January 23, 2007

Present:        C. Catney; M. Cohen; D. Drake; V. Grassian; P. Heidger; S. McGuire; F. Mitros; S. Moorhead; M. O’Hara; J. Sa-Aadu; L. Snetselaar; D. Thomas; B. Thompson; J. Tomkovicz     

Excused:       L. Boyle; G. Bulechek; D. D’Alessandro; V. Dominguez; C. Ringen; V. Sharp; J. Woodhead      

Officers Present:      J. Glass; R. LeBlond; S. Kurtz        

Officers Absent:       V. Sharp

Guests:         P. Cain (Office of the Provost); S. Collins (Faculty Policies & Compensation Committee); R. Curto (CLAS), C. Drum (University Relations); M. Greer (Staff Council), M. Hogan (Provost); S. Johnson (Provost); P. Kelley (Emeritus Faculty Council); M. McCormick (UI Learning & Development), M. Mills (OGC); M. Raymond (Law), A. Shurson (The Daily Iowan); T. Rocklin (Associate Provost); and M. Young (Council on Teaching)

I.  Call to Order –the meeting opened at 3:31 pm

II.  Approvals

  1. Meeting Agenda – The agenda was approved
  2. Faculty Council Minutes – The minutes of the November 14th Faculty Council meeting were approved.
  3. Draft Faculty Senate Agenda 2/6/07 – The draft agenda was approved
  4. Replacements / Representatives—the following were approved
    1. Sue Moorhead to serve as Nursing representative on Faculty Council in Gloria Bulechek’s absence during Spring semester 2007
    2. Michael Cohen to continue as faculty representative to Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) 

III.  Reports

   A.   Shelly Kurtz, Faculty Senate President –

President Kurtz welcomed Councilors to the first meeting of the new semester. He said it is time to get back into the swing of regular Council business.

He acknowledged that the new presidential search appears to be getting off to a good start.  One of our Councilors, Professor Jay Sa-Aadu, serves on the search committee.  

   B.   Council on Teaching amendments to the Ops Manual, Mark Young, Chair, Council on Teaching

Professor Young presented revised amendments to Chapter III, Part 15.2 of the Ops Manual concerning Faculty office hours and expectations for communication with students.

Revisions were suggested to the section on class syllabi.

Professor Rocklin, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education pointed out the importance of consistent language.

Some concern was expressed over expected response time to student email inquiries.

Revised wording was suggested to Section 15.2.h to change “or” to “and”, making the sentence read: “Faculty are expected to hold regularly scheduled office hours and otherwise be reasonably available for appointments with students.”  A misspelling will be corrected in 15.2.k.5.

Professor LeBlond moved, seconded by Professor Cohen, to approve the changes to the Ops Manual dependent on the changes being made.  There was unanimous approval. The motion carried; it will be moved to the Faculty Senate agenda for February 6, 2007.

   C.   Revisions to Collegiate, Departmental and Program Reviews, Professor Michael O’Hara, Chair, Faculty Policy and Compensation Committee

Professor O’Hara reported on the work of the Faculty Policy and Compensation Committee regarding changes to sections on Collegiate, Departmental, and Program Reviews in the Ops Manual.

He noted that important changes regarding reviews of Deans and DEOs were approved by the Faculty Senate in March 2004.  A new policy regarding review of Deans was created at that time which meant an eventual evaluation of collegiate reviews guidelines.   Additional areas were requested by the Board of Regents, under Section 28.2.d.i-iv – Educational Programs. He said that the term “scholarly and creative activities” replaced the use of “research” throughout the section.

He noted that Vice Provost Pat Cain, with whom the committee collaborated on these changes, pointed out that the document “Criteria for Institutional Enhancements and Reductions” had no status in the university.

In response to a comment from Professor McGuire about including language that some departments/units drop GRE scores in lieu of portfolio submissions (Art and Writer’s Workshop, for example), Cain said that it is already in the document.

Cain was asked if the criteria listed in the sidebar on page 4 of the revised document were changed frequently, she said it is more a procedural program. She called for faculty input into changing the criteria.

O’Hara continued to identify revisions to the document.  In section 2.c. on page 6, two sections had been deleted concerning faculty input.  He noted that the committee will continue to meet with the Provost and faculty related to review of Deans. When a review is complete, the Provost submits it to the Dean.  The faculty seems to have been taken out of the loop.   O’Hara said the self-study committee is involved and that he did not remember deleting something like that.

