Meeting 561 Minutes

The University Senate
of Michigan Technological University 

Minutes of Meeting 561
18 March 2015

PDF version of Minutes 561


Senate minutes are time-indexed [in square brackets] to the relevant segments of the streaming video of the meeting.


The Senate

  • Proposal 28-15: "Proposal on Opt-out Pension Design" passed

  • Proposal 29-15: "Proposal to Reduce Cost of Medical Care to Michigan Tech Employees" passed

  • Proposal 30-15: "Graduate Certificate in Post-Secondary STEM Education" passed 

1. Call to order and roll call. [00:00 – 01:52]

President Craig Waddell called the University Senate Meeting 561 to order at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Senate Secretary Marty Thompson called roll. Absent were Senators DeWinter, Caneba and Cadwell and representatives of Army/Air Force ROTC, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Library, Materials Science & Engineering, Visual & Performing Arts, Academic Services A, Academic Services B, Finance, Student Affairs & Advancement A, Student Affairs & Advancement B, Student Affairs & Advancement C, Technology, Graduate Student Government and Staff Council. 

2. Recognition of visitors. Guests included Max Seel (Provost’s Office), Dennis Hext (Airport Manager), Kierstin Waara (Travel Leaders) and Ann Kitalong-Will (Business Operations).

3. Approval of agenda. [01:53 – 04:32]

Nooshabadi moved to add one item to new business. Scarlett seconded. Discussion. Motion to amend the agenda was rejected by unanimous vote.

Waddell asked if there was further discussion. No discussion. The agenda passed unanimously.                                                                                                                                        

4. Approval of minutes from Meeting 560. [04:33 – 05:00]

Mullins moved to approve the minutes. Scarlett seconded. The minutes passed unanimously on a voice vote. 

5. Guest Presentation: Houghton County Municipal Airport (CMX) Manager Dennis Hext: “Improving travel to and from the Houghton County Municipal Airport” [05:01 –46:00]

Dennis Hext, airport manager, discussed issues of concern to Michigan Tech employees, including; means of weather monitoring, concerns about carriers, repair and maintenance issues, aspects of pilot decision-making and the financial features of airport and carrier operations. He suggested Michigan Tech might assist him in future negotiations by performing a survey and providing more specific feedback about our travel needs. Discussion. It was suggested an ad hoc committee be formed.  2015 Travel Survey

6. President’s Report [46:01 – 51:19]

a. The potential formation of an ad hoc committee on improving travel to and from Houghton County Municipal Airport. 

b. No response from Aon-Hewitt to questions provided by the Senate on February 13th

c. Benefits Liaison Group (BLG) disbanded. The senate is preparing a response. 

d. Meeting with VP for Enrollment, John Lehman to discuss demographics and enrollments 

e. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Institutional Equity is hosting a panel discussion about the movie ‘The Hunting Ground’ in Fisher 135 on April 14th at 6pm. 

f. Graduate Student Government President Sasha Teymorian will present results and recommendations on Food Insecurity Survey at the next senate meeting. 

g. Reminder about the Provost search. 

h. Due to some concerns about committee composition, a few questions will be asked of new senator. The goal is to ensure a broader distribution of senators and alternates are present on Senate standing committees. 

7. Reports from Senate Standing Committees   [51:20 – 56:55]

Academic and Instructional Policy Committee. None. 

Administrative Policy Committee. Vable said the presidential evaluation survey results are being gathered and when completed a report will be generated. Subsequent to that, the committee will provide the president with the results and seek a response. There was discussion about whether to ask University President Mroz to respond to the survey results before the end of the semester or early in the fall semester. 

Curricular Policy Committee. Barkdoll said the Graduate School is asking about whether procedural changes need to go through the senate. There are several proposals under consideration. The proposed changes have yet to be approved by the Graduate Faculty Council. 

Elections Committee. Riehl said the elections process has begun. He reminded everyone that the online nomination and election process coordinated by the senate is for convenience and not required. 

Finance & Institutional Planning Committee.  Mullins said the committee is working to schedule a financial forum. 

Fringe Benefits Committee.  None. 

General Education and Assessment Committee. None. 

Information Technology Committee. None 

Professional Staff Policy Committee. None. 

