University Senate

Meeting 544 Minutes

The University Senate
of Michigan Technological University

Minutes of Meeting 544
19 February 2014                                                      

The Senate

  • Presentation: “Health and Wellness Update” presented by Karen Hext, Manager of Benefit Services

1. Call to order and roll call. President Brian Barkdoll called the University Senate Meeting 544 to order at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. The Senate Secretary Marty Thompson called roll. Absent were Senators Caneba, Peng and Cadwell and representatives of Army/Air Force ROTC, Materials Science & Engineering, Academic Services A, Academic Services C, Advancement and Finance.

2. Recognition of visitors. Guests included Max Seel (Provost’s Office), Theresa Coleman-Kaiser (Administration), Kerri Sleeman (Facilities), Bonnie Gorman (Dean of Students), Renee Hiller (Human Resources) and Mike Meyer (Center for Teaching and Learning).

3. Approval of agenda. Barkdoll asked for approval of the agenda. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.                                                                                                                                      

4. Approval of minutes from Meetings 543. Barkdoll asked for approval of the minutes. It passed unanimously on a voice vote.

5. Presentation: “Health and Wellness Update” presented by Karen Hext, Manager of Benefit Services [LINK] 
Hext presented HuskyCare Health Plan enrollment figures for 2014, information about current wellness programs, and the implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She detailed the growth trends of the TechFit wellness program citing the SDC as the most popular benefit. Techfit supports many auxiliary services. She described the new Social Wellness, Employee Action & Teamwork (SWEAT) program. Oliveira asked who was eligible for SWEAT. Hext said SWEAT is available to all benefit-eligible employees. The health risk assessment (HRA) incentive was completed by 390 of 1400 eligible employees. The T2 incentive is only available to employees who completed the survey and an annual physical examination. The T2 be used for SDC membership. Seel asked if you can use T2 and Techfit together for an SDC membership. Hext confirmed. Oliveira said these benefits are taxable at 25%. Hext confirmed. Beck said privacy was a major concern of constituents who didn’t complete the HRA. Hext reiterated the concern of employees that personal information would be used improperly. She added that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has all our personal medical information and MTU only gets aggregate not individual information. Riehl asked if the new T2 incentive was from Tech or BCBSM. Mullins said this expenditure is a zero net sum due to the money being listed as an expenditure in one category and a revenue in another. Hext said ACA information is being used to track employee hours over 12 months to determine which employees need to be covered. Information about part-time or seasonal employees will be used to decide who to offer healthcare to and avoid a $2000/employee annual fine for not providing healthcare plans to eligible employees. Wood asked how many employees are eligible for regular coverage. Hiller said it was not known, but in May a census of employees was performed and the benefit-eligible group was less than 20. Scarlett gave the example of a lecturer hired for one semester would have their hours averaged out for the entire 12 months to determine if eligible for healthcare benefits. Hiller said they wouldn’t be eligible as short term employees. Wood asked about the total number of employees that would be benefit-eligible, including students and other employees. Hext said the goal is to ensure all benefit-eligible employees are identified to ensure compliance with the ACA. Hext concluded by discussing the employee benefit fair which will be held May 8, 2014. Barkdoll asked about a stipulation in the ACA that employers must pay 60-80% of healthcare costs. Hiller said at least 60% of the aggregate costs relative to the full value of plan. The State requires employers cover a maximum of 80% of costs. Barkdoll asked where Tech is in that range. Hiller said approximately 76% of total healthcare expenditures are paid by Tech.

6. Old Business
No Old Business 

7. New Business:
a. Proposal 17-14: “Reinstate Ecology Concentration for the B.S. in Biological Sciences”
Barkdoll indicated Senator Snyder informed him that a shelved proposal does not need senate approval per Policy 414.1.1. Snyder said the policy says a shelved proposal can be reinstated without senate action. Nooshabadi said Curricular Policy Committee (CPC) supports unshelving this proposal. Seel asked what process will be followed. Snyder said there was disagreement with Helene [Hiner] about unshelving the proposal and the binder process. Storer asked if the unshelved program in question has to go through binder process in the Fall but not the senate. Snyder said this is not a new program but reinstatement of a shelved program. Barkdoll tabled the proposal until the issue is resolved.

