Senate Minutes 10/99

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Meeting of 8 October 1999

The Faculty Senate met on October 8, 1999, in Room 407 of the Ryals Building.

Those present were: Officers: Jannett (Chair), Wyss (Chair-Elect), Bronstein (Past-Chair). Senators: Alexander, Ball, Brown, Capper, Eberhardt, Elias, Farmer, Fleming, Fullard, Greenup, Gunther-Canada, Haeberle, Harris, Kawai, Knowles, Macaluso, Paul, Pfeiffer, Rigney, Rostand, Smith, Snyder. Alternates: Barnes, Claude, Hogan-Smith, Lemons, Peel, Van Matre, Wheatley. Ex-Officio Members: O'Neil (Provost). Substitute Secretary: Harrison.

Approval of Minutes: The Chair asked if there were corrections or additions to the minutes of the Senate meeting of September 10, 1999. The minutes were corrected to reflect that Senator Ball did not make the remark on page 4 attributed to him ("Senator Ball observed that a faculty member's defense against termination of tenure might take longer than a year."). There being no further corrections, the minutes were approved by consensus.

Chair's Report: The Chair attended the recent University of Alabama System Board of Trustees meeting which, being held at Tuscaloosa, had as its focus the activities and programs of that campus. Presentations highlighted an $11 million distance education program with over 77,000 registrants, and innovative programs both in the liberal arts and sciences and in engineering emphasizing learning outside the classroom.

The faculty senate chair at the Tuscaloosa campus spoke forcefully to the Board about the miserable level of faculty salaries, and the Board seems genuinely open to discussion and consideration of ways to improve salaries.

In a letter to the Chair, Chancellor Meredith responded to resolutions recently adopted by the faculty senates at all three University of Alabama System campuses calling for the Board to develop a strategic plan to bring faculty salaries at least to the southeastern regional average. The Chancellor said he hoped that the UA System could achieve national averages for faculty salaries over the next five years, but he was not specific as to how this would be accomplished. The Chair noted that the average raise pool for UAB over the last two years has been 8.8%, while at the Huntsville campus it has been 12.8% and at the Tuscaloosa campus it has been 11.1%.

In its monthly meeting with President Reynolds and Provost O'Neil on September 30, the Executive Committee discussed the four or five most pressing issues which must be overcome to move UAB forward. President Reynolds listed and addressed what she sees as the primary issues, in order of priority: state funding, research space, quality of student life (on-campus housing, programs, recreation), student recruitment and retention, faculty recruitment and retention.

As a consequence of several recent traffic accidents around campus involving pedestrians, the Executive Committee asked University administration to emphasize pedestrian and traffic safety. The Chair said UAB Police have issued an increasing number of traffic and jaywalking citations since that request.

Following up on his earlier Senate listserv posting, the Chair addressed possible adverse effects on UAB's undergraduate enrollment should the state education lottery, in its current form, be approved by voters on October 12. To qualify for a state-sponsored lottery scholarship to attend a four-year publicly-supported college or university, a high school graduate must have at least a B average, whereas the requirements for students who wish to attend a community or technical college are much lower. Under the proposal, many current first-year students at UAB would be eligible for a lottery scholarship to a community or technical college, but would be ineligible for a similar scholarship to UAB.

In the absence of Finance Committee Chair Burns, the Senate Chair reported on recent activity of that committee. The Finance Committee has identified a laundry list of issues to address, including: establish the needed communications with the administration so that the committee can do its work, faculty club, faculty salaries, health-care options, football expenditures, money flow from tuition increases, fringe benefits, and faculty grants.

School Presentation: The Chair recognized Senator Brown, who introduced Dr. Robert E. Holmes, Dean of the School of Business. Dean Holmes came to UAB early in 1999 from Babson College in Massachusetts, where he was dean of the Graduate School of Business for five years. Babson has one of the top 50 undergraduate business programs in the nation, according to recent rankings. Prior to joining Babson, Dean Holmes served as dean of the College of Business at James Madison University. He also has held administrative and teaching positions at Southwest Texas State University, University of Texas at Austin, and East Texas State University.

Dean Holmes observed that he is the fifth dean of the UAB School of Business in 28 years, and the third dean in five years. The School achieved accreditation in 1973 from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the national accrediting body. It is noteworthy that the UAB School of Business was accredited faster than any other institution in the history of the AACSB.

