Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

February 11, 2009

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.


I.          Call to Order


            Provost Stearns


II.        Approval of the Minutes of Jan. 21, 2009


III.       Announcements


IV.       New Business - Committee Reports


               A.  Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies                                                                                                                                           


Budget & Resources


Faculty Matters




Organization & Operations



               B. Other Committees

      Report from the Committee on External Academic Relations                            Attachment A


V.                 Other New Business

                        Update on the Quality Enhancement Plan – Kim Eby, Associate Provost


                        Resolution to Promote Effective and Collegial Relations between the Faculty Senate and the Central Administration                                                                                                  Attachment B



VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty



VII.           Adjournment




Report from the Committee on External Academic Relations (CEAR)

January 2009


The university recently hired a State Government Relations Director (Betty Jolly). Ms. Jolly reports to the Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens. Ms. Jolly has already met with representatives of SCHEV and the legislature to get a sense of the issues with which her office should be concerned. She has also met with members of the Committee on External Academic Relations (CEAR) to share her vision of how we can improve the university’s relations with SCHEV and our legislators to improve support for the university.


Her belief is that there is a lack of awareness of the university and its assets in Richmond, which she would like to rectify. Therefore, she would like to become better acquainted with our capabilities and strengths. She would like to do this in targeted areas, based on current SCHEV/legislative interests and bills pending in Richmond. She has asked that the CEAR serve as a conduit for getting feedback and information to her as it is needed. She needs faculty members to provide information to or through her on topics as needed, which will require a quick turn-around and responsiveness on the part of faculty. The current plan is for Ms. Jolly to notify members of CEAR of the need for information. CEAR members will then coordinate a response from appropriate faculty or staff offices and ensure that information is received in a timely fashion. Thus, faculty members, whether part of the Faculty Senate or not, can be of most help by responding quickly when asked to provide information.


One key feature of this approach to Richmond is the partnership between faculty, the Faculty Senate, and the State Government Relations Director. Members of CEAR and the State Government Relations Director hope that this will lead to a unified message and voice coming from the university. To ensure that those speaking to representatives of SCHEV or the legislature are staying within the university’s message and priorities, we would ask that faculty members inform Ms. Jolly’s office should they decide to talk with legislators, either locally or in Richmond. There is no desire to prevent any faculty member from talking with anyone outside of the university. However, there is a desire that we make it clear when we are speaking to policy makers as a professional in our field versus when we are speaking as a representative of the collective position of the University. The University’s official position on any issue is determined by the State Government Relations Committee, which is headed by President Merten. We need to make the most of our interactions with policy makers and leverage those opportunities to further the general university message in addition to the individual’s specific issue as a professional.






Sponsored by Senator Jim Bennett (CHSS) and Senator Dave Kuebrich (CHSS)



Resolution to Promote Effective and Collegial Relations between the Faculty Senate and the Central Administration



Resolution:  The Faculty Senate proposes the creation of an ad hoc task force to discuss actual and potential sources of misunderstanding and conflict between the Senate and the Central Administration and to propose guidelines for harmonious and effective collaboration.  The Task Force shall consist of three Senate appointees elected by the Senate, three Administration appointees, and a non-voting chair who is agreed upon by the other six members of the Task Force.   The Task Force shall report to the Senate and receive its advice at the end of the Spring, 2009 semester and make a final report no later that October, 2009.  The Senate will then decide whether to adopt all, some, or none, of the recommendations. The resulting document will then be sent to the Central administration for its consideration and, hopefully, endorsement.


The Task Force is encouraged to consult with appropriate University (for instance, ICAR faculty) or outside resource people. 





Explanation:  The purpose of the Task Force is not to re-visit any past grievances or disagreements but to develop guidelines for the future use of the Senate and Central Administration in order to promote collegiality and effective shared governance. The Task Force is made up of an even number of representatives from the Senate and Central Administration in order to establish a sense of fairness for the deliberations and to encourage the Task Force members to develop consensus.  The suggested size of the Task Force is somewhat arbitrary, but the idea is to benefit from several administrative and faculty perspectives. The motion itself complements the recent Senate resolution providing for  an annual Senate evaluation of the President and Provost in that it will establish clear and mutually agreed-upon “best practices” for interactions between the Administration and Senate. It is assumed the charge of the Task Force will not be a major burden: perhaps only two or three meetings.