Professor McGuire said that because the review started with the self-study committee, due process indicates it should return to them. Cain said this should be made clear in the Ops Manual. President Kurtz agreed that someone should report back to faculty.

Provost Hogan commented that the problem goes back to the first point that the dean, with or through the self-study committee, takes up these issues with the faculty.  It should be clarified there; that is where the consultation belongs.

The following was suggested wording for Section 2.a.:  “

The dean and the self-study committee shall respond in writing to the review findings and recommendations, and in the context of doing that, consults broadly with the faculty and gets their input. This process should be specified in collegiate policy.  Such responses, if any, will become part of the total review report.

Associate Provost Johnson said that each college should have a procedure approved by the Provost to share this with their faculty.

O’Hara proceeded to discuss changes to Section 28.3.  The committee wanted to make the language parallel; they made some of the same changes for departmental review. Reference to the departmental chair was deleted.  

He noted that the use of the term “scholarly and creative activity” is new in sections e, f, g and h to create a more parallel document.

Section g is largely new; it replaces a similar piece in the original policy.   It gives colleges a bit more freedom, but at the same time lays out general expectations.  This is simplified, relative to what was in the original part of departmental reviews.  The Faculty Policy committee and Pat Cain have both approved these changes.  O’Hara hopes to take it to the next Faculty Senate meeting for review.

In response to a question about accreditations in Pharmacy, O’Hara said the Board of Regents will not allow use of the accreditation self-study in the collegiate review.  A new one must be prepared. Cain noted that the accreditation function is a minimal standard; it varies quite a bit.  Our own reviews, she said, should be held at a higher standard; we have to ask more questions.

President Kurtz thanked O’Hara and his committee for undertaking this project. 

A motion was made by Professor Cohen, seconded by Professor McGuire to move these changes forward to the Faculty Senate at its next meeting. There was a unanimous vote; the motion carried.

   D.   Smoking Policy update – Susan Johnson, Associate Provost for Faculty  and Susan Buckley, Associate Vice President for Finance and Operations and Director of Human Resources, Committee Co-chairs Susan Johnson, Associate Provost for Faculty and Susan Buckley, Associate Vice President for Finance and Operations and Director of Human Resources were welcomed.  They co-chaired the Smoking Policy committee.

Their final report was submitted to Interim President Fethke in November 2006.  It is a “two-piece” set of recommendations:

  • Intermediate steps which help to close the loopholes in the policy
  • Final recommendation to go to a smoke-free campus in two years.  

The president is requesting input from the campus on the first set of recommendations, to be received by April 1.  They expect the debate on a campus-wide ban to continue.

Recommendations included:

  • Extending a  25-foot boundary to the full perimeter of the building, which would protect open windows and air intakes,
  • A option for students to live in a smoke-free building in University apartments,
  • To eliminate smoking in theatre performances. 

Ms. Buckley explained that, if realized, we would be the first major campus in the nation to attempt a smoke free environment.  It is a very big issue, she said, with many implementation concerns. These include coordination with the City and having programs in place to help employees quit smoking. There is a complex challenge at Kinnick stadium related to security concerns (you may not return following a smoking break, for instance, once you have left the building).  She noted that the original charge related to the Iowa House at the IMU.

They were asked about a smoking ban on stage in theatre events. Notification must be given before patrons buy tickets, not just inside the theatre, if smoking will be allowed on stage.

Professor LeBlond asked what a campus-wide smoking ban would do to the desirability to attend this university.  Johnson replied that she thought it would make it more desirable.  She also said they will discuss the matter with students.

Professor Catney wondered about enforcement, citing an unsafe situation outside of the Pharmacy building where people gather to smoke.  Dr. Johnson said that they view enforcement as a way of helping people.  Ms. Buckley added that we have to be very thoughtful about education and signage, she added.  She cited a bill in the Iowa legislature making is a civil code offense which calls for a fine, but she did not see it going that far just yet.

She added that Public Safety do not wish to become the “smoking police.”  Over time, she said, the smoking restriction will take hold.  Even a small reduction is of benefit.  There will be occasional violators.

Ms. Buckley added that we implement policies like this because it is the right thing to do.  We have raised expectations about behavior.