The School currently has approximately 2,000 students, 60% of whom are undergraduates and 40% of whom are graduates. About 60% of its enrollment is part-time. It offers degrees in accounting, economics, finance, industrial distribution, management, and marketing, and is developing concentrations in information systems, quantitative analysis, human resources management, and operations management. The graduate degrees offered include the M.B.A., Master of Accounting (M.Ac.), and a Ph.D. in Health Services Administration in cooperation with the School of Health Related Professions. The School also offers two joint degree tracks, one with Public Health for the M.B.A./M.P.H. and one with Health Related Professions for the M.B.A./M.H.S.A. Among its research and service programs are the Center for Labor Education and Research (C.L.E.A.R.), one of only five such centers in the country; the Small Business Development Center; and the Center for Management Study. The School has received international accreditation of its undergraduate and graduate accounting programs.

The School was reorganized shortly after Dean Holmes' arrival. Seven departments have been merged into three: Accounting and Information Systems; Management, Marketing, and Industrial Distribution; and Finance, Economics, and Quality Management (Attachment 2).

Dean Holmes presented a PowerPoint presentation outlining the mission, vision, values, strengths/distinctions, and goals of the School of Business. The School envisions itself eventually being in the top 10% of all accredited business schools, and seeks to build and expand its collaboration with businesses and organizations both in the Birmingham area and in the southeast. The School strives to be well-known regionally for its programs, just as UAB currently is synonymous with health care. Already, the School has a reputation for being "entrepreneurial," what with its joint degree offerings and collaborative programs. The Center for Labor Education and Research is top-ranked and recognized nationally, as is the industrial distribution program. On the last five sittings of the CPA examination, School of Business students have scored higher than students from any other school in Alabama. The School is the only one in the Birmingham area with AACSB accreditation, although that will change soon with the certification of business programs at Birmingham-Southern College and Samford University.

The short-term goals of the School of Business are as follows: achieve AACSB re-accreditation; solidify the new organizational structure; raise $4.5 million by November 2003; update classroom equipment and technology; recruit, retain, and develop faculty consistent with School's mission and urban setting; implement more aggressive student recruitment and retention program; build closer relationship with advisory councils, and form partnerships with businesses and alumni; implement new strategic plan; implement CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) program; develop a "fast track" M.B.A. degree with an Internet component; pursue other Internet-based learning initiatives; and develop collaborative or joint programs with other UAB schools.

The Dean then enumerated several long-term goals for the School: secure a "naming gift" of no less than $10 million; develop plans and secure approval and funding for a new building; create the premier institute for Industrial Distribution; establish "brand recognition"; and develop a high-tech entrepreneurial-based institute, building on UAB's reputation in health care.

The Chair opened the floor for questions. Given that salaries for UAB School of Business faculty are significantly below the regional average, Senator Bronstein asked if the School is losing faculty and prospective faculty. Dean Holmes replied that faculty salaries are a big problem for the School. As a result, the School is at a competitive disadvantage both with other academic institutions and with the private sector in recruiting new faculty. Senator Smith asked if the School had developed an inventory and analysis of its alumni for fund-raising purposes. The Dean answered that systems are being established to do this, but that in relative terms, the School is young, with a young alumni group, so the potential for major gifts from this sector will be realized with time. Senator Smith then asked if the School's advisory board is actively engaged with fund-raising. The Dean said that the board sees its role primarily as advisory.

Standing Committee Reports: The Chair recognized Senator Greenup, chair of Faculty Affairs, who presented a summary of the Committee's October 5 meeting. The Committee has established its goals for the coming year (Attachment 2). Faculty Affairs will review its responsibilities outlined in the Senate bylaws and constitution with the aim of clarifying its relationship with the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee (FPPC) and with University administration concerning terms and conditions of faculty employment, faculty performance expectations, grievance procedures, and review of the activities of University-wide committees such as the termination for cause review panel and the grievance board. Faculty Affairs also will focus on the administrator evaluation process, which is scheduled for Spring 2000. The Committee plans to streamline and improve the evaluation procedure, but it also envisions an evaluation that will be "developmental" in order to provide for continuous and constructive improvement rather than mere collection of data. The Committee already has identified several possible improvements, including definition of an administrator's appropriate constituencies, revising several questions from the previous evaluation instrument, and asking administrators to submit a statement on the goals and priorities for their areas of responsibility. Faculty Affairs seeks additional suggestions from the Senate, faculty, and administration for improving the evaluation. The next meeting of the Committee is November 2 at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate offices in the Burleson Building.

