UofL’s Faculty Senate met for its monthly meeting on Nov. 2 in Chao Auditorium, with Chair Enid Trucios-Haynes presiding.
The meeting opened with a report from the Student Government Association. The SGA was part of the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents’ statement concerning lottery funding of state scholastic programs.
The statement reads in part:
“Right now, the diversion of lottery funding from need-based financial aid for higher education is harming the future of our Commonwealth. This must change. The purpose of the Powerball Promise, as (Kentucky’s lottery money) allocation of funds is known, is to use Kentucky lottery revenue to directly aid our Commonwealth’s students by making a postsecondary degree more financial achievable.
“Over the past few years, the need-based grants have been under-funded … In the past legislative session, there was bipartisan support in restoring the funding to grants for students in need. Governor Bevin’s veto of House Bill 10 effectively stopped this funding from being restored, illustrating his lack of commitment to Kentucky’s poorest students.
“… If we want a strong economic future for Kentucky, we must invest in our students today … Governor Bevin, we urge you to … (restore) the Powerball Promise instead of diverting the funding away from students who need it the most.”
In addition to UofL, colleges represented on the statement include Western Kentucky, Murray State, the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, Eastern Kentucky, KCTCS, Kentucky State, Morehead State, Northern Kentucky and the University of Kentucky.
The SGA is also working on a change to course evaluations where students will not see their grades until they fill out an evaluation. The group is also working on ways to increase awareness of the university’s safety app and is focused on diversity issues and hoping to plan a diversity summit with other ACC schools.
Trucios-Haynes provided a Chair’s report, including an update on standing meetings with Provost Dale Billingsley, and CFO Harlan Sands. One of her priorities is action on creating a committee to review proposed parking changes around the Belknap campus.
The November Board of Trustees meeting doesn’t have an agenda yet, but Trucios-Haynes anticipates a discussion at some point in the near future about the desired attributes of a 21st Century President. A discussion was held among the senators on what some of those attributes should be. Trucios-Haynes will present these suggestions to the board.
Among the desired attributes is demonstrated leadership experience from a university. Senators discussed whether they’d prefer that experience to be from a large university. Some pointed out that this definition would have disqualified former successful presidents. Many senators, however, agreed that experience at a university with professional and graduate schools would be ideal, as the candidate would then be familiar with the complexities of UofL’s model.
Senators agreed to strike business leadership as a potential qualification.
“The Board of Trustees is made up mostly of business leaders. The president can rely on them for the business side. I’d prefer an emphasis on university knowledge,” said one senator.
Trucios-Haynes noted that a faculty committee should be created as part of the process, as outlined in the Redbook. Senators agreed the Faculty Senate should begin working on this committee to include a faculty member elected from each school. The committee is expected to be in place by the end of the fall semester.
Dale Billingsley provided the Provost Report, including an update on the salary equity effort expected to be completed at the start of the new year. He also provided an update on the ombudsman search, which he hopes to be completed by July. The administration is determining whether or not to divide this role for faculty and staff. The hiring committee will make a recommendation.
Billingsley also said issues are being resolved for part-time faculty regarding their email access and benefits.
Administrators are seeking more faculty input and participation in the budgeting process, including the Strategic Planning and Implementation initiatives underway at each unit. Each school’s dean has put together how they could use money to better enhance their goals and the university’s goals. President Pinto has identified a $50 million budget for these initiatives, and Faculty Senate input will be solicited on where that money will come from.
“This is a great idea and I hope it works, but it won’t work unless the money is there. That may mean reallocation, which will be difficult,” Billingsley said.
Faculty Senate input is also requested on performance measurement of units and for program review and new program recommendations.
Finally, Billingsley said a draft recommending new general education requirements has been posted on the Provost’s web page. The university is hoping to get through revisions by the end of the spring semester and to implement the recommendations within a year. The biggest change is with the cultural diversity program. Currently, students are required to take one course that develops cultural competency and one course on the varieties of diversity. The new program will also include geographical diversities, both in the U.S. and globally.
Faculty senators were asked to read the draft and make further recommendations.
The President’s Report was provided by Dr. Neville Pinto, who touted many positive news stories from UofL within the past month, including the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Academic Success Building. He said we’ll be able to leverage that building to bring in higher quality students and faculty.
Pinto discussed the UofL Foundation and the changes it is going through. A search has been started to find an interim executive director. RFPs have been issued to identify a firm that will objectively conduct an audit of the foundation and one should be named within weeks. The audit, Pinto said, will “help us figure out what changes are needed moving forward in terms of our responsibility as stewards of endowments.”
Other updates include the NCAA’s investigation into the men’s basketball team. Pinto expects a final decision in the spring, possibly even as late as June.
The administration is working on ways to improve diversity and inclusion initiatives and has a committee charged with making recommendations.
“We have to look at this with a perspective of our responsibility as faculty to make sure every student is in a learning environment where they’re comfortable. It’s not political, it’s an operational responsibility. We have to ensure we’re very personal with every student,” Pinto said. “I believe in local solutions.”
Finally, Pinto attended the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education meeting in Frankfort, where discussions continue about how the state will appropriate higher education funding based on equity and performance. No final decisions have been made on action as of yet. Each school is submitting a report with their recommendations to the governor on Dec. 1.
Committee Reports were provided from the Redbook Committee, with Kurt Metzmeier (law) elected as chair; the Part-Time Faculty Committee, which has a new landing site for the first time to provide these employees with aggregate data; and the Planning and Budget Committee, which is short one member.
The Executive Committee also provided a report and is seeking input on ways to honor deceased faculty members. Finally, the Faculty Athletics Representative Committee report, the Academic Programs Committee report, and the Human Resources Advisory Committee report have all been posted online.
The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 7 from 3-5 p.m. in Chao Auditorium.