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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » February 8, 2007

Faculty Senate Minutes

2007 No. 619
February 8, 2007

The regular monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order by President Mike Quinn on February 8, 2007 in the LaSells Stewart Center.

Meeting Summary
  • Action Items: None
  • Discussion Item: Presidents Climate Commitment - D. Lach, K. Williamson
  • Special Reports: Interinstitutional Faculty Senate - P. Doescher; Baccalaureate Core Follow-up - M. Quinn
  • New Business: Student Day of Action - M. Olson


Presidents Climate Commitment

Denise Lach and Ken Williamson, of the OSU Sustainability Council, presented for discussion and input the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment; they recommend that OSU be one of the first 200 to sign the document. Attached to the agenda were frequently asked questions and a document describing accomplishments to date.

Lach stated that large organizations can take steps to affect climate change and the Council is documenting the feasibility of the commitment. Once the Faculty Senate and ASOSU endorse the document, President Ray will be asked to sign it. Discussion from the floor included the following comments:

  • Senator Asbell, Health and Human Sciences, noted there was no mention of human powered transportation. Lach acknowledged this omission but, since this is a national document, there is no opportunity for word-smithing.
  • Senator Roberts, Liberal Arts, questioned the requirement of carbon matching and asked if it would be possible given the amount of air travel by athletic teams. Williamson responded that there a number of ways to store carbon, such as: reducing carbon emissions, via the OSU forests, and purchasing carbon offsets. He commented that it's probably not impossible to achieve this, but it is an issue.
  • Senator Marshall, Business, questioned the financial expenditure in the future. Lach responded that we are committed to reducing activities that will reduce emissions and noted that operations is already working toward that goal. Williamson cautioned about purchasing green energy and noted that it appears that the students will be doing that. The only issue not currently addressed is the requirement for Star Energy appliances. He didn't see this as a big financial commitment and felt that, if it becomes too onerous in the future, OSU could probably get out of the commitment.
  • In response to Senator Cardwell, Health and Human Sciences, questioning whether human powered transportation could be an OSU policy, Williamson stated it is already included in a transportation plan with the City.
  • Senator Wilcox, Health and Human Sciences, questioned which two things OSU has already accomplished or could accomplish with little difficulty if the document was signed right away. Williamson responded that 2.a. and 2.d. have already been accomplished (a. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent; d. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution) and the students are pursuing 2.e. (Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution's electricity consumption from renewable sources.)
  • Senator Dreher, Science, felt it was important that the University move in this direction.


Interinstitutional Faculty Senate Recap

Paul Doescher, IFS Senator, reported that the February IFS meeting was held at OSU and their guests included: Jock Mills, Bill Lunch, Mike Quinn, Ed Ray, Senator Frank Morse, Representative Sara Gelser, Chancellor Pernsteiner, and other OUS representatives. Topics discussed included the following:

  • Budget - Appears to be less optimism in the governor's budget than first thought. Terms used to refer to the budget were 'target rich and foundation poor' and 'dicey.' There is concern and angst that the budget is flat. Legislature has asked OUS to prepare for a 10% reduction ($80 million) from the governor's original budget. HB 2530 is a dual tax reform that is being debated and would add a sales tax and capital gains tax; if approved, it would add an extra $1 billion.
  • Transferability - SB 342 passed last session and mandates the ease of course transferability between high schools, community colleges and College NOW-High School Programs. IFS is particularly concerned with a quality issue of College NOW that allows high school students to take and receive credit for courses taken in high school, independent of any college or university connection. There is no way of tracking the quality of the course or if the course was from a community college or College NOW. IFS is requesting data from the Provost's Council and Chancellor's Office to determine how these courses are transferred, the degree of quality, etc.
  • ORP and TDI Investment Plans - The Faculty Advisory Committee discussion regarding changes to ORP and TDI plans are moving very quickly and it is expected that they will issue recommendations in the next month. It appears that there will be a limited number of investment choices, and there may be an attempt to combine the investment plan of ORP with TDI to get the best deal from future vendors.
  • OUS Performance Measures - The Legislature will likely mandate performance measures. OUS will develop these measures very soon with input from IFS.

