University Senate

Meeting 541 Minutes

The University Senate
of Michigan Technological University

Minutes of Meeting 541
11 December 2013                                                  

The Senate

  • Presentation: “Update on Student Affairs and Advancement” by VP for Student Affairs and Advancement Les Cook
  • Presentation: “Update from the Graduate Student Government” by Amberlee Haselhuhn
  • Proposal 6-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Policy 102.1: Policy on Classroom Attendance” passed
  • Proposal 7-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Proposal 22-00” passed
  • Proposal 8-14: “Proposal to Amend the University Senate Bylaws on Standing Committees” passed
  • Proposal 9-14: “Minor in Music Performance” passed

1. Call to order and roll call. President Brian Barkdoll called the University Senate Meeting 541 to order at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. The Senate Secretary Marty Thompson called roll. Absent were Senators Oliveira, Caneba, Peng, Cadwell and Panian and representatives of Army/Air Force ROTC, Biological Sciences,  Engineering Fundamentals, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, Academic Services A, Academic Services C, Administration and Finance.

2. Recognition of visitors. Guests included Max Seel (Provost’s Office), Les Cook (Student Affairs and Advancement), Jason Carter (Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology) and Bonnie Gorman (Dean of Students).

3. Approval of agenda. President Barkdoll asked if there were any changes to the agenda. There being none it was brought to a vote. It passedunanimously on a voice vote.

4. Approval of minutes from Meetings 540. Seel noted a typo under New Business, which was corrected. Barkdoll asked if there were any additional changes to the minutes. There being none it was brought to a vote. It passed as amended unanimously on a voice vote. 

5. Presentation: “Update on Student Affairs and Advancement” by Les Cook Slides 
Cook gave a presentation on activities performed by Student Affairs and Advancement. He discussed the lifecycle of engagement, the importance of building relationships and how to establish a culture of philanthropy. Cook presented the Student Affairs and Advancement organizational chart. Fall enrollment numbers show a 3% increase in applications, admissions up 4%, deposits are up 54% and spring enrollment is up by 155 students over last year. Seel asked for clarification about the graduate student applications, suggesting the numbers presented were the number admitted not those who have accepted the offer. Cook affirmed that the numbers reflect applicants accepted into graduate programs. Scarlett noted we accepted half as many masters as doctoral students. Regarding the $215 million brought in by the capital campaign, Cook discussed the funds raised by category and where the funds will be spent. He noted commitments of roughly $67 million for academic departments, $67 million for research, $39 million for endowed chairs and professorships, $36 million in scholarships and fellowships, $7 million for construction and $7 million is unrestricted. Mullins asked how much the current cash endowment was. Cook said $87.1 million which is managed by Dan Greenlee, a Michigan Tech Fund board of directors and an investment firm in Chicago. Mullins asked how this endowment compares to peer institutions. Cook said he didn’t know. Velat asked for details regarding how much of the corporate sponsorship was designated for research. Cook understood it to be all of those funds. Cook discussed when MTU will receive money from planned gifts. Mullins asked if the projections depicting when specific amounts of money from promised gifts will be available to Tech were performed in house. Cook affirmed and proceeded to discuss the revocable option of planned gifts. He then discussed FY14 fund raising goals. Barkdoll asked how much time [Cook] spends traveling. Cook said approximately one week per month. Waddell asked if a savings was realized upon consolidation of the departments (Student Affairs and Advancement). Cook affirmed noting there is now one less Vice-President position, also the Tech fund controller and MTU controller positions merged into one, and finally there were several retirements in Advancement. Mullins asked if the Tech Fund is under the auspices of [Cook]. Cook said the money portion is under Dan Greenlee whereas the relationship building to get donations is under Student Affairs and Advancement. Citing the reduction in enrollments and the USG campaign on student debt, Waddell asked if Cook had a ballpark idea of the amount of contributions from Tech graduates. Waddell also asked if the 54% increase in master’s student enrollment would come at the expense of undergraduate enrollment. Cook said he didn’t know but speculated most individual contributions come from Tech graduates. Waddell said if students leave with high debt they might not make significant donations later on. Seel said debt is an important number but also higher starting salaries and a lower percent of income used to pay back student debt are factors that  need to be considered. Cook said Tech has the third highest return on investment in the country. Waddell acknowledged the relatively high starting salary, but noted that midterm career salary is not as high as early career amounts and job satisfaction is low. Barkdoll said the undergraduate enrollment numbers are increasing. Seel said the increased number of master’s degree students is part of the strategic plan. He noted the goal of 5750 undergraduates, 3000 graduate students, 2000 of which are to be master’s students. Also, 80% of the master’s students are self supporting. Some students have a B.S. or M.S. from other institutions and attained a primary or secondary degree here. Cook said when recruiting, students seek research experience and master’s degrees. Waddell asked if the increase in numbers of master’s students presented reflects the 5 year B.S./M.S. option. Seel affirmed that the B.S./M.S. degree program accounts for a portion of the total. He added that companies want master’s degrees and so we are offering these desirable options. Waddell said MTU beats University of Michigan in starting salaries, but midcareer its close but not as much. Waddell asked if the senate could get a Tech fund account and raise money. Cook affirmed. Mullins expressed concern about losing money if we increase the number of out-of-state master’s students, which typically pay less than out-of-state undergraduate students. Seel said out of state students get a stipend. Mullins said Tech gives $6 million in GTAs to graduate students. Seel said most is at PhD level. Mullins said the percentage of subsidy is greater for graduate students. Less than half of graduate students are supported by research. Cook said this is outlined in the financial analysis. Mullins sought a thorough financial analysis to ensure changes in graduate and undergraduate student numbers are revenue neutral. Cook said the net cost is known. Mullins requested such documents. Seel said that data is available in vision 2035 and some additional documents which he referred Mullins to.