b. Proposal 18-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Policy 312.1; Syllabus Requirement for all Courses at Michigan Technological University”
Simon, Instructional Policy Committee, said this is a minor change that removes the requirement that the syllabus be printed out, but does require uploading it to Canvas. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) recommended it. Meyers, CTL, said students are confused where to get syllabi, approximately 75% of Tech courses use Canvas and that is where students look for syllabi. This action attempts to simplify the various modes of syllabi delivery into a single platform. Barkdoll said this requires syllabi be put on Canvas. Meyers affirmed. Barkdoll asked if this precludes a paper copy. Meyers said no. Miskioglu said if students attend class they will get a syllabus. Oliveira said now an instructor will be required to use canvas. Meyers said the alternative to using Canvas would be to submit the syllabus to a third party who can upload the syllabus onto Canvas. Nooshabadi asked why Canvas and not Google drive. Meyers said it was due to the vast majority of courses and therefore students currently using Canvas. Nooshabadi said that forces everyone to use Canvas. Meyers said there should be one place where students know they can find course syllabi. Nooshabadi repeated his complaint that he would be forced to use Canvas. Meyers reiterated the need for students to be able to find course syllabi in one location. Mullins said perhaps all syllabi could be sent to a class list. Nooshabadi asked what was wrong with just using email. Meyers said nothing is wrong with email, but a vast majority of students currently use Canvas and from the student perspective this is one place to find common information like syllabi. Froese said the way this proposal is written it forces Canvas usage. Scarlett offered a defense of the proposal in that all course information could be found in one place as opposed to remembering many different sites. He lamented that all the training and administrative tasks he is asked to do is not similarly found at a single location. Mullins asked what was wrong with email. Snyder said faculty can put their syllabus on Canvas but don’t have to use Canvas for anything else. Oliveira said some people don’t want to use Canvas at all. Simon said it doesn’t take much effort to upload a syllabi. Gorman said orientation suggests student prefer one site for all their course information. Also, from an administrator’s standpoint it is helpful to direct students to one place to find a broad range of course information. Hungwe supports Canvas use, but noted the repeated changes in software over recent years. Seel asked Meyers if the department coordinator could create and maintain the Canvas page for course syllabi. Meyers said faculty have control over their Canvas pages and they would need to send syllabi to their department coordinator or other third-party to upload it if they choose not to use Canvas themselves. Seel said another page of syllabi could exist and with many students wanting a single source, this might be useful. Froese noted the first lecture is where syllabus information is provided to students and he requested the policy title change to reflect the required use of Canvas. Riehl asked how this policy would apply to graduate courses. Riehl said faculty are being told how to teach a course and students should be smart enough to find information. Barkdoll asked senators to discuss the proposal with constituents.

