Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - Wednesday November 4, 2020

11:00am - 1:00pm Zoom Virtual Meeting


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Rasheed Balogun, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Linda Duska, James Fitz-Gerald, Bob Hirosky, Tish Jennings, Susan Kirk, Kevin Lehmann, Carol Manning, Susan Modesitt, Peter Norton, Rob Patterson, James Savage

Guests: Ann Kellams, Alena Herklotz, Adrian Mamaril, Zhihan Yang (David), Angela Hewitt (Closed Captioner)

Administrative Support: Ashley Ayers

Meeting agenda:

Mr. Zhihan Yang (David)
Chair of International Student Affairs Committee
UVA Student Council

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Hockensmith

  2. Approve minutes

    1. EXCO 10/06/2020*

  3. December meeting? - Chair Hockensmith

  4. Spring meeting schedule - Chair Hockensmith

  5. Student Presentation on Final Examination Flexibility (10 min + Questions)

  6. Committee Reports

    1. RTS – Cmte Chair Hirosky OR Lehmann

    2. Policy – Cmte Chair Norton

    3. FRRRW – Cmte Chair Beckenstein OR Modesitt

    4. Finance – Cmte Chair Hallowell

    5. Faculty Grievance – Cmte Chair Al-Samman OR Manning

    6. DEI – Cmte Chair Jennings

    7. Academic Affairs – Cmte Chair Bloomfield

  7. EXCO & Committee Handbook – Chair Hockensmith

  8. Faculty Conflict of Interest Guidelines – Chair Hockensmith

  9. Agenda for Nov. 18th Faculty Senate Meeting

  10. Other business

  11. 1 pm – Adjourn

Meeting Notes:
Quorum met; Joel Hockensmith called the meeting to order at 11:01am

*Approve 10/6 Minutes: Joel asked if there were any changes from the group? No changes noted. The 10/6 Minutes were declared approved by General Consent.

Joel Hockensmith: Meetings scheduled for spring? Any feedback for creating the schedule?

Susan Kirk: appreciate the time variety of the meetings. Should we send out a survey/poll to get the majority of people for most popular times. Just a suggestion. Poll EXCO only.

Aaron Bloomfield: impending state deadlines. An end of February meeting will be helpful for approvals.

Joel will send out follow-up information to the group and get started on spring scheduling.

David Yang and Adrian Mamaril: Flexible Final Exam Schedule Proposal.

  • Adrian Mamaril: is a representative from Arts and Sciences. The issue: not all students will be in the Eastern Standard time zone for final exams.

  • David Yang: the student body will scatter to different time zones around the globe. Fast and stable internet access is not guaranteed for everyone. Also travel and quarantine are issues for students going back to their home countries. Current fixed, final exam schedule could pose issues for certain students. Many professors are adopting flexible options, but that is not the case for all/most classes.

  • Possible solutions: a flexible exam taking time, or replace a final exam with another method of assessment, or accommodate students.

  • Suggestions: a take home open book final, a greater time window for completion, exam with open-ended questions, substitute the exam for a paper/project, make up exams for those living in different time zones.

  • Other universities: UPenn (asynchronous exams, 72 hour window) UT Austin alternative assessments, UMASS Amhurst, take exams from 8-10am, their local time.

  • Key to solving is consideration, empathy, creativity, flexibility, and communication.

  • Adrian Mamaril: acknowledged that faculty have been working to adjust their schedules. Recommends reaching out to students to survey their needs, are they traveling. Will they be in different time zones? 7-10pm exams for larger classes – with time zone differences, Europe and Africa – if a lot of first year students have a those, will be stressful to take several of those.

  • Joel Hockensmith: do you have a number of students who have had their request denied for exam accommodation?

  • David Yang: no, they don’t have a number, but they’ve heard that professors say they won’t accommodate requests for flexibility, and students are discouraged to speak out.

  • Aaron Bloomfield: expressed concern with access for cheating. Increases ability for people to post answers, cheat. Data supports that a lot of cheating happens. He wants to be accommodating, but to balance that with the issue of cheating.

  • David Yang: no student should cheat, should be honorable. But some exams are more prone to be “cheatable” – multiple choice is easier than essay questions. That is a concern. Have UVA intervene to have a third-party service to help with mitigating cheating. Adjust the format of the exam. Two exams, one in the morning; one in the evening.

  • Adrian Mamaril: example: McIntire has third party service for helping mitigate cheating. Professor Martin.

  • Kevin Lehmann: this is something that is the faculty member’s prerogative. It is difficult to write several different exams and have them equal/comparable. Documented evidence of cheating by Chinese students in the GRE. Exam had to be discontinued.

  • Ellen Bassett: sympathetic to students and works with students in different time zones. All of these things are taking place mid-semester. The University won’t have funds for proctoring. Extra work for faculty can be extreme. Concerned with cheating.

