Senate Minutes 8/01

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 10 August 2001

The UAB Faculty Senate met on 10 August 2001 in 107 Ryals. The agenda adopted by the Executive Committee was distributed (Document 1).

Those present were: Officers: Hickson (Chair), Heaven (Chair Elect), Wyss (Past Chair), Schnorrenberg (Secretary). Senators: Anderson, Eleftheriou, Greenup, Lemons, Liber, Mercado, Mulvilhill, Pheiffer, Reed, Rigney, Swanson, Telfair, Ward, Weaver. Alternates: Andrews (for Hutchison), Bodon (for Basilico), Hogan Smith, Martin (for Beard), Mason, Bettye Wilson (for Hardin). Ex officio: Reynolds (President), Augsburger (Provost), Wittig (Parliamentarian). Guests: Virginia Gauld, Sue McKinnon, Rose Scripa, Thomas Spencer.

The Chair of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 8:04 a.m. He announced that Vice President Virginia Gauld and Associate Vice President Sue McKinnon would give their report on enrollment as the first order of business so that they could go to a scheduled meeting with parts of incoming students.

Dr. Gauld said that she and Ms. McKinnon would share in giving the report. Copies of the Power Point presentation were distribute (Document 2).

Dr. McKinnon said that figures were those of last Monday. There has been a 15% increase in acceptances, a 3% increase in freshman acceptances, and a 10% increase in student's aged 19 and under. Freshman orientation is required, and 969 students have attended the sessions before this weekend. Another 150 are registered to attend this weekend. The six sessions for transfer students have been attended b 647 students, and more than 200 are expected to attend the sessions this weekend.

Dr. Gauld reported on returning students. She cautioned that it is not possible to make exact comparisons with last year's figures because we did not have spring preregistration last year, and the regular registration period is shorter this year than last. At spring preregistration 3,677 undergraduates and 668 graduate students registered. There are still 2,511 undergraduates who have not graduated, are not financially ineligible to return, and have not yet registered. These are being called by their deans to encourage them to register.

Of undergraduates who have registered 70.6% are taking 12 or more semester hours. Fifteen percent are taking 15 hours or more. Dr. Gauld stressed that UAB is now primarily a university of full time students.

Dr. Gauld reminded the senate that not all students who apply to UAB are admitted. The minimum standards are a score of 20 on the ACT, the national average, and a 2.0 average on a high school academic work.

Dr. Gauld spoke of West Hall, the new residence hall. She urged faculty to join one the tours given each day at 2 p.m. There are 513 spaces. Leases have been signed for 262 of these and deposits paid for 38 others. Rast Hall will now be used only for freshmen. It will be an alcohol and tobacco free residence. It is full. Part of West Hall may additionally be devoted to this program.

Rast is now being wired to the standards of West Hall. There will be telephone, internet and computer connections in every room. The goal is to have these in all university housing in the near future.

University hall will be closed as a dormitory, pursuant to the agreement with the trustees made when West Hall was approved by them.

Ms. McKinnon reported on the new student web site, There is also a new communications line for parents.

Dr. Gauld and Ms. McKinnon asked for any questions.

Senator Eletherou asked why the count for engineering students was lower than the enrollment in engineering. Ms. McKinnon said that a number of persons have not yet registered.

Senator Mason asked whether West Hall was open to all students. Dr. Gauld responded that it was, and that graduate students were welcome and might prefer the two bedroom units.

Senator Wyss observed tat it might be desirable to have beeper lines to secure help in an emergency for a resident in a residence hall. Dr. Gauld replied that this was an excellent idea, and it would be investigated.

Senator Schnorrenberg praised what he had seen of West hall on the tour he took.

President Reynolds stressed that there were resident advisers in the residence halls. Dr. Gauld observed that the ratio of advisers in Rast Hall would be 1 to 23 because it is a hall for freshmen.

Senator Wilson asked whether the need for family housing on campus was being addressed. Dr. Gauld said that the 4 units of garden apartments at university Boulevard and 15th Street were still available. It is planned to close them in the future. The master plan for campus does provide for family housing in the Glen Iris area. This will probably be built in a public-private partnership like that for West Hall.

Senator Ward asked how many students resided on campus Dr. Gauld said that there is room for as many as 2,000.

Senator Ward asked whether the food service was adequate for this resident population. Dr. Gauld said that Aramark is now in charge of on-campus food service. They have also done an evaluation of future food service needs, and this is being explored in relation to the next stages of student center and housing development. Dr. Gauld said that students can buy a Blazer Dining Card and use it to purchase meals. She pointed out that most residence halls have kitchens connected with the living spaces and must student food is prepared in these.

