Senate Minutes 10/02

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate

Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 8 October 2002


Mervyn H. Sterne Library, Room 158


Officers: Dr. Tim Heaven (Chair), Dr. John A. Smith (Chair-Elect), Dr. Marcus Hickson (Past-Chair), Dr. Theodore Benditt (Secretary), Dr. John W. Wittig (Parliamentarian), Dr. Carol Garrison (President), Dr. Arol Augsburger (Provost)

Senators: Mr. Craig W. Beard, Dr. James Davidson, Dr. Kurt R. Denninghoff, Dr. Evangelos Eleftherious, Dr. Daniel A. Givan, Ms. M. Ellen Griffin, Dr. Jeanne S. Hutchison, Dr. Lynn D. Kirkland, Dr. Timothy W. Kraft, Dr. Jack E. Lemons, Dr. George O. Liber, Dr. Warren S. Martin, Dr. Bruce T. McComiskey, Dr. Jiri Mestecky, Dr. Beverly A. Mulvihill, Dr. William K. Ogard, Dr. Linda F. Reed, Dr. Gary L. Sapp, Dr. Tammy P. Than, Dr. Bettye G. Wilson

Alternate Senators: Dr. Madelyn Coar, Dr. Charles N. Falany, Dr. David D. Ku, Dr. Debra E. Laken, Dr. Mark E. Lockhart, Ms. Heather Martin, Dr. Maureen L. Pezzementi, Dr. Jay A. Smith, Dr. Murat M. Tanik, Dr. Joseph Telfair, Dr. Martha Verchot, Dr. Penelope S. Wright

Guests: Dr. Eli Capilouto, Mr. David Hoidal, Ms. Ann Day Hunt, Mr. James Lowery, Dr. John Lyons, Ms. Susan McWilliams, Dr. Rose Scripa, Mr. Stephen Waring


  1. Call to Order

    The chair called the meeting to order at 7:33 a.m.

  2. Recognition of Visitors

    The following visitors were present: Mr. David Hoidal, Mr. Brad Rollow, Ms. Susan McWilliams

  3. Adoption of Minutes of September 10, 2002

    The minutes of the meeting of September 10, 2002 were approved as distributed.

  4. Health Care

    1. Susan McWilliams

      Susan McWilliams (Assoc. VP, Human Resource Management) discussed improvements in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for health care and dependent care. The most important improvement is that employees will be able to pay for services using debit cards (SHPS Flex Convenience Card), which will automatically deduct expenses from an employee's FSA. Employees using the card will not have to file claims and for reimbursement. Ms. McWilliams emphasized that the card can only be used for eligible health care and dependent care expenses.

      Ms. McWilliams also discussed proposals to enhance communication between faculty and the benefits department and reviewed existing communication sources, particularly emphasizing the effectiveness of the HRM Website ( and the email address ( Enhancement proposals include: Benefits director attending Senate meetings; faculty hotline to benefits office ("FAC-ULTY" (322-8589)); designate Reba Belcher and Mike Boyd as Personal Faculty Counselors (PFCs); 24 hour 7 day coverage through beeper, cell phone, email; guaranteed contact within 24 hours with appropriate vendor/party; special wallet card with name, phone, cell, email; link to Human Resources Benefits Division on Faculty Senate Home Page; add UAB employee benefits link on UAB Home Page under Hot Topics.

      Finally, Ms. McWilliams reviewed issues with United Health Care that led to the decision to drop that plan. Most of the problems, she said, revolved around an increasing unwillingness by United to negotiate with UAB over specific issues. Dr. Eleftherious (Engineering) and Dr. Charles Falany (Pharmacology) asked whether a tiered system (single, single + 1, etc.) is envisioned. Ms. McWilliams indicated that for two years she has recommended such a system. President Garrison commented that she favors such an approach.

    2. Brad Rollow

      Mr. Brad Rollow (CEO, VIVA Health) reviewed the history of managed care at UAB, the ownership and control of VIVA, and its current level of activity (it has grown to 12,000 covered lives). Though it lost money in its first three years, it is, he said, in good shape financially and expects to finish paying off its debt to UAB Hospital and UAB by 2006.

      Dr. Capilouto (Interim Provost) asked whether, since so much of VIVA's profits come from Medicare, there is concern about changes in Washington. Mr. Rollow acknowledged that changes in Washington, particularly a drug plan, would make a difference financially for HMOs.

      Dr. Scripa (Associate Provost) asked about the problem of long waits for appointments at the Kirklin Clinic. Mr. Rollow said they are working on the problem.

    3. (c) David Hoidal

      David Hoidal (COO, UAB Health System) addressed improvements in access at Kirklin Clinic. He pointed out that UAB has primary care physicians four satellite offices (in Moody, Inverness, Hoover, and Hueytown) as well as at Kirklin Clinic, and that wait time in OB-GYN has been reduced considerably. The mammography unit has hired a third person and will be open on Saturdays.