6.Presentation: “Update from the Graduate Student Government” by Amberlee Haselhuhn [LINK] 
Haselhuhn, discussed three Graduate Student Government (GSG) goals; communication, collaboration and awareness. She elaborated on events including; GSG socials, a research colloquium, lunch and learn events, online research presentations and the travel grant program. There is an increased effort to coordinate with USG. Waddell stated that students may have anxiety about winter driving and considering KFRC has a winter driving class perhaps a scholarship would assist students seeking such training. Currently, it costs about $300 and has limited space, but more interest and funds might help expand the program. Haselhuhn acknowledged the suggestion. Barkdoll asked what are the major issues students have that the senate could help with. Haselhuhn said pay, hours and housing are key issues. Mullins said Tech is at the bottom 5% for tuition. Waddell said health insurance was a big issue last year. Haselhuhn said dental access is a big issue for students. Velat said experience Tech is underutilized by graduate students and asked why Haselhuhn thought that was the case. Haselhuhn said students are coming here to do research so experience Tech is a non-factor and consequently, they don’t want to pay for it. Waddell noted this geographical area is a recruiting tool for undergraduates but not for graduate students and asked if a survey was done to verify that. Haselhuhn said that observation comes from the experience Tech survey data.

7. Old Business
a. Proposal 6-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Policy 102.1: Policy on Classroom Attendance”
Kilpela read an email from a constituent regarding pregnancy related absences. Thompson clarified the comment from his constituent and referred the matter to this committee. Waddell suggested the issue might be a discrepancy between pregnancy and birth. Scarlett said the inclusion of pregnancy and birth is a small change and can be readily incorporated. Barkdoll suggested we vote on the proposal as written. The matter was determined to be better suited to a new proposal and deferred. Barkdoll asked if there were any further discussion. There being none it was brought to a vote. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.

