Senate Minutes 12/98

UAB Faculty Senate Meeting

December 11, 1998


Officers: Tom Jannett - Chair-Elect, Fred Trawick - Past-Chair, Elaine Whitaker - Secretary. Senators: Alexander, Baker, Burns, Corliss, Elias, Farmer, Filler, Fleming, Greenup, Haeberle, Harrison, Kawai, Macaluso, Mayer, Mikan, Pfeiffer, Prince, Roseman, Smith, Snyder, Spencer, Van Matre. Alternate Senators: Barnes, Campbell, Capper, Cook, Gawne, Heaven, Hogan, Lacefield, Richardson, Vincent, Wheatley, Young.

Faculty Chair-Elect Tom Jannett called the meeting to order at 8:08 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Hill University Center. The minutes of November 13, 1998, stood as presented.


Chair-Elect Jannett introduced Chancellor Tom Meredith, who had accepted the invitation issued by Janet Bronstein. Chancellor Meredith outlined the history of the System's review of the Joint Operating Agreement. His summary statement prior to taking questions was that "our Board is absolutely committed to UAB." Questions included a request from Senator Roseman for the net transfer figures for medical revenues over the past three years, a statement by Guest Robert Brissie offering his opinion that the UAB President should have more rather than less authority, questions by Senators Alexander and John Smith concerning Dr. David Chin's methodology, requests by past Senate Chair Mark LaGory and Senator Elias for clarification of the Chancellor's position, and a statement by Guest John Rogers. Alternate Senator Wheatley requested a copy of Chin's report, and Dr. Meredith affirmed that the deans were free to distribute their copies.

After the Chancellor and his audience's departure, the meeting continued at 8:45. Chair Elect Jannett put before the Senate a resolution drafted by the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday and revised on Thursday to reflect the Chancellor's apparent withdrawal of the consultant's report.

Senator Mayer recommended the adoption of the resolution and the postponement of discussion concerning issues directly related to it, suggesting that these could be discussed in general to the Open Forum at the conclusion of the meeting. Senator Roseman recommended deleting item five in the resolution due to a lack of data. Senator Elias suggested a friendly amendment changing "would" to "may" in item five and satisfying Roseman's objection. The amended resolution passed unanimously in the form that follows:

Resolution 98.12.1

The Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a duly elected body that represents the entire faculty of the University, including the School of Medicine, opposes any action to partition the University. Therefore, we were pleased to receive the announcement from the Chancellor that the recommendations from the Board's consultant will not be considered.

We are pleased that the recommendations will not be considered for the following reasons:

  1. The abiding strength of UAB is the interconnection among its twelve schools, which represent a full range of liberal and professional scholarship.
  2. The close interaction among these schools advances and promotes unique opportunities for education, research, scholarship, and community outreach.
  3. UAB has been and continues to be one of the most successful academic enterprises in the United States and is a keystone of the socio-economic infrastructure of Birmingham and the State of Alabama.
  4. The coupling of a premier medical center and a growing comprehensive university in an urban setting provides UAB with unique opportunities for multi-disciplinary activities and for future growth that are available to only a few institutions in the nation.
  5. Any action to partition the university may irreparably damage the university, eliminate its status as a Carnegie I Research Institution, raise the costs of higher education and jeopardize effective health care delivery for the citizens of Alabama.

Chair Elect Jannett then presented the Executive Committee's resolution to move the next Senate meeting from January 8 to January 15. The resolution passed unanimously. Chair Elect Jannett deferred the third item in his report and yielded the floor to Senator Snyder, who presented the descriptive report for the School of Education.


Finance by Stuart Capper: Senator Capper described the agenda of a subcommittee of Finance that will establish the points in UAB budget processes where discretionary decisions are made. The subcommittee also will seek understanding of transfers of funds from between the Health System and the University.

FPPC by David Conner: Dr. Conner (a) called attention to a letter from Lionel Skaggs that exonerates Skaggs from blame for the denial of sick leave benefits to nine-month faculty and (b) recommended adoption of the new faculty handbook. Chair Elect Jannett noted that the handbook was now available electronically and called for comment on the Senate listserve prior to the January meeting. Chair Elect Jannett then concluded the Chair's report with a resolution commending the FPPC for its work.

Resolution 98.12.3

Whereas the Faculty Policy and Procedures Committee (FPPC) has undertaken a careful and timely review of the faculty handbook; and

Whereas the review process was structured to provide ample opportunity for faculty and administration to provide input through a variety of mechanisms and

Whereas the review process was characterized by a high level of cooperation and communication between all parties;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate commends the efforts of the FPPC members and the leadership provided by its chair in the development of the faculty handbook, and the senate expresses appreciation for their continuing efforts in formulating and reviewing faculty policies and procedures.

The resolution passed unanimously.


Arts and Sciences Council by Ed Cook: Alternate Senator Cook reported on the resolution that was referred to his committee. Senator Mikan proposed as a friendly amendment the insertion of the word "special" prior to "committee."

Resolution 98.12.4

Whereas the Arts and Sciences Council is currently constituted as a special committee of the UAB Faculty Senate;

And whereas the Provost has urged that the Council continue, however constituted, to promote and to coordinate joint activities and interests of the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences;

And whereas the Provost intends to appoint a faculty member to the position of Associate Provost for Arts and Sciences;

And whereas the Provost intends to seek the advice of the Council in selecting a faculty member to fill that position;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Faculty Senate that:

  1. The Arts and Sciences Council continue as a special Senate committee charged to promote and coordinate joint activities and interests in the arts and sciences at UAB.
  2. The membership of the Council continue to include the Senators and Alternate Senators from the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Deans of those three schools.
  3. The Chair of the Faculty and the Provost continue to serve as ex officio members of the Council.
  4. The Associate Provost for Arts and Sciences, upon appointment, should also assume the role of ex officio member of the Council.

In discussion, Senator Van Matre noted the possibility that other Schools would want a special Senate committee and a special person in the Provost's office. The question was called and the resolution passed 19 to 2.

Search Committee Reports by Fred Trawick: Past Chair Trawick reported that the search for a Vice President of Development remains underway.

There was no new business.


Associate Provost Michael Nielson responded to a query on semester conversion, stating that the thirteen and fifteen week proposals have both gone to the President with no recommendation from the Semester Conversation Steering Committee and that the timeline for a decision is not known.

Concerning the report from Dr. Chin to the System, Senator Mayer noted that at some point the Senate should reflect on its role when someone puts something directly to the Board without consulting affected faculty. In other words, how does faculty governance operate at the System level? Senator Baker asked where Dr. Chin was today. Past Chair Trawick considered the sequence of events as a good example of how the Senate can function; he also affirmed the even-handedness of the Board to the extent that he had observed it. Alternate Senator Barnes expressed regret that President Reynolds had not attended the Senate meeting. Senator Alexander expressed concern that the Chancellor had left with the idea that the Senate had stifled debate after being excluded from the earlier conversations with the consultant. Chair Elect Jannett said that he had attended the Board meeting last Friday without receiving any information about the issues covered in Saturday's newspaper. Chair Elect Jannett noted that the real problem was the underlying, unarticulated one supposedly solved by the consultant's report. Senator Roseman repeated his request for data concerning the flow of medical monies.

Chair Elect Jannett then adjourned the meeting promptly at 10:00 a.m.