Senate Minutes 1/03

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate

Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 14 January 2003


University Center Great Hall


Officers: Dr. John A. Smith (Chair-Elect), Dr. Marcus Hickson III (Past-Chair), Dr. Theodore Benditt (Secretary), Dr. John W. Wittig (Parliamentarian), Dr. Eli Capilouto (Provost), Carol Garrison (President)

Senators: Dr. Peter G. Anderson, Mr. Craig W. Beard, Dr. Susan L. Davies, Dr. Evangelos Eleftherious, Dr. Jeffrey A. Engler, Dr. Daniel A. Givan, Dr. Jeanne S. Hutchison, Dr. Timothy W. Kraft, Dr. George O. Liber, Dr. James C. Martin, Dr. Warren S. Martin, Dr. Bruce T. McComiskey, Dr. Jiri Mestecky, Dr. Stephen A. Moser, Dr. Beverly A. Mulvihill, Dr. William K. Ogard, Dr. Gary L. Sapp, Dr. Tammy P. Than, Dr. Bettye G. Wilson

Alternate Senators: Dr. Madelyn Coar, Dr. David D. Ku, Dr. Debra E. Laken, Dr. Mark E. Lockhart, Ms. Heather Martin, Dr. Jay M. Meythaler, Dr. Jay A. Smith, Dr. Joseph Telfair

Guests: Mr. Michael Boyd, Dr. Pat Greenup, Ms. Lucy Hicks, Mr. James Lowery, Mr. Richard Marchase


  1. Call to Order

    In the absence of Dr. Tim Heaven, the meeting was chaired by Dr. John Smith (Chair Elect). The chair called the meeting to order at 7:32 a.m.

  2. Recognition of Visitors

    Dr. Robert Holmes, Mr. David Anthony, Dr. Richard Marchase, Dr. Rose Scripa

  3. Adoption of Minutes of December 10, 2002

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

  4. UAB Update.

    President Garrison described the process that has begun to develop a current statement of UAB's goals and visions and to show that we are meeting them. Next month the goals and visions statement will be shared with the senate. The president believes that the process must move quickly owing to time constraints and to ensure that we are deciding for ourselves the directions in which we will move. President Garrison also emphasized the need for support of the arts and athletic programs.

    Dr. Jay Meythaler (Medicine) asked whether there would be changes in UAB's style of governance, especially changes that might involve some form of participatory management. Dr. Garrison replied that UAB's governance would be open and user-friendly. Dr. Meythaler asked in particular whether, with respect to procedures governing grants and contracts, there would be an oversight group, perhaps from the Senate, to make recommendations. Dr. Capilouto said that there are many groups looking at procedures related to grants and contracts and that proposals have come forward. Dr. Meythaler said he thought it would be better to have an elected rather than an appointed group to which people can go to relate their problems. This would be a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach that would, he said, assure that all issues are heard. Dr. Capilouto said that we are pursuing continuous quality improvement in this as in all areas and that problems can be directed to him (his telephone number is 934-0632) and that the administration wants to hear about problems. Dr. Garrison said that input from the senate will be sought.

  5. Credit Hours for Graduation.

    Associate Provost Rose Scripa reported that all schools with undergraduate programs have submitted plans for the change from 128 to 120 credit hours required for graduation and that there have been some requests for waivers.

    Dr. Jay Smith (Business) asked what percentage of students currently enrolled will be under the new catalog. Dr. Scripa said that she does not know. She said that current students can switch to the new requirements if they wish. But, she said, those wanting to switch can't simply drop eight hours-they must buy into all of the new requirements. In response to another question Dr. Scripa said that articulation agreements and the State core requirements are not affected by the decrease in hours required for graduation.

  6. Health Benefits.

    Mr. Michael Boyd (Manager, Benefits) gave a presentation on the numbers of faculty and staff enrolled in various health programs. As expected, most who had been in the United Health Care program have chosen VIVA Health. Increasing numbers are taking advantage of Health Care Accounts. Mr. Boyd also reported that there have not been many calls on the Faculty Hot Line so far, though some of these calls have come on the regular telephone lines.

  7. Research.

    Dr. Richard Marchase (Associate Dean, School of Medicine) gave a presentation on UAB's research progress. He said that UAB is 19th in NIH funding (FY 2001) and is $67m behind #10 and 27th in total federal funding among universities in the U.S. On the basis of research dollars per person, the Birmingham Metropolitan area ranks 9th in the country. In 2001-02 139,650 square feet of research space came on line and will increase substantially with the Shelby Building (314,000 gsf) and the Research Support Building. UAB's recent recruiting, of both senior and young investigators, has been exceptional. The UABSOM website is consolidating core descriptions and other information to assist in grants submissions, and UAB's relationship with Southern Research Institute is developing well. UAB's economic impact on the Birmingham area is $2.5 billion; its multiplier effect makes it a good investment for the region. Diversity among investigators is an ongoing concern. The presentation was followed by a discussion of UAB's efforts with regard to behavioral and social science research in psychiatry and elsewhere and how to improve the level of neuroscience funding in the university.

