Senate Minutes 9/00

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 6 October 2000



The UAB Faculty Senate met on 6 October 2000 in Rooms 410 and 411 of the Hill University Center. The agenda adopted by the Executive Committee was distributed. (Document 1).

Those present were: Officers: Wyss (Chair), Hickson (Chair-Elect), Jannett (Past-Chair), Schnorrenberg (Secretary). Senators: Basilico, Capper, Cheung, Culver, Eberhardt, Fullard, Greenup, Gunther-Canada, Harris, Heaven, Hutchison, Knowles, Mercado, Pfeiffer, Reed, Rigney, Sapp, Smith, Telfair, Ward. Alternates: Andrews, Beard, Bodon (for Price), Chapman, Cull (for Vincent), Givan, Greenwood, Jackson (for Ball), Laken, McKenna (for Zahariadis). Ex-Officio: O'Neil, Reynolds, Wittig (Parliamentarian).

The chair called the meeting to order at 8:07 A.M.

The chair asked if there were any correction to the minutes of the 8 September 2000 meeting. (Document 2). Hearing none, he ordered them approved as distributed.

The chair strongly asserted the need to continue differential mission funding for the university system. The presidents of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Huntsville have stated their opposition to such formulas.

The chair announced that the UAB capital campaign, which had raised $129,000,000 by the opening of its public phase had now reached more than $200,000,000. He was introducing two past presidents of UAB to speak to the senate about the campaign.

Former President S. Richardson Hill spoke of the great progress of UAB, of its national prominence, and of its favorable impact on Birmingham. The support of faculty and staff in the previous campaign was $6.7 million. He thanked the faculty for what they had done and would be doing to support the campaign.

Former President Charles. A. McCallum said that UAB is state-owned but has minimum state support. Private giving is important. Some gifts come from outside the state. He asked faculty to help.

The remarks of both presidents were received with applause.

Campaign for UAB packets were distributed to all those present.

The chair announced that alumni had formed a BlazerPAC. Ken Jackson was unable to make a planned presentation about the new group because of the illness of his father. A brochure about the group was distributed. (Document 3).

The chair said that Provost O'Neil had been scheduled to speak about the raise pool and state appropriations for next year. Because of the Provost's resignation this matter would not be presented at this meeting of the senate. However, the absolute numbers have been posted on the senate web site. An additional equity pool permits adjustments to be made in the schools. The committee on compensation has not yet met. There may be some changes in its membership because of changes in the provost's office.

The chair recognized Senator Basilico to give the report of the Committee on Curriculum and Research. The committee has discussed distance learning, talked about whether it is appropriate for all types of subjects, and identified what is already valuable from UAB.

The chair recognized Senator Greenup to give the report of the Committee on Faculty Affairs (Document 4). Senator Greenup said that the committee had formulated recommendations about the grievance policy and sent these to the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee. Her report included an update on the activities of the Faculty Affairs Committee. The committee expected to complete the summary and report on evaluation of administrators in the next two weeks.

Senator Greenup moved the following resolution:

Whereas, the Standing Committees of the Faculty Senate (Faculty Affairs, Finance, and Curriculum & Research) were charged in June 2000 with the task to examine issues relevant to the faculty concerning web-based education at UAB; and

Whereas, the members of the Faculty Affairs committee have completed research of a wide variety of resources to identify issues relevant to faculty and have solicited input from the director of UAB's Learning Technologies office; and

Whereas, the Chairs of the Standing Committees have identified these issues/concerns/questions:

  1. Questions
    1. Is any administrative group currently addressing issues related to faculty concerns for UAB policies and online courses?
    2. What is the administrative structure for addressing issues/concerns for online courses/education policies and infrastructure?
    3. What is the strategic plan for addressing online courses/infrastructure?
    4. What actions are needed to improve UAB's opportunities to produce online courses of quality for students?
    5. What resources are planned for assisting faculty to implement online courses?
    6. Which policy issues are the most urgent?
    7. How can the faculty senate assist the implementation of quality experiences for faculty and students for online courses?

  2. Faculty Affairs Committee of the Senate
    1. Intellectual property policies
    2. Conflict of interest policies
    3. Copyright policies
    4. Impact on faculty workload, compensation, for profit companies
    5. Access to training and instructional design/ technical assistance
    6. Impact on promotion and tenure criteria and evaluations
    7. Teaching effectiveness
    8. Evaluation of online/technology services on campus
    9. Academic freedom--selection of instructional methods

  3. Curriculum and Research Committee of the Senate
    1. Quality of learning
    2. Impact on students--access; privacy; class size; credits; accreditation; financial aid
    3. Infrastructure to support students and faculty
    4. Recruitment and retention of students

  4. Finance Committee of Senate
    1. Strategic plan
    2. Resources for infrastructure
    3. Student fees - computer use, etc.
    4. Technology availability on campus and requirements of students
    5. Consequences for UAB to not prepare to compete with intra-state and extra state institutions of higher education or with e-learning for profit companies

Whereas, the August 18,2000 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education reported the results of an Educause survey of campus computing officials with these major concerns:

Whereas, the Faculty Senate's standing committee chairs met with UAB's Vice President for Information Technology on September 6. 2000 to discuss the current status of UAB's actions related to distance education infrastructure and administrative policies; and

Whereas, there is a consensus that there is an URGENT NEED to identify and address issues concerning the dedication of resources for expansion of UAB's information technology infrastructure to support faculty development services, students' access to online services in support of establishing learning communities within UAB and the delivery of core instructional technology services; and

Whereas, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs has expressed interest (September 6, 2000) in the actions of the Senate's committees concerning UAB's web-based education practices and the need to assure the quality of students' learning experiences and outcomes,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate adopt the following recommendations to be forwarded to the UAB Council of Deans, the Provost, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, and the Vice President for Information Technology and the President,

First, That the Faculty Senate encourages the academic administrators of UAB to align their efforts to give urgent and immediate attention to issues related to creating effective competitive strategies and information technology investments to support the educational mission of the institution to include web-based education capabilities,

Second, That UAB's academic administrators form partnerships with the Faculty Senate and faculty groups within all schools and libraries to develop and implement instructional programs that enhance recruitment and retention of students, staff, and faculty,

Third, That all related University-wide committees, faculty and administrators be encouraged to review existing UAB Faculty Handbook policies and revise the current language to include web-based educational practices,

Fourth, That Faculty Senate committees develop recommendations for a strategic plan at the level of the office of the Vice President for Information Technology that supports the implementation of instructional technology services for undergraduate and graduate program offerings so as to assure service excellence for student and program outcomes,

Fifth, That strategic planning for web-based educational courses and programs at UAB be integrated with the emerging semester conversion activities to enhance the development of online student services that support learning communities among UAB's constituents and the development of performance-based programs that support the guiding principles and core values concerning the teaching mission of UAB,

Sixth, That the Faculty Senate supports the Finance, Curriculum and Research and the Faculty Affairs Committees to proceed with addressing the concerns and issues identified in the Preamble of this resolution so as to enhance the continuous assessment of learning outcomes, the quality of teaching and learning experiences related to web-based educational experiences for students and faculty,

Seventh, That the issues identified in this resolution be forwarded to UAB administration with a sense of urgency for identifying resources to meet the emerging needs of students, staff and faculty and that the Faculty Senate be on record for supporting goals of the Office of Information Technology to meet student and faculty expectations, and that services that need to be readily available to support the recruitment and retention of students and the faculty in programs implementing web-based educational practices.

The chair put the question and motion carried.

The chair recognized Senator Hutchison to give the report of the Committee on Governance and Operations. She reminded senators of the standing rules of the senate, copies of which were distributed. It is important that senators give notice to the senate office when they will be absent and inform the senate office of what alternate will replace them. When signing in alternates should make clear who they are replacing. Senate attendance has been good, but a few senators have been absent three or four times. This has been discussed with them.

The standing rules say that a senator should rise and give his or her name when speaking.

The Governance and Operations Committee has met twice to consider bylaw revisions and will meet again to complete the task.

The chair announced that there was no report from the Committee on Faculty Policies and Procedures.

The chair recognized Senator Reed to give the report of the Finance Committee (Document 5).

The chair recognized Senator McKenna who moved the following resolution on behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee on Parking:

Whereas, faculty and staff parking fees at UAB are significantly higher than the fees charged at 10 comparable public urban university campuses in the Southeast and Midwest with similar cost structures, and

Whereas, faculty and staff parking fees at UAB are more than 13 times higher than the average employee parking fees paid at other campuses of the University of Alabama system, and

Whereas, faculty and staff parking fees at UAB are significantly higher than parking fees paid by public and quasi-public (e.g. Health Services Foundation) employees in the immediate vicinity of the UAB campus, and

Whereas, parking fees for UAB faculty and staff are, on average more than 10 times higher than the parking fees paid by UAB students, and

Whereas, that 10 to 1 differential between employee and student parking fees at UAB is unique among 12 campuses surveyed (their average differential being 1.6 to 1), and

Whereas, undisputed evidence demonstrates clearly that UAB has chosen to subsidize student parking by charging much higher fees to faculty and staff,

Now therefore be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that the Senate calls on the administration to end the current policy of employee parking fees being used to subsidize student parking, to find alternative funding sources for student parking, and to reduce the unreasonably high parking fees currently charged to faculty and staff. Be it further resolved that

  1. There be an ad hoc committee of the Senate to serve as a task force to devise a specific plan for ending the subsidization of student parking by faculty and staff fees by identifying alternative funding sources for student parking to replace the present subsidy arrangement.
  2. The membership of the task force should be three persons appointed by the Chair of the Faculty and three persons appointed by the President of the University.
  3. The task force must make monthly reports to the Senate from January through April 2001 and a final report in May 2001. Should the task force need an extension of time for making its final report, it may request this extension from the Senate in January.

The chair put the question and the motion carried.

The chair recognized Senator Gunther-Canada to give the report of the Arts and Sciences Council (Document 6).

