Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - Friday September 4, 2020

Zoom Virtual Meeting


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Rasheed Balogun, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Aniko Bodroghkoz, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Linda Duska, James Fitz-Gerald, Peter Hallowell, Rahim Hassan, Bob Hirosky, Archie Holmes, Tish Jennings, Susan Kirk, Kathryn Laughon, Kevin Lehmann, Abel Liu, Carol Manning, Susan Modesitt, Robert Patterson, James Ryan, Jim Savage, Derick Williams, Elizabeth Magill

Guests:  Ann Kellams, Michael Citro, and Georgene Nelson

Administrative Support: Ashley Ayers

Meeting agenda:

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Hockensmith (The Chair has scheduled various individuals to address EXCO and hence has added suggested times to the agenda.)
  2. Approve minutes
    1. EXCO 08/11/2020
    2. EXCO 08/18/2020
    3. EXCO 08/27/2020
  3. Committee Reports
    1. BOV – Past-Chair Bassett
    2. Faculty Grievance – update on letter to President – Committee Chair Manning
    3. Academic Affairs – Committee Chair Bloomfield
    4. Others?
  4. 11:15 am – Vice Provost Faculty Affairs, Maite Brandt-Pearce
    1. Consensual Relationship Policy
    2. COACHE Survey 2020
    3. Impact of COVID on Faculty Productivity
  5. Faculty Conflict of Interest Guidelines – Chair Hockensmith
  6. EVPP Faculty Senate Support Plan – Chair Hockensmith (Optional)
  7. Noon - 12:30 pm – President Jim Ryan
  8. Noon – 1 pm – Provost Liz Magill
  9.  ~12:35 pm – Student Presentation on CR/NC option for Fall 2020
    1. Abel Liu – Chair of 75th UVA Student Council Representative Body
    2. Rahim Hasaan – President of First Generation Low Income Partnership @ UVa (FLIP)
  10. 12:50 pm – Agenda for Sept 18th Faculty Senate Meeting
  11. Other business
  12. 1 pm – Adjourn

Meeting Notes:
Quorum met; Joel called the meeting to order at 11:03

Joel updated EXCO on status of two items:

  1. Issue of mailing list is resolved (working with Maggie Harden to provide mailing list solution)
  2. Polling in Collab; a tech from Collab is going to show Joe how to set up non-anonymous polling (though tests/quizzes). He’ll write a memo about the process.

Ellen: motion to approve Minutes; Tish seconded. No discussion. 8 approved; none challenged.

Ellen: attended BOV meetings – health system is of concern. Also, leadership changes conversations. COVID testing (Mitch Rosner).  Good participation and good conversations. Concerned with UVA reputation.

Tish: question about BOV meeting: Curry school name controversy and the decision about whether or not to drop the name “Curry” from the school’s title. Could we do something as Exco? Tish will send the link to Joel and she will create a resolution and post it by sharing it.

Update on the status of the letter from the Grievance Committee to the President. Any resolution?

Carol: the President sent a letter agreeing to the committee’s recommendations and is moving forward with looking at tenure status of the faculty member in the case.

Academic Affairs: Aaron has an update on CHEV mandate of closing a program. He is working on a policy draft with Archie. They have not drafted it yet, but will do before Archie leaves.
When deans state an intent, the decision is sent back to AAC and they’ll be aware of it and bring to EXCO and FS. By the next meeting, Aaron will be able to email out the formal policy. Archie will start the draft. This is an internal policy to put in place before Archie leaves.

Joel introduced Maite, who will give updates about how FS should function; a larger role in governance. Maite has consented to this request and asked for help draft policies (ex: the consensual relationship policy). How does EXCO respond in a timely way? How do we make the FS more functional so they can participate quickly in ongoing situations?

Maite: shared a set of slides about the following topics:

  1. Consensual Relationship Policy: the current university policy between faculty and students is embedded within the COI policy and is not a strong statement. Other universities have created a specific policy around this issue, which primarily affects faculty. This policy creation is a good test of the ability for collaboration between Provost Office and FS. She wants faculty to have input in these policies – not just delivered to faculty from administration. Strict policy. Undergrads and faculty. Clear in activities and behaviors requiring reporting and what is prohibited.

Aniko: is on the committee, and glanced at draft. Looks like good, strong policy. Has been shared with the policy committee. The committee gets a lot of policy materials to review without a lot of turn around time. Maybe have more people on the committee? More widely disseminated for faculty senators?

Joel: distributed the policy to entire FS and asked for their feedback. The policy committee has historically reviewed policies and has not involved in creating policy. Argument for being able to help create policy. Which policy gets sent to which committee to review? Should EXCO look at a policy and then assign it to a committee or create an ad hoc committee? How to find people who have the time to review quickly? It’s broad and he can see entire FS wanting to comment on it. A minimum of one month’s activity until we can get back to Maite with policy thoughts.

