University Senate - September 28, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, September 28, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

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

    1. New student senators were welcomed to the meeting.

    2. There was a reminder about the Senate Working Sessions, which occur on Senate’s off-weeks. The topic on September 21, was the amorous relationships policy, and was co-hosted by Liz Wardle and Cathy Wagner. The next step is the formation of a working group to revise the policy and bring it back to Senate for consideration. If anyone would like to be part of that working group, please reach out to Senator Bielo, Wagner or Wardle. On October 5, there will be an educational session on employee healthcare and benefits hosted by John Bowblis, Chair, Benefits Committee and Mike Curme, Senate Liaison, Benefits Committee.

    3. At the Board of Trustees meeting, 20 TCPL promotions were approved. Several current and former senators were promoted, including, Juan Carlos Albarrán (Global and Intercultural Studies), Debbie Coleman (Marketing), Jen Green (Psychology), Tracy Haynes (Biology), Janice Kinghorn (Economics), and Todd Stuart (College of Creative Arts.)

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the September 14, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Graduate Council Minutes – August 27, 2020

    2. Liberal Education Council Meeting Minutes – September 8, 2020

    3. Liberal Education Council – GMP Redesign – Meeting Minutes – September 18, 2020

    4. Curriculum


  1. Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost

    1. The President’s Office is in the process of scheduling the fall Faculty Assembly meeting as well as the state of the University address. They probably will both be in October.

    2. The Board of Trustees approved the furlough policy at the September 25, 2020, meeting. The Board did acknowledge the comments and recommendations made by Senate, but they did choose to remove the limit without the recommendations of revisiting the limit after one year. This is primarily to allow for flexibility as we go forward. There was a reminder that a furlough cannot happen without a plan and consultation with Fiscal Priorities and Senate.

    3. The MAC is discussing resuming football for the fall. At this point, no other sports have been mentioned. The schedule has not yet been determined.

    4. There has been a $21M naming gift from Brett McVey for the data science building (Building #2). The gift directly funds construction of the building, which will free up funds for other campus projects.

    5. A written update on Boldly Creative and MiamiRise was given at the Board meeting. We have made a lot of progress this past year.

    6. COVID numbers were shown and Miami does not show much of a bump from Labor Day as many universities did. We expected a bump when off-campus students moved in and also when students moved into residence halls. We are watching a few small clusters in a few residence halls. Our 7-day moving average is below numbers before move-in. We continue to be challenged by rapid testing and a nationwide shortage of supplies, but are cautiously optimistic. We are still working on obtaining saliva testing.

    7. The spring academic calendar has been released. We will start and end on the same days as originally planned; however, in lieu of a spring break, there will be five reading days scattered throughout the semester. There is research that spring break last year may have propagated the virus more than any other event, so this is an effort to mitigate the spread.

    8. The Academic Affairs budget was shown. The projected loss for FY 20 was $19 M, which was covered by carry-forward, which was neither strategic or desirable. Over the course of the year, there were significant reductions, resulting in reducing the deficit to $10 M in FY20. There were several hundred students who took a gap year. Each student received a $750 general fee refund, or higher if they stayed off-campus. The incoming class was also smaller. As the operation continues to evolve, there is strong feeling that we will be out of deficit spending. A modified RCM budget sheet was shown. We are currently in a deficit of $5.5 M. There is definitely progress being made. The enrollment was slightly down for the semester (Oxford: 16,524; CLAAS: 4,056). Graduate numbers in FSB significantly increased (+24.5%) due to two new Master’s degree programs. There also is discounting and financial aid, which keeps us competitive, but affects revenue. The FY21 net instructional revenue for first-time undergraduate students was just over $50 M, which was down 5.9% from last year.

Special Report

  1. Update on Academic Program Evaluation, Improvement & Prioritization (APEIP)– Stacey Lowery Bretz, University Distinguished Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

    1. Professor Bretz visited Senate in spring 2020 to provide an educational report regarding the Academic Program Evaluation, Improvement & Prioritization Process (APEIP). Today’s report is an update.

    2. APEIP is an outgrowth of the strategic plan and looks at Miami’s portfolio of programs in terms of student and employer demand in order to leverage Miami’s human and financial resources efficiently. One of the goals is to prioritize academic programs and reallocate resources for strategic growth.

    3. The process was started in October 2019 with a presentation to Senate. A senator from each division was then elected to serve on a steering committee, which met for over 40 hours during winter term to develop the process. The Provost and COAD approved the process in March 2020, and it was then presented to Senate on March 9 and March 16, 2020.

    4. All 276 academic programs have been evaluated and have received a preliminary rating of either continuous improvement or significant difficulty. Almost two-thirds of the programs received the higher rating. Several programs have teach-out plans in place with the Ohio Department of Higher Education while a few have indicated that they are ‘not admitting’; however, there is not an official teach-out plan.

