Thursday, October 15, 2009

Activities of the Faculty Senate at the start of 2009-10

PUBLICATION DATE: October 15 2009 AUTHOR: Bruce Balick

Let me introduce you to the activities of the Faculty Senate at the start of the academic year. Most of our work has its roots in the work of 14 different Faculty Councils, though there are several issues that require ongoing collaboration between the Senate Leadership and the Provost and Executive Vice President and her staff.

Let me first introduce the Leadership agenda. At the top of the list is the carryover item from last year, class-A legislation that changes the Faculty Code Chapter 24, Section

24-70 and 24-71. These changes are needed in order to bring the Code into harmony with changes in faculty salary policy imposed by events of last year. The tiger team consists of Phyllis Wise, Doug Wadden, Cheryl Cameron, and Carol Niccolls for the Administration and David Lovell, Marcia Killien, Lea Vaughn, Gerry Philipsen, and me for the Faculty Senate.

Another activity that is gathering momentum in all quarters is Activity Based Budgeting (ABB), in which the key activities of the University are directly supported by revenue. You’ll hear much more about this in the months ahead. As of yet we have no concrete plan to discuss. Instead we’re learning from the successes and problems at universities where ABB has been in use for a decade. My primary concern at this point is not whether ABB is a good idea, but rather that its core equation be devised to encourage both the quantity and quality of the instruction that we provide. This provides the tensions and the trade-offs that put the money of the university where its mouth is.

Connecting with School/College Faculty Councils that advise the deans is another high priority. The reason is simple: the huge size of the faculty corpus requires that we exploit built-in chains of communication between the Senate Leadership and the people that it represents.

Finally is the Faculty Senate restructuring. The size of the University and its Faculty has drifted upward over the past three decades or more. The old structure of representation provides for one senator per 15 faculty members. Instead of about 100 representatives, we now have close to 300. Decisions and debates simply become ponderous, and the quality of governance suffers under the weight. Over the past year we have been re-designing the structure of the Senate. The devils are pouring out of the details, so the going is slow. But we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We hope for class-A legislation to reach the Senate in January 2010.

Our 14 councils are wading through many other issues of operations and governance that are summarized below. This list is a snapshot taken in October 2009 from an always-evolving set of issues. Among the highlights are cross-campus enrollment policy, software tools that enhance cross-campus collaborations and, possibly, remote class attendance. We need to diversify our retirement investment options. The influence of faculty on library policy and possible inclusion of librarians as full members of the Senate round out the list. Finally, we also expect to work closely (as always) with the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting on a myriad of topics that drive the university forward.


Senate Leadership (Balick, Harrington, Lovell, Killien, Fridley)

  1. Changes to faculty salary policy as required by the executive order and related circumstances.
  2. Close collaboration with teams working on ABB and 2Y2D panels, especially in areas that directly affect the instructional and research functions of the university.
  3. Enhanced collaboration with school/college faculty councils.
  4. Restructuring governance structures (Senate, SEC, Faculty Councils) for more efficient and effective governance.~

Academic Standards (John Schaufelberger)

  1. Handbook fixes to allow undergraduates to receive a degree that crosses college boundaries. At the present time multiple majors and degrees must lie within a single college. However, now that the College of the Environment (CoEnv) has formed and the Program on the Environment (PoE) has moved into it many students will earn degrees in both CoEnv and CA&S.
  2. Handbook updates on certain procedures related to undergraduate graduation requirements. This is a technical issue. Even so, class-B legislation may be required.
  3. Evaluation of how well cross-campus enrollment is working out in practice (joint with an FCTCP task force).

Benefits and Retirement (Bob Briedenthal)

  1. Diversification of options for retirement investments.
  2. Track and publish the performance of retirement investments.
  3. Inform the faculty -- especially incoming faculty -- of the relative long-term merits of index funds.
  4. Possibility of ‘opt-out’ structuring of UW retirement matches.

Educational Outreach (Leslie Breitner)

  1. Study the possible assimilation of FCEO with another faculty council.
  2. Study the opportunity and logistics of rapid expansion of distance learning (DL) for undergraduate and professional courses, especially for off-campus students (this connects to FCET, FCTCP, possibly FCIQ and FCAS).
  3. Merging the upcoming technology of DL with new ways of content delivery.
  4. Study the need for uniformity of DL software among campuses and colleges.

