Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - Tuesday August 18, 2020

5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Zoom Virtual Meeting


Joel Hockensmith, Chair, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Aniko Bodroghkozy, James Fitz-Gerald, Bob Hirosky, Archie Holmes, Tish Jennings, Susan Kirk, Kevin Lehmann, Carol Manning, Susan Modesitt, Peter Norton, Robert Patterson, Derick Williams

Guests: Katherine Knott; Ruth Smith

Administrative support: Ashley Ayers, School of Medicine

Meeting Agenda:

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Hockensmith
  2. Poll results – FYI, no discussion
    1. Resolution on Racial Equity Task Force Final Report – Resolution from 8/11 was passed and posted to the FS website, as well as the Full Senate, the Racial Equity Task Force and the Secretary to the BOV.
    2. Bylaws recommendations for FS BOV Rep – Motion from 8/11 was passed and the Bylaws recommendations will now be advanced to the next Faculty Senate meeting.
  3. Polling method – Chair Hockensmith – Any issues that need attention before we move to use of Collab for the Full Senate polling?
  4. Committee Reports
    1. Academic Affairs - Vice-Provost Archie Holmes expected to address AAC queries on state-mandated program closures but no additional report from AAC.
    2. Faculty Grievance
      1. 2020 updates from committee chair(s)
      2. Comments on:
        1. committee size
        2. concurrent cases
        3. public disclosure of committee member names (social media)
        4. ad hoc member appointment – Committee chairs? FS Chair? EXCO?
        5. Posted timeline(s)?
      3. Conflict of Interest - Hockensmith
    3. Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Retirement & Welfare
    4. Finance
    5. Policy
    6. Research, Teaching & Scholarship
  5. Other business
  6. 6:15 pm Adjourn

Meeting Notes:

Joel: called the meeting to order: 5:17pm

He referenced the recent committee poll on Collab: 11 out of 17 possible votes showed up in poll. Does this method work? We are going to have to vote online.

The group indicated "this online voting method works"

Peter: we should have members’ names attached to their votes - a vote in a committee should be a voice; our votes are cast on behalf of those we represent. It is our job to have our names attached to our vote.

Joel: in future, an anonymous vote will have to be specifically requested. The status of the poll is not visible during the process of voting, only after the voting has concluded.

Joel: moving on to Aaron and the Academic Affairs Committee follow up. Archie is here with us to follow up (on last meeting’s discussion).

Archie: provided an overview of process:

  • Every 5 years, there is a program productivity review. Programs must enroll certain number of students/have a certain number of faculty in it. Graduate students in a reasonable amount of time. There is a formula around the size of department; a certain number of students and faculty.
  • Archie receives a list of programs that don't meet that criteria and asks the department do you want to close the program or start a review of it?
  • Archie mentioned that programs under review in many of the schools were cited initially, during the last review.
  • A letter was sent to deans asking them to work within their schools to determine what they want to do about the citation. Some programs are new and they can get an exception –can make a case for why they’re not meeting criteria, yet. They can also make a case for the program due to it being valuable/essential to the mission of school
  • Mostly masters programs were closed, this time.
  • A program was flagged 5 years ago, didn't address those issues, the department didn't pursue this time, so the program was closed.
  • Provost office works with the schools, if they want to save the program.
  • If the state decides to close a program, then the program closes; the state is the official authority.
  • Archie wants to make the burden level low for the Faculty Senate and AAC.
  • Questions?

Tish: can you provide examples of programs that were shut down? (Aaron is looking up this list of programs, right now.)

Archie: the PhD program in Darden: it is very rare for a student to graduate because it's small. Darden argued that the program is valuable for attracting the faculty they want. Cohort model is essential to how they run the program. Because of the way the program is run, it is never going to meet the criteria. Darden made that case, and the state approved. The state wants to make sure UVA has justification for why programs don’t fit criteria. A justification could be: we are the only one in the state that has this program. Curry: issue required looking at curriculum structure to meet graduation requirement. They changed the curriculum to reduce graduation time and then meets the criteria.

Aaron: Comp literature, MA German, (mentioned others) Tish: which in Curry?
Archie: doctors’ in higher education administration was the one in Curry

Susan K: is dean's office working with department and the faculty within it to make case? Archie: doesn’t know how the dean’s office works with the department/faculty.
Susan K: a dean might be "done with the program" but the faculty might not feel the same way. Here is the potential for faculty oversight/governance. If that's rare, is it worth it to ask committee to take on the work?

