October 17, 2006
3:30-5:15 pm
Senate Chamber, Old Capitol

PRESENT: David Asprey, Jill Beckman, Kenneth Brown, Gloria Bulechek, Christine Catney, Jeffrey Cox, Kenneth Culp, Donna D’Alessandro, Edwin Dove, David Drake, George El-Khoury, Sarah Fagan, Thomas Grabowski, Johna Leddy, Yi Li, Rene Martin, Steve McGuire, Frank Mitros, Sue Moorhead, Jose Morcuende, Adelaide Morris, Faryle Nothwehr, Michael O’Hara, Bryce Plapp, Lynn Richman, Catherine Ringen, Larry Robertson, Jarijisu Sa-Aadu, James Tomkovicz, Tuong Ton-That, Thomas Schmidt, Kathy Schuh, Linda Snetselaar, Karin Southard, Christie Thomas, Downing Thomas, Brad Thompson, Richard Tubbs, John Westefeld, Jerold Woodhead.

MEMBERS EXCUSED: Lioness Ayres, Daniel Balderston, Linda Boyle, Maureen Donovan, Denise Filios, Vicki Grassian, Paul Heidger, Bruce Justman, Lance Lichtor, Thomas Loew, Mazen Maktabi, Amy Poremba, William Sharp, Steve Vincent, and Ruth Wachtel.

ABSENT: George Bergus, Susan Birrell, Javier Campos, Jonathan Carlson, Jay Christensen-Szalanski, William Clarke, Michael Cohen, Steve Collins, Jane Desmond, Virginia Dominguez, Claibourne Dungy, Richard Fumerton, Robert Garrett, Frederick Goodman, Ronald Herman, Geoffrey Hope, Mark Karwal, Craig Kletzing, Susan Lutgendorf, Donald MacFarlane, Thomas O’Dorisio, Christine Pawley, Beth Pelton, Gary Russell, Janet Specht, Anne Sullivan, Judith Heggen, Marcia Ward, Steven Wolfe, and Catherine Woodman.

OFFICERS PRESENT:          Sheldon Kurtz, President; Victoria Sharp, Vice President; Jennifer Glass, Secretary; Richard LeBlond, Past President.

GUESTS: Charles Drum (University Relations), Matt Nelson (The Daily Iowan), Carl Orgren (Emeritus Council), Jane Van Voorhis.

I.  Call to Order – The meeting was called to order at 3:30 pm

II. Approvals

a.       Meeting Agenda –
          The agenda was revised to add a report from the Faculty Policy and Compensation   
          Committee chairman Professor Michael O’Hara.

b.       Faculty Senate Minutes, September 5, 2006 –
          The meeting minutes were approved by consent.

c.       Committee Replacement, Victoria Sharp

Vice President Sharp made the following recommendation for Committee replacement:

  • Human Rights Charter Committee:  Astrid Oesmann, German, to replace Gerard Byrne, Prosthodontics (2006-09)

Professor Ringen moved, seconded by Professor D’Alessandro, to accept this replacement; it was unanimously approved.

d.       Senate Replacement, Sheldon Kurtz, President  

President Kurtz made the following recommendations for Senate replacements:

  • CLAS – Group 1:  Kimberley Marra, Theatre Arts, to replace Carin Green on an interim basis during her leave of absence (2006-07)
  • Medicine (non-tenured): Dr. Andre Boezaart, Anesthesiology, to replace Dr. John Sutphin, Ophthalmology.          

These replacements were unanimously approved.   

e.       Council Replacement, Sheldon Kurtz, President

President Kurtz made the following recommendation for Council replacement:

  • Kathy Schuh, Psychological and Quantitative Foundation, to replace Steve McGuire on the Faculty Council during his developmental leave (spring semester 2007).

