University Senate - October 12, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, October 12, 2020. 

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, James Bielo.

    1. Announcements will be shared during the Executive Committee report.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the September 28, 2020, minutes of University Senate with one correction. It was asked that under the Provost Report, items ‘h’ and ‘I’ be combined. Additionally, it was noted that attendance was not being recorded in the minutes, and a solution is currently being sought.

Consent Calendar

  1. The following items were received on the consent calendar:

    1. Curriculum (SLM 413/513 was removed from the consent calendar for further discussion at the departmental level.)

    2. Governance Committee meeting minutes - September 24, 2020


  1. Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost

    1. It was noted that today is Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day. We are one of the states that does not recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, but with our deep connection to the Miami Tribe, it is important to mention it.

    2. I.T. Services has been assisting with technology requests, and 490 requests have been filled so far for faculty needing to assistance with online and/or hybrid technology.

    3. Fall graduation will be held December 11, 2020 at 3:30 and will be online. It will not be hosted by a third party provider, as with the spring graduation. It will be more traditional with students’ names read.

    4. As we approach the election on November 3, please adhere to the guidelines regarding political activism. Employees are permitted to take the day off to be a poll worker. Caution should be taken not to use university space for partisan purposes.

    5. We are planning for the spring semester and looking to balance online courses with more hybrid and face-to-face offerings. Students are feeling as though they’re losing connection with faculty and other students. This is particularly important for first and second year students looking for synchronous engagement and small group discussions. If we don’t get a lot of students coming back for the spring semester, Miami can be hurt financially and with retention rates.

    6. There have been concerns with Proctorio regarding accessibility and privacy. If faculty have to use Proctorio, there are ways to use it that are less intrusive and restrictive to the student.

    7. There have been questions about President Trump’s executive order regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. The order is effective after November 21, and will be going forward on federal contracts, and at this time, we are not at high risk.

    8. We are trying to determine how long to continue Covid testing. At this point, it will continue through the last week of classes. We are going to start reminding students to be thoughtful about interactions and how much risk is being taken. Being quarantined or isolated could impact travel plans. There will be contingency plans for those who are isolated over Thanksgiving week.

    9. Policy changes regarding credit/no credit, withdrawal dates, and faculty evaluations will need to be modified by Senate if changes need to be made.

    10. Faculty are permitted additional time on the promotion clock, but do not need to ask until the year before they are up for promotion.

    11. We are going to revert back to the typical practice of reporting student evaluations.

    12. Creamer, Sr. V.P. Finance and Business Services will be giving a Budget 101 session at the October 26, 2020, Senate meeting. He will be providing a high-level overview of the budget (e.g. how does the University operate and where does the revenue go?) We are not out of the woods yet in regards to the budget. We are at significant risk for students not coming back or going to other universities. Approximately 400 students have deferred, and we hope to have them back in the spring or next fall. International students, who couldn’t get visas, should be returning this spring as well.

    13. We have been tracking student conduct issues being processed. There have been a number of student conduct reviews. About half of them have been found to be responsible. About half of those found responsible are facing suspension. The Student Conduct Office still has about 80 issues to go through.

    14. There has been an uptick in Covid cases. Starting September 14, about 4,500 students moved into the residence halls, so it was expected that the numbers would be higher. The 7-day moving average of cases is at the same level as before September 14 even with more students on campus. Many of the new cases are coming from on campus, and the dashboard has evolved to show dorms. Some areas are being watched as potential hot spots.

    15. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Moser stated that articles from U.S. schools have indicated that students are defeating Proctorio to gain an advantage on midterms and final exams. What are the thoughts about the judicious use of Proctorio and how to create a level playing field created for all students given final exams will be online? Provost Osborne responded that there are issues on the student side where if they have accommodations, they can be flagged for ‘bad behavior’. There are a variety of different settings from extremely restrictive to less restrictive, or Proctorio does not have to be used. I.T. or CTE can share more information. Associate Provost Wanko added that there are settings that are highlighting activities that we are asking the students to do in keeping with good practices, such as taking notes off to the side during an extended response. The trick is not to overly analyze a student’s activity. Associate Provost Wanko will be meeting with students from ASG and is on a committee to address concerns. Senator Alessio indicated that her evaluation of test scores using Proctorio versus not using Proctorio was 17 points and that Proctorio levels the playing field. Faculty members can use their own judgment regarding the flagged suspicious activity, and that judgment is either affirmed or not by another faculty member. Senator Wardle added that there are diversity and equity concerns and that Proctorio is both racist and ableist. She stated that a first-year student who is a Computer Science major has examined the algorithms and has started a petition that some students have signed, and has some ideas for alternative methods. This was suggested as a Senate Working Session.

      2. Senator Morris asked if there was anything senators could have in advance of Dr. Creamer’s Budget 101 session to prepare. Provost Osborne stated he did not think Dr. Creamer would have time to get the slides out in advance, but the Board of Trustees materials would be a good primer for the session.