  • Tish Jennings: used to run Penn State’s online program and dealt with how to manage exams globally. They had proctors – didn’t work. Created timed test that you can do online that are open-book. Time limit on exam. Everyone had same time limit but they could use their books. This solution seemed to work for their department.

  • Joel: how to wrap up, what action could we take? We agree with you. David, Adrian, final short comments?

  • David Yang: student council voted on final exam resolution. They are working with Deans and Provost to provide a change for the spring. For the fall, it comes down to individual professors. Most are accommodating. Request to consider accommodating students. Be mindful of late submissions, re: internet connections and time zones.

  • Joel Hockensmith: please send the resolution. Our faculty think about this all the time. Difficult to make changes for the fall. Provost has done a good job letting faculty know they have flexibility for exams.

Committee Reports:

  • Kevin Lehmann: no action from committee to report.

  • Peter Norton, Policy: (not in attendance, Zoom connection terminated)

  • Susan Modesitt: Welfare. Discussed the upcoming virtual listening session

  • Joel Hockensmith: discussed the Faculty Senate newsletter going out tomorrow. The “listening” announcement will be included this session.

  • Carol Manning: nothing to report for faculty grievance.

  • Tish Jennings: meeting next week to discuss Pres Ryan and Joel Gardner.

  • Aaron Bloomfield: discontinuation of certificate.

  • Rob Patterson: what about the change of track in McIntire?

  • Aaron Bloomfield: ACC discussed another proposal that bypassed EXCO. Next Tuesday, if no one objects, that will be approved. Commerce goes straight to Faculty Senate; discontinuation of certificate goes through EXCO.

  • Joel Hockensmith: does anyone disagree with passing motion? No response: declared by General Consent that it’s passed.

Faculty Senate Handbook (Brett Marshall is drafting)

  • Length of document – Joel is paring it down because it is long.

  • Joel Invited anyone with a written history of the FS to send that information to be included.

  • The document may be posted (or parts of it posted) to the internet.

  • Working out mechanisms so tasks are not done multiple times. Not having to update this document multiple times.

  • Rob Patterson: this is good work, consolidating into one document

  • Ellen Bassett: how to tie this document into orientation for new Faculty Senators. Inconsistent in how faculty are “on boarded”

Joel Hockensmith: Invited EXCO to give feedback for running meetings.

Peter Norton: Maite wants to hear comments about the draft Consenual policy.

Faculty Conflict of Interest

  • Joel Hockensmith shared a document from administration.

  • Do we create guidelines specific to Faculty Senate? Or use guidelines that come from administration? Comments?

  • Tish Jennings: often we are representing certain interests, and if COI interferes with that interest, it can backfire. Tricky, as to where you draw the line.

  • Susan Kirk: it is important, potentially putting something in place when there isn’t’ a heated discussion makes sense. Agree with Tish: as FS, we serve as advocates for the faculty. But, at some point, the advocacy brings a bias. Others are looking for us to make neutral decisions.

  • Joel: experts should be allowed to contribute to a committee, but not vote.

  • Kevin Lehmann: it’s important to have a strong COI policy. Advocates should be able to contribute but should recuse from a voting role. Should strive to avoid even the appearance of a COI.

  • Bob Hiroski: in agreement with Kevin. The wording in red is overly strong. Cases (P&T committee) where committee reviews a number of candidates, only recused if candidate is in their own department. Needless restraints. There is a case like this in his department, so asked about the policy recently.

  • Joel Hockensmith: pass document to RTS committee.

  • Kevin Lehmann: not only does the department person not vote, but they also need to leave the room when the discussions about their department faculty colleague is going on. RTS Committee should review.

  • Joel Hockensmith: will send two documents to the committee and ask them to do something with them.

  • Alan Beckenstein: does this relate to Senators? If something comes to the FS that is a conflict of interest.

  • Joel Hockensmith: yes, I think there is the potential for COI.

  • Alan Beckenstein: are you representing the school or are you a member of a body that stands together and deliberates separate from the department. Department interest vs. institutional interests as a whole.

Nov 18 Full Faculty Senate meeting: no agenda items. Do we cancel? Any agenda items? Any committee materials?

Kevin Lehmann: isn’t the President/Provost schedule to attend the meeting? Could be a short meeting. Give FS a chance to interact with President and Provost

Joel Hockensmith: yes, we can have a meeting just for interaction with Pres/Provost. The meeting is on and we can announce it with an agenda.

Faculty Senate of Virginia. One Faculty Senator, Brian Wright, School of Data Science, wants to participate. Joel gave him permission to participate on behalf of the Faculty Senate.

Any other business?

Meeting adjourned at 12:07pm.