Meeting Minutes, December 8, 2020
The Arts and Sciences Council (ASC), 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Zoom

Representatives Present: Mithi Mukherjee (HIST), Andrew Cowell (LING), Sebastian Casalaina-Martin (MATH), Juan Herrero-Senes (SPAN), Stephen Mojzsis (GEOL), Mike Zerella (RAPS), Robert Rupert (PHIL), Rebecca Wartell (JWST), David Stock (EBIO), Michela Ardizzoni (FRIT), Cecilia Pang (THDN), Leslie Irvine (SOCY), Julie Lundquist (ATOC), Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), William Taylor (ANTH), Mara Jill Goldman (GEOG), Lorraine M. Bayard de Volo (WGST), Beverly Weber (GSLL), Annje Wiese (HUMN), Zachary Kilpatrick (APPM), Mike Klymkowsky (MCDB), Matthias Richter (ALC), Robert Parson (CHEM), John Keller (APS), Lewis Harvey (PSYC), Shelley Copley (MCDB), Julie Carr (ENGL), John Gibert (CLAS), Robert Parson (BCHEM), Paul Romatschke (PHYS); Christina Meyers-Denman (SLHS), Deborah Whitehead (RLST), Colleen Lyons (ENVS), Carol Shiue (ECON); Francoise Duressé (AAH);

Representatives not present: Janet Casagrand (IPHY), Angelica Lawson (ETHN/CINE), Anthony Abiragi (PWR),

Also in attendance: James White (Interim Dean), Anna Jensen (Dean’s office), Rebecca Allison (Staff Advisory Committee), Meghan Perea (SAC), Ruth Seaholm (SAC), Katherine Eggert (Academic Affairs), Robert Ferry (BFA), Alex Wolf-Root (PHIL), Angela Bryan (PYSC), Anne Becher (SPAN), Ben Webster (ENVS), Benjamin Hale (PHIL), Catherine Labio (ENGL), Cathy Comstock (RAP), Charles Samuelson (FRIT), Corrie Detweiler (MCDB), Dale Miller (ENVS), David Jonas (CHEM), David R. Glimp (ENGL), Donna Goldstein (ANTH), Emily Yeh (GEOG), Eric Stade (MATH), Lang Farmer (GEOL), Garrett Bredeson (PHIL), Gretchen Lang (Advising), Irene Blair (PSYC), James Cordova (AAH), Janice Ho (ENGL), Javier Krauel (SPAN), Jeffrey Weiss (ATOC), Jennifer Klein (ECON), Jenny Knight (MCDB), Jim Goodrich (BCHM), John Cumalat (PHYS), Julie Graf (MCDB), Justin Brumbaugh (MCDB), Karen Auviven (RAP), Karen Bailey (ENVS), Keith Julien (APPM), Kevin Rich (THDN), Kristen Ann Moore (MCDB), Lee Niswander (MCDB), Leila Gomez (SPAN), Lisa Dilling (ENVS), Lisa Barlow (ENVS), Mark Opp (IPHY), Mary Long (SPAN), Max Boykoff (ENVS), Michael English (PACS), Michael Ritzwoller (PHYS), Mike Barnett (RAP), Mitzi Lee (PHIL), Nils Halverson (APS), Peter Newton (ENVS), Roger Pielke (ENVS), Ryan Curtis (PSYC), Sarah Morehead (MCDB), Sharon Adams (RAPS), Stephanie Su (AAH), Tamara Stalker (THDN), Theresa Hernandez (PSYC), Thomas Schibli (PHYS), Tiffany Beechy (ENGL), Tim Curran (PSYC), Wei Zhang (CHEM), William Kuskin (ENGL)

The meeting is called to order at 3:32 pm.

Dean’s Remarks

The discussion around common curriculum for the university is moving forward. This discussion has a need for faculty input and there will be more discussion in the spring.

