November 30, 2011

Faculty Senate Meeting - November 30, 2011

Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall


I. Call to order; announcements

II. Speaker’s Report

  • Proposed pet policy
  • Rice 2032 faculty lunch/workshops
  • Proposed charge for Working Group on Non-Tenure Track faculty
  • Activity update from University Committee on Research
  • Activity update from Graduate Council
  • Course caps implementation and process

III. Deputy Speaker’s Report

IV. Old Business

A. Motions to establish a Program in Writing and Communication

B. University response to Enrollment Growth Report

V. New Business: Draft Open Access Policy

Senators present: David Alexander, Randy Batsell, Kate Beckingham, Carl Caldwell, David Caprette, John Casbarian, Marcia Citron, Danijela Damjanovic, Rebecca Goetz, Ramon Gonzalez, Jane Grande-Allen, Mikki Hebl, Illya Hicks, Michael Kohn, David Leebron, Scott McGill, Susan McIntosh, George McLendon, Helena Michie, Fred Oswald, William Parsons, Matteo Pasquali, Brian Rountree, Stan Sazykin, David Scott, Yizhi Jane Tao, Ruth Lopez Turley, and James Weston.

Senators absent: Shirine Hamadeh, Anatoly Kolomeisky, Robin Sickles, and Moshe Vardi.

PROCEEDINGS (To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email

I. Call to order; announcements

Speaker Susan McIntosh called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. She introduced Rice undergraduateTawfik Jarjour, Chair of the Rice Centennial House Project. Jarjour stated that in honor of the Rice Centennial, the Rice Habitat for Humanity Chapter and the Rice School of Architecture have worked together to design and build a home that will be sustainable and affordable for a local low-income family. Jarjour presented three slides and said that the group would be grateful for any help from the faculty in raising funds for the project; a total of $65,000 is needed by the spring. Please use this link for more information:

II. Speaker’s Report

  • The Vice President of Administration is seeking feedback on the proposed pet policy. McIntosh asked if Senators wished for the draft policy to be placed on the all-faculty level of the Senate wiki space or if they wished to contact their constituents directly for feedback. It was decided to post it on the wiki space for faculty review and comments.

Teaching: Friday, January 20, 12-2 pm
(Two of the scheduled speakers: Rich Baraniuk and John Hutchinson)

International/Global engagement: Friday, March 9, 12-2 pm
Research: Monday, April 23, 12-2 pm
TBA – September

Senators will produce a list of interested faculty from each constituency, from which invitees will be determined by the Senate’s Executive Committee. It was suggested than at least one young faculty member, perhaps an assistant professor, be included from each school for each session.

  • Proposed charge for the Working Group on Non Tenure Track (NTT) Faculty:

a) To recommend criteria on which to base eligibility of NTT faculty to run for Senate office and to vote in Senate NTT elections;

b) Develop a prioritized list of the most important issues concerning the future of NTT faculty at Rice, including the rationale behind the ranking of items. Relevant issues may include those that affect the first issue of eligibility to participate in university governance. Additional issues may include appropriate number of NTT Senate representatives, NTT job titles, opportunities for promotion, range of responsibilities, employment security, and/or equitable compensation. Since these issues may require extensive work and research, and may therefore require a different kind of committee (e.g. with Human Resources representatives).

  • Activity update on the University Committee for Research from chair Doug Natelson:

1) Revisions to the revised Research Misconduct Policy (324) were announced this summer and its accompanying procedures. These are being iterated with the Vice Provost for Research’s (VPR) office as well as the General Counsel.

2) Working with the VPR’s office on revised Conflict of Interest and Commitment policy (to replace existing policies 216 and 332). This is necessary because federal guidelines on COI have changed and an Internal Audit pointed out that we need to do a much better and complete job at this.

3) Helped the VPR's office shape their customer satisfaction survey.

4) Working with VPR on Intellectual Property and other potential policy revisions.

  • Activity update on the Graduate Council from chair John Olson:

1) Working with the VPAA on guidelines for dual degree programs; recommendations will come to Faculty Senate for approval.

2) Proposals currently under consideration: a non-thesis M.A. in Philosophy and a new Ph.D. program in Physical Systems and Synthetic Biology.

3) Under development: a policy for graduate student internships that affect both domestic and foreign students.

