Senate Minutes 3/01

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 9 March 2001

The UAB Faculty Senate met on 9 March 2001 in 410-411University 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: Ball, Basilico, Brown, Cheung, Eberhardt, Filler, Fullard, Greenup, Gunther-Canada, Harris, Heaven, Hutchison, Knowles, Mercado, Price, Reed, Sapp, Smith, Swanson, Telfair, Ward. Alternates: Beard, Givan, Hogan-Smith, Jackson, Laken. Ex-Officio: Augsburger (Interim Provost), Reynolds (President), Wittig (Parliamentarian). Guests: Theodore Benditt, Mellisa P. Bunch, Wayne Echols, Rosalia Scripa, Terry Tatum.

The Chair of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 8:07 a.m. He asked if there were corrections to the minutes of the meeting of the senate on 9 February (Document 2). He asked for a motion to approve the minutes, this was moved, and the motion carried.

The chair made his report. A little over 3,000 people had attended Higher Education Day in Montgomery on 6 March. Many were from UAB. The halls of the legislative building were jammed with people waiting to see their legislators. Many said they were behind the universities. In response to the request of the chair over 200 people had telephoned Senator Smitherman who appeared to be planning to vote against higher education in the special session of the legislature. He changed his position to abstain.

The governor had met with university students prior to the rally, but was not available to meet with faculty and staff later in the day. He telephoned to say that he was for higher education.

What the universities have done will probably not make much impact on the budget for this year, but it will probably have some impact on the budget for 2000-01. The best the universities can hope for this year is proration at 6.2%. University opposition to the governor's proposal for the special session has angered the governor and those who were supporting him. Senator Bedford said that the universities should be cut 33%.

The chair referred to the AEA PEEHIP Alert distributed by Paul Hubbard (Document 3). He pointed out that if UAB takes a serious cut in state appropriation, the economy of the whole of central Alabama will have been hurt. The chair repeated that it is important to call senators. In his discussions with Senator Smitherman they had estimated that Senator Smitherman probably had 2,500 UAB employees in his district. If UAB suffered heavy budget cuts, many of them would be in trouble.

A goal of the university was to have university salaries protected from proration by statute. In response to a question about this Wayne Echols said that the university had proposed the protection of faculty and professional staff. This arrangement would leave many staff unprotected. Now the courts will decide how proration is to be borne, unless the governor comes back with another budget. How can we help? Call, fax, or email your representative and senator. Contribute to Blazer Pac to support those who defend our interests.

Senator Jannett observed that some schools on the west side of campus spend 90% of their funds on salaries. The chair observed that we cannot continue to take these kind of cuts and still remain stable. The chair said that he had talked to a number of senators and representatives while he was in Montgomery. Representative Hammett and Lieutenant Governor Windom expressed their concern and support for the universities, but they also pointed out that it was hard to support proposals for new taxes or other objectives if the governor continued to say that he would veto these.

The chair recognized Senator Greenup to report for the Committee on Faculty Affairs. Copies of its report were distributed (Document 4). She said that the committee will shortly have distributed the revised administrator evaluation reports.

The chair recognized Senator Jannett who said that he had no report from the Committee on Faculty Policies and Procedures.

The chair recognized Senator Reed to report for the Committee on Finance. Copies of its report were distributed (Document 5). Senator Reed said that returns for the health insurance questionnaire were good, but she urged all who had not yet responded to do so. She discussed the Ad hoc Committee on Health Benefits appointed by the president. A copy of its charge is included in the report. The senate health insurance questionnaire response will be summarized and available before this committee must make its report. The administration will be sending out a health care survey but it will not have been summarized before the ad hoc committee must make its report.

In response to a question whether the senate questionnaire had gone to all faculty Senator Reed said that it had gone to all 1,805.

The chair thanked Senator Reed and her committee for doing this survey and for the effective new form of doing it. He had received many questions about why all employees were not surveyed. There were two answers. The senate does not represent staff. We had no means of consulting them about the instrument of survey. There are 14,000 of them and it would have been difficult for us to survey so many. The chair had also been asked why our questions were not more pointed. The answer was that we used fairly standard types of questions for instruments of this sort. We did not wish to use questions, which might appear to show a bias.

The chair recognized Senator Hutchison to report for the Governance and Operations Committee. Its report was distributed (Document 6). On behalf of the committee Senator Hutchison moved

Senate Standing Rule 1 shall be changed to read "The regular meeting of the senate is on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.

This change shall take effect on I September 2001.