The campus budget is being re-examined. This will have an impact on the College of Arts & Sciences. As the semester begins, there will be more talk about strategic budget committees. White suggests everyone keep an eye out for that.

An attendee asks how someone would go about getting involved with the discussion on campus budget. White says he is not sure yet, but if anyone sees information, please alert the ASC chair.

 

Chair’s Remarks

Rupert says there has been discussion about rescheduling some of the ASC meetings in the spring semester. Currently, there are conflicts between divisional chairs/directors meetings and RAPS meetings with the ASC meetings. ASC membership will be hearing more about this soon.

Rupert would like to remind those who are ASC representatives the importance of communicating ASC matters with the faculty in their unit and of getting feedback from their faculty.

 

Reports from chairs of standing committees

Budget Committee, Andy Cowell

This is a nine-person committee with three representatives from each division. They have been meeting multiple times per month.

They recently submitted recommendations to the dean over the summer in light of the 5% cuts that the campus is making. They do not make final legislative decision; they make recommendations to the dean.

In the fall, they moved onto considering graduate education after being asked by college leadership to look at graduate student spending. After long discussions, they came to the decision to re-allocate graduate student funding. They sent their recommendation to the dean and associate deans. This recommendation was later implemented. Each department should now have received graduate student re-allocations for the next year.

The budget committee recommended that this re-allocation project run every 2 years. This had not been done in decades and the budget committee suggests this be done on a regular basis from now on.

There is another budget issue involving faculty and instructors. The budget committee is looking into whether the college has more faculty than they can support. This issue was raised initially by the interim dean. The budget committee will stay involved with administration in continuing to discuss possibilities for a proposal the dean has put forward on this issue.

The budget committee has also been working with issues surrounding the college re-organization. A key issue for the committee is budget flexibility and accountability for the three divisional deans and executive dean.

One model is to keep as much flexibility as possible at the college level, which allows money to be used in flexible ways.

Another model is to split the money in three ways among the divisions, giving each divisional dean responsibility for their own division. This encourages accountability, but produces a rigid budget model where it is not easy to switch money between divisions.

The budget committee is currently making recommendations to college administration and dean about how the budget should be divided, while also pointing out that there is no clear role for the ASC in these budget discussions. Because of this, the budget committee is pushing for greater degree of faculty accountability.

An ASC representative asks if there is an estimated cost for the proliferation of the deans. Cowell says there is no specific estimate available right now.

Curriculum Committee, Juan Herrero-Senes

The curriculum committee reviews everything related to curriculum. They look at general curriculum issues such as structure of minors/majors and requirements for degrees, while also reviewing nominations that come from departments regarding course changes.

So far this academic year, they have reviewed 46 nominations across the college and have held seven, two-hour meetings, with one more meeting tomorrow morning.

Diversity Committee, Cecilia Pang

The Diversity Committee has instituted ASCEND (Arts and Sciences Consortium of Committees on Climate, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity). They will soon be asking for nominations in order to reward and recognize the good work that has been going on.

Anyone affiliated with the college can submit a nomination for faculty/staff/student who has demonstrated commitment to the principles and actions of diversity and inclusion in the community, curriculum, teaching, etc. They will be sending out a call for nominations in January.

Pang says there will be other initiatives to come.

Online Committee, Leslie Irvine

The online committee has not met this semester because of COVID and the amount of work done by the predecessor. The committee is concerned with faculty control over curriculum, especially with the push for increased online teaching (apart from the exceptions for COVID). The committee is standing by for the next set of issues that arise.

Grievance Committee, John Gibert

The grievance committee deals with grievances that have to do with salary, annual merit evaluation, and career merit evaluation. They are an advisory committee to the dean and only take cases on referral from the dean. There have been no grievances this AY so far.

Personnel Committee, Carol Shiue

Shiue is not in attendance. Interim Dean White says it has been a light year for the personnel committee because of COVID. A personnel committee member speaks up to say they have just completed comprehensive review dossiers and are well into tenure/promotion dossiers.