    5. There were several common challenges noted. For undergraduate programs, some departments have both a B.S. and a B.A. degree with low enrollments in both, which suggests there could be some consolidation. There is also low enrollment in upper division courses. Persistence and DFW (grades of D or F or course withdrawal) rates need to improve in the introductory science lecture/lab courses. Increasing placements in internships and experiential learning opportunities was also mentioned by the Deans. For undergraduate and graduate programs, there is concern that the faculty expertise is diluted and there are programs where curriculum needs to be streamlined to focus on strengths and growth potential. In graduate programs, Miami needs to increase selectivity and national profile as well as increase collaboration across disciplines to increase external funding. There was also concern that we represent all faculty research within our disciplines and that may not be the best use of resources.

    6. Program analyses are due on December 18, 2020 and action plans are due January 22, 2021. Action plans have to include a revised workload policy to address differential workloads for contingent and continuing faculty. Final action plans will be approved, and department ratings issued, by April 2021. The program ratings will either be: continuous improvement with potential new resources; continuous resources with minor difficulties; program restructuring with significant difficulties; or, sunset program with significant difficulties.

    7. There are some key talking points for senators to discuss with constituents:

      1. We do not generate enough revenue for all that we do.

      2. APEIP is not a top-down mechanism for decision making as it is at other institutions.

      3. We are using data as a tool to routinely examine their programs.

      4. No department is exempt from this process. We need to figure out what our priorities are going to be and improve programs central to our mission.

      5. We do have programs that are struggling and need to find ways to message those to current and prospective students.

      6. Some things that we currently do cannot continue to be prioritized, and we are going to have to make choices and this will have to be done carefully and with dignity.

    1. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Morris asked about the divisional breakdown and if STEM programs were more likely to get more favorable ratings than the humanities. Professor Bretz indicated that this has not specifically been queried, but feels that this would not be the case.

      2. Senator Kinghorn asked if APEIP replaces program review (APRC). No; however, programs who were slated for review this year were given a choice of whether to continue to do the standard process, use APEIP, or do a combination of the two. All but one opted to do the APEIP process. We are in the process of combining what we are learning in the APEIP process with academic program review.

      3. Senator Carlin expressed concern about the length of the five criteria analysis. Professor Bretz indicated that each criterion is to have a 2-page analysis of its strengths. The questions provided were examples/prototypes, but the department is not expected to respond to all of those. There also may be points that you would want to add. Senator Carlin asked how the persistence data were generated. Data questions can be answered either by the consultant or the divisional data analyst. Persistence data were generated by the Civitas tool. Pat Haney, College of Creative Arts, and John Harrelson, EMSS, did a webinar that is available on the APEIP Canvas site for additional information.

      4. Senator Wagner asked when there are concerns about keeping a program, it is important to look at diversity and values, not just enrollment. Is there a set of values that are going to be applied? Professor Bretz agreed and added that the databooks are massive and not every piece of data will be useful. The APEIP process allows additional data to be brought forward, which can include words and narrative. This process is not separate from the values we have at Miami. We are doing this in concert with initiatives and values brought forward over the past several months, such as D, E, & I. Provost Osborne added that the process is not to kill off programs; the process can amplify strengths and improve the program.

      5. Senator Hatch asked if the data just looks at student demands as they enter college (external demand) or if consideration is given to internal demand. It was noted that internal demand is the second criterion in the program analysis.

      6. Senator Stuart remarked that there may not be data on doing innovative programming. Professor Bretz indicated that Hanover is being used for predictive analytics on programs and trends that we don’t have good data for. A curriculum sandbox was also recommended and is slated for future use. Associate Provost Haynes indicated that there is a group working on the sandbox concept, and she will be coming forward in the future with a proposal. Provost Osborne commented that being unique is not a detriment.

      7. Senator Kenworthy noted that there are going to have to be some fairly significant curricular changes in order to make this process work. However, there is a restriction in CAS regarding developing new courses. Professor Bretz indicated that Dean Makaroff provided a handout to each department in CAS regarding important points. She suggested that Senator Kenworthy ask his Chair about this to obtain more information. Faculty time is our most expensive resource. There needs to be prioritization.

      8. Senator Coates asked about programs that cross boundaries between departments and disciplines. The data are granular. The data sources are not just limited to your data book – a department has access to other data books so that collaborative discussions can occur.

New Business

  1. Council on Diversity & Inclusion (CODI) – Dr. Bennyce Hamilton – Regional Director, Diversity Services

    1. The Council on Diversity & Inclusion (CODI) is proposing a reorganization and has taken the past year or so and redefined who they are. The Committee is proposing a direct line to both the Provost and the Vice President of Institutional Diversity. It still will report to Senate. The Vice President of Institutional Diversity will no longer be a Chair or Co-Chair. The Co-Chairs will be a faculty member and a staff member. The Executive Committee will consist of the OEEO representative, the Director of Regional Diversity, a student representative, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and five sub-committee chairs. The five proposed sub-committees are: curriculum development; multicultural programming; recruitment and retention; data; and, diversity, equity, and inclusion recognition. Every campus and department will be represented within these five subcommittees.