This replacement was unanimously approved.Senate Replacement, Sheldon Kurtz, President

III.  Reports

   A.   Faculty Senate President, Sheldon Kurt

1.       Interim President Fethke’s response to Directory Information for UI Employees

President Kurtz introduced Mary Greer, President of Staff Council, whose group had also unanimously adopted the proposal to change rules concerning accessibility to directory information.  He announced that Interim President Fethke vetoed the vote; the current rule stands.

2.       FRIC

President Kurtz co-chairs the Funded Retirement Insurance Committee (FRIC).  He said he does not have good news to share in this annual report to the Senate about next year’s insurance rates. Rates will go up on all plans.  The good news is there will be an increase in the portion of flex credits from the university that would pay for the average cost of a single person’s premium.  There will be additional out-of-pocket costs for everyone else. We are always looking for ways to save costs, he said, but costs continue to escalate.

   B.     Faculty Policy and Compensation Committee

Professor O’Hara, Chair of the Faculty Policy and Compensation Committee, presented a report on the committee’s activities.  Their charge is to address general issues of policies that come from the Provost and other sources, to develop new policy as appropriate, and to address issues of compensation.

The committee has established three subcommittees:  Academic Program Review (O’Hara, chair); Faculty Compensation (Professor Ed Dove, Chair); and Faculty Governance (Professor Jeff Denburg, Chair).

Professor O’Hara raised concerns about an October 12 article in The Gazette in which a planning process, called a “strategic change process” (not “strategic assessment”) was described.  Basically, Regent Gartner suggests that there is a regent-level process, led by Regent Wahlert, in consultation with the three Regent institution presidents.  This process is likely to have a big effect on the lives of faculty members by leaving them out of decision making.  The article referenced an email drafted by Gartner that described a plan to reinvent the universities.  A number of concerns were expressed that they would be looking at strategic change without faculty input. This is a “top down” way to conduct business, said O’Hara, and there should be more input from the faculty.

Professor Steve Collins distributed copies of the email, dated July 20, 2006, in which Regent Gartner wonders if we were to design three state universities today, how we would do it and how would they look.  Professor Collins’ concern is that broad questions such as these need many minds thinking about the answers.  Nine Regents, let alone two, are not sufficient to answer these questions.

Answers should percolate up from the people who know the system best.  This is the same for the other two institutions. It is important for faculty to express themselves on how we go about answering these large and important questions.  Are we appropriately structured from an academic perspective, from a cultural perspective and from a financial perspective?   These questions need to be seriously considered. 

He noted that the email referred to students as “customers,” who also do not have a voice in the process.

The floor was opened to discussion:

Past President LeBlond noted that there is no established, voted-upon Regent initiative, no empanelled group to address these issues.  The Presidents are participating with a few of the Regents who appear to be self-designated to pursue this process.

President Kurtz added that this was communicated in an email from one regent to all the others.

Professor McGuire wondered if faculty at the other institutions see this as a critical issue and whether or not they were worried about it. He asked Kurtz, as Faculty Senate President, how he sees us generating a response or become involved in a purposeful way in a process that, without consensus, is ambiguous and potentially very altering.   

President Kurtz replied that he was unsure if ISU and UNI are aware.  He said that the university is currently in a state of flux because there is no permanent president, so we are more sensitive to the issue. It was his sense from his earlier stint as Faculty Senate President that the other two institutions were not as involved.  He added that this is a matter of critical concern to him as President.  He is frequently on the phone to Regents to discuss the faculty role. He added that he thinks they are hearing him and expressed the hope that some good will come from articulating these views. He does not know if it will have an effect or not. 

Kurtz reiterated what Interim President Fethke said at a recent meeting of the CLAS Faculty Assembly that the Number One mission of the University of Iowa is to educate students. 
Fethke added that he subscribes to this mission and that he thinks the Regents do too.  

Professor Ken Brown suggested the Regents are casting their net too narrowly. Stakeholders in this state should have their say.

Kurtz added that as a state university, concerned with education, research, health, etc. we are part of the State of Iowa and lots of people are interested.  He expressed concern that minds had already been made up at the start of the process.

