Senate Minutes 3/99

UAB Faculty Senate Meeting

August 13, 1999


Officers: Tom Jannett - Chair, Michael Wyss - Chair-Elect, Janet Bronstein - Past-Chair, Richard Harrison - Substitute Secretary. Senators: Brown, Burns, Eberhardt, Fullard, Harris, Hutchison, Knowles, Macaluso, Paul, Rigney, Rostand, Snyder. Alternate Senators: Claude, Hardin, Jackson, Lacefield, Lemons, Reed, Richardson, Swanson, Telfair.


The Chair called the meeting to order at 8:06 a.m. in Room 107 of the Ryals Building.


The Chair asked if there were corrections or additions to the minutes of the Senate meeting of July 9, 1999. Hearing none, he ordered the minutes approved.


Standing Senate committees have been appointed, and are listed on a roster that has been distributed. Senators and alternates were asked to submit to Carol Ray, the Senate's administrative assistant, any corrections that should be made to the roster. Senator Hutchison has been elected chair of the Arts & Sciences Council by the members of that ad hoc Senate committee.

The Senate, at its July 9, 1999, meeting, approved formation of a committee to consider and review the language of the proposed draft of Section 2.7 of the UAB Faculty Handbook and Policies. The resolution calls for a committee comprised of representatives of the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee (FPPC) and the Senate Executive Committee appointed by the Senate Chair, as well as representatives of the administration appointed by the University President. The Chair appointed to the committee Senators Greenup, Chair-Elect Wyss, and FPPC members LaGory and Martin. President Reynolds appointed Provost O'Neil and Associate Provost Neilson. The committee met one week ago and made progress on resolving issues of concern about Section 2.7. The Chair expects the committee to meet again soon to resolve remaining issues involving that section.

The Senate Executive Committee, seeking improved communication with the administration, recently met with President Reynolds and Provost O'Neil to explore ways in which this could be facilitated. From this meeting, it was agreed that: the President would provide timely response to resolutions which call for administrative action; the Senate would provide the President and Provost an agenda of Senate meetings prior to the meeting date; the Executive Committee, in its monthly meeting with the President and Provost, would discuss possible topics or guest speakers for Senate meetings; and the Executive Committee would publish an announcement of and agenda for each monthly Senate meeting in the UAB Reporter.


The Chair recognized Sheila Chaffin, Executive Director of Campus Planning and Facilities Programming, to make a presentation on current and proposed UAB campus planning initiatives. Ms. Chaffin has worked as a planner and architect in academe for approximately 15 years and came to UAB eight months ago.

Ms. Chaffin said that the current UAB Campus Master Plan was approved in 1995. It has been only recently, however, that the City of Birmingham has approved the Master Plan. Campus planners must contend with five different city zoning restrictions (e.g., residential, commercial, industrial) governing land use, building use, and construction, but they are working with the City in an attempt to reduce the number of restrictions in the approximately 70 square blocks that comprise the campus.

Ms. Chaffin detailed University proposals to turn 15th Street South into a tree-lined pedestrian park or promenade. UAB already has presented the plan to Southside neighborhood groups, the majority of which were unopposed to closing 15th Street between University Boulevard and 10th Avenue South. The next step is to obtain approval of the City of Birmingham. Once approval is granted, the park would be implemented in three phases. Phase one would entail a "legal vacation" process, removing asphalt, repairing existing sidewalks, and installing minor plazas. Phase two would include placing utilities underground. Phase three would involve constructing a campus green facing University Boulevard and a 120-foot carillon or bell tower at the corner of the campus green and 14th Street South. The planners base much of their proposal on a similar promenade called "Locust Walk" at the University of Pennsylvania, where the walkway has stone pavers and a canopy of trees in the heart of a large urban campus.

As UAB's student body gradually shifts from commuter to residential, the need for on-campus student housing becomes acute. The former University Inn facility at 18th Street South and 10th Avenue South is leased to a private development company, who has invested over $3 million in renovations, with the idea that the units will be rented primarily to UAB students. Monthly rates for apartments range from $350 to $1,000, according to unit size. Both the developer and the University have been surprised that the most expensive units, many of which afford a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area, have been rented first. The development company has moved its offices to the ground floor of the building, giving the facility the advantage of having a "resident manager."