Baccalaureate Core Follow-Up

President Quinn presented the following comments and update related to the January discussion regarding the Baccalaureate Core and possible review of the Core:

  • There are signals that undergraduate education needs attention, as evidenced by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and other reports and surveys done by faculty, staff and students.
  • The Provost is committed to improving undergraduate education, as evidenced by the appointment of the University Council on Student Engagement and Experience (UCSEE) which began meeting last fall.
  • Undergraduate education discussions inevitably lead to the Baccalaureate Core since it affects all students who receive all of their undergraduate education at OSU. Any changes to the Bacc Core would have significant impact across the university.
  • The Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC) is concerned that the philosophy of the Bacc Core doesn't permeate the campus and has discussed how to help students and faculty understand the purpose of the Bacc Core and how individual courses fit into larger objectives.
  • Some departments are considering changing Bacc Core courses from three to four credits. Some programs have zero flexibility, so increasing credit hours for Bacc Core courses would increase the number of credits required to graduate.

He outlined the following plan of action:

  • The BCC will defer their regular work until the next academic year, including the Science, Technology and Society course review.
  • For the remainder of the year, the BCC will evaluate the Baccalaureate Core itself.
  • The BCC will add ad hoc members so that all colleges will be represented.
  • The BCC will draft one or more alternative formulations of the Bacc Core.
  • The Faculty Senate will sponsor at least one forum to discuss the BCC recommendations and alternatives.
  • Departments have been informed that there is a moratorium on submitting proposals for either new Bacc Core courses or to increase Bacc Core course credits until the review is completed. However, credit conversions of WIC courses can move forward since they affect only majors and don't have a global impact.
  • Faculty input can be provided via the BCC college representatives and by attending the forums.
  • Since there is pressure to move forward quickly, the BCC has been asked to provide recommendations by the end of spring term.
  • The UCSEE will look at ways to improve the overall undergraduate experience, including identifying best practices and opportunities for improving student engagement. There will be some overlap between the two committees and UCSEE will work with the BCC to identify best practices for the delivery of core classes.

Senator Winters, Student Affairs, questioned whether student input will be solicited; Quinn felt that would be appropriate.

Senator Oriard, Liberal Arts, questioned whether the ad hoc BCC membership would be published. Quinn stated that the BCC membership list would be updated on the Faculty Senate website to reflect those members.

Senator Wilcox questioned whether it is reasonable to expect models by the end of the academic year. Quinn responded that he talked with the BCC co-chairs, Pat Muir and Jay Noller, and felt it could be accomplished since they were reviewing the existing Core and not starting from scratch. Quinn noted that, based on the discussion during the January Senate meeting, there did not seem to be wide-spread dissatisfaction with the Core itself.

Senator Hunter-Zaworski, Engineering, stated that IFS discussed the Oregon Transfer Model and suggested there be a liaison with the community colleges and other statewide discussions.

In response to Senator Roberts questioning the status of the existing 4-credit Bacc Core courses, Quinn stated that those courses will continue to be offered in their current form.

Senator Trujillo, Liberal Arts, questioned having the BCC cease normal activities without a discussion by the Faculty Senate. Quinn responded that the BCC chairs requested postponement of the STS review for one year so they could deal with the larger issue of the Bacc Core itself; Quinn and the Provost both felt this was a reasonable request.

Senator Rosenberger, Liberal Arts, questioned what topics the BCC will address. Quinn responded that the BCC has been and will continue to discuss Bacc Core expectations, whether the goals are being achieved, as well as increasing course credits.

Senator Curtis, Agricultural Sciences, questioned available data on what students think about the Bacc Core and whether there is systematic assessment. Quinn responded that the data from the NSSE scores resulted from polling students - and the scores are pretty discouraging relative to what students are learning compared to desirable scores.

