Sonya Hardin was introduced to the Faculty Senate during its monthly meeting in Elaine Chao Auditorium on Nov. 7. She was named as the School of Nursing’s new dean in August.
Hardin, formerly the associate dean for graduate programs and professor in the College of Nursing at East Carolina University, became a fellow in 2017 in the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest honors of profession.
A nurse practitioner who specialized in care for older adults, Hardin said her goal is to ensure every individual who wants to be a nurse gets an opportunity. Hardin, whose mother and daughter are nurses, wants to instill five I’s into her students: have integrity, be innovative and influential, know how to work interprofessionally, and invest in themselves and others.
Early in the meeting, the senate voted to approve the proposal on implementing a masters of science in bioengineering, providing all engineering disciplines at UofL with bachelor’s and master’s options.
One senator stated that bioengineering is a rapidly growing field, and one of the goals of the degree program is to retain UofL students who have a bachelor’s degree in the field. That senator added that roughly 50 percent of students who complete their bachelor’s degree in bioengineering pursue a master’s degree.
Before reports from Faculty Senate Standing Committees, provost office designee Tracy Eells delivered status of an information item to the group. Eells spoke about a potential two-part event titled “Voice, Diversity and Governance: Managing the College Classroom in Today’s Political Environment,” with the goal to provide a forum for discussion about how faculty can manage discourse in the classroom.
Provost Beth Boehm provided a brief report on behalf of president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, who was off campus for the day.
It was noted that Health Sciences Center items represented the largest share of time on the Benadpudi’s agenda.
- Jewish Hospital is transitioning services to UofL Hospital. There was a question raised about whether there is enough space to accommodate increasing services.
- There is a plan to create a new university health identity, UofL Health, that is comprised of the hospital and physical health.
- Bendapudi noted a plan to provide a balance budget strategy for the School of Medicine.
Provost Beth Boehm offered an update on recent mold concerns raised by a student in Threlkeld Hall, informing senators that the Department of Health inspected multiple dorms and all passed. She added that the meeting between residents at the on-campus property and director of housing revealed minor issues, which were not reported previously. Maintenance attempted to address all issues immediately.
Boehm then noted the appointment of Dr. Aaron Thompson as the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s fourth president. She stated that he wants to examine new out-of-state tuition costs and also have more discussion focused on mission differentiation.
After mentioning that all three candidates for the Chief Information Office were on campus recently, she established that search firms have been identified for two positions: Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation.
One final item Boehm spoke about regarded who on campus sets policy on political speech, including policy on using campus email for political views.
Reinstatement of Phi Kappa Phi chapter
Officials are working to reinstate the school’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. It is open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students who rank in the top 10 percent of their respective classes.
Currently, officials are in search of four volunteers from faculty to hold positions. Boehm, speaking as a member, noted the career and networking opportunities as part of the society. In 1946, UofL became the 50th university to join the organization.
Other general interest items from the meeting:
- Roy Fuller said the Part-Time Faculty Committee is in the process of developing a document to help these employees, advocating for parking, development opportunities, and the value of retaining part-time faculty.
- David Owen stated that the Executive Committee is reviewing a policy that would ban all scooters on campus. He also noted that UofL signed on with business community partner CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.
- Lazaro Donis-Munoz discussed Student Government Association initiatives, including prayer space for students of Muslim faith and additional areas for bikes to park on campus.