A lengthy discussion about the reasons for the change of time followed. Possible alternates were discussed. Senator Schnorrenberg moved the previous question and it carried. The chair put the question and asked for a vote by show of hands. The motion carried, 14 yeas, 7 no.

Senator Hutchison yielded to Senator Schnorrenberg to give the report of the Elections Committee. Senator Schnorrenberg said that some or all of the necessary nominations had been received from 10 of the 15 schools and that there were two nominees for chair elect and one for secretary. At least one more nomination for secretary is needed, and school nominations must be completed.

The chair recognized Senator Basilico to report for the Committee on Curriculum and Research. The committee has discussed the strategic initiatives report. Many of the initiatives are vague. The committee has focused on three: Relation of four-year colleges to junior colleges and technical institutes, relation of colleges to K-12 education, how campus-unique programs can be more widely delivered. The committee also discussed the resolution on plus and minus grading, which had been referred to it. It will continue this discussion at its next meeting. The committee also discussed web-based courses. It will invite information from faculty who have done these. In response to the question of Senator Telfair, Senator Basilico said that the further discussion of plus and minus grading would occur at the meeting of the committee next week.

The chair thanked President Reynolds for her efforts in Montgomery. He praised the unity of the college presidents. They had tried to put together a package, which the governor would find acceptable. The chair recognized the president. She praised the extraordinary support higher education had received from Lieutenant Governor Windom. The support of Representative Rogers had been superb. The president said that UAB had been offered "little deals' to help it. She said that we had turned all of these down to keep higher education together.

The president reported on an excellent series of meetings she had just had with Alabama senators and representatives in Washington. She mentioned the support offered by Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Aderholt, Bachus, and Callahan. Senator Shelby would seek funds for the Biomedical Research Building. Congressman Hilliard was interested in finding money to assist in the renovation of the Ullman Building.

The president urged senators to let their representatives in congress know how much valued is their support for UAB.

The chair recognized Senator Smith to give the final report of the Committee on Faculty Compensation. Copies of the report had been distributed (Document 7). Senator Smith said that he was reporting for Professor James Rachels, the chair of the committee, whose leadership had been exceptional. The committee had excluded statistics from the health affairs schools because the problem was chiefly in the academic affairs schools. Its report made four recommendations to correct salary inequity and one on salary compression.

The chair asked Senator Gunther-Canada to comment on the recommendation on salary compression. She pointed out that the mandated percentage increases for promotions in rank in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences are, in fact, inadequate to correct compression.

The chair thanked the committee for its work.

The chair noted that the senate had received a response from Interim Provost Augsburger about its discussion and resolution on the proposed use of Bell Gymnasium under a new plan. This response has been distributed (Document 8). Associate Provost Scripa and Interim Provost Augsburger are continuing to look at other possibilities for recreational space.

The chair recognized Interim Provost Augsburger to report on the deliberations of the Economic Rules Review Group. His report about this was distributed (Document 9). The provost said that Professor Capiluto hopes that the report can be complete by 1 April. Senator Jannett asked when the group had started work. The provost said that the group had been charged in September and had begun its work shortly after that. Senator Jannett said that this group seemed similar to the RCM group. Faculty had known about that group and had taken part in its deliberations. This new group came as a surprise. The provost responded that the president had appointed this group to give her advice.

Senator Hickson asked it there were a formula for the distribution of resources to schools. The provost replied that the committee had looked at the history of how distributions had been done. It was asking if there were a rationale for what has been the practice. It has talked about the relationship between credit hour production and funding.

Senator Ball said that he was surprised to see indirect costs listed as unrestricted revenues. He asked for sensitivity to lumping indirect costs with unrestricted funds.

The chair observed that there should be faculty members on a committee such as this one.

The chair recognized Senator Hogan Smith to give the report of the Childcare Committee on nighttime care. Senator Hogan Smith introduced Ms. Mellisa P. Bunch of The Baby-sitter Solution, Inc. She distributed a report on how they might provide nighttime childcare on a contract basis at the UAB Childcare Center (Document 10). In answer to a question from Senator Knowles, Ms. Bunch said that DHR has said that the proposed arrangements do not require its license. She also called attention to the suggested ratio of baby sitters to numbers of children to be cared for. If UAB wishes to go forward the goal is to have an arrangement set up by June.

The chair called for other business or the open forum.

Senator Jannett pointed out that scheduling for senate committees would be as difficult as scheduling for senate meetings under the new semester system.

There being no further business the chair called for and received a motion to adjourn, which was carried, and the senate adjourned at 9:29 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.