Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes, October 27 2023

October 27, 2023
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Rouss Robertson & ZOOM WEBINAR

Senators Present:  Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Rob Garrod, Bryon Gustafson, Gustav Heldt, Tish Jennings, James Lambert, Craig Lefanowicz, Alicia Lopez Opere, Carol Manning, Charlotte Matthews, Kathryn Neeley, Amy Ogden, Andrew Pennock, Paul Perrin, Sue Saliba, Jeri Seidman, Jessica Sewell, Brian Williams.

Senators on Zoom:  Kim Acquaviva, Dana Albon, Matthew Bolton, Francesca Calamita, Cathy Campbell, Eve Danzinger, Todd DeLong, Katia Dianina, Maxim Engers, Avik Ghosh, Natoya Haskins, Juliet Hatchett, Rich Hynes, Matthew Jull, Ann Kellams, Jason Kerrigan, Michelle Kisliuk, Ted Lendon, Stephen Macko, Katya Makarova, Alyssa Mixon, Brian Pusser, Eric Ramirez-Weaver, James Savage, Daniel Spitzner, David Vander Meulen, Mark Whittle

Ex-Officio & Guests Present or on Zoom: Tichara Robertson, Lysandra Cook, Michael Palmer, Elizabeth Ellcessor, Hope Fitzgerald, Brie Gertler, Barbara Zunder, Emily Scida

Michael Kennedy called the meeting to order at 2:02 PM.

Review and Approval of Minutes
Chair requests approval of meeting minutes from September 2023.
First:  Andy Pennock
Second:  Jeri Seidman
Vote:  All Approve
Result: Motion passes

Announcement from Brian Williams

Brian Williams 2023 Central Virginia Listening and Learning Exchange November 10 – 13
Schedule of events announced.
Request that “I remember. You remember. UVA strong” to trend on social meeting those days honoring D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler, and Lavel Davis, Jr.

Tish Jennings spoke about the Faculty Senate Election cycle for 2024 – 2025. The Nominating Committee soliciting nominations for open seats:  Chair-elect and two EXCO at large members. Also need nominees for BOV, Colonnade Club, Athletics Committee, and Virginia Senate representatives. Let Tish Jennings know if you are interested.

Old Business

Follow-up Discussion on Mimi Chapman’s visit and Brie Gertler’s presentation on Advising:
Many thought it was interesting to hear Mimi’s perspective on a situation that hopefully will not happen at UVA. It was good to see how they navigated it. Mimi gave a wonderful presentation, which makes us think about the external challenges that may lie ahead. It would be good to follow up with her about the Foundation that arose from their struggle, Coalition for Carolina. Just this week, the Virginia Attorney General wrote a letter responding to the question about the BOV and who they serve. The Attorney General responded that the Board of Visitors at UVA has a duty to serve the commonwealth over the institution.

Regarding Brie’s presentation on the roll-out of the new advising system Stellic, senators asked follow-up questions regarding the roll-out timing and how academic advisors are hired and used in the colleges.

The Student Council invited Michael Kennedy to a meeting to learn what they do.  Michael asked the Senate to think about how to leverage knowledge between Faculty Senate and Student Council.

New Business

Michael Palmer and Elizabeth Ellcessor - Center for Teaching Excellence, Hope Fitzgerald and Emily Scida, A&S Learning Design and Technology, Barbara Zunder, SDAC

Barbara started by explaining that just because a student has a diagnosis, it does not mean they will receive accommodation. The accommodation comes when they can see how it impacts on the student’s ability in the classroom. There has been a Stark increase in students self-reporting disabilities. At UVA, 17.4% of students self-identify as having a disability.  Across US institutions, there has been an overall increase in the number of students with disabilities increasing 20% from 2018 to 2022. UVA numbers are harder to track because of a change in method but the numbers have increased each year.  Overall increase in US numbers. Twenty percent increase from 2018 to 2022.  Having a disability translates into the classroom and affects attendance, participation, time management, ghosting, and focus/concentration.

Hope Fitzgerald, Learning Design & Technology. An informative website to reference is UVA Accessibility.

Faculty can also reach out to the Center for Teaching Excellence, A&S Learning Design & Technology, school instructional designers, educational technology and digital accessibility:, coordinator of academic accessibility.

A&S Learning Design and Technology can do consultations, help with course design, technology, and spaces.

Emily Scida:  Learning Design & Technology. The goal is to design support to promote both teaching excellence and student success. The Faculty Survey preliminary results show a commitment to supporting all learners. The constraints such as time, lack of training, resources, feeling overwhelmed, plus concern about where is the trend headed. Positive results were that there is some knowledge about UVA resources, faculty is always open to communication, support, guidance, training, and some would like to know the why behind the accommodation.

Michael Palmer and Elizabeth Ellcessor.  Center for Teaching Excellence offers support through course and curriculum design initiatives, workshops and multi day experiences, plus 1:1 consultation. Discussion about how learning disabilities have changed to mental health vs learning disability. There is a significant difference and faculty need help so they can better manage how to help those students learn. There was also discussion about events during the week that included a walk out. Senators asked how you support students. Same with after the shooting, it was hard to know how to help students. CTE has a teaching hub that covers trauma informed teaching. There was a discussion regarding students always looking at social media posts and wearing headphones, so they are not engaging with other students. Devices can be isolating and cause anxiety. It was suggested that each professor encourage students to put their phones away. They can work with the Contemplative Center. The University is looking into offering tech sabbatical courses. It was noted that everyone needs a phone to log into the University system so one can only be tech free for so long. Question raised regarding a professor that is teaching a large class and with the many religious holidays, it is impossible to accommodate all the test rescheduling requests. Some basic classes have hundreds of students so there is just no way to honor the requests. There needs to be clear policy and guidance on how to manage these situations. Some of the University’s solutions do not work as the monitoring is not the same while students take tests. How do we go forward? Is there a good ratio of TAs to students? Is the problem with the large class sizes? Many problems seem to arise from the classes that have hundreds of students.

Michael closed the conversation by saying the Faculty Senate subcommittees will investigate this. The Research, Teaching, and Scholarship Committee will investigate this, but it really touches many of the Faculty Senate subcommittees.

Next meeting is November 17 at Darden from 2 – 4 followed by a Sponsored Reception.

Tish Jennings motioned to adjourn.
Jessica Sewell seconds
Motion Passes.

Meeting adjourned at 4:00 PM