New Business

  1. Ad-Hoc Committee on Class Attendance Policy – Jeffrey Wanko, Associate Provost and Ruku Pal, ASG

    1. Associate Provost Wanko began the discussion by saying that this ad-hoc committee proposal came from Associated Student Government amidst concerns regarding the attendance policy.

    2. Senator Pal, Secretary for Academic Affairs, ASG, indicated that attendance policies can feel restrictive, while other faculty have policies that make the student feel supported, both mentally and physically., We need to review policies at peer institutions and review research, and the best way to do this is to form a committee of experts, working together to come up with the best solution.

    3. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Thesz asked for an example of a particular policy that isn’t serving our students well. Senator Pal indicated that policies vary widely from professor to professor, and students sometimes do not know what to expect. Recent times have brought up leniency with some professors, but it is an issue that we need to look into as a whole and for all Miami classes.

      2. Senator Kinghorn asked if the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) should be involved because of good teaching practices. Associate Provost Wanko stated that a second proposal had been submitted by ASG regarding good teaching practices and that will go to CTE. What ASG wants in this case is examination of the attendance policy outside of the good teaching practices policy. What we don’t want is students going to class when they are sick and to have practices in place that are creating more concerns for public health.

      3. Senator Murphy wanted to reinforce the creation of the ad-hoc group and wants to get a greater understanding and flexibility now that can continue post-pandemic. This is not just for a student’s physical health, but for students with disabilities. The ad-hoc committee is the best and quickest method to support our students.

      4. Senator Wu emphasized that this needs to be an ad-hoc committee and not placed on another committee. The goal would be to do this as quickly as possible because students are impacted every day.

      5. Senator Hahn, who is the Senate Liaison to CTE, will share with his Committee that there is interest in CTE looking at the attendance policy. He indicated that the Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) will be restarted soon, and said that there could be one focused on the attendance policy if the students would find it helpful.

      6. Senator Gladdish commented that there is a dimension of academic freedom to this issue. It is an excellent idea for students and faculty to work on this paradigm together to help us better understand what the norms are.

      7. Senator Green indicated that FLCs normally don’t include students. Is the ad-hoc committee the best road to go down? Senator Hahn stated that FLCs are going to involve staff and students in addition to faculty.

      8. Senator Kamara pushed for the ad-hoc committee. These concerns existed pre-Covid, and she cited a personal example. She stated that this is an opportunity for students, faculty, and campus partners to work together.

      9. Senator Pal echoed Senator Kamara’s statement and added that while statement of good teaching practices (last dated in 1983) proposal was suitable to go to a standing committee, the review of the attendance policy needed the formation of an ad-hoc committee, comprised of experts that could hit the ground running. This is an issue that is 50% faculty and 50% students and has a daily impact on students’ lives.

      10. Senator Stuart remarked that there is good learning that can come from a student/faculty group. An FLC would take the power away from the student.

      11. Senator Wagner inquired about delaying the vote and reminded senators that part of the procedure should be taking information from the meeting and disseminating it amongst their constituents. Provost Osborne stated that in cases where the stakes are not high, such as in the case of forming a committee, we should be able to move forward more quickly.

    4. The motion was to approve the creation of an ad-hoc committee or to not approve the committee, but have a senate committee review the attendance policies. Senators voted on the following resolution and it was approved: 47 yes; 5 no; 2 abstentions

      SR 21-04

      October 12, 2020

      BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that an ad-hoc committee be appointed by Senate Executive Committee to review the review University wide class attendance policies to best support students and to make a recommendation to University Senate about further necessary actions.

      Executive Committee charge to the Ad-Hoc Committee:  As noted from the Associated Student Government Proposal, ‘”as part of our University’s exceptional dedication to its students, we must continue to support the whole student – physical health, mental health, and academic success.”

      The committee would work to propose updates and ideas to be brought forward to the University Senate by March 2021, in time for implementation in the 2021-2022 academic year. 

      This committee should be composed of both faculty and students. The committee will consist of 3-4 faculty members as well as 3-4 student members.

  2. Posthumous Degrees – Jason Osborne, Provost

    1. We had an issue come up in the last few months when a student passed away. The posthumous degree policy is fairly restrictive in the event the student hasn’t met certain criteria. Associate Provost Wanko and Dean Crowder are looking at policy to ensure it’s in line with other universities.

    2. The Awarding of posthumous degrees is an acknowledgement of support to the family and to help the family in their moment of loss. There’s little at stake for the university to award them.

    3. If it is decided the policy is to be modified, it will be brought back to Senate.

    4. Senator Curme commented that it’s difficult to defend a restrictive policy. He would propose a policy that would provide a posthumous degree for anyone who matriculated.

Old Business

  1.  Council on Diversity and Inclusion – Composition and Function Changes – Dr. Bennyce Hamilton
    1. Hamilton worked with Governance Committee on the resolution. She made several comments: the committee is advisory to the V.P. for Institutional Diversity as well as the Provost; the committee membership has been reduced from 32 to 24 members, there is representation of every department and division on campus; there were several changes to the functions; and, there are five standing sub-committees.