The chair recognized Senator Schnorrenberg who moved the following resolution on behalf of the Executive Committee.

Whereas Peter V. O'Neil, Ph.D., has served as Interim Provost and Provost of the University of Alabama at Birmingham since February 1997, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil is resigning as Provost this month, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil has previously served the university as Acting Dean and Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from March 1982 to June 1998, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics from September 1978 to March 1982, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil has published a number of refereed papers in natural and international mathematics journals, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil's 1970 paper, "Ulam's Conjecture and Graphic Reconstructions" was awarded the Lester R. Ford Prize by the Mathematical Association of America, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil has published five books on topology, calculus, linear algebra, engineering mathematics (in four editions from 1982 to 1994), and partial differential equations, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil has been supported by the National Science Foundation as a principal investigator under a grant for the improvement of K-12 education in science and mathematics, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in mathematics, and

Whereas Professor O'Neil in his work of administrative leadership, scholarship, and teaching has demonstrated patience, honesty, persistence, insight, and concern for teaching and learning,

Now therefore, be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham:

  1. The Senate commends Peter V. O'Neil, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics and Provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for his distinguished service and academic leadership at the University and as Chair of Mathematics, Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Provost.
  2. The Senate gives thanks for the example of scholarship and learning set by the investigations and publications of Professor O'Neil.
  3. The Senate thanks Professor O'Neil for his open and frequent consultation with the faculty and the Faculty Senate, which has resolved many problems and issues that might otherwise have become difficult.
  4. The Senate is pleased that Professor O'Neil will continue to teach and to pursue further work of learning and scholarship as a member of the faculty of the university.
  5. The Senate directs its Secretary to engross a copy of this resolution for the signature of the Chair of the Faculty and to transmit it to Professor O'Neil in token of its appreciation and esteem for the work Professor O'Neil has done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The chair recognized Senator Smith who moved the following resolution

Whereas the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham has previously expressed its unwavering commitment to UAB as a single, unpartitioned entity (resolution 98.12.1 listed in the appendix below);

Whereas recent news media reports have suggested that significant administrative reorganization might be under consideration;

Whereas such reorganization could drastically impact the degree with which UAB functions as a single, unpartitioned entity;

Now therefore be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that:

First, any contemplated reorganization that does not reflect a strong commitment to UAB as a single, unpartitioned entity be immediately rejected;

Second, the rationale for any proposed reorganization be carefully considered and communicated, and, after the careful consideration and communication,

Third, any such proposed reorganization receive the careful, deliberate, and public scrutiny that is warranted.

Appendix to October 2000 Resolution on Fringe Benefits Committee

98.12.1 To affirm Senate Commitment to UAB as a single, unpartitioned entity, 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:

The abiding strength of UAB is the interconnection among its twelve schools, which represent a full range of liberal and professional scholarship.

The close interaction among these schools advances and promotes unique opportunities for education, research, scholarship, and community outreach.

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.

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.

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.

The motion was seconded and discussed. The question was put and the motion carried.

The chair called for any new business.

Senator Telfair spoke of the delay in setting up account numbers for new grant programs. It can be as great as three or four months. Resulting financial problems are compounded when other universities are involved in a joint grant.

The chair asked the Finance Committee to review this situation and report to the senate about it.

Senator Hickson said that the senate should thank President Reynolds, the Chair of the Faculty and Senator Jannett for their help in providing a temporary resolution for the health care benefits issue. The senate applauded.

The chair observed that significant issues about health care costs remain unresolved.

Senator Jannett said that it is not clear what activity about health care costs will happen over the next year. At the meeting of President Reynolds with the Senate Executive Committee on 5 October she told the committee that the Fringe Benefits Committee would be disbanded. The Faculty Handbook and Policies 2000 and the Bylaws of the Senate refer to the committee. The problem about health care benefits started because the Fringe Benefits Committee was ignored.

Senator Smith asked whether the Faculty Handbook clause has been pointed out.

The chair said that he had pursued this issue with Vice President Margison.

The chair recognized Senator Knowles who moved the following resolution

Whereas, Section 4 of the 2000 Faculty Handbook and Policies and Section II.6.C. of the the Bylaws of the Faculty and Faculty Senate recognize the existence of a Fringe Benefits Committee,

Now therefore be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham:

The UAB Faculty Senate urges President Reynolds to reinstate the Fringe Benefits Committee with representation from UAB faculty and staff and to regularly meet with said committee to discuss and address faculty and staff concerns.

Senators Telfair, Wyss, Reed, Jackson, Smith, Greenup, Jannett, Schnorrenberg and Ward spoke in the ensuing debate.

The chair put the question and the motion carried.

There being no further business, the chair adjourned the meeting at 9:45 A.M.


Respectfully submitted,

John M. Schnorrenberg
Secretary of the Faculty



NOTE: Persons who wish to have a copy of an attached document referred to in the minutes should e-mail a request to Stephanie Belcher. Please specify the date of the Senate and the number of the document you desire. Attached documents exist only as hard copy. They will be sent by campus mail.