Mike Olson, ASOSU President, stated he was excited to hear that the Faculty Senate is undertaking a review of the Bacc Core. He also noted that many students don't understand why Bacc Core courses are necessary.

Senator McCune, Science, questioned whether the NSSE survey specifically addresses the Bacc Core or if it pertains to undergraduate education in general. Provost Randhawa stated that it doesn't specifically address the Bacc Core, but is focused on engagement in a broader sense. There was a faculty request to have Rebecca Sanderson speak to Senators to help frame the issue and present NSSE results.

Senator Oriard, regarding OTM and articulation, felt that a decision needs to be made as to what is best for OSU and the students rather than seek permission from community colleges. Quinn felt it was important for the BCC to hear this type of comment so they can understand the sense of the faculty and what faculty would like them to accomplish.

Senator Blair, Science, noted that points addressed in the NSSE survey are not addressed in the Bacc Core. She was concerned that assessment was being considered before outcomes. Quinn responded that the BCC is interested in doing a good job of articulating desired outcomes within the categories to assist faculty to ensure that the course achieves the goal.


Provost Sabah Randhawa's report included the following:

  • Budget - The 2007-09 budget is a work in progress, but his perception is that the outcome is more optimistic than that reported by IFS Senator Doescher. The $80 million referred to by Doescher is an exercise in reduction and includes all state agencies, not just OUS.
  • Performance Metrics - OUS has been working on performance metrics for several biennia and is ahead of other state agencies. About 45 metrics have been identified that address access, affordability, and quality of education; there is an attempt to identify a smaller set of metrics on which to focus.
  • OSBHE - The State Board has requested institutional reports at each meeting through October to create a portfolio and determine the fit of each institution within OUS. President Ray reported on OSU when the OSBHE met in February, and the OSU-Cascades report will be presented in March.

Senator Rosenberger questioned how student engagement at OSU can be increased. Randhawa responded that a number of activities have begun, such as learning communities and peer-to-peer mentoring. He outlined the following challenges:

  • Integrating activities so they build on one another.
  • Scaling activities to be offered from a small subset of students to the larger community.
  • Regarding the student/faculty ratio, how to better connect students with faculty in terms of mentoring.
  • Integrating the Bacc Core with curriculum in the colleges. Randhawa felt that the Bacc Core is not well integrated with curriculum.
  • Determining, as a collective body, what is trying to be achieved (e.g., engagement, Bacc Core, etc.)
  • Determining what would have the maximum impact on the largest number of students and what can be accomplished given available resources.

Senator Roberts questioned how student engagement is articulated and how it is measured. Randhawa believes that a reflection of whether students are actively engaged is determined by their success. To him, success means improvement in retention rates, the time to graduation and the graduation rate; a clear set of outcomes in terms of the knowledge base from cultural competency, critical thinking skills, communication, etc.; articulated outcomes; some mechanism in place to ensure that students collectively, in terms of curriculum, achieve these goals; and ensuring that the provided core education is truly integrated with the rest of the student experience. The experiences outside the classroom should also be well connected in terms of how students grow as individuals. As far as articulating the meaning, there are many perceptions, but improvement in some metrics articulated in the Strategic Plan would reflect student success.

Senator Pence, Engineering, questioned whether all OUS institutions have been asked to reduce their budget by 10% and what OSU's plan is. Randhawa responded that all state agencies are to provide both a 2% and 4% reduction scenario and noted it is still under discussion. OSBHE is discussing how to position itself and the Chancellor's Office is reviewing different scenarios and determining what those scenarios would mean.

Mike Olsen provided the following definition of engagement from a student perspective:

  • Identifying the classroom experience with the Bacc Core since, for most, it is their first experience. He suggested a comprehensive evaluation of Bacc Core courses at the end of each term.
  • Determining what internship opportunities are available and assisting students to move on to the next level.
  • Determining the type of career services assistance available to transition out of OSU.
  • Exploring opportunities and services outside of the classroom for engagement in student communities.