Research Policy Committee. None. 

Ad hoc library committee. Froese said the units should identify an individual to act as the library liaison. He reminded everyone that March 25th is the deadline to submit lists of journals needed by the unit to the library. 

7. Unfinished Business [56:56 – 1:35:35]

a. Proposal 28-15: "Proposal on Opt-out Pension Design" [56:56 – 1:04:52]

Mullins moved to add the following text:

The employer will continue to match the employee’s contributions up to 7.5% of the annual salary.

Scarlett seconded. Discussion. Additional changes include; (1) the defining term ‘compensation’ changed to ‘salary’ as salary is one portion of an employee’s total compensation, (2) the title was changed, to ‘Proposal on Opt-out Retirement Plan’ because Tech no longer offers a pension, but rather a retirement plan. The amendment passed by a unanimous vote.

Scarlett moved to approve the amended proposal. Wanless seconded. The amended proposal passed by a unanimous vote. 

b. Proposal 29-15: "Proposal to Reduce Cost of Medical Care to Michigan Tech Employees" [1:04:53 – 1:31:40]

Beck moved to approve the proposal. Scarlett seconded. Discussion.

Scarlett moved to end discussion. Mullins seconded. The motion to end discussion passed.

The proposal passed by a majority vote. 

c. Proposal 30-15: "Graduate Certificate in Post-Secondary STEM Education" [1:31:41 – 1:35:35]

Barkdoll said moved to approve the proposal. Mullins seconded. The proposal passed by unanimous vote. 

8. New Business [1:35:36 – 1:54:50]

a. Proposal 31-15 "Amending Senate Policy 210.1, Board of Control Policy 4.8, and Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Handbook Section 8.2: Office of the Ombuds" [1:35:36 – 1:41:37]

Vable, Administrative Policy Committee, noted that during the appointment process for the current Ombuds Officer, the issue was raised that the Ombuds Officer Appointing Committee’s composition is not reflective of the composition of the office’s clientele. Specifically, undergraduates and graduate students experience different issues and thus should have separate representation on the selection committee. Professional and represented staff face a similar dilemma and should also have separate representation. This proposal is meant to fix this error by reconfiguring the committee to be fully representative of Ombuds Office potential clientele. This will make for a fairer, more inclusive committee. This proposal will also fix a discrepancy between Senate Policy 210.1, Board of Control Policy 4.8, and Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Handbook Section 8.2. Discussion. 

b. Proposal 32-15 "Establishment of a Library Liaisons and a Library Advisory Committee" [1:41:38 - 1:46:25]

Froese, Library ad hoc Committee, said the library needs input from its natural constituencies (faculty and students) on an ongoing basis that it can use to make acquisition and subscription decisions. Input on other issues of relevance to the library would also be enhanced if liaisons were in place, and there were a formal advisory committee comprised of a subset of active and engaged liaisons that met on a limited, but set schedule. 

c. Proposal 16-15: "Annual Community Feedback to the University Leadership" [1:46:26 – 1:52:25]

Vable, Administrative Policy Committee, introduced this proposal on November 19, 2014. The proposal has been significantly revised based on input received by the committee and motions passed by the Senate on January 21, 2015. The proposal was reworked with these considerations and is being presented as new business. Discussion.

d. "Sense of the Senate Resolution for Sufficient Notice of University Closure" [1:52:26 – 1:54:50]

Vable, Administrative Policy Committee, proposed that any closure of Michigan Technological University shall be declared a minimum of two hours before the closure period through the Michigan Tech Safety First Alert system. This minimum notice does not apply to extreme emergency closures including, but not limited to, fires, bomb threats, and shootings. Seel commented on the challenges and seriousness with which these decisions are made. 

9. Public Comments [1:54:50 – 1:57:00]

Nooshabadi questioned the validity of the Senate going into a closed session during the previous senate meeting. 

Waddell raised the question about whether a motion coming from a committee requires a second. Citing Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO), he said that a second is not necessary. Froese cited a second passage from RRO confirming the practice that a motion from a committee does not require a second. 

10. Adjournment.

Mullins moved to adjourn. Scarlett seconded. President Waddell adjourned the meeting at 7:29 pm.

Respectfully submitted
by Marty Thompson
Secretary of the University Senate