Senator Ward inquired whether the library should not have longer evening and weekend hours since so many students are resident on campus. President Reynolds said that library hours have been extended just before and during final examinations, but there have been so few users of the extended time that the cost of the staffing does not seem justified. Part of the reason is probably the new student dependence on and familiarity with computers and the access these give to much information. There is a change in student study habits. Dr. Gauld observed that the Fifteenth Street Classroom building had been kept open for late night study in response to a request from student government for such space. The use of this space was low.

Senator Lemons said that his school mostly housed visiting scholars in the community. Would the new residences provide campus space for this? President Reynolds said that CAMS is available and there is a suite in Camp Hall, but that student housing would be needed for students. She observed that a developer is now looking at rehabilitation Parliament House. Something might happen there, but much renovation will be required.

The chair said that the senate would return to the regular order of the agenda. Because the minutes of the May and June meeting had not been approved, he asked for this to be done. There being no objection, he ordered the minutes of the May meeting approved and, there being no objection, he ordered the minutes of the June meeting approved.

The chair then asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the July meeting. The secretary said that he had received one and recorded it. Hearing no other corrections the chair ordered the minutes approved as corrected.

The chair gave his report. He said that he had nothing to say about health care or the university budget. He had received a report from Provost Augsburger on the filing and disposition of grievances. He will continue to get these reports and will let the senate know about these. The chair said that Associate Provost Scripa is chairing the Faculty Awards Task Force. The chair and Senator Wyss are members of this group. It has had a first meeting with an exchange of information and ideas. It will continue its work, and the Chair of the Faculty will report the results to the senate.

The chair has appointed an ad hoc committee on athletic budget. Senator Alexander is the chair of this committee. It will be giving a report at a future meeting of the senate.

The chair recognized Senator Bodon to give the report of the Committee on Faculty Affairs. He said that the committee would be discussing the status of part time faculty or contractual teachers. The AAUP does not differentiate between these. The committee would be inquiring whether these persons have academic freedom in teaching. Should they be required by the department to distribute to students a teaching evaluation questionnaire which often compares them with other the teachers? May the represent themselves as faculty of the university in writing a letter of recommendation or publishing an article?

The chair asked for new business.

The chair reminded the senate that the next meeting is on Tuesday, 11 September at 7:30 a.m.

Senator Hogan Smith asked whether educational benefits for employees have been reduced. The Provost answered that they remained the same for the year as a whole.

The chair announced the open forum.

The president said that she was pleased with the support of the senate and faculty leadership had given in preserving the financial support of the state for the university. This is again the next big thing to do. The ACHE formula for funding to colleges and universities is under review. There will be a push for a revision. The issue is important for UAB. UAB has now dropped to the bottom of ACHE funding, below Troy State and South Alabama. How and whether the formula is revised may have great effect on UAB.

The president said that she is elated that UAB got the $25 million contribution for the state for the new research building. She is proud of UAB's high national ranking in securing research funds. Senator Shelby will now try to assist us to secure full funding for the building. If we cannot get it all, we may have to finance it in part by bonds.

The president said that we must now turn our attention to the planned new student activities centers. That will have to be self-funded. It will occupy the site of the married student housing at University Boulevard and 15th Street.

It is also time to revise our campus master plan to bring it up to date. That will be done this fall.

The president said that she and provost have been meeting with the deans and their staff about some of the very demanding needs of the schools. Chemistry needs to have new laboratories. The Stephens Center must be finished so that music can be housed there. This will free space in Humanities and permit changes in that building to provide more offices and others spaces. The cost of these changes is probably in the range of five million dollars.

The Education Building is in dire straits. It has no heating system. It needs improvements, and it may be possible to enclose the present ground level parking space for other uses.

Senator Liber asked what would be done about Ullman. The president said that UAB was seeking Landmark status for old Ullman. This would permit seeing Federal funds appropriated for Landmark preservation. The university knows that the addition to Ullman is not satisfactory. It needs modification, including an elevator.

Senator Wittig asked if the university would need to pay losses on costs of operation of West hall if it were not to be full. The president responded that we have no exposure. We get a percentage of rentals. But there are no penalties or charges to us if the building is not full.

Senator Anderson asked about the possibility of salary increases in the present tight financial circumstances of the university. The president responded that she is concerned about our semi-recession. She is troubled by the story in the newspaper about lagging state tax receipts. She thinks there will be an effort to avoid further proration because the burden must be shared equally by secondary and higher education, as the Supreme Court of Alabama has decided.

The president said that she appreciated the support of the Birmingham News for constitutional and tax reform.

The chair announced that Wayne Echols would speak about legislative and budgetary priorities at the next senate meeting.

There being no further business, the chair adjourned the senate at 9:06 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.