University Senate

Meeting 568 Minutes

The University Senate
of Michigan Technological University 

Minutes of Meeting 568
21 October 2015

PDF version of Minutes 568

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

The Senate

  • Presentations by Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Government

  • Presentation of results from the 2014-15 President’s Evaluation

1. Call to order and roll call. [00:00 – 02:33]
President Brian Barkdoll called the University Senate Meeting 568 to order at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. The Senate Secretary Marty Thompson called roll. Absent was Senator Cadwell and representatives of Army/Air Force ROTC, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, Auxiliaries, Student Affairs & Advancement C and Technology. 

2. Recognition of visitors. Guests included Jackie Huntoon (Provost Office), Theresa Coleman-Kaiser (Administration), Tami Olson (Mathematics), Nate Peterson (USG President).

3. Approval of agenda. [02:34 – 03:08]
Nooshabadi moved to approve. Wood seconded. No discussion. The agenda passed unanimously on a voice vote.                                                                                                                                          

4. Approval of minutes from Meeting 567. [03:09 – 03:46]
Schmierer moved to approve. Plummer seconded. No discussion. The minutes passed unanimously on a voice vote. 

5. Presentations: [03:47 – 48:25]

a. "Michigan Tech's Undergraduate Student Government" [03:47 – 19:02]
Nate Peterson, President of Michigan Tech's Undergraduate Student Government (USG), described the function of the USG, organizational changes and focal points for this academic year. He answered questions on voting in national elections, election procedures within the USG and housing. 

b. “Michigan Tech's Graduate Student Government” [19:03 – 32:05]
Gorkem Asilioglu, Graduate Student Government (GSG) Liaison to the Senate described the structure and function of the GSG. He highlighted several areas of concern for which the GSG advocates for students including; transportation, housing, funding, classes and facilities. 

c. "Results of 2014-15 President's Evaluation" [32:06 – 48:25]
Tami Olson, Past Chair Administrative Policy Committee, [link to the report/survey results] discussed the administration of the survey prior to presenting the results. Low response rate. Sentiments were comparable to last year. Weaknesses, IT, salary, benefits, appropriateness of promotions. Strengths: people like Tech, research is valued and presidential leadership. 

6. President’s Report [48:26 – 51:25]
Brian met with Board of Trustees and the Academic Affairs Committee. He expressed several concerns that have been raised during senate discussions about assessment and scheduling around the career fair. At the main board meeting, Brian mentioned the proposals passed by the senate and current topics the senate is debating, including fringe benefit issues, salary concerns, accreditation, the presidential evaluation results and the senate self-evaluation. 

The senate officers met with Provost Huntoon to discuss Proposal 2-16 and shorter senate meetings. 

7. Reports from Senate Standing Committees   [51:26 – 1:06:00]

Academic and Instructional Policy Committee. None. 

Administrative Policy Committee. Collecting data for a new proposal. 

Curricular Policy Committee.  Multiple proposals under consideration. 

Elections Committee. None. 

Finance & Institutional Planning Committee.  Committee met with Vice-President for Research, Dave Reed and Provost Huntoon to discuss results from the salary comparison study and to exchange data the administration had about salaries. Notable was that peer-institutions used by administration is different than those used in the senate study. The suggestion is to reevaluate the data using high-research universities as a basis of comparison. He noticed attempts to shift discussion away from salary and use the term total compensation, which includes salary and benefits. Comparison of staff salary seems to follow trends in faculty salary. College and University Professional Association (CUPA) survey is under study. The results of the salary study were presented to the Dean’s Council who appreciated the discussion and suggested several other metrics for comparing salaries. 

Fringe Benefits Committee. Reviewing proposals from last year that passed the senate but were rejected by administration. The committee met with Ginger Sleeman to get data to be used to help understand financial impact of the aforementioned proposals. The goal is to understand responses from constituents that indicate a majority of employees have denied themselves healthcare because of the cost that has been shifted onto them. Committee is consulting various individuals and professional advisors to understand costs of retirement and alternatives to MTU’s healthcare plan for retirees. The goal is to educated employees and retirees about the options available to them so they can make informed decisions. 

General Education and Assessment Committee. Met with the Assessment Council. Structural changes to assessment are being discussed. Senate should adopt a more proactive and constructive role. 

Information Technology Committee. None.

Professional Staff Policy Committee. None. 

Research Policy Committee.  None. 

8. Unfinished Business  None

9. New Business [1:06:01 – 1:19:35]

a. Proposal 4-16: Amending the Senate Bylaws to Improve Units Participation
Nooshabadi, Administrative Policy Committee, described the proposal. The Senate cannot serve this function effectively without the active participation of all of its constituent units. Unfortunately, each year, some units fail to elect Senators, Senate Alternates, or both. This proposal is meant to address this issue, by changing the Senate Bylaws to encourage participation by all constituent units. Discussion. 

b. Proposal 5-16: Scheduling of Examinations, Projects, Presentations and Papers During Career Day
Plummer, Academic and Instructional Policy Committee, described the proposal. For many students Career Fair has become a major component of a Michigan Tech education. To better support the students we recommend that faculty use this event to help students work through scheduling conflicts as developing professionals. 

10. Public Comments [1:19:35 – 1:24:10]  
Provost Huntoon commented on Proposal 4-16, inquiring why units are not sending senators. She suggested due process and to avoid letting this diminish the senate’s authority. Barkdoll noted that all units are currently represented. 

Waddell said that the current senate bylaws do permit visitors to be recognized prior to a motion being made. It is only when a motion is made, that the discussion is limited to the deliberative body, except when a point of information is requested. 

11. Adjournment
President Barkdoll adjourned the meeting at 6:54 pm.


Respectfully submitted
by Marty Thompson
Secretary of the University Senate