White says the committee is taking on an additional assignment this year. White has asked the committee to look into writing up a policy around impacts of the pandemic on tenure-track faculty, in particular the differential impacts, such as female faculty being more impacted by this pandemic.

Rupert adds that Associate Dean David Brown and Noah Finkelstein (PHYS) have been working on the Quality Teaching Initiative, which speaks to the issue of departments creating clear standards for evaluation of teaching for personnel cases.

Planning Committee, David Stock

The planning committee advises the dean on aspects of planning for the college. They meet monthly. They are currently working on crafting a motion on the hiring of deans, which will be discussed later during this meeting. They are also working on collecting the policies and bylaws of the college and putting them in one, central location.

Executive Committee, Rob Rupert

The executive committee consists of the chairs of the standing committees. Their job is mostly to steer the ASC, approve agendas and special requests. They recently re-authorized the ad-hoc Committee on Faculty Affairs.

Faculty Advisory Board, Dale Miller (ad hoc committee)

Miller shares his screen with the meeting. The ASC voted to create the FAB in 2019. Their charge is to improve communication between the advising center and faculty.

The FAB has been working on an initiative to recruit, retain, and launch undergraduate students. Recently, they have been working on the “launch” component and trying to represent faculty interests in assisting students getting ready for the job market after graduation.

Committee on Faculty Affairs (ad hoc), Rob Rupert

This committee has been working on a draft of proposed bylaws for the creation of a new faculty governance structure in the college. The most recent draft was sent out with the agenda for today’s meeting. They have gotten significant feedback, which will be put into a new draft.

One set of comments they received was from the Staff Advisory Committee, three members of which have been invited to today’s meeting.

 

Staff Advisory Committee, Rebecca Allison

Allison reads statement that the SAC has prepared for this meeting. Allison thanks the ASC for the invite and is joined by two other SAC members: Meghan Perea (SPAN) and Ruth Seaholm (PSYC). The SAC consists of 11 members composed of staff from units across the college. Their central mission is to address issues important to the staff.

The SAC recommend that the ASC elicit broader staff input by including staff members as ex-officio, non-voting members of committees, including the SAC chair as a non-voting member of the executive committee, and giving the SAC voting rights when issues involve staff.

The SAC asks the ASC to consider how staff inclusion would benefit the college and its members. For example, an academic advisor who is part of the curriculum committee can provide the committee with important insight.

Staff at both administrative and unit level hold deep knowledge about college finances and are responsible for college budget. Additionally, issues pertaining to college budget directly impact staff salaries and FTEs. Including staff in these conversations has the potential to avoid unintended, negative consequences.

A faculty attendee speaks up to express their belief that everyone would benefit from a collaboration between the ASC and SAC.

An ASC member says that looking ahead, he does not see how they cannot use the talents of their staff cohort to navigate the complex undertaking of the college re-organization.

Rupert says he is trying to figure out how the staff would fit into the equation of ASC decision making. He has looked through past agendas from the ASC and most of them seem pretty far removed from direct implications on the staff. Are there examples of cases where the ASC made a binding decision that had an unintended, negative consequence on the staff?

SAC’s Meghan Perea says that one example is the strategic plan from 2018. This was originally a charge to the ASC to initiate a new strategic plan for the college. Staff later became involved and the project was re-configured. As for direct committee involvement, there is the ability for staff to provide concrete contributions to help navigate networks across the campus.

Rupert explains that everyone wants collaboration, it is just a question of what that structure would look like. Allison clarifies that the SAC is advocating for being part of the discussion from the very beginning, rather than being informed later in the conversation. She thanks the ASC for considering their feedback.

 

Draft of Proposed Bylaws

In the draft distributed of the proposed bylaws constructed by the Faculty Affairs Committee, there has been a change to divisional councils. They are still primarily made up of chairs and directors, but the FAC has included five additional “rank and file” members, with at least one slot for instructors on each of the divisional councils.