Jim: 1990s policy set to restrict undergraduate students and faculty. Grad students were omitted. In the 90s, many student/faculty interactions. How to deal with small town and single faulty?

Maite: strict policy with undergrad student/faculty. Also, it is specific about what kinds of relationships are ok with graduate students. Look at the language and see if it’s strong enough. Allows for people in a relationship to continue. She wants that kind of feedback from faculty senators – is this appropriate; is this the correct level of language?

Jim: Charlottesville is a difficult place for single faculty.

Peter: focus on the process. The process should be that the request to review a policy comes to EXCO and then they decide if one committee, three committee, etc. should review it. Process-wise, that’s how it should go. Discussions about the actual policy is best left to the committee level. But the process is good as Joel outlined it.

Susan K.: rather than modify a policy based on a population, we want to have best possible policy in place but allow for modifications if they’re needed. Med Center has policies that allow for romantic relationships/family relationships if the person in the “superior” position is removed from the ability to evaluate the other person. Faculty should never be an evaluator or grader or in a position to promote.

Kevin: grad students and supervisory relationships. They have a different level of involvement. Primary advisor role. We should restrict any romantic relationship with any faculty with any grad student in their own department. A blanket policy helps with grad student safety. Helps with issues between faculty members, too.

Ellen: policy provision that you must go to your supervisor if you enter in a relationship (at previous institution) and sign a document.

Maite: read the draft and outline what needs to be changed to address the issues. Maite responded to Ellen and Kevin’s comments to say that the policy does address both of their points. This meeting is not the venue for collecting their comments. Think about what process would allow collecting everyone’s feedback.

Joel: is he the right conduit between Maite and EXCO? Get EXCO to decide how to move forward.

Jim: asked for original document
Maite: the COI statement is included in the policy draft
Joel: confirmed
Jim: the College has its own policy
Joel: that’s good – get any school/department policy to Joel and Maite so they can collect them and review.

Matie: COACH survey. They’ve received the data. They’ll report to FS as some point. They’ll analyze the results and develop a dissemination plan and an action plan. She is putting together a committee (Maite, Maggie, Alex R. Jennie, faculty members recommended by FS with research expertise in analysis, someone form Kevin McDonald’s office, one of diversity deans, a faculty member who served last time).

Joel: distributed query to Full FS. FS got back to him: Andy Pennock, Susan Modesitt, Aaron Bloomfield are the three names he collected. Maite will decide if she wants them on the committee. How do we make things work so we can respond quickly to Maite?

Carol: SOM was not involved in COACH.

Susan M.: yes, aware.

Maite: several SOM faculty were concerned that the SOM wasn’t involved in COACH. SOM FS members – serves faculty in SOM. Issue about which to be aware.

Aaron: procedure Joel followed was fine. Offered to full FS. Past criticisms don’t apply because offered it to FS and didn’t just make a decision independently.

Maite: Impact of COVID on faculty productivity. Unequal impact on faculty productivity and is likely to affect faculty for years. Other universities are requiring faulty to include a statement in their annual reports.  Assembling working group to consider what UVA can do to mitigate inequities. Provost is supportive. What do you think of the process of assembling a working group? Asked for volunteers from FS. What do you think about how to address the issue?

Joel: has responses form the faculty. Jackie Sheppard (SOM), Gerry Sideman, Judy Thomas (Library), Natasha Heller (College), Gabe Adams (Batten)

Tish: Natasha is not here so Tish is representing diversity committee. Their committee will meet next week and she will try to recruit a man to serve.

Maite: asked associate deans if they had people in their schools to serve. Doesn’t have to be a FS faculty, can be colleagues in the schools, too.

Joel: complicated in terms of process. He got feedback from one school who said their faculty didn’t want them to volunteer through FS; wanted to control faculty interacting with administration. Background – are we taking authority from deans of schools?

Jim: what is the timetable?

Maite: she wants the information out to the schools ahead of annual reporting, so faculty can plan. By end of this semester. No great urgency.

Jim: thinking about joining the working group.

Maite: email names the academic deans and senate leaders so both units knew she was doing a broad; reaching out to both.

Joel: the pushback from schools does exist.

Joel thanked Maite for her presentation, Maite welcomed EXCO members to reach out to her with questions/comments.

Joel: President and Provost will join soon. Update on the Faculty Senate support plan – Joel is working with Maggie to work on this plan: to set up logistical support and records management. Possible intern to serve committees and help them to function. Provost wants creation of a FS handbook, EXCO handbook, committee handbooks. Bring drafted documents to EXCO for review and input. Joel welcomed questions.