The Chair recognized Senator Bronstein, who presented a report from the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee (FPPC). In the process of revising the Faculty Handbook and Policies, the FPPC and the Senate had sought to make changes in the University's patent policy. The current policy requires any invention by a UAB faculty member to be reported to the University, then the University decides whether to secure patent rights to that invention. The FPPC and the Senate attempted to seek limits on what inventions UAB could patent: namely, the University could secure a patent only when the invention was related to the faculty member's discipline or created with University resources and/or while the faculty member was on the job. However, Provost O'Neil has pointed that the UAB patent policy is dictated by a UA System Board patent policy (Board Rule 510, approved February 27, 1986), thus UAB's policy cannot be changed without amending the Board's policy. Indeed, the UAB policy and the Board policy are one in the same. Senator Elias asked how the Senate could go about changing the Board's patent policy. Senators Rostand and Capper suggested consulting with University counsel and gathering further information about how UAB actually implements the policy. The Chair observed that the key issue with the policy is that the faculty member is obligated to make disclosure of an invention, but UAB is not obligated to inform the faculty member of the University's interest in securing patent rights for a particular invention. Senator Capper asked if there is a confidentiality clause in the patent policy. Senator Lemons commented that the University has acted responsibly when he has developed patentable inventions. Senator Kirkpatrick said the Senate should determine if there have been faculty members victimized by the current policy. The Chair said the Senate would investigate current UAB patent policy procedures and then determine if it is appropriate to seek amendments to the Board policy.

New Business: The Chair asked if there was any new business. There was none.

Open Forum: The Chair announced the open forum.

Senator Bronstein recommended that the Senate sponsor a dean's forum, in light of the recent listserv discussion about whether faculty members or deans should make school presentations before the Senate. A dean would give a brief overview of his school before a faculty-wide assembly. Considerable discussion ensued. Senator Smith suggested putting school presentations on the Web, and said that a dean would give the best perspective. Senator Alexander said he was surprised that the Executive Committee changed the format of school presentations without consulting the full Senate. He emphasized that this is a faculty senate, interested in the faculty perspective in a school; however, a dean's forum would be useful for getting some sense of a school's vision for the future and how a school and the school's dean interacts with the other schools and deans of the University. Senator Rostand asked how a faculty member, making the school presentation, will represent the views of all of a school's faculty the way a dean would. Senator Kawai said that a faculty presentation perforce would be a collaborative process with a dean, since the faculty member must obtain information for the presentation from the dean's office. Senator Lemons asked how the Senate can get the "silent majority" involved in Senate business and issues. Senator Bronstein said the rationale for the school presentations was to give the Senators from disparate schools and libraries within the University community some idea of the issues, problems, and plans of that school or library. Perhaps, she observed, the Senate should drop school presentations for the time being and focus on other issues. An unidentified Senator asked if it would be possible to have the dean make a school presentation and then have faculty members from that school make follow-up observations. Senator Elias said many faculty would feel extremely uncomfortable and professionally vulnerable contradicting or rebutting a dean in such a format. Senator Greenup asked how the school presentations can be linked to Senate business, how these presentations can move the Senate forward as a participant in University governance. Senator Alexander noted that there was no new business on this month's agenda, despite the fact that there are a wide range of University issues to which the Senate should devote itself, such as curricular standards and faculty salaries.

Senator Bronstein introduced a resolution calling for the Senate to sponsor a University-wide faculty forum at which each dean would make a presentation.

The Chair, observing that adjournment time was approaching, asked for a motion to extend the meeting for 10 minutes. There was no motion for extension.

A motion then was made to postpone Senator Bronstein's resolution to the November Senate meeting. The Chair put the question, asking a vote by show of hands. There were 19 ayes and no noes. The motion to postpone the resolution to the November meeting carried.

The Chair announced the next meeting of the Senate on Friday, November 12 Ryals 407 from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.

Adjournment: There being no further business, the Chair declared the Senate adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Richard H. Harrison II
Substitute Secretary