c. Administrative Comments on Proposal 7-14: “Proposal to Amend Senate Proposal 22-00: Recommendations on Medical and Health Insurance Benefits”
Waddell, Fringe Benefits Committee (FBC), referenced the senate bylaws indicating the path forward for senate approved Proposal 7-14, which the administration neither approved nor vetoed. The proposal will need to be submitted as a new proposal. He reminded the senate of recent efforts to enhance shared governance in response to comments and survey data from employees. Waddell discussed the reasons the FBC crafted the revisions to the structure and function of the Benefits Liaison Group (BLG). He commented on the inability of the BLG to address moral and behavioral hazards that are involved in healthcare consumption and the associated risks of each. Noting that these are issues central to developing healthcare plan, yet the administration was unable to provide basic information about how it developed our current plans. It originated from the senate’s FBC, which is the committee originally designed to make benefit recommendations to the president. He then addressed several assumptions put forth by the BLG that were unaccompanied by facts or evidence, as well as other examples of weaknesses of the current mode of BLG functioning. Another assumption was that Tech’s healthcare costs are higher due to us having more dependents than the national average. Waddell learned that Tech has 2.6 persons per contract, which doesn’t seem out of line with the national average. Another issue addressed by Proposal 7-14 was more senate participation on the BLG. Waddell summarized by saying this is the first proposal enacting the senate supported changes to shared governance. The administration accepted only Item 12, which reduced the notification period from 90 to 30 days. He asked the senate to take the proposal back to constituents for discussion. Barkdoll asked how we should proceed. Waddell said the bylaws say a proposal is returned but not vetoed by the administration it is entered as a new proposal. Barkdoll asked if that implied the administrative changes are being submitted as a new proposal. Waddell said if we are to vote on the amended version incorporating only item 12, which was approved by the administration, he said he wouldn’t support it. Seel said the arguments are given by the administration in the response. He said the BLG is considered an informal working group and they disagree with changing the process but the 30 day notification is agreed upon to be needed. Mullins asked if the goal was to get the proposal vetoed by the administration. Waddell said if the administration vetoes the proposal the senate can submit it directly to the BoC. Waddell read the bylaws. Velat said the proper order would be to receive the suggestions from administration as an amendment to the proposal, which is treated like a new proposal. This means presenting the new proposal at the senate meeting, discussing with constituents, and voting on. Waddell stated that if the administration vetoes a senate approved proposal, then the senate with a 2/3 majority vote can forward the proposal to the BoC. Riehl recommended Item 12 be removed as a means to ensure an administrative veto. He added that in Proposal 22-00 the senate created the BLG. Waddell said the BLG was created to get around a prior FBC chair that was difficult. Riehl asked if BLG would exist if proposal 22-00 were not passed by the senate. Seel said it is a working group, not a senate group. Waddell said the BLG displaced the role of the FBC. This means the administration is advising the administration. Seel said there are senators on the BLG. Waddell acknowledged that but stated it doesn’t operate as an informal working group. Riehl said we should be careful what we pass. Waddell read from Proposal 22-00, which failed to specify agenda, meeting organization, employing consultant, how recommendations are formulated and rules of order. Barkdoll cited the FBC victory in retaining both plans and the committee acted advisory to the University President. Waddell said the original idea is that the senate advises the president on benefits, now it is the administration advising the administration on benefits. Beck said the BoC will reject this proposal if the administration does. FBC should reexamine this proposal as some suggestions are useful. He noted that the retention of the PPO was an enormous effort and suggested the proposal go back to FBC to discuss administration responses. Froese said we need a clear understanding of the course of action and supported Beck’s recommendation that the committee reexamine the proposal. Barkdoll suggested we send this back to committee for discussion. Mullins said several BoC members watch senate meetings and they value faculty and staff input.

8. Report from the Senate President
Barkdoll reminded everyone the Board of Control meeting is coming up Friday. He encouraged all to attend so it shows that the actions of the senate matters. His presentation is available on the senate web pages. Barkdoll commented on the formation of an IT committee.

9. Reports from Senate Standing Committees
Academic Policy Committee. Scarlett said an intellectual property draft policy is available and will be brought as new business next senate meeting.

Administrative Policy Committee. Vable stated via email that the committee has two items to report. (1) The draft proposal to revise Procedure 506.1.1 for review and reappointment of department chair and school dean has been sent to Provost Seel. He is coordinating the input of the Deans and once we hear from him we will bring the proposal to the Senate.(2) The committee is working on the survey instrument for the Evaluation of the Executive team and President Mroz. The committee is waiting for some answers to questions we sent to President Mroz. Ideally, the survey will be conducted mid-March with report of the survey presented before the end of this semester.

Curricular Policy Committee. Oliveira said the committee is reviewing proposals.

Elections Committee. Riehl said the committee is meeting to decide how to run this terms elections.

Finance Committee. Mullins said the committee is preparing their annual report to the senate which will address the audited financial statements for the university.

Fringe Benefits Committee. Waddell said the committee met last week with SDC Membership Director Jada Gullstrand and Director of Benefits Karen Hext to discuss the proposal to index the TechFit benefit amount to the SDC annual membership fee. Progress is being made. He noted that the SDC is supportive of the idea as it means increased revenue. This is a good way to increase benefits and the money itself will be circulated within the institution. Seel said the SDC costs money to operate. Waddell made the distinction between money spent within Tech to money going to an external entity. Seel said the money must come from somewhere. Mullins said it is a revenue and an expense on the account sheets and therefore there is no net change. Barkdoll asked Waddell if there was any movement on the faculty-staff club proposal. Waddell said that Theresa-Coleman Kaiser sent a note stating that the administration is interested in examining the idea for a faculty and staff club.

Institutional Planning Committee. None.

Instructional Policy Committee. None.

Professional Staff Policy Committee. None.

Research Policy Committee. None.

10. Adjournment. Scarlett moved to adjourn; Mullins seconded the motion. President Barkdoll adjourned the meeting at 6:45pm


Respectfully submitted
by Marty Thompson
Secretary of the University Senate