4) Minor revisions have been made to the "Guidelines for Dismissals, Petitions, Appeals, Grievances, and Problem Resolution" document, which is available on the Graduate Studies website.

  • memo was recently distributed from Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Paula Sanders and Provost George McLendon stating that in the future, seminar classes, which were usually capped at 20 students, will now be capped at 19. The University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC) will be working on the implementation details.

III. Deputy Speaker’s Report

Deputy Speaker Jane Grande-Allen announced that the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) will have two main purposes: organize the elections of new Senators for the 2012-2013 academic year, and form a subcommittee to provide faculty members for the University Committees for 2012-2013. Grande-Allen said that the database of faculty service she has prepared will help greatly in committee selection. She also said that the NEC will work with President Leebron’s office to ensure that the appointment letters are issued much sooner.

A slate of nominees for the NEC was presented:

Shirine Hamadeh – Art History
Scott McGill – Classics
Fred Oswald – Psychology
Jane Tao – Biochemistry
James Weston – Jones School

The slate was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

Per the Senate Constitution, the Speaker may also appoint three members of the NEC:
Bill Parsons—Religious Studies
Illya Hicks-- CAAM
one person to be named.

IV. Old Business

A. Motions to establish a Program in Writing and Communication (PWC)

McIntosh announced that the Student Association and the Graduate Student Association have each passed resolutions in favor of the proposal from the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum which was presented in the Senate meeting held November 2, 2011. McIntosh reviewed the motions which were tabled from the November 2 meeting:

To be implemented by Fall 2012:

1) First-year Writing-intensive seminars

2) Creation of a Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication

To be implemented Fall 2015, after appropriate discussion and development by faculty:

3) Upper-level Communication in the Disciplines component

McIntosh reviewed the revisions to the report, which had been distributed via email prior to the meeting, and which were the result of comments received from faculty members on the Senate wiki space, by email, and in person at the four information sessions:

· Clarify that First-Year “Writing-intensive" (replaces “Writing") Seminars are content-based and will need to meet existing criteria for distribution credit

· Modify the composition of the Faculty Advisory Board (adding an at-large voting member and two advisory, ex officio members: the Dean of Undergraduates and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies)

· Clarify the role of the Faculty Advisory Board to emphasize faculty oversight of the curricular aspects of the new Program and its obligation to liaise with Departments, schools, and Senate

· Clarify the upper-level "communication in the disciplines" component

McIntosh then reviewed each of the three PWC components:

1. First-year Writing-intensive Seminars (FWS):

Essential elements:

a) FWS will meet the criteria for distribution credit and will not pose an additional requirement burden for students; departments may decide if an FWS counts towards the major

b) FWS will be staffed in a variety of ways depending on interests, possibilities, and personnel in different departments and schools:

• Current COMM 103 faculty (32 of 66 FWS in 2012-13)

• Graduate students with training in writing pedagogy

• Additional NTT faculty hired to teach FWS

• Tenured, tenure-track faculty; modification of existing FSEM to be FWS if faculty are so inclined

• While all divisions will be represented in FWS, there is no requirement that all departments offer an FWS

c) Funding:

• No funds from departments or schools are required to support FWS.

• The provost is providing funds for instructor salaries, tenure track faculty stipends, and TA’s.

• VP for Finance Kathy Collins has budgeted $7500 (plus fringe benefits) for each of the 66 FWS. These funds may be used for instructor or teaching assistant (TA) salaries, tenure-track faculty incentives to teach FWS, or other needs in support of a FWS.

2. Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication

a) Funding:

Budget (figures provided by VP for Finance) for Center staffing for each of the first three years:

Writing Center Director $60,000
Fringe 15,900

Assistant Directors (2@$45K) 90,000
Fringe 24,750

Undergrad tutors (3300 hours@$15/hr) 49,500

Grad tutors (3900 hours@$25/hr) 97,500

Operating costs (website, equipment, etc) 35,000

*Expanded staffing in 2015 will require fund-raising

b) Facilities: build-out of space on Fondren second floor to create offices, seminar rooms, carrels for on-on-one consultation (high priority request in spring budgeting process)

c) Writing and communication support offered:

• Training for graduate and undergraduate peer writing tutors

• Writing pedagogy training for faculty and advanced graduate students

• Non-credit ESL instruction (graduate and undergraduate)

• Workshops on dissertation writing, presentation skills and technologies

• One-on-one writing consultation and tutoring, both at the Center and in the colleges

3. Communication in the Discipline

• Goal: to provide upper-level communication training pertinent to particular academic disciplines.