FAC believes this achieves a good balance. The new faculty senate will be made up primarily of “rank and file” members, but six of the chairs and directors (two from each division) will be on the overarching executive committee and will thereby automatically become members of the Arts & Sciences Faculty Senate.

This achieves checks and balances between different perspectives, but also integrates chairs and directors more into faculty governance.

A department chair speaks up to say she finds it difficult to plan for something they are not sure about yet, such as the college re-organization. Additionally, she has concerns over the divisional councils have an identical structure throughout the divisions when the goal is to give divisions more autonomy so they can better meet needs.

Rupert says he has recently gotten this same feedback. This conversation is opening up and he believes it would be appropriate to write these bylaws in a way that leaves a lot of room for details to later be filled in. Another approach is to have divisions make concrete requests about what is included or changed.

Another department chair says he likes the idea of divisions having flexibility in faculty governance structure.  It seems like the process of amending that starting point should not require vote of the entire faculty, but of faculty in that one division. Rupert says they can make wording in the bylaws so flexible that this can be possible, and that idea is currently on the table.

An ASC representative  shares his thought that when the re-organization structure is agreed upon, the new governance structure will template on that, rather than the other way around.  He also believes working more closely with chairs & directors makes a lot of sense.  The chairs’ and directors’ close involvement with faculty governance brings it more cache with the administration and provost office.

Rupert explains that a good reason for proceeding with the faculty governance structure first is that decisions about re-structuring could be divisional and right now there is no divisional faculty governance in place. Rupert believes that the re-organization will go forward. They will keep working on this and keep working with feedback.

Motion from the Planning Committee

The motion of the planning committee on re-structuring the college is available on ASC’s website under “Pending Motions.”

The first move would be to put the existing associate deans of the divisions into the positions of divisional deans.

An ASC member expresses concern over making sure the divisional deans will not be replaced a year into the process. It would be nice to know something about how long they can stay in those posts. An assignment of 3-4 years was proposed by his unit to make sure divisions have good representation.

A department chair wonders if there are other reasons besides budgetary to not do a national search for the divisional deans.

Rupert explains that the divisional deans that exist now have a lot of knowledge about the faculty and campus culture and can provide a strong, faculty college voice in the hiring of an executive dean.

The same department chair wonders if they will consider a national search when it comes time to replace these initial divisional deans.

David Stock says the motion as it is written suggests that when the current divisional deans are replaced, it would be by an internal search. Rupert says that the proposal for a national search can be part of an amendment.

A faculty member wonders why they could not leave the issue of a national or internal search unspecified for future searches.

An ASC representative expresses concern over hiring a new faculty member just to make them administrators for a short period of time, after which they will return to a faculty appointment.

David Stock says that the committee has discussed what they might or might not accept as amendments and the majority thought they would not accept a national search as an amendment. He believes that if the divisional deans are coming from within the faculty, they will know the campus and how it operates.

A planning committee member raises concern over bringing in outside divisional deans in addition to an outside executive dean. The planning committee wants to have a balance between those who know the campus and those who are new.

An ASC representative says that the current practice of choosing associate deans from within the faculty means they know the people in these leadership positions in a way that would not be possible with an external search. She is in favor of internal searches for divisional deans.

Another ASC representative says he would argue there have been unsuccessful associate deans over the years. Not many people apply for the position as it is currently written and he worries about the college getting stuck with mediocre candidates. He believes a national search will allow for more flexibility.

John Keller, also on the planning committee, says he does not see value in limiting this to an internal search and would like to speak about this further with his faculty. Keller makes a motion to postpone this for consideration until the next meeting. The motion is seconded. 20 vote in favor of postponing, 2 vote opposed to postponing.

Rupert apologizes for not having time to discuss the Interim Dean’s recent proposal to lower the ratio of TTT faculty members to Instructor-rank faculty members in the College and promises to make time for this issue at January’s ASC meeting.

The meeting is adjourned at 5:01 pm.