Archie: the process happens every five years. The Provost Office could ask the deans how they involved the faculty in the process. Is that the solution?

Aaron: can imagine future leadership that doesn't put effort into making sure viable programs are reviewed.

Archie: what are the options? Could look at in academic affairs committee. More as oversight than involving them in the initial work. The AAC could make sure there is a good reason not to make a case, if the department decides it’s not going to pursue a case.

Ellen: institutionalized, role of faculty internal to the schools. In architecture, she as the chair was asked, but she is not sure the faculty in the school/dept. knew what was going on.

Archie: the state does set a higher bar for programs that have been cited before. Always have to make cases for BAs. At end of day, they got the state to keep programs open, if the administration wanted to keep it open.

Aaron: can go through AAC, but what does a "no" vote do? Committee could be notified of these cases and the chair notifies EXCO and then EXCO can chose to take action. Notifications are a happy medium to solve this? He asked for feedback - is this how we should deal with?

Joel: workflow description. AAC, has a role? Not after state action. But between dean and Archie, or Archie and SCHEV. Asked Aaron if the AAC wants to insert themselves into process.

Aaron: has two concerns – he is sensitive to the workload of the committee. Would their work actually have an effect? He wants the committee's voice to matter.

Archie: if a dean doesn't want to keep a program open. Get their initial reaction and could show their plans to the AAC. Ask them to make sure things are being handled appropriately; there might be a concern here and could they address it, maybe.

Aaron: I think that could be reasonable.

Archie: another issue: if a school outside of SCHEV wants to close a program – that is a whole different process and should involve faculty. (If a school decides to close a program on their own, outside of this state review process.) Archie would rather the AAC works on those cases, when the school wants to close its own program.

Aaron: AAC is involved in those cases already.

Aaron will work with Archie and bring back more information to AAC, then report back to EXCO

Joel: anyone object? Archie left at 5:42pm.
Joel: announcement: Natasha Heller, accepted Associate Chair of her department. Tish will become chair of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Welcome, Tish.

Carol Manning: update on faculty grievance committee. Joel: remember we are in public forum - protect anonymity.
Carol: the committee received two grievances at the same time. There was significant time pressure with two at same time, more than whole committee could do. Committee started on one case, but it was resolved. The other case, the grievance report was written, given to President Ryan, but they have not heard back from him yet. Then, Antoni and Carol met with Jim. He will get back to them in a few weeks.

Joel: committee size, issue. We made no adjustment this year, but might have to react to it in the future, any changes needed before next February and a new round of grievance cases.
They were taxed by having two cases, if they have three or four, the committee size would need to be adjusted. Does the grievance committee make the decisions about additional committee members?

What is the method of adding the additional members? Can the committee chair do it? Does the chair need to go to chair of Faculty Senate?

Carol: most of the work involves meeting about cases (mediation) so that a formal grievance case doesn't occur. Three formal cases at the same time wouldn't be manageable.

Joel: committee members should serve 3 years; institutional memory is important. This (3-year terms) is not the procedure that EXCO has followed for the last few years. There is no mechanism to define turnover of committee members.

EXCO should have a sense of what the problems are. If junior faculty come in to serve, we have to protect them.

Susan K: most grievances are P&T cases. But the committee could deal with any type of grievance, not specific to advancement. Possibility that faculty could grieve about some issue other than about P&T. Historically, is there any data for number of grievances/year and context?

Carol: doesn't have those data. She has had non-P&T grievances reviewed by the committee. P&T grievances are the most likely to be formal, since they are not as easy to mediate.

Joel: we don't have data. He discussed lack of admin support and how that support is currently tentative. FS has been poor at data gathering and we should think about how to do that.

Ellen: David (previous FS admin support) used to attend all the committee meetings. Often, there are HR issues, we want preserve anonymity but still keep data so they can look back and see what kind of grievances are happening, over time. 3-year terms: it is hard to keep track of basic terms, going to be difficult to track grievance terms.

Joel: task of editing the guidelines that committee works from. Who should edit? Should the grievance committee should do it? Or, should EXCO could do it?

