University Senate - October 23, 2023 Minutes

Meeting Minutes
October 23, 2023

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., in 111 Harrison Hall on Monday, October 23, 2023. Members absent:  Kenya Ash, Joseph Carlin, Riley Crabtree, Steven Elliott, John Forren, Evan Gallagher, Venus Harvey, Patrick Houlihan, Yong Lin, Peter Mkhatshwa, Carla Myers, Rosemary Pennington, Adam Strantz, Peng Wang

  1. Call to Order and Announcements and Remarks – Tracy Haynes, Chair of University Senate Executive Committee
    1. OH faculty council which consist of all the senate leaders from the 4 year public universities here and we meet once a month.  We meet Friday with Chancelier Gardner, and Senator Ingram and we discussed the following:
      1. SB83 there was no new news to give, they asked that we contact our representatives.
      2. Regarding online classes if they thought they were good or bad and their response was we have to service the customers and they want online programs. 
      3. CCP program and if it is really helping students and prepares them for success like we thought it should, and are they really saving money and graduating in less time.  They advised that there is an upcoming bill regarding this to ensure that it is doing what it is supposed to do.
      4. We have upcoming calls regarding the SB83 bill and similar ones.
  2. Approval of University Senate Minutes
    1. University Senate Full Meeting Minutes.10.09.2023 (Results: 44-Yes, 00-No, 01-Abstain)
  3. Consent Calendar: The following items were received and accepted on the Consent Calendar:
    1. Curricular Items _10.18.2023 
    2. Graduate Council Minutes_10.10.2023 
    3. LEC Meeting Minutes_09.26.2023 
  4. New Business
    1. LEC Meeting Minutes_09.19.2023 - Tracy Haynes,  Teaching Professor  Discussion and Anticipated Vote on October 23, 2023
      1. The following line in the LEC minutes was called into question: The Liberal Education Council will need to discuss/revise the new Miami Plan going forward. 
      2. Senator Question and Comments
        1. Senator: Leighton didn’t mention a revision and the minutes said he is going to meet with the Deans regarding revisions. We would like to know what revisions they may want? (A) The statement was just summarizing if in the future there is a reason to change it. There are no changes on the table right now. We will respond to legislation and data from the deans. Leighton knows the process to put changes through the senate first prior to any changes being made.
    2. Management of Conflicts of Interest in Projects with External Funding Policy Update - Sue McDowell, VP Research & Innovation  Presentation only; Discussion and Anticipated Vote on November 06, 2023
        1. Updating Policy: Management of Conflicts of Interest in Projects with External Funding
          1. Rationale: We are no longer in compliance with NIH. This would mean that funding could be curtailed. 2.5-4M come in through NIH. NSF is where Miami receives the largest amount from a federal agency. NIH is #2. Last year we brought in 37M through grants and contracts, the majority of which were federal awards. 
          2. These dollars go toward undergraduate student wages, stipends of graduate students, and summer salary of faculty. These are important for discoveries and linked to our mission.
          3. What we agreed, once the issue was discovered, is that Miami would move into compliance. 
        2. The Substantive Edits: Page 1
          1. “Definition” has been greatly expanded:
            1. means the project director or principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants.  For the purpose of clarity, graduate student researchers and undergraduate student researchers may qualify as an Investigator if they satisfy the elements of this definition. 
            2. “Senior Personnel”  means any person (including a project director or principal investigator) who is identified by the University as senior or key personnel in a grant application, progress report, or other report submitted to the external funder. 
            3. Source:
        3. The Substantive Edits: Page 2
          1. "Required Disclosure"
            1. (1, iii)
            2. Amount has been halved:
            3. Source:
            4. (3) - Emphasis on “foreign financial interests”
            5. Source:
        4. The Substantive Edits: Page 5
          1. Removed: If the Associate Provost for Research, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, determines that imposing conditions or restrictions would be either ineffective or inequitable, and that the potential negative impacts that may arise from a significant financial interest are outweighed by interests of scientific progress, technology transfer, or the public health and welfare, then the University may allow the project to go forward without imposing such conditions or restrictions.