b. Proposal 7-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Proposal 22-00”
Storer asked if the title could be added to the proposal so it could be indexed more readily. Nooshabadi commented on retiree membership. Waddell elaborated that a retired person on the Benefits Liaison Group (BLG) could be included and the senate should have a say in who that is. Barkdoll said this provides an option for a retiree to be a member of the BLG. Velat said retirees also have a vested interest in BLG recommendations. Brown said the proposal should be clarified as it does not specifically state whether the director of human resources (HR) is a BLG member. Waddell said some number of BLG members are appointed through the senate and HR can decide for themselves who they want to appoint.  Brown asked if the director of HR would be a non-voting member. Waddell suspected all members would be voting members. Mainly the proposal gets more senate participation and appointments in the BLG. Nooshabadi asked if the director of HR is a member of executive team. Waddell said no. Barkdoll said the intent is to have the head of HR be a voting member of the BLG. Waddell said that is up to the administration. The senate has the Fringe Benefits Committee (FBC) which was established to make benefits recommendations. Sometime after that the administration created and the senate approved the BLG of which the senate has very little control. This proposal makes the case for greater senate participation in the BLG which makes benefit recommendations. Velat suggested a change to address the apparent conflict in setting the BLG agenda, which states that the agenda will be decided collaboratively with the director of HR who is not specifically listed as a member. Let the change reflect that the person who sets the agenda be a member. Velat offered some wording as a friendly amendment. Brown said it would address the potential conflict. Waddell said this will be corrected where it occurs. Barkdoll asked if there were any further discussion. There being none it was brought to a vote. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.

c. Proposal 8-14: “Proposal to Amend the University Senate Bylaws on Standing Committees”
Barkdoll said because this is a bylaws change it needs to pass by a 2/3 majority. He showed an additional amendment made after the original presentation of the proposal. These were presented as friendly amendments. Barkdoll asked if there were any further discussion. There being none it was brought to a hand vote. It passed with 21 senators voting for the change, 1 against and 6 abstentions.

d. Proposal 9-14: “Minor in Music Performance”
Barkdoll asked if there was any discussion. There being none it was brought to a vote. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.

8. New Business
a. Proposal 10-14: “Amendment to Senate Policy 201.1: Office of Ombuds”
Vable, Administrative Policy Committee, said the policy is to conform to changes made in the Board of Control policy.

b. Proposal 11-14: “M.S. in Kinesiology”
Charlesworth, Curricular Policy Committee said this is a thesis and coursework option which will start in Fall of 2014. It has the full support of committee. Mullins, Finance Committee chair, said there is concern over new courses and equipment while being shorthanded. Mullins asked Seel if he is granting the professor of practice requested in the proposal. Seel affirmed. Barkdoll asked Carter, who originated the proposal to provide some further rationale. Carter said they have been using three programs for their graduate degrees (Biological Sciences, Human Factors, Biomedical Engineering). That has worked, but the department needs its own program to bolster its national reputation. The department needs the M.S. in Kinesiology proposed here as roughly 30% of students are leaving to pursue comparable coursework only master’s degrees elsewhere. He added that the two searches need to be filled to staff the new program and ensure sustainability. Carter also provided an update on the emerging doctor of physical therapy degree with Central Michigan University. Nooshabadi asked Carter if he has a hiring plan. Carter defined his plan for hiring and staffing for the new degree program.

