University Senate - March 8, 2021 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via Zoom, on Monday, March 8, 2021. Members absent: Steve Bailey, Dan Bosworth, Rodney Coates, Martin Johnson, Marielena Orozco, Danielle Stein, Harper Sutton, and Liam Wise-Powell.

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

    1. Senator Bielo reminded the audience that voting is for senators only.

    2. There are four senate committees that will need Senate liaisons in the upcoming year: Academic Program Review, Center for Teaching Excellence, Benefits Committee, and the Athletic Policy Committee. Three of them (Academic Program Review, CTE, and Benefits) have eligibility requirements. Please let Senator Bielo know if you are interested in serving or learning more.

    3. Those recently approved for Promotion and Tenure were recognized. Anna Ghazaryan and Harvey Thurmer were promoted to Full Professor. Kevin Ballard, Matthew Stephan and Rosemary Pennington were promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. Congratulations to all. Bill Modrow was promoted to Librarian.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the February 22, 2021, minutes.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Curriculum

    2. GMP Redesign meeting minutes - October 30, 2020


Special Reports

  1. Jaime Hunt – Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communication Officer 

    1.  Senator Bielo introduced that these reports are part of an ongoing effort to invite leaders from around campus to share what they’re doing, and it’s an opportunity to gain community.

    2. Ms.Hunt introduced two new leaders in University Communications and Marketing (UCM). Jessica Rivinius, Director of University News and Communication and Christian Ponce, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. Jessica is filling the position previously held by Claire Wagner and has experience promoting faculty research. Christian oversees the creative, web, and digital marketing teams. He is a native of Honduras and is spear-heading an effort to make inroads to the Hispanic communities across the United States. Ashley Jones has also been recently hired as the Director of Executive Communications, previously held by Cliff Peale.

    3. UCM wants to look strategically at goals and analyze the data to make the best decisions. The analytics department in UCM is working on a data lake, which is similar to a data warehouse, to pull data from multiple systems and connect them together to create reports. Working collaboratively is a priority and better decisions are made collectively. They want to bring together people who are subject matter experts and who work with students. UCM wants to be partners working together to accomplish the university’s goals as a team- a failure of one is a failure for all.

    4. The UCM DE&I values statement was shown. UCM will be bringing in monthly speakers related to DE&I to speak with the Communications team. They are also working to bring in a consultant to do workshops to dismantle unconscious bias, which will make UCM stronger as a department and the University stronger as a whole. UCM needs to work within a framework of equity and inclusion.

    5. Miami must market like a national university. We need to position ourselves and have a brand, which will mean shifts in investments and changes in some practices. Part of this will be making additional investments in the web, since is the number one resource for prospective students. Miami’s branding needs to not just focus on undergraduate recruitment, but on all aspects of the University, including research mission, DE&I efforts, Regional campuses, and the Graduate School. UCM is pursuing more national media opportunities and has a good roster of faculty experts to aid reporters working on stories. If any faculty are interested in being a faculty expert, please contact UCM. Jessica Rivinius is going to start offering workshops, starting in late March, for those who want to be faculty experts.

    6. Diversity needs to be part of who we are and the fabric of what we do. One of the big tasks is to improve communications across campus. To have a strong story to tell, we need to be telling the story consistently across campus. The first phase is a situation analysis, followed by a campus needs assessment and best practices research. This month, UCM is working on organizational structure development to identify positions needed or if vacant positions can be reconfigured. The last phase is evaluation of contracts and services. It has been determined that there is overlap of these across campus.

    7. Senators had the following questions and comments:

      1. Senator Kenworthy asked about faculty experts. How can he spread the word? Ms. Hunt asked what would be the best way to communicate this. Senator Kenworthy indicated that Senate may be the best way. Later, Senator Carlin suggested department chairs, too.

      2. Senator Hai was wondering what was meant by ‘national university.’ Are we one yet? Ms. Hunt responded that we are a national university. One of the key markers is that we are in the top 40 of schools that are ranked by US News and World Report. The top players all have some things in commons: exceptional faculty and staff, and are able to recruit top students nationally. However, we are not marketing (telling our story) like we’re national.

      3. Dr. Bowblis stated that he has been one of the faculty experts and it is not clear that because there was a change at the top, that this was to be reset. Individuals who have been doing this assume that there was a continuation within UCM. In working with faculty at other universities, it is noted that when they have publications that may receive national attention, they contact places to get national attention. He doesn’t see that here. Ms. Hunt noted that is a good example of what a national university should be doing. Jessica Rivinius has that expertise (pushing faculty research.)