        5. Senator Questions and Comments
          1. Senator: How long were we out of compliance? (A) No one knew we were out of compliance until we were notified. Immediately we took action. This is our common practice, we do not sweep things under the rug. As far as Miami knowingly being out of compliance, it was within 24 hours that I began to work on the problem and address it appropriately.
          2. Senator: Has that policy been used recently?(A) I don’t know.
          3. Senator: On the last  slide the language seems problematic and could cause some potential conflict of interest with financial interest and ethical is my biggest concern. (A) This is the language being removed. 
          4. Senator: At least a ⅓ of our faculty have used grants and another ⅓ in the works of trying to obtain a grant. Has everyone received notification that there is an issue regarding this? I just don’t want anyone blindsided with your university is currently not in compliance so we are stopping your financing.(A) If we were at the point of work stoppage, I would send out an announcement. At this point we’ve just been told to get into compliance.
          5. Senator: It’s important that you notify the people that have grants now,  so that they can make sure they have the correct forms. Do you have the correct form and will there be training for these forms?(A) Yes. We have updated the disclosure process so the form that has been going out is the correct form. CITI training is the vendor so we’ve purchased this module which will be available.
          6. Senator: In my personal experience pushing that out now is best with NIH?(A) Ok thank you. I do appreciate that
          7. Senator: Did you say 27M from Federal?(A) All award dollars were 37m and 55% was federal dollars. I am happy to go back and get the exact amount for you, but it was slightly more than half that came in through Federal dollars. Largest amount coming in from the NSF and the next amount coming in from the NIH . 
          8. Senator: We have a grace period to come into compliance. What is the grace period? (A) Yes, as long as I give them timely updates. They will review our changes and determine at that point if we have achieved compliance. Follow-up question: So there is not a deadline period? (A) Not with this thankfully
          9. Presenter: I do always appreciate the questions, concerns and feedback that everyone gives as it is very helpful to us.  We are in good standing with them, so we just need to get this policy out for them.  
          10. NIH that we are out of compliance is all funding going to be impacted or just NIH funding? (A) Our policy will be more strict, but this doesn’t mean we’re out of compliance with any other agency. So, they need to come into compliance with our institutional policy, but not necessarily (but possibly) with other agencies.
  5. Special Reports
    1. Report from Climate Task Force - Jonathan Levy, Director, Institute for the Environment, Suan Meikle, Writer/editor, and Sustainability Communications, University News and Communications, and Sustainability, and Olivia Herron, Director of Sustainability in Physical Facilities
      1. President’s Climate Leadership Commitment (PCLC): Climate Commitment - President Crawford signed the Climate Commitment 9/22/2020. 
      2. Within three years, this commitment requires signatories to:
        1. Draft a Climate Action Plan.
        2. Establish a date to reach carbon neutrality for their campus.
        3. Conducting a Campus-Community Resilience Assessment. *Submitted August 2023 to Second Nature,the organization responsible for the PCLC.
      3. Climate Action Plan
        1. The draft ‘Miami 2040 Climate Action Plan for Miami University’  was submitted to President Crawford’s office (Sept. 2023).
        2. Drafted from the recommendations of the subcommittees of the Climate Action Task Force and a Professional Service Project team of Master of Environmental Science (MEn) students. 
        3. Written by the co-chairs of the Climate Action Task Force and Sustainability Committee — which for the 2023-2024 academic year combined to form the Climate Action and Sustainability Council (Susan Meikle, Jonathan Levy,  and Olivia Herron).
      4. Miami is committed to Carbon Neutrality by 2040 (for the Oxford Campus) - The PCLC - Climate Commitment requires carbon neutrality for these areas:
        1. Scope 1: Fuels Burned on Site
          1. Fuels burned for heating and other energy (such as natural gas)
          2. Fuels burned by campus vehicles (fleet)
        2. Scope 2: Purchased Electricity
        3. Scope 3: Indirect Emissions
          1. Student commuting
          2. Faculty & staff commuting 
          3. University-financed air travel
        4. Student commuting
        5. Faculty & staff commuting 
        6. University-financed air travel
      5. Carbon Footprint: A carbon footprint is the total planet warming greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane, and others) produced by our actions. Average Americans emit 16 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalents Per Year.