Educational Technology (David Masuda)

  1. Portfolios are becoming common for students to use for job applications, compiling materials for career building, and for showcasing intellectual and scholarship accomplishments. Catalyst is dropping their support of this service. FCET will explore commercial alternatives, especially those provided at no cost through web companies.
  2. Educational technologies: a better understanding of best practices and potential implications of such technologies such as enhanced pedagogical outcomes, cost reductions, and market reach.
  3. In concert with FCEO consideration of a campus-wide platform for remote classrooms and e-portfolios; development of proper usage guidelines and predictions of unintended negative consequences.
  4. Academic integrity and plagiarism tools. Reassessment where we see anti-plagiarism tools going over the next several years.
  5. Data retention technologies - closure to this long-discussed initiative at the next FCET meeting.
  6. Cloud Computing – Faculty issues and related security issues.

Faculty Affairs (Rich Christie)

  1. Senate Restructuring, including issues of ex-officio representation on SEC and Senate.
  2. Conciliation Privacy Issues. Conciliation policy in the Code promises a level of confidentiality that may not be enforceable in court. May need code changes.
  3. Faculty assignment of their own textbooks: this may be handed off to FCFA by FCIQ.
  4. Tenure & Promotion policy revisions.

Instructional Quality (Mary Pat Wenderoth)

  1. Activity Based Budgeting Program: Is there a way to balance quantitative measures with academic rigor. Is there a way for FCIQ to create a measure of student learning gains, depth of understanding attained, academic challenge and engagement ( beyond the CEI of the course evaluations).
  2. Ten Year review process: Review their assessment of instructional quality.
  3. New Teaching and Learning Center: How will the new center help to maintain instructional quality? Does it have the resources required and the vision required to support and promote instructional excellence.

Research (Jerry Miller)

  1. Ongoing reviews of classified, propriety and restricted research.
  2. Means to encourage more active interdisciplinary research (Jerry and Mark Haselkorn share). One of the unresolved issues is how faculty in interdisciplinary research can be fairly and accurately evaluated for T&P (see also FCWA). Possible issues of seed support in a new UW budgeting model.
  3. Dissemination of research results, including influence of open access publishing and future plans of the library (see also FCUL).

Student Affairs (Brian Fabien)

  1. Campus safety. Including safety issues at fraternities and sororities.
  2. Faculty Appeals Board (FAB). The FCSA will establish membership guidelines for the FAB.
  3. Athletics. Continued monitoring of the academic progress of students in athletic programs.

Tri-campus Policy (Steve Collins)

  1. Continuing study of tri-campus organizations, especially coordination and representation. Engage more closely with administration (e.g., rebuild FCTCP as a joint faculty-administration advisory group).
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness and implementation issues associated with the new cross-campus enrollment policy, with special emphasis on the barriers to delivering top instruction to cross-campus students. (May look at potential impacts of new technologies for distance learning.)
  3. Review of how Phase-II proposals for new majors and curricular offerings are being handled. Is there a need for a uniform process?

University Facilities and Services (Bill Rorabaugh)

  1. President's Climate Action Plan. On Sept 15 the President has submitted a preliminary plan for reducing GHGs and for engaging the academic curriculum and research communities at UW. FCUFS will review and comment on the plan in behalf of the Faculty Senate. Related issues are utility monitoring at each campus building and various proposed changes to transportation and parking policies.
  2. New Construction Projects. Renovations at the HUB and Hall Health and the design of new dormitories will come to FCUFS for faculty comment and approval. These projects are funded by student fees.
  3. Plans for a SR520 interchange and associated impacts on land use, commuting, and parking.

University Libraries (Isabelle Bichindaritz)

  1. Faculty involvement in the Libraries’ administrative policy decision making -- for example, early faculty participation in decisions about branch library closures and consolidation.
  2. Representation of library staff on the Senate and the SEC (as per recent letter of Charles Wilkinson).
  3. Increasing faculty awareness of and participation in publication of research and scholarship papers through Open Access (see also FCR).
  4. Representation of all Faculty Council chairs on SEC and Senate.

Women in Academia (Sandra Silberstein)

  1. Complete the analysis and publication of the Catalyst Survey on women in UW academia.
  2. To find and support students to help with analysis of ongoing data collection projects in order to develop better policies and to monitor the impact on extant practices.
  3. Study policies and practices for tenure & promotion in the academic units (overlaps somewhat with FCR).
  4. Follow up research on anomalies uncovered in surveys.