  2. Benefits Update – John Bowblis, Chair, Benefits Committee
    1. Dr. Bowblis is a health economist in the department of Economics and has chaired the Benefits Committee for the last two years. Ninety percent of the work that the Benefits Committee does is associated with the health plan. A lot of what was talked about for last year was put on hold due to Covid-19 changes. The changes have included testing, telehealth visits, and changes to the premium discount plan (e.g. suspending some of the requirements for this year.)

    2. If you were in the ARP or 403B retirement plans, there was a switch from legacy plans to new plans with different options. Through discussions, the investment options have been expanded. Moving forward, their objective as a fiduciary is to do what’s best for their client. The criticism is how can you be a fiduciary without feedback from those utilizing the plans. The retirement plan committee has added a liaison. The committee has asked for feedback from faculty and staff.

    3. Bowblis has met with Dr. Creamer to discuss the health plan design. There have been multiple meetings with Human Resources and Horan (consultant). They are looking at improving data analytics to improve the plan. There are challenges that face the health plan. The structure has remained unchanged since 2010, but the structure of how healthcare is delivered in Ohio has changed. There used to be a large number of independent hospitals and small hospital systems. These are now large systems, which makes it harder to negotiate better pricing and providers. Additionally, new technology and drugs are more expensive, and members are utilizing more healthcare.

    4. Pre-Covid, the total cost of the plan was 32M in 2014. In 2019, it was up to 48M, which is a 50% increase. The increase is happening under Miami’s sharing of the cost. Miami went from spending 22M to 36M (65% increase) where employees only had a 10% increase. Spending matters because if Miami increases spending on the healthcare plan, it’s less money available to increase salaries. Spending is coming from an increased cost per employee. The amount that Miami paid per employee went from $6,500 (2014) to 10,000 (2019) while the employee share only slightly increased - $3,200 (2014) to $3,268 (2019). Who is spending most of the money? There are a few high cost individuals – those spending over $40,000/year. The number of these individuals has increased from 75 (2014) to 145 (2019). They represent 36% of Miami’s total spending. Having a few high cost individuals is what is driving the healthcare spending at Miami.

    5. What are the priorities? We are evaluating the premium structure, and looking at whether it is worth having what the employee pays as a premium a function of where the costs are going. Currently, Miami is absorbing the cost increases of the plan. At what point does some of this go back to the employee. There may be a recommendation that can be implemented next year. Another priority is to look at expanding Centers of Excellence. These are special contracts with high quality providers (e.g. Christ Hospital for knee and hip replacements.) They provide guarantees and employees have lower cost sharing. It takes time to develop these programs – 3-5 years. The Wellness program (premium discount program) is potentially changing for the 2022 health plan. Our philosophy on the plan is that we need to be able to offer competitive benefits to recruit and retain employees. It is important to understand that faculty and staff compete in different markets. Faculty tend to be national, while staff tend to be local. We want to ensure that we offer the highest quality care possible.

    6. Senators had the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Hatch asked for elaboration on the comment regarding increased spending on healthcare plans leads to less spending on salaries. Dr. Bowblis clarified that employers look at ‘total compensation’, which is salary plus benefits. If the health plan costs goes up, it eats into the total compensation package. Every dollar that is spent on healthcare, or every increase in healthcare costs, is potential money that could be spent on salary increases. Senator Hatch asked if those are always linked. Dr. Bowblis answered that you still need to remain competitive, so there is a relationship, but what the ratio is depends on the market. The health plan is a large part of the budget.

      2. Senator Morris asked who does health care negotiating on our behalf? Dr. Bowblis answered that the negotiator is the insurance company (Anthem). Miami is self-insured, which means that every dollar that is spent comes out of Miami’s pocket – there is not an insurance premium. The cost of the health plan comes from what price we are paying and what is the quantity of the services that we are paying for. Anthem has to have contracts that are favorable to Miami. Health plans used to be large and able to negotiate lower prices, but with larger healthcare systems, this is now almost impossible to do. In reality, we don’t have control over prices anymore. Senator Morris clarified: we’re counting on an insurance company to look out for our best interest. Dr. Bowblis affirmed that this was correct. Who negotiates a plan switch? Dr. Creamer would initiate this, but Dr. Bowblis cautioned that you don’t want to switch very often, because it creates disruption for employees.