      6. Miami’s Oxford Campus Emissions by Category is provided within the slideshow presentation, please review slides for this information. 2020 and 2021 were not included in the emissions due to the pandemic.  
        1. We have reduced our public emissions the most of any public university in Ohio,  we are actually surpassing Ohio State 2030 goal as of this year by 10%. 
      7. Progress to Date from Utility Master Plan: Total Emissions and Total Emissions per Gross Square Feet of Buildings is within the slideshow presentation, please review slides for this information. 
      8. Miami 2040 Climate Action Plan Strategy Areas
        1. Decarbonizing Miami’s Campus: Energy-Based Emissions
        2. Emissions from Commuting and University-Financed Air travel
        3. Offsetting Miami’s Carbon Emissions
        4. Education and Research
        5. Student Engagement and Outreach 
        6. Resilience Monitoring
        7. Recommendations for Implementation 
      9. Decarbonizing Miami’s Campus: Energy-based Emissions 
        1. Most of Miami’s carbon emissions are from heating and cooling.
          1. Miami’s Utility Master Plan (2012-2026): roadmap for the transformation of nearly all the building heating and cooling systems off steam. 
          2. Since 2008 Miami has reduced its total energy-based carbon emissions by more than 50%. 
        2. Strategy:
          1. Further reduce energy consumption 
          2. Complete the transition of heating and cooling systems off stream 
          3. Produce zero-emissions energy on-site
          4. Produce some electricity with on-site renewables
          5. Procure purchased electricity from renewable sources
          6. Offset the remainder - paying for projects onsite and offsite in some way that take in carbon like growing trees.
      10. Five Physical Facilities Scenarios for Emission Reduction - Consulting Report by Brailsford & Dunlavey is provided within the slideshow presentation, please review slides for this information.  This was written for 2050 and our new goal is now 2040. The return on investment is greater now due to the increased cost of electricity going up some much recently, this has become more favorable, and why it is being reassessed. Doing no improvements is more costly then doing the improvements needed.
        1. Senator Question: The longer we wait increases the cost of some of these? Is that taken into consideration?(A)We are moving into the next phase within the next year. We are moving as fast as we can but, yes it could. There are a lot of factors that play into this. The more electricity becomes, the more this becomes favorable.  If we create more solar than we can use, Duke gets it for free. 
        2. Cody Powell said he’d be happy to come to Senate to discuss this further if needed.
      11. Utility Master Plan Key Outcomes: Decommission the steam plant and convert the campus to heating hot water
        1. Converting to heating hot water allows us to optimize simultaneous heating and cooling, which reduces our campus' carbon footprint more than any other initiative.
        2. Most of the campus is now converted
        3. A few more high profile projects over the next few years to finalize this plan: e.g., the North Chiller Plant conversion to geothermal.
      12. Solar: pursuing several options to introduce solar on campus in the next few years
        1. The return on investment for Solar power has changed in its timeline. INitially it was forecasted that we’d take 50-80 years to see a return. That has changed.
        2. The cost of electricity has changed substantially since 2021 when an on-site solar photovoltaic evaluation was conducted
        3. Getting 10-15% of our electricity via solar is possible (at start). There are grant opportunities we are looking at taking advantage of. Based on the census, north campus may be disadvantaged but western is not, so tax credits are different depending on where you are on campus.
        4. Pursuing the possibility to take advantage of IRA direct grant funds to reduce the high installation costs. 
        5. Energy systems office will provide updates as evaluation progresses
      13. Please see slideshow presentation for the 2050 Forecasting
      14. Emissions from Commuting and University-Financial Air Travel - These emissions typically account for about 16% of Miami’s annual CO2e emissions.
