance, will provide this report and information annually to the Senate.
            • Windsor discussed a request sent to the Senate from three members of an undergraduate class who wished to distribute a survey to gauge faculty opinion regarding an undergraduate major in business at Rice. It was decided that the Senate will not be involved with distribution of such surveys.
            • Regarding the Committee for the Rice Undergraduate Program (CRUP) report, Phase II has been posted to the Senate Owl-Space site for review. The next step, Phase III, may be postponed since Robin Forman, the Dean of Undergraduates, has announced that he is leaving Rice.
            • A request has been made by the Speaker to the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions that the report regarding Athletic Admissions (for the past two years) be presented at the September 2010 Senate meeting.
            • Meeting schedules for 2010-2011 were distributed, including the Executive Committee, Agenda, Faculty Senate, and plenary meetings.
            • Windsor announced that a link has been placed on the first page of the Senate website for faculty to review documents that the Senate is considering. This link includes a request that only faculty members access these documents.

            IV. Working Group Report: Brown Teaching Awards

            Young stated that the Executive Committee received a report from the Working Group on the Brown Teaching Awards, but has decided to send the report back to the working group with new questions. Young said this was the appropriate step before the chair of the working group, Ann Saterbak, is asked to report to the Senate. He said he hopes the process for the Brown Teaching Awards can be improved before next year’s awards are determined. The University Committee on Teaching’s role in determining awards was also discussed. Young said that perhaps this committee could become more involved in the awards process instead of spending its time reviewing and summarizing course evaluations, since this information is now made public each year.

            V. Old Business

            A. Jim Coleman, Vice President for Research, earlier had asked the Senate to form a working group in collaboration with his office concerning the Research Misconduct Policy, the Conflict of Interest Policy and Form, and a new Data Retention Policy. When the Executive Committee discussed this request, they recommended that Coleman proceed with the research advisory committee that is already meeting with him but suggested that a Senator serve as liaison. Young added that another idea is to ask the administration to recreate the University Committee on Research that existed at Rice in the past.

            B. Discussion of two documents reviewed by the CUC and Executive Committee

            1. Windsor stated that he added some language to the top of the “Faculty Senate Oversight of the General Announcements” document quoting the Senate Constitution. He said that this updated document will soon be posted to the Faculty Senate Owl-Space site for review by Senators, and it will be considered for approval in the fall. He added that this document is necessary because in the past, some changes were submitted to the General Announcements without the President, Provost, or Faculty Senate being informed. President Leebron indicated his approval and said that a high level of oversight is needed for the General Announcements. Windsor added that he would send a copy to the new Provost.
            2. Regarding the “Creating, Administering, and Eliminating (Undergraduate) Majors and Minors at Rice University” document, Windsor wished to discuss two particular items with the Senate. The first item concerned the 80/20 proportion standards used to determine which department is in charge of administering an interdisciplinary major or minor. After some discussion, McIntosh said that she will return this item to the CUC for some language revision. The second item for the Senate to review in the document was the proposal to eliminate the “double major only” programs. Following discussion, McIntosh requested that the Senators distribute the document via email to their constituents for comments.

            C. Update regarding the Working Group on Grade Inflation/Academic Honors

            Windsor proposed three questions to the Senate for consideration: 1) should the working group’s final report be published to the faculty, or at least be distributed to the deans and department chairs; 2) should annual data of this type be published, or at least sent to the deans and department chairs; 3) should a new working group be formed to focus on Academic Honors?

            VI. New business

            1. Ph.D. in Sociology Proposal

            Windsor introduced John Olson, interim chair of the Graduate Council, who reported that the Graduate Council had unanimously approved the proposed Ph.D. in Sociology. Olson discussed the details of the Ph.D. proposal and said the review process follows the new “Creating and Changing Graduate Programs” document which was recently approved by the Senate. He said that the proposal had undergone a great deal of scrutiny, and would serve as a model for any new graduate proposals. Paula Sanders, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, spoke in favor of the proposed program. Windsor mentioned that letters of support had been received from the chair of the Graduate Council, the Dean of Social Sciences, and the Provost. In response to a question from Rob Raphael regarding the program’s funding over time, Olson explained that the Graduate Council had discussed this consideration in reaching its recommendation. Elizabeth Long, Sociology Department Chair, stated that usually some support for Social Sciences graduate students must come from grant activity. There was a motion to approve the Ph.D. in Sociology proposal, seconded, and approved by the Senate. Please use this link to view the approved proposal: Ph.D. in Sociology.

            Possible new working groups:

            • Draft charge for a Working Group on the Process of Appeals and Grievances: Establish a working group to review the current appeals and grievances process and to make recommendations to the Senate about possible improvements to the process, including but not limited to the possible addition of a faculty advocate or an ombudsman.
            • Draft charge for a Working Group on Enhancing Faculty Input to Curricular Change: The working group is charged with investigating the process by which the creation of new or elimination of old curricular programs are placed on the agenda for consideration before the formal process of faculty approval begins. The working group will examine a set of relevant cases in recent years. The working group will produce a report including lessons learned and recommendations on how the process can be changed to help increase faculty input on curricular change earlier in the process.
            • Draft charge for a Working Group on Senate Governance: After five years of existence and striving to provide Rice the best possible governance, the Rice University Faculty Senate would like to reflect on this past experience, future directions, and what changes in form and function would help us to better serve the faculty we represent. The Speaker of the Senate would charge a Working Group on Senate Governance to consider both the achievements and the challenges we have faced as a Senate over the past five years, and to provide to the larger Senate, at the conclusion of its deliberations, recommendations it might have for future changes.

            Additional possible items for study by the Senate during 2010-2011:

            • Teaching Effectiveness
            • “Resolution and Recommendation of the Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum Concerning Impact of Budget Cuts and Expansion of Student Body on Quality of Undergraduate Education at Rice University”
            • Request by the Humanities Senators that writing by Rice students should be added to the docket for next year’s Senate business

            After introduction of these items, Young stated that several members of the Executive Committee had said at their recent meeting that the Senate can staff a maximum of six working groups. It is thus important to prioritize these items at the first Executive Committee and Senate meetings of the fall semester.

            Tom Killian presented a motion to form the working group on Senate governance now and the motion was seconded by Matteo Pasquali. Windsor asked if there were any objections, there were none, and the resulting vote was for approval of the motion.

            The meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.