In the active planning stages is another residence hall that would be located on what is currently a student parking lot on 11th Avenue South, between 14th and 15th Streets South. This facility would be a companion to Rast Hall. The University plans to attract private developers to construct and lease the facility, which would include approximately 500 beds in various unit types (e.g., rooms grouped in suites, single rooms, etc.), a living room and lounges, a multipurpose room, group study rooms, self-service laundry facilities, a fitness/aerobic facility (optional), and requisite parking. It is hoped that construction of this hall might begin early in 2000.

Also in the planning stages is a townhouse development, to be located on 12th Avenue South, most likely replacing married student housing.

Siting studies are underway for the proposed recreation center and retail commons. While the parking lot on University Boulevard between Hill University Center and Volker Hall has been the location most frequently mentioned for this facility, other sites are being explored. There is discussion, too, about whether or not the recreation center and retail commons would be under one roof. Ms. Chaffin noted similar combined facilities at Northeastern, James Madison, and Brandeis universities which have proven popular with students, faculty, and staff, and have been a drawing card for prospective students.

The University will retain a food service consultant to study the type and size of dining facilities required to accommodate an increasingly residential student body.

As to research space needs, Ms. Chaffin briefly discussed a number of other campus planning projects, including: a proposed macromolecular facility at 11th Avenue South and 18th Street South; the Kaul Genetics Building under construction on 20th Avenue South; the Children's Harbor, a project of Children's Hospital, on 6th Avenue South; a proposed Center for Injury Sciences at 18th Street South and 5th Avenue South; a proposed interdisciplinary biomedical research building, to be located on the current Mortimer Jordan Hall site, which would be - at 461,000 square feet - the largest research facility on campus, and for which President Reynolds has named a building committee and preliminary architectural drawings have been completed; and the Volker Hall renovation, for which the University currently has in hand $20 million in state appropriations but must raise an additional $20 million.

Among planned parking facilities improvements are: changes to Lot 24 behind Campbell Hall, including a redesign of the lot's entrance and exit and the addition of parking spaces; and an extension of the lot near married student housing.

A Web site has been established for the triennial Barker Outdoor Campus Sculpture Competition (at There were entrants from 40 states and seven foreign countries for the 1999 competition. Five finalists were notified in May, and their sculptures will be installed on campus this fall in seven possible locations: Business Building, entrance to the Business-Engineering Complex, Honors House, Education Building, Sterne Library, Chemistry Building, and the University Park on 11th Avenue South.

New construction for University Hospital currently is in project phasing.


The Chair recognized Provost O'Neil to report on several recent developments. The Provost said there is a two-percent pool for faculty and staff raises in the 1999/2000 budget, and that both President Reynolds and he are working hard to avoid any mis-perception by the faculty that somehow extra money is being "drawn off" to go towards administrative salary increases. The President is scrutinizing each line item in administrative budgets. No administrative unit or staff member can receive more than a ten-percent increase; however, any increase above two percent will be examined closely and will require justification from the unit supervisor.

UAB's operating budgets have been relatively static over the past several years, and the 1999/2000 budget will be no exception. The reality of flat operating budgets underscores a variety of needs for the University, including: raising faculty salaries to a competitive regional average; achieving a level of campus funding that is equitable with other of Alabama's publicly-supported higher education institutions; expanding the amount of research space available so that UAB's rate of indirect cost recovery can continue to grow; acquiring the funds necessary to attract and retain a first-rate faculty; upgrading the University's technology infrastructure; and finding the means to fund new academic initiatives. Faculty retention is a serious problem. Efforts in halcyon days to recruit top people in their respective fields has contributed immeasurably to UAB's academic stature, yet that growing reputation has made it a target of faculty raiding by much wealthier research institutions. Given the University's current limited funding, what money is available to retain outstanding faculty often drives institutional priorities. Another major concern is limited research space, directly affecting the amount of indirect cost recovery UAB receives; these indirect costs have in the past helped it through some lean budgetary periods. Because of UAB's static operating budgets, there has been increasingly less money to distribute to academic units to set their own course for excellence, and, correspondingly, an increasing academic unit dependence on administrative monies.

The Provost announced the following: Adeniyi Coker, Jr., has been named director of the African-American Studies Program; Clair Goldsmith, the newly-appointed Chief Information Officer, will arrive on campus August 30; Shirley Salloway Kahn has been appointed Vice President for Development, Alumni, and External Relations; Burt Brouwer, chair of the art department, has been named interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, replacing Jane Milley, who has been interim dean since July 1998. He also acknowledged Dr. Milley's outstanding job as interim dean during the past year.