• Implementation: not until Fall 2015, and not unless funding for expanded Center staffing support is assured.

• After appropriate discussions within departments and divisions, an upper-level Communication in the Discipline requirement will need to be voted on by Faculty Senate by Fall 2014.

• Departments or schools can structure an approach to this requirement that best fits their needs and curriculum. Some departments already have suitable courses; others could decide that a portfolio of writing/presentation assignments in several existing upper level courses will fill the requirement.

Administrative Structure Chart for the Program for Writing and Communication

Administrative Structure Chart for the Program for Writing and Communication

Faculty Advisory Board – appointed by the Faculty Senate

Composition: one faculty member from each of the four major academic schools; one member from either the School of Architecture or the Music School; a Chair (any school) and an at-large member. The Dean of Undergraduates (or designee) and the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (or designee) are advisory (non-voting), ex-officio members. The PWC Director and the Faculty Advisory Board report to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

Three main functions of the Faculty Advisory Board:

· Oversight of curricular guidelines and assessments

· Advisory to the PWC Director

· Liaison between the Director and the academic schools, as well as between the PWC Director and the Faculty Senate.


McIntosh asked for comments during and after the presentation, which are summarized below.

David Alexander: Regarding distribution credit, the FWS should be either D-1 or D-2.

Michie: The guidelines in the proposal state that most FWS will be D-1.The Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) will not determine distribution credit; the University for the Undergraduate Curriculum does this task. The current distribution guidelines will apply to the new FWS classes.

Sarah Whiting: For the FAB, one representative is indicated to serve both the Shepherd School of Music and the Architecture School, but the Architecture School would like to have its own representative.

McIntosh: We could alter the FAB to allow a representative from each of these schools.

Marcia Citron: The Shepherd School is a large school, but there are only five academic faculty (the musicologists); providing representation on academically-oriented university committees puts a great burden on us.

McIntosh: Agreed, but if Architecture also wants representation, especially in the beginning, we need to provide it.

Randy Batsell: Why are you willing to accept this change to the proposal and not the change requested by David Alexander?

Michie: One is an un-complicated request (adding representation), while the other (distribution credit) is complicated. In addition, it is not up to the Senate to determine distribution credit.

Alexander: I did not exactly propose a change, but I would like a specification as to how distribution credit will be determined and how many FWS courses will be allowed.

McIntosh: The CUC has delegated its powers over distribution credit to the Deans for a number of years now. So faculty proposing an FWS will apply to the Deans for that determination. As for the question of limiting the number of FWS that can be taken for distribution credit, could you accept our informal assurance that this issue will be addressed?

Alexander: Yes.

Linda Driskill: I am concerned that the $60,000 salary for the Center Director will not be sufficient.

Provost McLendon: The $60,000 is just a place-holder; we can be flexible.

McIntosh: Does this mean that we will be competitive in our recruiting?

Provost McLendon: Yes.

McIntosh: Just to clarify, we are discussing the salary of the Center Director. The budget specifies a salary of $100,000 for the Program Director.

Question: regarding the (advanced) Communication in the Disciplines courses, will the departments appoint graduate students from within their departments to teach these courses and who will pay them?

Michie: These concerns will be addressed in the discussions that are to come over the next two years; a plan will then be put in place with faculty input.

McIntosh then presented each of the five motions separately.

Motion A: Motion to endorse the report of the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum and its recommendations to institute a Program in Writing and Communication.

Batsell said that he wished to remove the word “recommendations.” After a short discussion, Alexander amended the motion, removing the “s” from recommendations. After a second by James Weston, a vote was held, and the motion to amend Motion A was approved, with two Senators opposed.

Amended Motion A: Motion to endorse the report of the Working Group on Communication in the Curriculum and its recommendation to institute a Program in Writing and Communication.

A vote was then held on the amended Motion A, which was approved with one abstention.

Motion B: Motion to establish a graduation requirement, for all undergraduates matriculating in Fall 2012 and thereafter, of one three-hour First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWS).

The Senate voted to approve Motion B, with one opposed and one abstention.