      Dr. Linda Reed (Nursing) asked whether we will develop standards for reasonable wait times. Mr. Hoidal said that standards for reasonable wait times are being developed within each specialty for both new patients and repeat patients.

  5. Faculty Salaries

    Dr. John Lyons (VP, Planning and Information Management) reviewed the major sources of funding for UAB's educational mission. The state formula, he pointed out, is driven by (unweighted) credit hour production, and even though the state's formula for funding the university is not usually followed, it nevertheless reflects the state's expectations for the university.

    Funding comes from two sources: tuition and the state allocation, and 'other', which includes grants that support instruction. He presented a study showing, for the non-health schools at UAB, the number of credit hours taught by full-time faculty and a comparison of the funds generated by faculty productivity (measured in this way) with the salaries paid. The study shows that only one of the six schools covers its full-time faculty salaries by its teaching productivity.

    Though the percentage of 'other' funds is increasing in UAB's funding structure, Dr. Lyons maintained that salary improvement at UAB will have to come from internal reallocation, with attention to productivity in teaching. He maintained that faculty need to be involved on this issue, and that it is to be addressed not on a university-wide basis, but on a disciplinary basis.

    Dr. Benditt (Secretary; Philosophy) observed that in some areas there is considerable revenue produced by part-time instructors who are paid less than full-time faculty, that the revenues generated by part-time teaching more than covers part-time compensation, and that the excess subsidized full-time faculty salaries. This means that in some areas the full-time faculty do not have to 'earn' their entire salaries. Dr. Lyons said that this is true, but maintained that if we want to expand the full-time faculty, they will have to be more productive.

    Dr. Benditt also pointed out that in some cases, the ability of faculty to be more productive requires larger classrooms that, for historical reasons, are regularly assigned to other programs. He observed that insofar as faculty productivity rests on the university's allocation of resources such as classrooms, productivity issues are university-wide and not merely disciplinary issues. Dr. Lyons said that this is true, but observed that there are a lot of underutilized classrooms.

    Dr. Rose Scripa (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs) acknowledged that there are problems with large classrooms. She said that though in principle they are not 'owned' by particular programs, in fact they are. Part of the problem, she said, is that different departments request large classrooms for the same teaching periods. For this and other reasons, she said, there are large classrooms that are empty at certain times.

  6. Huntsville Report

    Dr. Stephen Waring (UAH Senate Chair) addressed the senate on faculty issues at UAH. UAH is experimenting with a supplementary pay plan that allows faculty to earn bonuses for teaching large or extra sections; the senate is watching this closely. Another issue is the "no credit" grading system under which a student not earning at least a D is given "no credit" for a course (rather than an F); problems have emerged with students accumulating large numbers of these and its impact on the academic probation policy. A third issue is academic misconduct; UAH is looking at software that detects plagiarism. Other issues are improvement of annual faculty evaluation forms, a change in procedures for reviewing deans, establishment of a women's resource center, reduction in the number of committees, and support of higher education PACs.

    Dr. Rose Scripa said that UAB has recently revised its policies on academic misconduct and asked whether it would be useful for the universities to get together on the issue.

    Dr. Mark Hickson (Past President; Communication Studies) asked what the average course load is at UAH. Dr. Waring said that it is 3-3 in the liberal arts, less in graduate programs.

  7. Resolutions

    Dr. John Wittig (Parliamentarian; Communication Studies) introduced a resolution (attached) recognizing and thanking Dr. Malcolm Portera for his contributions as interim President of UAB. The resolution was approved unanimously.

    Dr. Mark Hickson (Part President; Communication Studies) introduced a resolution (attached) recognizing and thanking Dr. Arol Augsburger for his contributions as interim Provost of UAB. The resolution was approved unanimously.

    Following approval of the resolutions, the Senate voted to extend the meeting for five minutes.

  8. Faculty Policies and Procedures

    Dr. Mark Hickson reported that an amendment to the confidentiality policy passed unanimously.

    Dr. Tim Heaven (President; Dentistry) said that revisions of the faculty handbook will be sent to the Senate Executive Committee for comment and then sent back to the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee.

  9. Curriculum and Research Committee Report

    Committee Chair Charles Falany (Pharmacology) said that headcount increased by 184 in the fall term; the official headcount report is available on the website.

  10. Open Forum

    There was no further discussion.

  11. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 9:37 a.m.


Theodore M. Benditt, Secretary of the Faculty

NOTE: Documents referred to in the text of the minutes are attached to the original of these minutes. If you wish to have a copy of an attached document, e-mail your request to Stephanie Belcher. Please specify the date of the Senate meeting and the number of the document you desire. They will be sent by campus mail.