Asked if he had expressed his concerns directly to the Board, Kurtz said he had with some members.  He does not speak with all of them.  Some are concerned and sympathetic, he said.

Professor Richman read from the memo and said there appears to be an assumption that all three universities should function the same way.  He asked if there is a timetable.

Kurtz said he had heard a rumor that there might be an executive session held at the November 3 Board meeting in Ames. He said The Gazette reported that meetings have already been held with the three presidents. He had no idea about a timetable as no one has consulted with him

Professor O’Hara noted that the UI just recently completed a university-wide strategic plan process.  It was very clear in the planning that we wanted to articulate an institutional plan drawing upon all elements from colleges and departments.  It seems that there is an attempt to circumvent that process.  It’s insulting to an institution when its plan, which is sanctioned by the regents, is thought of as irrelevant.

Professor Jeffrey Cox, cited the recent resignation of President Somers from Harvard.   He said it goes to show that no university can be reformed or changed without the consultation of the faculty. This appears to be something that some members of the Regents fail to understand.  He asked why we have a special interest in some of the universities competing with each other. Do we have too much higher education in Iowa?

He noted our long history of distinguished work in engineering and education and asked what they meant when they speak about duplication?  He said this is an area where faculty have strong voices.

It was noted that the interim president was chosen without any input from faculty on a 5-4 vote. Under these circumstances, faculty should speak out against it.  

Secretary Glass noted that the small private meetings with Regents do not constitute official sessions, so we cannot get information about them.

President Kurtz said he plans to continue to work behind the scenes with as many people who are willing to listen to him to ensure all stakeholders have a voice in this process.  He commented that we are not a university of two Regents only; we are the University of Iowa. We are part of the people of the state.  “I have a view as a citizen of the state,” he said. 

Professor Downing Thomas said the first opportunity for any type of action seems to be the November Regent meeting.  He asked if there will be a motion brought to that session

President Kurtz and Staff Council President Greer both said there is nothing to indicate that it will be publicly discussed. Kurtz said that he plans to attend the meeting in Ames.

Past President LeBlond said the last time he spoke officially with the Board was last February.  It’s very difficult to get an answer from them, he added. He thought it would be a good idea to speak individually with members of the Board and see if it percolates up to the others. He said we should try to help them understand the position.

Professor McGuire observed that this should concern faculty immediately as the process of choosing the next president is well underway.  Anyone looking to be a presidential candidate, he said, should honestly think twice about coming here. He noted that there always seems to be an adversarial relationship with the Board, but some of the Regents do not feel the same way.  He warned against being reactionary but noted the ambiguity is bothersome.

Professor Brown said the Senate should encourage the asking of these broad questions, but it should be done above board, not by a small group of people. All stakeholders should be represented.

President Kurtz agreed, saying he had no opposition at all for the Regents to undertake an analysis of the institution, it’s absolutely essential to their role.  His opposition is to the consultative aspects of it.  

Professor D’Alessandro said that in addition to the University of Iowa, we should also look at the other universities.  She thought State Senator Dvorsky would like to be part of the process as well.

President Kurtz added that he would like the gubernatorial candidates to be part of it too.

Professor Collins wondered when it would be appropriate to move forward.  He suggested waiting until a permanent president is chosen. He suggested that the Shared Governance Council could consider putting together a position paper with the suggestion that the process be put on hold until a permanent president is in place.

A motion was made by Professor Brown; seconded by Professor McGuire that

We should seek a broad coalition, including other institutions, citizen groups, and politicians, to tell the Regents that they should formalize the process by engaging all stakeholders.

President Kurtz called the question.  There was a unanimous vote in favor of the motion. The Shared Governance Council will take up this discussion. 

   B.  The discussion of the “Engagement Corps” was deferred to a future meeting

   C.  Work Life Survey Report, Laura Reed, Associate Director, Human Resources

President Kurtz introduced Laura Reed. He noted that she served as Staff Council President when he served as Faculty Senate President the first time around.