The Provost reported that the discussion with the faculty representatives on Section 2.7 of the Faculty Handbook has been "encouraging," that it has been calm and rational, and that the parties involved have agreed on crucial points. He added: "This Senate is a really good model of how things ought to work."

UAB South is closing because it costs three times more to offer a course at that location than it does on campus. The Provost said that while this site is convenient for some students, the University simply must reduce costs wherever possible. Additionally, the office suite occupied by UAB South can be leased for an amount substantially more than the University currently pays.

As for the reorganization of UAB Options/Special Studies effective September 1, no diminution of services is planned; it will continue to offer a wide variety of non-credit courses, in addition to providing job training for government and business sectors. There is, however, duplication of effort with regard to student recruitment and other administrative functions. Consequently, the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management will be responsible for adult and non-traditional student recruitment, while the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs will assume such functions as alternate credit evaluation, adult and non-traditional student advising, and supervision of individually-designed majors and minors. Charts were distributed showing both current and restructured organizational responsibilties.

In response to questions from the floor, the Provost said he hopes savings realized from the UAB South closure and the reorganization of Special Studies/Options will translate into more money for school and departmental budgets. He also assured the Senate that many of the campus planning initiatives described in Ms. Chaffin's presentation are not "pie in the sky." President Reynolds added that if the state and federal government would fund more construction for UAB research facilities, the economic benefits to Alabama and the region would be enormous. The President said that in this regard, the Alabama Congressional delegation has been extraordinarily helpful to UAB - especially Senators Shelby and Sessions. Also, she is working with Governor Siegelman to show how dramatic the University's economic impact is on the state. In answer to another question, the Provost said some money for promotions has been provided in the 1999/2000 budgets for the schools; no provision, however, has been made in the new fiscal year for salary equity adjustments.


Standing Committees

Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee: The Chair recognized past-Chair and Senate FPPC representative Bronstein, who presented the "Indirect Cost Reimbursement Policy" following its first review by the FPPC and moved its approval by the Senate. This policy is only a slight revision of one approved in 1991 and now in effect. The revision is necessary to comply with recent changes in federal regulations as mandated in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21. The revised policy provides a definition of "clinical trial"; states what amount of research can be substituted for off-campus rates; establishes that the indirect rate for fixed-price contracts remains constant for the life of the contract; and includes the possibility of sharing indirect cost reimbursements with someone other than the principal investigator.

In response to a question from the floor about non-profit entities that do not have a policy for indirect costs or do not pay indirect costs, Senator Bronstein pointed out that item #2 of the revised policy specifies that the entity must provide a written policy. President Reynolds observed that rules for indirect costs are meant to protect the investigator. It also was suggested from the floor that the components for indirect costs be stated in the policy. Senator Bronstein responded that the OMB Circular defines what those indirect costs shall be, and that many of the components are spelled out in the revised policy. The suggestion was withdrawn.

After discussion the Chair put the question. The revised policy was approved, with two abstentions. It now will go to the Provost for review, followed by a second review by the FPPC.


The chair announced the open forum. Questions from the floor focused on campus planning initiatives and were directed to Ms. Chaffin, the campus planner.

What consideration had UAB given to encourage commercial development along the campus periphery so as to enhance student life? Ms. Chaffin replied that the University is working with Operation New Birmingham to encourage retail development off campus; it also is negotiating with commercial developers to lease retail space on campus, primarily in the proposed recreation/commons facility.

What will happen to the 15th Street Classroom Building once 15th Street is closed? For the immediate future, nothing. Eventually, the building may be demolished to make way for a new classroom facility. Short term, the only changes planned in the area would be to move the entrances and exits of the parking lots surrounding the building to 14th Street.

Is UAB encouraging development at Five Points South? Yes, by working with Operation New Birmingham.

What problems have been encountered with plans to close 15th Street? Neighborhood groups generally have been supportive of the proposal, but one group nearest to the street was opposed by a 2-to-1 margin. Aside from that, political and technical questions are being worked out with the City of Birmingham.

Are there plans in the proposed commons facility for a faculty club? There are no current plans.

What plans are there for classroom renovation? The current capital campaign is in the process of identifying a number of facilities needs, such as renovation of the Honors House and chemistry lab upgrades.

The Chair asked if there were further discussion in the open forum. Hearing none, he announced the next meeting of the Senate on Friday, September 10 in Hill University Great Hall, rooms A & B.


There being no further business, the Chair declared the Senate adjourned at 9:58 a.m.

Richard H. Harrison II
Substitute Secretary