COI guidelines – Joel sent the guidelines he wrote and Susan Kirk edited. Three ideas. COI should be broad (not just for the grievance committee). University agrees and President/Provost agrees and asked Joel to put together a policy. Produced case studies to ask about COI. Asked for comments.

Susan K.: should have longer conversations when we have the opportunity. Scenarios were written as having neither a wrong or right answer. What is perception of public as to whether conflicts exist? Will we be perceived as unbiased or fair adjudicator of these decisions?

Joel: is looking for process-related feedback.

Susan K: if a committee works to approve policy, will it be approved if pushed up. Would broader faculty supersede FS work? IF FS work is going to be the drivers of policy change/creation, then it’s worth the effort.

Joel: FS is a driver. He wants the FS to be the drivers (not him personally). Doesn’t want administration to push something down on faculty. Wants FS to be contributors. And administration has welcomed this.

Susan K.: wants FS to be original drafters of policy.

President Ryan: students are moving back into dorms and in-person classes begin next week. Have learned from watching other universities. The challenges exist mostly in off-grounds housing. We have 12,000 students in Charlottesville and they will be here whether classes are virtual or not. We want them to feel connected to the community and influence their behavior. Testing: important – revving it up. Also, having enough space for isolation and quarantine – expanding this space. This is a new situation and will continue to evolve and be fluid. If we have to change course, we will. The first move would not to be to send students home, but to impose more restrictions. If they must send students home, they will but he hopes that won’t happen. Racial Equity TF Report: BOV meeting next week and there will be discussion of the report during the meeting. Felt too rushed to discuss in August meeting, so will be able to have productive conversation at the upcoming meeting. He thanked EXCO for their work.

Provost Magill: thank you for all you’re doing. In person classes start Tuesday. 20% of classes will have in-person component. An email will be going out to describe surveillance testing. “Population testing” is the language they’re using, starting Wednesday, September 9 and they will scale it up with the hope of testing every student every week once saliva tests are up and running. Wastewater testing in dorms. Email will describe the process.

Childcare needs of the UVA community – they continue to work on providing resources. Newsletter sent out about resources. And a resource webpage for faculty is available for in-person teaching. Maite is leading these efforts.

They are considering other academic policy issues (student evaluations) (conducting remote instruction for students in China).
SOM Dean search is underway.
New VP for student affairs is underway (Margo Rogers leading)

Student life and academic life blended to serve student – want to further that.

Architecture Dean stepping down. Liz will spend time in the school figuring out what the school needs.

Archie leaving. They’ll have a going-away Zoom party.

Joel: question for Liz about asymptomatic testing. How many people have taken this?
Liz: 200-ish people, so far. 2500 tests are reserved each week for asymptomatic testing.
Jim R.: fewer asymptomatic test-takers than he expected

Joel: comment for Jim Ryan – he encouraged his leadership team to wear masks. Joel observed that all students he saw on his walk in to work today had a mask on.

Aaron: has a question for Liz. What about the search for Archie’s replacement?
Liz: going to do a search starting in January. Interim will assume some parts of the position (Maite, Anda, Liz). Should be an internal search.

Kathryn: testing. She sent the email to her faculty in the SON and they were not eligible to take the test. Can the administration expand the eligibility to part-time (ex: faculty leading clinical groups, teaching a single course).
Liz will ask about expanding the testing eligibility.
Kathryn: saliva testing. Will it be connected to students’ names?
Liz: depends. They are using it for diagnostic purposes. If positive, they are asked to isolate, and contact tracing starts.

Jim S: question for Jim Ryan, what is the threshold for students; the number infected? The level at which you’d decide to close down?
Jim R.: they are looking at a group of factors: the number of cases and the space available for isolating/quarantine. The level of testing capacity. The number of hospitalizations. Health System – look at all these factors together to determine if need to shift plan.

Kevin: have you explored utilizing antibody testing?
Jim R.: we’ve discussed it but are not sure what to do with the results. How useful would it be? Could be used to decide who could live together. Discussion turned into a dystopian picture of what UVA would look like. Experts are not certain yet that you can’t be infected more than once. Not sure how it would help manage the issue.
Kevin: provides information about the prevalence of the virus in a population, regarding the number of asymptomatic cases.
Liz: saliva test, getting really large numbers of the test. Herd immunity. Antigen testing – other entities have encountered problems because that testing is not available at the scale needed. Saliva test is best for the scale at which they want to test.

President/Provost ended their part of the presentation at 12:29. President left; Provost stayed.