Copies of a PowerPoint presentation were distributed.  Ms. Reed listed the faculty members, including Senator Ken Brown, who served on the survey committee.  The survey was developed in 2005-06 to assess how people feel about working at the university, about coming into work, and teaching , etc. There was a 43% response rate, an outcome which pleased the committee. While designing the survey, the committee discussed the attributes that make for a good work place.  They organized the survey statements into three different aspects, or dimensions: the job itself, the unit, and the institution as a whole.

A six-point scale was agreed upon.  Ms. Reed thanked Bridgette Zimmerman for her hard work on the statistical analysis. 

Five priority areas for improvement were chosen.  Ms. Reed reviewed those of particular interest to faculty:

  1. In general, faculty & staff agreed most that the workplace has a strong focus on providing excellent service. (90%) and that they have the basic resources I need to do my job. (90%)
  2. Faculty agreed most that they for more effective ways to do their work. (99%); they know what is expected of them on their job. (94%); they have the authority to make decisions as defined by their job.  (92%); they understand how their job fits into the overall mission of the UI. (91%); and that the UI does a good job of informing faculty of policy changes. (87%)
  3. In general, faculty & staff most disagreed that poor performance is managed appropriately. (45%); that they are kept informed of their workplace budget status. (38%); and that work-related conflicts are constructively handled. (36%)
  4. Faculty disagreed most that they are confident thee is a clear plan to strengthen the UI. (52%); that poor performance is managed appropriately. (49%); and that, overall, they think the UI is moving in a positive direction. (41%).
  5. Faculty disagreed most that their workplace provides support to help faculty balance work and personal life responsibilities. (39%); and that workloads are distributed fairly. (39%)

Reed said the committee will reconvene in three weeks to debrief and to discuss implementation of recommendations resulting from the survey.

In general, recommendations will include ensuring the VP group acknowledges that people are the University's most important asset and encourage orgs/units to continuously recognize faculty and staff efforts.  There is a need for improved communication by supervisors/leaders regarding organizational priorities, performance expectations, and budget and process improvement.  Recommendations will be made to ensure family leave is addressed, and to encourage individual cooperation and a sense of responsibility from everyone.  The “Be Remarkable Campaign” will aim to do this.

Reed said they are disseminating the data to everyone. She, Sue Buckley, and Susan Johnson will meet with Deans and constituent groups, such as Faculty Senate, to share the information.

She said that it is important to link these results with things that already exist in the Iowa Promise, to use the data to establish progress; and to make it manageable.  There is some sense that survey fatigue might have set in at the university.  The “Work at Iowa” website is current.

Secretary Glass thanked Ms Reed for conducting the survey and commented that her workplace provides support to balance life styles which triangulates with the gender equity committee.  She said the UI shouldn’t fall behind in that area

Past President LeBlond said the UI faculty and staff are committed to the university; and the university should nurture their dedication.

   D.   Gary Barta, new Athletic Director

President Kurtz welcomed Gary Barta, the new University of Iowa Athletic Director.

Mr. Barta said it was an honor to speak to the Faculty Senate.  The most important thing he hoped to convey is that he loves what he does.  He grew up in the Minnesota, attended North Dakota State University, where he was a student athlete and where he met his wife.  He went to Seattle for seven years, and his most recent stop was the University of Wyoming.  He is happy to bring his family back to the Midwest to such a great institution. He would have been happy to sign a lifetime contract, but he understands that in the athletic world, interim status is the norm.  He was heartened to see past athletic directors at the UI had double-digit tenure.

Barta said he was very proud of the athletics he oversees, but also the academics.  He has prided himself on doing things the right way. 

He assumed that of all the people in the room, some are fans, some are indifferent, and some are detractors.  He understands that athletics is not the most important thing that happens on this campus; however, he does feel that athletics is unique.  It’s not a college, he’s not a dean, our stadiums are not classrooms; our coaches are not on the faculty. With that said, there is something magical about the pride and pageantry that surrounds college athletics.  While not a dean, said Barta, he does run a complex piece of the organization that takes part in shaping young people’s lives every day.