      3. Senator Wagner asked if it would be possible to organize high-risk pools with other universities, which would help with cost. Additionally, if the systems are getting larger, couldn't’t we do that with public universities as well? Dr. Bowblis answered that if you are a large buyer, it gives leverage; however, it reduces the ability to specialize or create unique insurance plans to meet individual needs. One example is that U.C. would probably never partner with us because we have a large number of people going to Reid Hospital, which is a monopoly and charges high prices. There needs to be geographic overlap with those that you’re partnering with.

      4. Senator Green wanted to give a thank you to the retirement committee for increasing investment options for retirement plans. That was noted and appreciated.

      5. Senator Travis indicated that Miami will not provide coverage to spouses who are eligible to be on another plan. Can we incentivize our faculty and staff to move off of Miami’s plan and onto a spouse’s plan, if eligible? Dr. Bowblis responded that it’s hard to think about how to do that because many employers are doing the exact thing that Miami is doing. The question also is what is the correct incentive?

      6. Senator Wang asked how our health care cost increases are compared to our competitors. Dr. Bowblis answered that Miami’s increases are on-par with what is happening across the state. Cost increases are going up everywhere. The one thing that makes Miami unique is that Miami’s premiums are a function of salary, whereas, in other institutions, they are in bands, which are flat or there is one flat rate for everyone. Miami’s system makes it more affordable for lower paid employees. Additionally, Dr. Bowblis mentioned that there is an issue that the Committee for Retirement plan was created by the Board of Trustees and was not discussed with anyone. When the Benefits Committee found out about it, they have tried to put a Benefits liaison on the Committee. It is a shared governance issue that needs to be addressed, but it’s not something that the Benefits Committee can address.

    7. Dr. Bowblis is open to suggestions by email to be discussed during Benefits Committee meetings.

Old Business

  1. Graduate Student Research Fellowship – Dean Michael Crowder, Graduate School

    1. There has been a summer stipend (fellowship) for graduate students for over 30 years. The funding mechanism dried up about 10 years ago, and Miami continued to provide this while other universities no longer have summer fellowships. The new policy is for graduate students who started in fall 2020. Students who started prior to fall 2020 will remain on the current policy until they graduate. The policy will provide funding for students working on a dissertation or doing unpaid research during the summer.

    2. Senators had the following questions and discussion:
      1. Senator Wagner thanked the graduate students and those who worked to preserve some of the summer funding. From her constituents, there was relief that funding will still be happening, especially this summer. It was noted that the Ph.D. stipends are competitive, but the Master’s funding is lower than competitors. The Graduate Director in English noted that it was $5,000-$8,000 less than competitors. What efforts are being made to investigate MA funding? Also, the summer stipend used to come with a tuition waiver. What is the status of tuition waiver with the revised policy? Dean Crowder responded that summer tuition waivers reside in divisions and not in the Graduate School. It will be up to the Divisional Deans to work with the Graduate Directors. The Graduate School can work with Deans, but they don’t control waivers. The Graduate School does have some money for the winter term waivers. There has never been a comprehensive survey done to compare stipends at the Master’s level. Stipends at the Master’s level will need to be addressed with the Deans. Programs will need to do an honest job comparing their stipends with comparable universities. The Deans can adjust stipend levels if there is a compelling case.

      2. Senator Haynes indicated from one of her constituents, who is on the Graduate Council, that these changes have little or no support from the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council passed it because there was no alternative. Dean Crowder indicated that it was discussed in Graduate Council at several meetings and the vote was unanimous to approve the new policy. The comment does not align with his experience over the past six months in working with graduate students and faculty on this policy. The alternative would be that there would not be a summer stipend.

      3. Senator Green indicated that her constituents are thankful that there are summer fellowships and would like details on how they will be awarded when there are more eligible students than fellowships available. Dean Crowder indicated that the programs will use a ranking system and the money will be spent until it runs out. Programs will have some flexibility and be able to use it for recruiting purposes. The Graduate School is continuing to work to find funding sources. It is still being funded by E&G dollars. We need to find external grant dollars or alumni/corporate sponsors to fund these fellowships.

    3. SR 21-23 was approved 54 Yes; 1 No; 2 Abstentions

    4. Dean Crowder thanked everyone, especially Provost Osborne and President Crawford, for their support of Graduate education.

SR 21-23

March 8, 2021

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate approves of the Graduate Student Research Fellowship Policy as outlined below:

Graduate Summer Research Fellowships

The purpose of Graduate Summer Research Fellowship is to provide financial support for full-time graduate students to engage in meaningful scholarly activities during a 6-week summer period. The summer research fellowship is intended for students who have no additional means of summer support during the six-week summer period (e.g., grant-funded assistantship; external, paid internships; teaching assignments, etc.). The awarding of these fellowships are subject to availability of funds.