    2. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Coates asked if there could be student representation from the Regional campuses, since they have a totally difference perspective. This was added as a friendly amendment.

      2. Senator Ironstrack asked how people were appointed to the committee to ensure it’s an inclusive body. Those who are appointed are appointed by Deans and Directors of departments. CODI provides cultural competence training to all members.

      3. Senator Kamara indicated that the undergraduate student representative should be the ASG Secretary for Diversity & Inclusion. This amendment was made.

    3. The resolution was unanimously approved.

    SR 21-05

    October 12, 2020

    BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate endorse proposed revisions to the ByLaws of University Senate, 6.C.4.a, regarding Committee composition and membership and 6.C.4.b regarding the functions of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, as set forth below:

    6.C.4  Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI)

    Advisory to the Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost.

    6.C.4.a The Council on Diversity and Inclusion shall be composed of:

    • One (1) faculty member who is a member of University Senate and shall serve as Senate Liaison.

    • One (1) representative from the College of Arts and Science.

    • One (1) representative from the Farmer School of Business.

    • One (1) representative from the College of Engineering and Computing.

    • One (1) representative from the College of Education, Health, and Society.

    • One (1) representative from the College of Creative Arts.

    • One (1) representative from the University Libraries.

    • One (1) representative from the Division of Finance and Business Services.

    • One (1) representative from the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science.

    • One (1) member of the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee (CPAC).

    • One (1) member from the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Success.

    • One (1) representative from the Division of Information Technology (IT) Services.

    • One (1) representative from the Division of Student Life.

    • One (1) representative from the Division of University Advancement.

    • One (1) representative from University Communications and Marketing.

    • One (1) representative from Intercollegiate Athletics.

    • One (1) undergraduate student who is the Associated Student Government, Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion

    • One (1) undergraduate student who is enrolled at a Miami Regionals campus.

    • One (1) graduate student who is a member of the Graduate Students of Color Association.

    • Five (5) administrative staff positions:

      • The Director of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion or representative.

      • Director of the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity or a representative.

      • The Director of Global Initiatives or representative.

      • The Director of Miller Center for Student Disability Services.

      • The Regional Director of Diversity and Multicultural Services.

    The Executive Committee of University Senate, in consultation with the Vice President for Institutional Diversity, shall nominate Council members and shall appoint two members as the committee co-chairs (one faculty and one staff representative.)


    The functions of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion are to advise the Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost on matters of diversity and to facilitate long term planning for and to engage in the following:

    • Connect offices and departments of the university to various diversity and inclusion initiatives

    • Disseminate information to members of the University community regarding "best practices" which encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion

    • Facilitate open dialogue and difficult conversations across differences to promote understanding and constructive exchange of views on matters of diversity

    • Develop diversity-related competencies to increase recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and students

    • Use metrics to assess and identify trends, progress, and problems pertaining to campus diversity and climate

    • Build an intellectual community that recognizes that diverse experiences create a rich educational experience for members of the greater University community


    The Council on Diversity and Inclusion will have five standing sub-committees:

    1. Curriculum Development seeks to assist and educate faculty in their efforts to embed Diversity & Inclusion in the curriculum and co-curriculum.

    2. Multicultural Programming seeks to offer a broad base of cultural experiences within the institution.

    3. Recruitment and Retention supports the institution in its efforts to recruit, hire, and develop the best possible faculty and staff; examines student recruitment and retention practices and how they affect the overall commitment to Diversity & Inclusion.

    4. Data will keep CODI abreast of relevant institutional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion data, national data trends and lead the faculty, staff, and student diversity climate survey.

    5. DEI Recognition will create and implement recognition for excellence in DEI teaching, advocacy and leadership. It will also lead the planning of the Week of Inclusive Excellence.

    The Council shall report regularly to University Senate.


  1. Executive Committee Report – James Bielo, Chair, Senate Executive Committee

    1. There has been a form distributed for senators to submit questions to Executive Committee. These typically will be discussed at the next scheduled Executive Committee meeting following the submission. After submission, one of three things can happen: follow-up questions can be asked of the submitter; the submitter could be asked to come to Senate Executive Committee; or, the proposal can go directly to Senate. Two submissions have been received so far.

    2. The Senate Working Sessions continue to go well. John Bowblis, Chair, Benefits Committee and Senator Mike Curme, Senate Liaison, Benefits Committee, led the October 5, 2020, Session to discuss healthcare benefits. Dr. Bowblis recommended coming to Senate in the spring to discuss benefits.

    3. Upcoming Senate Working Sessions include: how to foster good communication in the virtual Senate meetings (Senator Navakas and Marianne Cotugno) and best teaching practices (Senator Hahn and Senator Pal.) Please consider submitting a proposal if you have an idea.

    4. Executive Committee has been meeting with representatives of Senate committees to address issues and get updates. Executive Committee has met with Faculty Welfare, Benefits, Fiscal Priorities, Governance, and CODI. Issues are either being addressed through a Senate Working Session or a senate meeting. Please reach out if you are on a Senate committee and would like to talk to Senate Executive Committee.


  1. The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.