        1. Strategy:
          1. Reduce barriers to and equitably increase accessibility of alternative transportation modes
          2. Reduce the campus drive-alone rate. 
          3. Reduce as much as possible Miami’s commuting & University-financed travel emissions
          4. Offset the rest of commuting
      15. Commuting Examples: Goals and Actions
        1. Goal 1: Update the Campus Circulation Master Plan in coordination with the City of Oxford’s goal to create carbon-neutral mobility systems, as specified in Oxford’s Climate Action Plan (adopted Sept. 18. 2023). 
        2. Goal 2: Reduce emissions generated by student commuting to and from campus in Oxford by 50% by 2030 and by 90% by 2040 relative to 2023 levels.
          1. Action: More fully pedestrianized the campus
          2. Action: Expand bicycle & micro-mobility programming and infrastructure
          3. Action: Move forward with bike sharing by updating past planning and gauging feasibility 
          4. Action: Increase student parking permit fees and revised parking policies to discourage student driving to campus.
          5. Action: Support BCRTA in its efforts to decarbonize its fleet and improve the efficiency and levels of local transit service.
        3. Goal 3: Reduce emissions generated by faculty and staff commuting to and from campus by 20% by 2035 and by 90% by 2040 from 2023 levels
          1. Action: Incorporate distance- and mode-based incentives or emissions offset fees in parking permits.
          2. Action: Increase employee permit fees, scale for income. 
          3. Action: Expand incentives for low-emissions vehicles, carpooling.
          4. Action: Incorporate commuting distance offset fee calculation in permitting process (exempt 100% electric).
          5. Action: Explore funding models to improve transit from parking revenue.
      16. Offsetting Miami’s Remaining Carbon Emissions: By 2040 Miami aims to reach at least 90% drawdown of energy-based emissions commuting and University-financed travel emissions  The unavoidable remaining emissions will be offset. 
        1. Goal 1: Establish a Carbon Offset Fund Committee to recommend an annual carbon fee and select offset projects. The standing committee will ensure that the university’s offsets are appropriate each year, given the changing offset price and continuous development of new offset projects.
        2. Target 1:  Establish a university-wide policy for Purchasing of Carbon Offsets by 2035.
          1. Action: Integrate transport-related emissions offset into employee travel purchase (using Chrome River or a similar program identified by the office of procurement.)
      17. Education and Research
        1. Miami students are increasingly provided with opportunities to learn about sustainability and climate change, whether through an academic course, undergraduate research, education module, living learning communities, or other initiatives.
          1. The new Miami Plan 2023 for Liberal Education, implemented in fall 2023, includes Sustainability and Resilience as one of five Signature Inquiry areas (comprising 9 credit hours)
        2. Strategy: Integrate sustainability across the curriculum. This might include:
          1. Growth in degree and certificate programs that emphasize sustainability and climate change
          2. Foster and support research on climate change with new hires in that broad area
          3. Consider creation a new Center for Climate Change Studies.
      18. Student Engagement and Outreach Examples
        1. Strategy: Increase student awareness of how individual actions impact the success of Miami’s commitment carbon neutrality and motivate change in behavior.
          1. Goal 1: Increase student awareness of Miami’s climate commitment, and increase student awareness of how their actions and behaviors have an impact on our commitment to decarbonization. 
          2. Target 1: Create a new Student Sustainability Outreach Coordinator position by 2026.  This position will be filled by a graduate student who will focus on Sustainability initiatives under the Director of Student Engagement/ Leadership or the Director of the Armstrong Student Center/ Office of Sustainability. Allocate funding for a full-time (32 hr/week) position within the Division of Student Life. Appointment to be filled by a Master of Environmental Science graduate student. Estimated cost: $45,000 
          3. Target 2: Develop an Associated Student Government proposal to the board of trustees to support a Student Sustainability Fee of $5/semester, similar to other Ohio public universities. Funding allocation would be decided by a committee of students, the Sustainability Director, and others.
      19. Future planning: Zero Waste Campus
        1. Scope 3 emissions from waste disposal and recycling, are not addressed under the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments.  However, they should be an integral part of a plan for climate action and sustainability. Goal 1: Create and implement a Zero Waste campus plan.