c. Proposal 12-14: “M.S. in Accounting”
Charlesworth, Curricular Policy Committee said this is a 30 credit hour coursework degree scheduled to start in 2014. It is designed to prepare students for their CPA. Mullins, Finance Committee chair, said faculty concerns are minimal due to large size of School of Business. Klipel said the motivation was demand, unmet need and preparation for meeting CPA requirements. This program represents a prestigious aspect of the program as well as a recruiting tool for students and faculty. Nooshabadi said the program has a tight schedule and not all courses are offered. If a student gets out of sequence, they cannot get back on track for several semesters. Klipel said it is packaged similar to other programs which are very compact to complete the program in one calendar year. Barkdoll asked if courses are offered each semester. Klipel said this isn’t an issue as the reasons one gets out of sequence are beyond the control of the program but student-dependent. He added that the faculty needs have been met and the degree fits a need in the workplace. Nooshabadi said it is well designed for an accelerated master’s degree and this could work but the program is not needed now. Seel said this program has been in the works for 2 years to ensure the availability of needed resources. Nooshabadi said we can get the proposal right by next meeting. Charlesworth said the rest of the CPC doesn’t share the concerns voiced by Nooshabadi, as a student failing courses will inevitably experience a setback. He added that it is not unusual for such programs to have a dense course structure. Nooshabadi said that isn’t common in his department. Storer cited examples of other professional master’s degree programs with similar course organization, the need for a certain sequence of classes and agreed that students who fail are set back. Klipel said the delivery of the courses is consistent with other degrees and programs that operate in this fashion. He noted they already operate two MBA programs that function in a similar fashion and are developing a hybrid program to offer more flexibility, but the course density is effectively the same. Barkdoll summarized that all points have been heard it will stand as written and voted next time unless he hears otherwise from the proposer. 

d. Proposal 13-14: “Improving Communication with the Board of Control”
Vable, speaking for the Senate Executive Committee, said this proposal requests the BOC to treat non-emergency policies as new business to give senate an opportunity for input. It requests the BOC provide the senate with a list of BOC policy changes so the senate can modify proposals and stay consistent with BOC policies. Vable presented an example of such inconsistency by citing the smoking ban policy that he and Seel felt needed clarifications defining the authoritative body. Seel said the BOC has prohibited smoking except where permitted by administration. It was mutually decided that revision will be discussed by Seel and Vable and be placed on the website for review. Seel cited examples of senate and BOC communication, including the conflict of interest policies, which were discussed by the senate and BOC. The ombudsman, for example, was an exception, where policy needed to conform to state law and is not an issue of poor communication. Vable asked if administration would support the request to avoid voting on policies at the meetings they are presented but wait until a subsequent meeting. Seel said these issues addressed by the BOC were oversights that needed to be corrected. Vable said it can happen inadvertently and this proposal provides a catch-all. Seel added that for two years an HR person was charged with ensuring consistency between BOC policy and the faculty handbook. Vable said the 2010 policy supersedes all previous policies but doesn’t state which changes were made. So time is being spent finding changes and making corrections.

e. Proposal 14-14: “Honors College at Michigan Tech”
Scarlett, speaking for the Senate Executive Committee, discussed the creation of an honors college. He noted this is a B-list issue that we are to comment on. Several existing elements on campus will be reorganized into an honors college. He is seeking feedback from the senate constituency.

9. Report from the Senate President
Barkdoll discussed the impact of the University Senate sponsored assessment forum. He sought to define senate participation in general education and the assessment council. The current plan is to form an ad hoc committee to look at these issues and we will be looking for members. He invited everyone to attend the Friday BOC meeting and said the senate president’s presentation will be on the website. Madhu reminded everyone the senate executive committee is meeting the BOC for breakfast. Seel noted the senate president has been invited to the academic affairs committee.

10. Reports from Senate Standing Committees

Academic Policy Committee. None.

Administrative Policy Committee. Vable said senate evaluation was completed and the committee has the results. He thanked Judi for her efforts in this process. All personal comments will be removed and then all relevant data will be posted. Barkdoll said it is important to address concerns raised in the survey.

Curricular Policy Committee. Philips provided an update on un-shelving a proposal.

Elections Committee. None.

Finance Committee. None.

Fringe Benefits Committee. Waddell said that the FBC will introduce proposals addressing parking. A feasibility study for SDC membership is under consideration. Working on a benefits survey regarding informing employees about benefits and the delivery of benefits.

Institutional Planning Committee. None.

Instructional Policy Committee. none.

Professional Staff Policy Committee. None.

Research Policy Committee. None.

11. Adjournment. Scarlett moved to adjourn; Waddell seconded the motion. President Barkdoll adjourned the meeting at 7:09 pm.


Respectfully submitted
by Marty Thompson
Secretary of the University Senate