Professor Cohen moved, seconded by Professor LeBlond, that the policy be accepted and moved forward to the Faculty Senate for their consideration (at the meeting on February 6).  There was a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

Councilors thanked Dr. Johnson and Ms. Buckley for their excellent work on this policy.

Professor Cohen moved, seconded by Professor LeBlond to accept the Smoking Policy.  There was unanimous support; the motion carried. It will be carried forward to the Faculty Senate meeting on February 6, 2007.

IV.  New Business

   A.   Requests for information about university employees, Michael O’Hara.  

President Kurtz had asked the Faculty Policy and Compensation Committee to consider a draft policy for the Ops Manual regarding how we deal with requests for information from outside about university employees.

O’Hara consulted with Sue Buckley (Associate Vice President for Finance and Operations and Director of Human Resources), Marc Mills (General Counsel) and Margaret Raymond (Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Provost). Mills provided revised wording.  Discussion ensued about the wisdom of undertaking this policy statement. Some felt it was ill-advised since it responds to one specific situation that may or may no be repeated.                   

Buckley said it would affect a long list of requests HR receives on a routine basis, including employment verification related to loans, reference checks, workers’ comp, Medicaid eligibility, garnishments, child support orders, certification and licensing boards, etc.  If this goes forward, she would ask for an opportunity to survey her people.  O’Hara thought no matter how well crafted it is, there will be things that go outside the policy. 

Mills commented on the incident that had sparked this discussion.  He said he learned about it after the fact, as had President Kurtz.

The Provost then gave details about the request.  He commented that, generally speaking, when the Board of Regents makes a request about public information, you respond to it.

Kurtz commented that a proposed policy is not about the issue of distributing public information, but about notifying the employee and giving them the opportunity to protect themselves from having the information used inappropriately. At some point we have to focus in on the employee’s interest.

Mary Greer, President, Staff Council commented that  timing is important.  Employees should be notified before the request is fulfilled, or within 3 days of fulfilling the information.  Employees themselves could say how they want to be notified.  She felt it was important to have a policy in place.

Councilors discussed this at length.  O’Hara commented that he heard mostly reservations about going forward.  He felt if the committee was going to labor, he would rather focus their efforts on something else. Kurtz acknowledged that the committee should not spend a time on an issue when there was not much support for it.

   B.   Fund Solicitation Policy, Susan Buckley.  

Ms. Buckley explained that the version she distributed reflected many changes, but none that changed the content. The one substantive change would permit one: one informational contact during the fall campaign.  Under the current policy, you can have voluntary informational gatherings, with no money changing hands, to make it easier for employees to learn, but it still protects them against coercion.  It is now suggested that we can allow one: one relative meetings, more or less with peers.  It was supported by Staff council.

She described that sponsored university-wide participation happens during the Fall campaign, an umbrella for federated agencies, such as United Way and Iowa Shares, plus there is a mechanism throughout the year to support Habitat for Humanity.

There was no objection to the expansion of the policy.  A motion was made by Cohen, seconded by LeBlond to approve and move it forward to the Faculty Senate.  There was unanimous approval; the motion carried.

   C.   Performance Review - Maureen McCormick, Director, UI Learning and Development

Ms. McCormick explained that a year ago, the SEIU made an attempt to unionize P&S employees.  They failed, but important lessons were learned from that attempt, that staff really wanted the performance review process improved.  It is not a question of getting them done (94 % getting done), but about quality.  McCormick chaired the committee to review current language in the Ops Manual, and to suggest changes to the strategic goal of vitality, and that it was of the highest professional standard.  Revisions have been enthusiastically received by Staff Council and Deans. The Senior HR group was concerned about specific issues (ability of employee to comment on the review and provision of a signature space for both parties, for example).

This issue was brought to Faculty Council because there are quite a few faculty who supervise staff. McCormick is asking for accountability.  She wants to ensure that meaningful performance reviews are being done annually.

President Kurtz commented that there is a need for annual feedback for employees, be they faculty, P&S or merit.  There should be ongoing feedback throughout the year.  Each year, there should be an annual review. 

Professor Cohen moved, seconded by Professor McGuire to approve the changes and move the Performance Review discussion forward to the Senate.  There was unanimous approval; the motion carried.

Cohen moved to adjourn the meeting.  There was unanimous consent.

The meeting closed at 5:15 pm.