To be eligible for a Graduate Summer Research Fellowship, a student must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Student held a full-time graduate assistantship, a residence hall personnel assistantship, or a dissertation scholarship for at least one full semester during the fall or spring semester preceding the summer research fellowship period.

  • Student completed at least nine (9) graduate credit hours in each of the two semesters prior to the summer research fellowship period.

  • Student has made satisfactory progress toward the graduate degree, including:

    • Met the Graduate School’s requirement of a 3.0 GPA

    • Met departmental milestones on time, including for example: plan of study, research proposal defense, and comprehensive exams, etc. The completion of milestones needs to be documented by the student’s department or program

  • Student must not be receiving additional Miami University funded support, from the following sources:

  • Externally-funded research assistantship that already pays the student in the summer

  • Full-time, paid external internship that already pays the student in the summer

  • Teaching course(s) in the summer and the student was paid for teaching the course(s)

  • Student must be engaged in meaningful activity as described below in Fellowship expectations

Time Limits

  • Master thesis-track (and specialist-track) students are eligible for a total of two years of summer support.

  • PhD candidates are eligible for a total of four years of summer support including their years as master’s degree candidates.

Maximum Number of Awards

Up to 300 graduate summer research fellowships will be awarded per academic year pending available funds.

Fellowship Expectations

The student must commit to a minimum of 6 weeks of full-time summer study for the activities described below:

  • Student must be engaged in one or more of the following meaningful activities over the summer they receive support:

    • Research activities related to degree requirements that will result in a publication, completion of thesis/dissertation and requirements, or provide preliminary data for grant applications

    • Mentoring of undergraduate students in research

    • Other important activities related to degree completion (e.g., unpaid internships)

  • Students must either:

    • For students whose degree programs encourage summer session credits, register for 0–9 credit thesis or dissertation hours during the first summer session.

    • Students who do not need summer session credits to graduate in a timely manner are encouraged to enroll in a 0 credit-hour internship or independent study (i.e., thesis or dissertation credits).

Note: Courses taken for P, S, and X grades count toward eligibility for the summer research fellowship; they are not, however, computed in students’ grade point averages. Students who receive F, U, or Y in such courses will not receive credit towards the summer research fellowship.

Through an online Graduate School form, students are required to submit a 1 paragraph description of what was accomplished to the Graduate School before the start of fall semester classes.

Full-Time Summer Study Defined 

Full time study for graduate students is defined as 20 hours per week to fulfill the fellowship expectations (see above).

Graduate Summer Research Fellowship Payments

Eligible students will receive $1,500 (if GA for 2 semesters) or $750 (if GA for 1 semester) for engaging in full-time study as defined by the Graduate School and their academic department.

Summer Research Fellowships will be paid on or before June 30th.

The Instructional Fee and out-of-state tuition surcharge (if applicable) for summer terms are waived for Graduate Summer Research Fellowship recipients. Therefore, the General Fee (reduced) and the Registration Fee must be paid at the time in which students register or are billed. If required in their courses, students must pay certain laboratory fees and artistic supply costs. All fees must be paid by the deadlines established by the One Stop to avoid cancellation of students’ registration and loss of their Graduate Summer Research Fellowship.

Processing of Graduate Summer Research Fellowships

Program-based ranked lists of all eligible students will be submitted to the Graduate School by May 1st. Based on availability of funds, each program will be notified as to the number of Graduate Summer Research Fellowships that will be awarded to that program. Late submissions of ranked lists will not be accepted.

Departments are required to verify the eligibility of students and fulfillment of expectations for the research fellowship. Departments may have to forfeit future research fellowships if they allow for the awarding of research fellowships to ineligible students.

  1. Sunsetting Dormant Graduate Programs – Dean Michael Crowder, Graduate School

    1. There is a process to sunset graduate programs. There are a number of programs that have been ‘defacto sunsetted’ for about ten years, but the paperwork has never been submitted to ODHE or HLC. If the policy is followed, the programs would have to be entered into the Course Information Management System (CIM) to be later deleted. Approving this resolution would save department chairs, graduate program directors, and the Registrar’s Office time.

    2. Assistant Provost Bill Knight, Dean Crowder and Associate Provost Carolyn Haynes reached out to program directors for their approval to sunset the Graduate Programs. Dean Crowder will work with the Chairs to submit the State paperwork and Bill Knight will submit the paperwork to HLC.