Barta said that there are some very passionate people all over the state who advise him.  Athletics may not be the most important thing, but it is the most visible. One of his jobs is to make sure that the visibility is like the recent Ohio State game (on the national stage) and not “Pierre Pierce” visibility. He added that putting the ESPN announcers in the Hubbard Park was done intentionally with the Old Capitol framed in the background to give the campus more visibility than just Kinnick stadium.  Another of his jobs is to play a positive role on campus and to project a positive image of the university.  Integrity and financial integrity are essential to ensure that athletics is self-sustaining on an annual basis.  Academic integrity is essential to ensure athletics are graduating. Coaches must act with integrity and recruit student athletes who are good citizens. Student athlete welfare is one of his top priorities. 

Barta said that he’s been meeting many groups on campus and has already met with the Deans’ Council and the VP Group.  Relationships will develop over time.

There is a balancing act with winning, he said, but not at all costs. Doing the right thing is the simple thing to do, but not always the easiest.  General pressures include money and the media.  He says he must make sure that everyone on staff is willing to overcome these pressures and do the right thing.

Strategic planning is another of his responsibilities. He said Athletics is preparing their contribution to the whole organizational plan, looking internally at his own staff, then to the PCA, eventually up the Regents.  He expects to have their draft report ready for the public by next summer.

One the outcomes Barta hopes to achieve is to build trust on campus.  He hoped to pique the curiosity of those who might be indifferent to hear them say, “I’m glad we’re doing it well”.  To those who might be detractors, he hopes to hear, “well, these are decent people who are doing things the right way.”

The floor was opened to questions.

One senator noted that the ESPN cameras frequently showed scenes of the UI Hospitals and Clinics, but never mentioned the College of Medicine.

Barta said that he begged ESPN not to just show farms as the Iowa backdrop.  He imagined there must have been several pans across the stadium that showed the hospital. We may have to take what we can get.  To advertise “University Hospitals” across the screen for several minutes could cost millions of dollars.

Asked what has he done to make the Athletic Department financially independent from state funds, Barta replied that his ultimate goal is to have zero funds from the General Fund.

Professor Thomas inquired about emails sent to students, faculty and staff from Dean Jones and Coach Ferentz which were essentially designed to dampen the post-game celebration.  One phrase from Ferentz’s message was “pace yourselves,” obviously referencing alcohol consumption.  He asked Barta to discuss the issues of insanity surrounding these events.

Barta said the emails had caused some offense.  There was a broad brush stroke, he said, but it was their intention to reach those who may choose to behave in a certain way.  It was a night game and there could have been some serious problems downtown.  Ferentz wanted to leave a favorable impression on nationwide TV. 

He added that Donna Katen-Bahensky, the Director/CEO of the UIHC and Coach Ferentz served on a task force to study underage drinking downtown and how to curb it.  It’s a serious problem.

Barta cited the “Stepping Up” group on campus.  He shares their concerns and said they have made available a parking lot that is alcohol free to promote non-alcohol tailgating. He will do whatever he can do in front of students to help misuse and to project a positive influence. 

President Kurtz thanked Mr. Barta for attending today’s meeting.  He said that Interim President Fethke had chosen well when they hired him.  He was welcomed to Iowa City and the university community.

Kurtz announced that Interim President Fethke would attend the November 28 Senate meeting; and Lynette Marshall, new President of the UI Foundation, will attend in February.

IV.  New business:  There was no new business

VII.  Announcements

  1. Discussion of the Engagement Corps will be rescheduled at another meeting  
  2. The Faculty/Staff Awards Banquet will be held tonight, including Regent award winners, staff awards. 
  3. Next Faculty Senate meeting:  Tuesday, November 28, 3:30 – 5:15 pm, Senate Chamber, Old Capitol.  Guest:  Interim President Fethke

VIII.  Adjournment

President Kurtz adjourned the meeting at 5:00 pm.