Motion C: Motion to eliminate, beginning Fall Semester 2012, for undergraduate students matriculating in Fall 2012 and thereafter, the existing Communication (COMM) 103 requirement for graduation.

The Senate voted to approve Motion C, with one abstention.

Motion D: Motion to recommend the creation of the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication that will begin operations in Fall 2012 to support undergraduates and graduate students, as well as faculty who teach writing and communication-intensive courses.

It was suggested that “Fall 2012” be changed to “Summer 2012” to allow for preparation prior to the start of the fall semester. After a short discussion, the motion was amended to drop the word “Fall.” The Senate granted approval to amend the motion, with three abstentions.

Amended Motion D: Motion to recommend the creation of the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication that will begin operations in 2012 to support undergraduates and graduate students, as well as faculty who teach writing and communication-intensive courses.

The Senate then voted to approve the amended Motion D, with one abstention.

Motion E: Motion to recommend that a curricular requirement for upper-level communication in the disciplines will be specified and voted on by the Faculty Senate in Fall 2014 after appropriate discussion and development by faculty and provision for adequate funding, for implementation beginning Fall 2015.

The Senate voted to approve Motion E, with two abstentions.

President Leebron thanked Helena Michie and her committee. He said that this proposal will work to correct a fundamental defect in the curriculum which has existed for a long time. He said that the report was prepared thoughtfully, and it included items such as the space needed for the Center. He added that Rice can be a leader in this field.

McIntosh thanked President Leebron, Provost McLendon, the entire working group, the previous working group from 2010, Sara Lowman, and others. She said that this process could serve as a model for shared governance at its best.

McIntosh presented the Faculty Advisory Board slate from the Executive Committee for approval by the Senate:

Chair: Helena Michie (English)

Natural Sciences: Kate Beckingham (Biochemistry and Cell Biology)

Social Sciences: Ashley Leeds (Political Science)

Engineering: TBD

Humanities: TBD

Architecture/Music: David Ferris (Shepherd School of Music)

At Large: Tracy Volz

McIntosh said that a faculty member from the Architecture School will be added to the FAB per the earlier request. Citron asked if the Shepherd School will have to provide a representative each year, and McIntosh’s reply was no; perhaps a representative will only be needed at the beginning of the process. David Scott inquired whether the plan for staggered terms for the FAB was in place. McIntosh said that the plan would be forthcoming. She thus asked the Senate to approve the slate for the coming year only, with the possibility of continuing their terms once the plan for staggering was developed by the FAB. The FAB will need to be appointed by Senate again a year from now. The Senate voted to approve the above slate for the 2012-2013 year, with one abstention. After the meeting, the following three individuals were also approved by a majority of the Senate (one opposed) via email correspondence:

Bill Parsons (Religious Studies)
Mark Embree (CAAM)
Neyran Turan (Architecture)

B. University Response to Enrollment Growth Report

Provost McLendon stated that the Working Group on Enrollment Growth Impact had recommended that he approach each school and ask what kind of support the school needed. As a result, financial support was provided to the Schools of Engineering, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences; the others did not request funds. McLendon said that Natural Sciences needed more labs, Social Sciences needed lecturers, and some Engineering departments needed assistants.

McLendon said that the enrollment target for Fall 2012 has been lowered to 935 new freshmen, and the number of transfer students has also been reduced, so that there will not be large incoming classes two years in a row.

McIntosh recalled that the working group had addressed the largest pressure points that had occurred as a result of the enrollment growth, which were the introductory classes. She said, however, that enrollment had spiked in some other ways, and she wondered if the approach taken by the working group was the best way to address the overall issue. Provost McLendon discussed the difficulty of setting ideal course sizes, and he said that he wished to set up a broader analysis on this topic with the Senate, addressing the next three to five years.

V. New Business: Discussion of draft Open Access Policy

Prior to the Senate meeting, a draft Open Access Policy prepared by Moshe Vardi was distributed to the Senators and placed on the wiki space for comments by faculty. University Librarian Sara Lowman said that the purpose of the policy is to make Rice’s scholarly information available in a free and open environment. She said that if the Senate approved a mandate for Open Access, D-space software would probably be used, as is used by peer universities such as MIT, Princeton, and Duke. Lowman said that the Fondren Library staff would input faculty documents into the system; faculty would not be asked to do so. She encouraged the Senators to read the white paper and also research Open Access on the internet.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.