Student: Abel and Rahim. Grading Survey and Proposal
Overview: 2,011 students took it; 99.6% of undergrads; all UVA schools.
Options for credit/no credit. Grading systems.
Fall 2020 semester is unprecedented and probably most difficult for underserved (but also all) students.
Balance quality education, equity, and turbulence of the pandemic.
Ability to concentrate most could learn very well before the pandemic. How well in a Zoom class? – 17% reported that they can concentrate for a 50 minute class. As classes are longer, the number goes down.

Barriers to learning – 94% of students reported barriers to learning. More home/work responsibility, due to online education. 70% said they’d experience same barriers.

Credit/general credit/no credit option

Two proposed options:

  • Universal CR/GC/NC
  • Student option for CR/GC/NC

Current options impede the progress.


Jim S: are your slides available for us to share? Yes, he’ll send. They sent a report and policy proposal. But will also send slides.
Joel: surprised by number who chose a graded system last semester.
Rahim: yes, those who faced barriers to education did choose a graded option.
Abel: flexibility is worth the benefit to having this be default
Joel: two proposals. Which do you prefer?
Abel: preferred option is some from of credit. Option of credit/no credit is different than all students using it.
Ellen: 14 barriers. Thought about how not all of them are not equal. Analysis on those barriers? As an instructor, if I’m able to give someone credit/no credit if they have a compelling story.
Abel: most people were in that 1-13 category. But the survey hasn’t closed yet and they can analyze and send it to us.
Two reasons to do credit/no credit: differences between in-person and virtual instruction – students time to complete assignments, morale. Mental health issues – weighted heavily.
Kevin: what fraction of those polled responded to survey? 7½ percent of total UVA population responded. Did not randomize their sample.

Rob: what is the total student population at UVA that is first gen/low income? Rahim has the stats and can send them. First gen is 10%. He’ll look at it and give the numbers.

Jim: UC Santa Cruz went to pass/fail. Might be interesting to look at.

Ellen: you are evaluated at UC Santa Cruz, but not graded.

Bob: VCU went to credit/no credit recently

Abel: not asking for it to be permanent or even for the entire year. This semester only. Lots of unknowns and uncertainties and much that might go wrong this semester. Compelling reasons to do credit/no credit right now.

Joel: what do you want?

Abel: Provost Office policy. Hoping that FS will take a vote like Stanford U did. Or hoping Provost Office passes down the decision to all schools.

Joel: thank you for presentation; moving on.
Much left open-ended.
Last item: think about what we are going to cover in next full FS meeting. Two resolutions passed at EXCO level and need to be approved by full FS.
Ad hoc committee on bylaws and BOV representation and advance that to the discussion.
Are there other agenda items?

Ellen: the Curry resolution? To present during full FS?  
Joel: shared the drafted resolution.
Jim: request: send background information about Curry. Tish will send out to everyone.
Joel: read through the resolution by COB on Tuesday to vote on Wednesday morning. Reasonable?
Ellen: racial equity TF. Naming protocols; important to faculty being united in changing the name.

Tish: Curry faculty has been very interested in dropping the name Curry.

Joel: a motion from Tish. Someone second. Gather more information. If needed, an online conversation. Then a vote.

Second? Aniko seconded.

Joel: what do you want to do about the students’ presentation. Grades are a mechanism of performance. No more GREs. Understand the predicament of underprivileged students.

Bob: agrees with Joel. In spring, he was disappointed with number of students who chose the no grade option. Thought they made a mistake with their decision to go no-grade. Problem for graduate admissions. Having no data can hurt these students even more.

Jim S: average GPA shows that grades are good overall.

Kevin: given the circumstances. Students pushing for mandatory. But most students didn’t want the option. Their grades matter, when trying to get into competitive majors.

Ellen: is sympathetic to making it an option. Based on experiences from students back in the spring semester, there is some real need to have it as a potential option. Trust student judgment.

Tish: seconded what Ellen said.

Joel: what is the path forward. Do we vote?

Ellen: do we need our own resolution?

Joel: can assign someone to draft a resolution. What is the process? Kevin and Bob – want to tackle this in your committee?

Kevin and Bob will call a meeting.

Kevin: we should instead be more proactive in providing tools to students to try to give students what they need.

Ellen: invest in getting them better tools to help.

Kevin and Bob will call their committee together and draft a resolution that will be presented to full FS. To let the students know their thoughts on their proposal.

Jim F: company hiring is GPA-driven. Also sympathetic to students. They usually push but decided to go pass/fail last semester.

Joel: we can say in the statement that the FS understands both sides of the issue. Grades are important and you should weigh that into your decision. But at the same time, don’t want to disadvantage others.

Meeting adjourned at 1:09pm