    2. The functions of the Committee have been made broader. In addition, there is a mission and vision statement.

    3. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Coates asked if this proposal implied that CODI is no longer a sub-committee of Senate. Dr. Hamilton responded that it still would be a committee of University Senate with a direct line to both the Provost and the Vice President of Institutional Diversity. A University Senate liaison will be part of one of the CODI subcommittees.

      2. Senator Bush asked if the proposed recruitment and retention sub-committee is for faculty and staff, or just students. It would be for all three. Each division will have a representative whose responsibility it will be to report back to the Dean and Associate Deans work that is done on this sub-committee.

      3. Senator Wagner asked if these proposed changes were influenced by the strategic task force. No, they were a result of the climate survey sub-committee on diversity.

      4. Senator Coleman asked whether the undergraduate student will sit on search committees. CODI would not make that determination.

      5. Senator Carlin, Senate liaison to the Governance Committee, indicated that CODI is an advisory committee. Section 6.c.4 of the Senate By-Laws would have to be rewritten and voted on. The exact wording would be needed. As part of the strategic plan, there was a recommendation to establish a D, E, & I committee. What is the status of that, and is there an effort to bring all of this together? Dr. Hamilton responded that in looking at everything that needs to be done, CODI should be the organization doing the work and is a viable committee. Senator Carlin acknowledged that this is what the Governance Committee would have recommended.

      6. Senator Arnos asked if the omission of a UPAC representative was an oversight. Dr. Hamilton stated that much of the composition of CODI would be UPAC members, so having a specific UPAC representative would be redundant. If there was not a CPAC member specifically assigned, there would be no classified staff representative on the committee.

      7. Senator Travis asked what the function of the data subcommittee would be. Its purpose would be to look at demographics and putting out a predictability score card.

      8. Senator Wardle asked about authority and previews. Who charges CODI? What is the authority that CODI has? The reorganization has been designed to have a dotted line to the Provost and the V.P. for Institutional Diversity to help with decision making authority.

    4. Due to time constraints, the discussion was ended. However, Dr. Hamilton was asked to return at a later date to continue the discussion.

  2. SR 21-03 – Sense of the Senate – University Libraries – Jerome Conley, Dean, University Libraries

    1. Dean Conley indicated that the library’s footprint (capacity) has been reduced by 33% due to social distancing guidelines brought about by COVID-19. The proposed Sense of the Senate is to approve priority seating for students and staff. This does not preclude members of the community from going into the libraries, but if the library becomes tight on space, priority will be given to staff and students. In the future, this may be going to a key lock system where a patron would need to swipe in. The proposal has been endorsed by the Library Committee as well as the Dean’s Student Advisory Council.

    2. In response to ensuring a safe return to campus, the library has undergone several changes, including: closing off areas and study rooms; reducing the amount of seating; public service announcements regarding face coverings; curbside pickup service; delivery to residence halls; home deliveries via mail service; digitizing content; and, remote computer lab service.

    3. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Stuart thanked Dean Conley for the Library’s responsiveness and wanted more information on what the concern is. Dean Conley responded that there are individuals using the high speed internet and community members who are ‘squatting’ and not engaged in research.

      2. Senator Gladdish asked how this can be enforced. Dean Conley affirmed that they have a commitment to customer service and would most like approach the individual and ask them to remove themselves. The concern stemmed from the libraries on the regional campuses.

      3. Senator Thesz wanted to give a shout out to Carla Myers who has assisted with getting materials to international students.

      4. Senator Newman asked the demographic of the individuals in question. What percentage are Miami students who are on the remote option? Dean Conley confirmed that they are not Miami students, high school students or seniors. The individuals are ones who come in and talk for long periods of time with the staff.

      5. Senator Coates asked if we had thought about a card mechanism to count people as they enter and exit the library. No, that is not going to be done at this time, because it is thought that it can be dealt with in the manner stated above. There are currently 571 seats in King Library. There are rotations done on the floor to count individuals.

    4. Senators voted on the Sense of the Senate resolution and the vote passed 46 yes; 3 no; 2 abstentions.

SR 21-03

Sense of the Senate:  Priority Seating – University Libraries

September 28, 2020

Whereas, The Miami University Libraries prides itself in providing a rich array of print and technologically advanced resources to its patrons.  

Whereas, the Miami Libraries is known for its impeccable customer service.

Whereas, the coronavirus has resulted in a significant number of deaths and positive test results throughout the state, nation and world.

Whereas, the Miami University Libraries has worked aggressively to identify ways to keep its patrons safe by adhering to recommendations by medical officials, scientists and university administration. 

Whereas, one of these guidelines is to social and physical distance from one another resulting in a steep reduction in the density of seats available to our Miami community; and 

Whereas, The Library Committee of University Senate and the Dean’s Student Library Advisory Council support this limited and temporary resolution. 

Therefore, the Miami University Libraries seeks a sense of the University Senate recognizing that priority seating and services should be given to Miami faculty, staff and students until the pandemic eases within our community. 


  1. The meeting adjourned at 5:03 p.m.