The University of Louisville’s Faculty Senate met on the HSC campus last week for its October meeting and were welcomed by Dr. T. Gerard Bradley, new dean of the School of Dentistry pending board approval.
Bradley discussed his objectives for the dental school, including a focus on a group model and cutting-edge, contemporary curriculum.
“The model of dentistry is changing. The days of boutique dentists may be coming to an end. The challenge is to prepare our students for a future that is not quite here yet,” he said.
Bradley is also focused on increasing class sizes to help fund clinic renovations, is working now to get a strategic plan in place that is in line with the university’s 21st century initiative, and is looking for partners to increase community outreach.
After Bradley spoke, Senate Chair Enid Trucios-Haynes called for the approval of minutes from September’s meeting. Other action items included the approval of a certificate in Structural Engineering, the approval of a certificate in Transportation Engineering, and the approval of minor updates to the Redbook’s language on promotion and tenure at the Brandeis School of Law.
Staff Senate report
Ginger Brown provided a report from the Staff Senate, which recently held its annual retreat. A recap of Staff Senate’s September meeting is available online.
Brown also mentioned that there are 19 open seats and asked faculty senators to encourage their staff colleagues to join.
Faculty Senate Chair report
Trucios-Haynes provided the Faculty Senate Chair report, which is also available online. She then presented the Student Government Association’s resolution asking Governor Matt Bevin to appoint a board of trustees with a compliant racial makeup.
Trucios-Haynes asked the body if they wanted to support the SGA’s resolution or create their own resolution on the matter. Senators agreed to add their support with the added language encouraging Governor Bevin to “work toward bringing the board into full compliance,” including political affiliation.
SACS 2017 Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Proposal presentation
Riann van Zyl and Beth Willey provided a report on the proposed QEP, which is required as part of the SACS re-accreditation process. The main objective with the QEP is to create a better environment for student learning with a heavy focus on second-year students.
“We looked at what we knew about our own students and there is a drop off in retention from their second year to their third year. We think that is because there is tremendous support from First Year Initiatives during their first year, and there is not during their second year,” Willey said. “We are focused especially on undeclared majors and pre-unit students and how to keep them engaged for their third year.”
The 30-person committee worked with a consultant, attended conferences and studied best practices to come up with how to meet this need. Among their ideas were active engagement of students and normalization of their common challenges; creating opportunities for exploration; inviting discovery; and supporting them in finding ways to connect with friends and areas of interest.
The proposal is to make this happen through a 3-credit-hour (elective) seminar taught by faculty with an “integrative advising” component. Continued outreach, student focus groups and follow ups would also be components of the initiative. The committee is hoping to offer the QEP seminar by the spring of 2018.
QEP information sessions are planned in the coming weeks. A discussion followed about the idea, with some senators wondering if a seminar was the best way to encourage retention.
Report from President Pinto
Acting President Neville Pinto provided updates on the performance budget model proposed by the state. The latest idea is to combine the three proposed model into one model. More information will be presented during two meetings in November and the universities hope to have recommendations by the end of November.
Pinto also addressed Governor Bevin’s executive order regarding dual credit, which relates to a reduction in cost for higher education by providing money to high school students to finish two college courses prior to graduation.
Additional updates included:
- UofL is planning for its budget early this year to navigate the stagnant tuition for 2016-17. New sources of revenue are being considered.
- Pinto said we are not doing a new budget model this year. “It is not appropriate for a transition year,” he said.
- He encouraged all faculty senators to educate to their students and colleagues about the CARDS SAFE mobile app that provides alerts about any safety issues on campus.
- Pinto is visiting every unit on campus and has completed three visits so far: law, social work and dentistry. He said these meetings have been engaging and productive.
- Finally, Pinto said the UofL Foundation is “making progress on getting back into alignment with the university and supporting our mission.” The board members were appointed after a robust nomination process, including discussion on each candidate. The Foundation board includes 10 non-UofL-affiliated community members, four board of trustee members and the university president. A joint committee was established to oversee an audit of the Foundation and an interim executive director will be appointed soon to oversee the Foundation.
“I will advocate strong control of the foundation and the university having a strong influence on how resources of the Foundation are being used,” Pinto said. “We’re going to be very responsive to open records requests and transparent.”
Report from Tracy Eells, associate dean for faculty affairs
Tracy Eells provided a report on behalf of the provost, including an update on current dean searches. There are three candidates for the College of Business position and the law school search is underway, with an appointment expected in July.
The Libraries’ Dean Bob Fox’s 5-year review is also underway.
Jim Begany has been hired as vice president for strategic enrollment and student services; Beth Willey has been named faculty fellow to assist with undergraduate affairs; and Cedric Powell has been appointed faculty grievance officer. The search for a new ombudsman will start soon.
Eells also provided an update on the salary equity adjustments, a process which began in the fall of 2015 in response to a report showing that UofL faculty earn 92 percent of what faculty at benchmark intuitions make. To close this gap, $6.6 million is needed. Deans of each unit are currently providing feedback and identifying any inaccuracies in the data, and nine out of 12 schools have finished their review.
Report from Bob Fox, dean of University Libraries
University Libraries has rolled out a new product called ThinkIR to help manage student electronic theses and dissertations. Currently, a soft launch of Phase II is underway, which includes faculty-produced content. The second phase includes “selected works” and a concise place for faculty to list their scholarship and who they are. It is optimized for web searches, Fox said.
Also, a large portion – 60 percent – of University Libraries’ budget goes toward journals and databases and the staff is currently looking at data on these databases’ utilization to see if there can be any way to make this resource more efficient.
All committee reports are either already available online or will be soon.
The next Faculty Senate meeting is Nov. 2 in Chao Auditorium at Ekstrom Library.