    3. SR 21-24 was approved 56 Yes; 1 Abstention

SR 21-24

March 8, 2021

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate approves of sunsetting dormant graduate programs, identified by the Graduate School as not having current, or accepting new, students and not having paperwork filed with the Higher Learning Commission nor with the Ohio Department of Education.

The programs below will work with the Graduate School and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness to file the appropriate paperwork.

Name of Program Department/Division Chair/Contact Signature
MEd Adolescent Education EDT/EHS Brian Schultz

On File

MEd Elementary Math EDT/EHS Brian Schultz
MA Mass Communications MJF/CAS Bruce Drushell
MA Speech Communications MJF/CAS Bruce Drushell
MA Zoology BIO/CAS Tom Crist
MEd Elementary Education EDT/EHS Brian Schultz
MAT Elementary Education EDT/EHS Brian Schultz
MAT Political Science POL/CAS Bryan Marshall
MS Family Science FWS/EHS Kate Kuvalanka
PhD Political Science POL/CAS Bryan Marshall
PhD History HST/CAS Wietse DeBoer
PhD Zoology BIO/CAS Tom Crist

New Business

  1. Approval Process for Curricular Proposals – Tracy Haynes, Senate Liaison, Council of University Curriculum (Attachment A-III)

    1. Senator Bielo introduced that this item of new business is coming from a discussion in Senate Executive Committee about Senate’s role in the curricular approval process. The consensus was that education was needed, which is why Senator Haynes was invited to speak.

    2. Senator Haynes outlined the process that any new degree program or any program that is undergoing a significant revision takes. The point of reference is on the Provost’s webpage.

    3. The first step in preparing the proposal is to meet with the Miami Academic Incubator Program committee, which provides internal and external data relevant to the new program. There is opportunity for consultation with internal and external experts and a concept paper is developed. The initial inquiry is then submitted to ODHE, and then the full proposal is submitted in CIM. All of this can take 10 months to a year, depending on the complexity of the proposal.

    4. Once the full proposal is submitted in CIM, the proposal starts the approval process at the department level. From there, it is approved by the Provost Office for compliance issues. The Divisional curriculum committee then reviews and approves, and it moves on to the Council of Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC). Most of this takes about four weeks.

    5. The membership of the CUC involves faculty, students, representatives from the Provost’s Office, Registrar’s Office, and each academic division. The program developer gives a presentation, similar to the one given in Senate, and from there, the Committee discusses the data and the need for the program, including if there’s overlap with existing programs. A report is then created to indicate any changes that are needed. After CUC approval, the next steps are the Council of Academic Deans, University Senate, and the Board of Trustees. The State and Chancellor then have to approve the proposal. A notification is then sent to the University Registrar and HLC.

    6. In summary, approval of a new program, or extensive revision of an existing program, can take approximately two years.

    7. Senators had the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Navakas asked if there was a way to make a clearer proposal pathway on the website. It is difficult to figure out. Other Universities, such as Ohio State, are much easier to read.

      2. Senator Wagner wanted to ask about the Course Information Management system. At the bottom, there is tracking. Is that always there and can that be seen at any time? The question is whether people have access. It was confirmed that as long as you can authenticate, you can get into the Programs area in CIM to see submitted programs at any point in the process.

      3. Senator Carlin asked if this process was used for certificate programs or post baccalaureate certificate programs. Senator Haynes answered that those programs have a different pathway and bypass the CUC.

      4. Senator Poetter asked a clarifying question about the Incubator Program incorporation as a required step in the process and not just a resource. Associate Provost Haynes answered that this is really new as part of the procedure. Every new program will go through this to ensure that all of the information is there and programs have what they need. He asked how is 25% vs. 50% determined. It is about change in course content or learning outcomes.

      5. Senator Coleman indicated that CIM is something that we should be data mining. You can see how much overlap there is between proposed programs and current programs. Have we advanced to the point of being able to use the infrastructure we have to do some AI or predictive analytics? It is not sure if CIM has that capability.

      6. Senator Wagner was wondering if the link to the CIM system could be highlighted by the agenda item instead of at the bottom of the agenda.

      7. Senator Haynes was thanked for her work on this Committee.

      8. Provost Osborne had a point of clarification that this is for undergraduate degrees and there is a similar process for graduate degrees. It is a parallel process with approximately the same number of steps. Associate Provost Haynes confirmed that the only difference is that graduate programs go to the Graduate Council for review and approval, not the CUC.


  1. The meeting was adjourned at 4:58 p.m