University Senate - August 26, 2019 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., in Room 111 Harrison Hall, Oxford Campus, on Monday, August 26, 2019.  Members absent:  Jason Abbitt, Debbie Coleman, Darryn Edwards, Mandy Euen, Richard Keifer, Lei Kerr, Vahagn Manukian, Jaylen Perkins, and, Vaishali Raval.

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox

    1. Faculty Assembly is scheduled to convene at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, in 104 Shriver Center (Admissions Auditorium).

    2. The State of the University address will be held on October 23, 2019.

    3. Senators are invited to attend a reception hosted by President and Dr. Crawford at Lewis Place, following the Senate meeting, on September 9, 2019.

    4. Stacey Lowery Bretz was recognized for receiving the American Chemical Society Award in Research for the Teaching & Learning of Chemistry.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the May 6, 2019, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

  1. The following items were received on the Consent Calendar without debate: 

    1. Benefits Committee Minutes - April 5, 2019

    2. Benefits Committee Minutes – April 26, 2019

    3. Benefits Committee Minutes – May 10, 2019

    4. Health Plans Report – May, 2019

    5. Student Life Council Annual Report – 2018-2019

    6. Curriculum Annual Report – Office of the University Registrar

    7. Academic Program Review Committee Annual Report – 2018-2019

    8. Benefits Committee Annual Report – 2018-2019

    9. Committee on Faculty Research Annual Report – 2018-2019

    10. Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee Annual Report – 2018-2019

    11. Governance Committee Annual Report – 2018-2019

    12. Graduate Council Minutes – April 9, 2019

There was a question regarding whether the actions listed on the Governance Committee minutes from April 19, 2019 (received as part of the May 6, 2019 consent calendar) were approved.  It was explained that committee meeting minutes are a record of the events and actions during that meeting and does not indicate that Senate has approved the action.  The two items of business that were discussed during the April 19, 2019, Governance Committee meeting will be brought to Senate this fall.

Special Report

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Presentation – Bob Applebaum and Julia Guichard, Co-Chairs

    1. Bob Applebaum provided an overview of the progress of the strategic plan. The plan was formed with the consensus that incremental change is not sufficient in the current higher education climate.  Miami undertook this plan and sits in a position of strength, unlike some other institutions.  This fall, Miami is hosting its largest incoming class ever, but there is no increase in state funding, and there are limits to increasing tuition as set forth by the Ohio legislature.  Although faculty are skeptical about university initiatives, Miami has to be in a position to think differently. 

    2. The Strategic Planning Committee was appointed in October, and between January and March, held over 30 listening sessions and gathered input from over 700 faculty, staff, and community members. The Committee was comprised of six subcommittees that included 62 faculty and staff, 10 students and two community members. The subcommittees had multiple meetings (approximately 100 total) to generate ideas that eventually became part of the 30 recommendations that were presented to the Board of Trustees in June 2019.

    3. Julia Guichard briefly discussed the recommendations, which were divided into four categories: Innovate, Invest, Invigorate, and Implement.  She emphasized the importance of Recommendation 24, Establish ongoing Strategic Planning Committee.  The committee process worked well and centralized structure and coordination is needed.

    4. Throughout the listening sessions, a common theme was that decision making is disconnected.  This plan is ambitious, and at this time, does not include metrics.  Metrics will be the last part of the process.  The charge was to think about the big ideas.

New Business

  1. Introduction to Senate – Dana Cox, Chair, Senate Executive Committee
    1. Expectations of senators were discussed. Because it can be tedious to track attendance, senators will check in with their Miami IDs using card readers stationed with Rob Withers (right-side of the room) and Becky Sander (left side of the room.)

    2. Although Senate’s purview is narrow, approval of curriculum, Senate discusses many important issues and policies. As a representative of a department or unit, it is the senator’s responsibility to disseminate the information to their constituents.  Senator Cox asked senators to talk in groups about ways they disseminate information as well as ways they solicit feedback from constituents.  Communication and participation is going to be critical in regards to the strategic plan.

    3. Senators were encouraged to read the Enabling Act, the Standing Rules, and the Bylaws of University Senate. They don’t take that long to read, we promise!

    4. The Senate Attendance Policy is part of the Standing Rule and states: Upon three (3) absences of a member of Senate from regularly scheduled meetings of Senate during a semester, the Secretary of University Senate shall be directed to report said absences to the constituency of the member of Senate. In the case of at-large faculty members of Senate, said report shall be reported to the Chair of the Executive Committee of University Senate. In the case of student members of Senate, said report shall be reported to the executive cabinet of the Associated Student Government or the Graduate Student Association. Upon six (6) absences of a member of Senate during a semester, Senate shall consider a motion to declare said member’s seat to be vacant and to direct the Governance Committee to fill the vacancy by the appropriate process. (Approved SR88-56, April 18, 1988)

    5. Senator Cox opened the floor for discussion, reminding senators of Robert’s Rules, which state that a senator can only speak once until everyone has had a chance to speak. Discussion centered around the following:

      1. Many senators endorsed the current attendance policy, noting specifically that it keeps senators accountable. In examining the current policy, if the senator in question was an at-large senator, their absences would be reported to the Governance Committee.
      2. It was discussed whether we should have ‘excused’ vs. ‘unexcused’ absences. The majority agreed that this would be difficult to track and that six absences in one semester is a generous policy.
      3. There were several senators who felt as though the policy should be reexamined since it has not been enforced. There was discussion about senators having to miss a semester’s worth of meetings due to a schedule change.  It was explained that this is a different situation, and in this case a replacement for that semester would be elected or appointed.
      4. There was discussion regarding absences impacting Senate’s ability to conduct business and the impact of that if a quorum is called (46 senators.) Although a quorum is not mandated to conduct business, if one is called and not met, the meeting will immediately be adjourned. 
      5. The question was raised as to why the senator is given a chance after the first three absences? Can the department call for an election?  It was noted that this is usually not the case.
      6. The question was called and there was a Call to enforce the Attendance policy as written. Senators agreed by voice vote.
To possibly help increase attendance, a senator asked if a Google calendar invite for the Senate meetings could be sent. While this may be possible (although time intensive), another option that was suggested was using a Google calendar. This will be discussed further at Executive Committee.


  1. Report – Dana Cox, Chair, Senate Executive Committee
    1. While there was no formal report, Senator Cox announced that Karen Wilson from Human Resources will be discussing changes to Benefits and Retirement Plans for 2020 at the September 9, 2019, meeting. Also at the September 9 meeting, senators will discuss topics for the upcoming year.


  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to adjourn the Regular Session of University Senate.

Next scheduled meeting of University Senate:

September 9, 2019, 3:30 p.m.

Room 111 Harrison Hall, Oxford Campus