Joel: public disclosure of committee member names. (Referenced a Twitter campaign for a recent grievance case - someone contacted a committee member. The member concern raised because of this contact.) Should be confidential while they serve, to protect them while looking at grievance case?

Posting timelines – currently there are no set of guidelines as to how quickly things need to come to committee. When they arrive late, that puts pressure on committee. Could we post a timeline, is that reasonable or will that discourage faculty from submitting grievances?

The faculty should recognize that putting together their grievance by a given date will aid the committee to conduct interviews and gather data before the committee deadline.

Carol: in the recent case, the deadline was related to a specific person, the end of their term was coming up. When it looks like mediation will fail, the committee head could say to the faculty member, “mediation efforts were not successful.” Then the faculty member could decide to submit a formal grievance. Then a deadline could be suggested. Difficult, because of all the moving parts.

Joel: like with students, get them to think about a timeline. But is it necessary? (He wanted to suggest these items to see if it will help the committee.)

Tish: the lateness of the one case, was it due to a delay in process from their perspective?

Carol: she assumed the person was going to submit grievance, didn't do it for a while, then it came in at last minute.

Aniko: a colleague got in touch with her and wanted to know if he could get in touch with the grievance committee to know what was going on with it. The person thought they had info relevant to case.

Carol: maintaining the person's confidentiality is essential. The person would need the grieving person's permission before contacting the committee. She would be reluctant to acknowledge the case to that person, to respect confidentiality of the grievant.

Peter: suggested to tell a person who is trying to give the committee information: if you have something helpful, give it to the grievant and they can give the information to the committee.

Carol: confirmed that the process in Peter’s comment is what the committee currently recommends.

Peter: delay - it does matter. A common cause of delay is that the grievant is getting promises from those areas, and that person/those areas are purposefully delaying submitting the info to the grievant. Advice: if you think they're eating up time, if they promise deadlines they don't deliver on, then get the committee involved so they can intervene. Institutional memories are valuable on this committee. Systemic mechanism can be complicated. Retention of institutional memory. The committee experienced a turnover of 100% at one point, made things difficult.

Carol: Peter has helped. Everyone on committee was new and she had to figure out how to do the job. Committee doesn't know what's happening unless grievant tells them and keeps them updated. The grievant should know that the committee doesn't represent them. The report goes to the president for the president to make the decision. Grievants should recognize the limits of what the committee can do.

Derick: there should be some general guidelines that faculty can use, have insight into, so they don't get delayed by their school. Having those guidelines will help them.

Susan K.: timing is the best thing for the grievant. Event occurs (P&T decision) - should be a certain amount of time and could be extended with cause. Decision has to be made rapidly. Time pressure

Carol: did not work out to be in grievant’s best interest. Trying to get person's contract extended. Committee was stonewalled and hampered and had to work quickly; it could have done more thorough job if had more time.

Joel: Conflict of Interest

The SOM has COI statement concerning when a person can serve on committee and when they cannot. But no one else in university has anything in writing.

  1. Example: Inviting someone to serve on grievance committee, but they wrote a letter for the grievant’s P&T portfolio, could they still serve on the grievance committee?
  2. The faculty member serving is in the same department as the grievant - could they serve on committee?
  3. What would happen if a party on original school committee that evaluates person from P&T and then that same person plays and administrative role and is the primary correspondent with grievance committee chair? Is that a COI?

He created a policy to clean those issues up. Susan Kirk helped him draft it and he's going to post it on Collab so the EXCO can make comments on it. He invited the committee to let him know their thoughts on the draft.

Next EXCO meeting, introduce the draft as a motion and nudge UVA to come up with an institutional policy.

Susan K: the policy shouldn't be limited to the grievance committee. COI should extend to all committees within Faculty Senate. She posed to group to review it.

More than just for Faculty Senate issues, COI should be broad.

Joel: Faculty Senate creates policy and then it goes to Provost and President for review/approval. He has a memo written to them already. Shared governance. They can modify it but get something on the table. He will post it.

Susan M.: nothing to report from FRRRW committee who is planning their firs mtg. Joel: thanks for showing up, excited to work with you this year.
Ellen: FYI, the BOV meeting was postponed, September 10-11. Resolution went up to BOV. The meeting adjourned at 6:18pm.