    Dr. George Liber (History) asked, with regard to a point Dr. Marchase made about regulations relating for foreign-born personnel, what the issues are. Dr. Marchase said there are visa issues and limits on the projects that some people can work on.

    Dr. John Smith (Pathology; Chair-elect) asked, regarding endowed professorships at Southern Research Institute, who holds them and about the plans for filling vacant ones. Dr. Marchase said that two of them are open and that attempts are being made to fill them.

    Dr. Telfair (Public Health) asked what efforts are being made concerning research in behavioral and social sciences. Dr. Marchase said that the Department of Psychiatry has not been strong in recent years but that relations between it and the School of Medicine are developing. Dr. Telfair said that there are other areas than psychiatry in the behavioral and social sciences and that there is unrecognized potential that should be developed. Dr. Garrison said that research at UAB goes beyond any one unit, that good research at the university goes beyond funded research, and that it would be good to have someone talk to the senate about non-funded research.

    Dr. John Smith asked about a rumor about the Department of Psychology, which has substantial funded research, being absorbed by the School of Medicine. Dr. Marchase acknowledged that some people have discussed this topic. Dr. Garrison said that there is no concern at the present time about one part of the campus absorbing points of excellence from other parts of campus.

  8. Research Foundation.

    Ms. Lucy Hicks (Director, UAB Research Foundation) presented an overview of the activities of the UABRF. Specifically, Ms. Hicks presented data reflecting the UABRF's activities from 1987 through 2002. Further, she presented updates regarding the UABRF's 2003 initiatives and pointed out that the UABRF is now responsible for intellectual property development involving Southern Research Institute.

    Dr. John Smith asked about how consultants are paid when money is moved through UAB rather than paid directly to the consultant. Ms. Hicks said she would look into this. Dr. Smith also asked also how members of the 27-member Board of Trustees of UABRF are evaluated. Ms. Hicks said there is no formal process of evaluation for UABRF at this time. However, she said, considering the new scrutiny of boards of directors, some form of board performance evaluation may be instituted for the UABRF Board in the future.

    Dr. Mark Hickson (Arts & Humanities; Past-chair) asked whether members of the Board of Trustees are paid. Ms. Hicks said they are not paid. Dr. Smith asked whether it is permissible to pay board members. Dr. Telfair said that board members of foundations may be given honoraria but that it should be equivalent for all board members of a 501(c)3 tax exempt foundation.

    Dr. Robert Holmes (Business) said that the School of Business has formed a partnership with UABRF.

  9. Academic Calendar.

    Dr. Ted Benditt (Arts & Humanities; Secretary of Faculty) reported on the concerns of some faculty about the academic calendar-the length of the term and the schedule on which classes are offered. Dr. Benditt reported on the length of the fall term, 2002 at 24 universities. UAB and a few others, with 75 teaching days, have the longest terms; a few universities have fewer than 70 days of classes, and the majority are in between. Many have a fall break and don't hold classes on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. The updated list (of 24 universities) follows:

    Fall, 2002 Class meeting days (M-F only)

    University of Alabama: 75
    University of Georgia: 75
    University of Missouri at Kansas City: 75
    Georgia State University: 75
    University of Kansas: 75
    Indiana University: 75
    UAB: 75
    Auburn University: 74
    University of Mississippi: 74
    University of Kentucky: 74
    University of Arizona: 74
    University of Missouri: 73
    University of Illinois: 72
    University of Minnesota: 72
    Duke University: 71.5
    University of Pittsburgh: 71
    University of Wisconsin: 71
    University of Florida: 70
    University of Tennessee: 70
    University of Texas: 70
    University of Louisville: 70
    Vanderbilt University: 70
    University of Alabama in Huntsville: 68
    University of Virginia: 67
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: 63

    On the second issue Dr. Benditt presented the results of a survey of 86 students in one department who overwhelmingly (94% to 6%) favor a two-day rather than a three-day class schedule.

    Dr. Capilouto said that requests have gone out, including to the president of the senate, for input on the timing of spring break, with a deadline of Friday, January 17.

  10. Family and Medical Leave of Absence Policy

    The UAB Family and Medical Leave of Absence Policy was brought forward for its second reading. Dr. George Liber said that a leave of absence of twelve weeks is inadequate when the term is at least sixteen weeks long. Mr. James Lowery (Institutional Studies and Services) said that UAB has a policy of up to sixteen weeks of leave for an employee's own health condition; the sixteen weeks includes the employee's sick leave, vacation time, and personal holidays. For a family-related situation the university permits up to twelve weeks of leave (as does the federal law), and again this includes the employee's sick leave, vacation time, and personal holidays. In either case an employee needing additional leave may apply for a Personal Leave of Absence. Mr. Lowery also indicated that the federal Act speaks to how the leave should be handled in the academic setting. UAB's policy does not include all those matters but the deans and department heads must administer it in keeping with the federal regulations.

    The revised policy was approved with one negative vote.

  11. Open Forum

    No time remained for open forum.

  12. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 9:31 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.