Olsen suggested evaluating what is available in terms of resources and what is needed, and then preparing an action plan.

Senator Marshall questioned the implications of measuring metrics. Randhawa responded there has been a great deal of transparency in what we are doing, in areas of achievement, and in areas where we have both exceeded expectations and fallen short. OSU is working with the Chancellor and the State Board and, as they look to the future, each institution will be evaluated on the basis of the mission, cost of programs, faculty base, and resource allocation.


Mike Olson stated that the students are planning a Day of Action Rally at the State Capitol on February 22 at noon. They are hoping to have over 1,200 students present with over 200 from OSU. He encouraged faculty to make it possible for students to be absent from class from 10 AM to 2 PM to advocate for increased funding. Their top priorities are faculty salaries, student/faculty ratio, and increasing courses and offerings.

Roll Call

Members Present:
Agricultural Sciences: Curtis, Dreher, Hartley, Hayes, Ketchum, Mallory-Smith, Pereira, Rossignol, Thompson.
Associated Faculty: Achterman, Arthenayake, Averill, Bruce, Dempsey, Eklund, Elmshaeuser, Fernandez, Gillies, Greydanus, Hoff, Minear, Oldfield, Pribyl, Ross.
Business: Banyi, Marshall, Raja, Wu, Yang.
Education: Ward, White.
Engineering: Bose, Higginbotham, Huber, Hunter-Zaworski, Jovanovic, Pence, Sillars.
Extension: Carr.
Forestry: Doescher, Freitag, Reuter, Sexton, Zahler.
Health & Human Sciences: Acock, Asbell, Bowman, Braverman, Cardinal, Friedman, Hooker, McAlexander, Wilcox.
Liberal Arts: Edwards, Folts, Gross, Kingston, Lunch, K. Brenner for Melton, Oriard, R. Thompson for Orosco, Plaza, Roberts, Rosenberger, Steel, Trujillo, Valls, Walls.
Library: McMillen.
Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences: Benoit-Bird, Skyllingstad, Spitz, Wheatcroft.
Pharmacy: Ramirez, Stevens.
ROTC: Sullivan.
Science: Blair, Bogley, Flahive, Gitelman, Ho, H. Parks for Lee, Mason, Matzke, McCune, McLeod, Rajagopal.
Student Affairs: Alexander, Benton, Langford, Larson, Winter, Yamamoto.
Veterinary Medicine: Mosley, Valentine.

Members Absent:
Agricultural Sciences: Anderson, Bolte, Cassidy, Gamroth, Gregory, Jepson, Parke, Savage, Selker, Torres.
Associated Faculty: Dorbolo, Gaines, Gomez.
Business: None absent.
Education: None absent.
Engineering: Bell, Lee, Momsen.
Extension: Galloway, Godwin.
Forestry: Kellogg, Puettman.
Health & Human Sciences: Acock, Asbell, Bowman, Braverman, Cardinal, Friedman, Hooker, McAlexander, Wilcox.
Liberal Arts: Carson, Helle.
Library: None absent.
Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences: None absent.
Pharmacy: Indra.
ROTC: None absent. Science: Field, Grunder, Jansen, Jones, Kimerling, Lajtha, Taylor.
Student Affairs: Schwab.
Veterinary Medicine: Estill.

Guests Present:
P. Dysart, L. Hunn, P. Kwong, D. Lach, M. McCambridge, B. Trelstad, K. Williamson.

Faculty Senate Officers, Ex-officios and Staff Present:
Officers: Officers: L. Cuiffetti, president-elect; M. Quinn, president; Ex-officio: S. Randhawa, M. Olson; Staff: V. Nunnemaker

Respectfully submitted:
Vickie Nunnemaker
Faculty Senate Staff