        2. This is what the students bring up the most is waste.
      20. Implementation of the Miami 2040 Climate Action Plan
        1. Implementing the Miami 2040 Climate Action Plan begins with institutionalizing the Plan’s goals, from the Miami University Board of Trustees to the Office of the President and across the Miami community.
        2. Our implementation recommendations follow the tenets of the Sustainability Pillars created by the Sustainability Committee and adopted by President Crawford in September 2021 (refer to the Miami 2040 Plan)
      21. For Miami to achieve this presidential priority, it will require this support:
        1. Incorporation by all departmental units and offices across campus, and additional resources in targeted areas such as the Office of Strategic Procurement, Parking and Transportation, the Office of the Provost, University Communications and Marketing (UCM), Student Life, and Dining Services.
        2. Recognizing the value of embedding sustainability responsibilities into select positions, as demonstrated by the model recently established by University Marketing and Communications.
      22. We Strongly recommend:
        1. Hiring an additional member(s) of the Office of Sustainability to support implementation of the Miami 2040 Plan in areas outside of PFD.
        2. Embedding Sustainability in job positions: prioritize the duties of certain positions in other departments to embed sustainability (per the model in UCM)
          1. Office of Strategic Procurement 
          2. Office of the Provost
          3. Parking and Transportation 
          4. Dining Services
      23. Share your input on the draft Miami 2040 Plan
        1. Make comments in the PDF version of the draft Miami 2040: Climate Action Plan for Miami University, or by email
        2. Please direct comments to Susan Meikle (
      24. Senator Question and Comments.
        1. Senator: Where do regionals fit into this as it seems to focus on Oxford campus only?(A) This is only an Oxford plan. We are looking at regionals and Hamilton is one of our preferred sites for installing solar. However, in order to include the regional campus, we’d need to do a separate plan and that would require more staff. We can count the power generated if we were able to do an installation on Hamilton. We had Matt Saxton, a regional representative, on the Task Force.
        2. Senator: Composting isn't a part of the proposal, but according to a recent article, can we count methane production there as an offset?(A) We are not mandated by second nature but we are doing it in the background calculation. Rumpke does methane collection and powers their trucks. When we calculate the emissions, we count methane capture from landfill, but it’s not significant. Rumpke weighs all trash coming from campus, but I only get three weeks of data and it’s not enough to project. We’ve paused because of dining, but waste is something we want to take responsibility for but not because we’re mandated.
        3. Presenter: Are you asking if we can actually count that as an offset?(A) Yes, that is what I am asking.
          1. Any offsets we do ourselves instead of professional companies, there’s a lot of steps to implement before we can count them. It’s ironic, but offsets that we do ourselves are harder to get credit for than ones we pay for off campus. We could make that case, but there’s a lot of steps.
        4. Senator: “We’ve been dedicated to this for a long time” Our students are protesting and unaware and seeking solutions where there aren’t problems. How do we engage the community to see our gains?(A) The most impact we’ve had to date isn’t visible to students. Increased efficiency isn’t visible. Students are very specific to recycling and food waste which aren’t the most effective. I also can’t tell Duke energy what to do. Student education and engagement about what an inventory is and once they see what we’ve accomplished their perspective changes. Students start off feeling very pessimistic, but we offer encouragement. They have a misunderstanding of what is impactful and once they have a better understanding they are very impressed by what we have done so far. 
        5. Senator: Giving the robot delivery service is probably already helping with gas usage. If we can encourage students during move out day to keep those old TVs, furniture and stuff to help keep it out of the waste?(A) Sharefest diverted 14 tons of material from the waste. There have been changes over the years, but we have partners. We’re trying to get participation back up since covid and need more local volunteers.
        6. Senator: Student and Faculty community what level does air travel factor into that  and does that include break travel, holiday travel and so forth?(A) It includes only what we can measure which is where they live off campus to here. When you buy your parking permit, that survey is how we track that commute data, but flights are not included. We have the capability of looking at that in the future, but it’s new technology.
        7. Presenter: Journal news article regarding the subhead of alcohol abuse is a contributing factor to carbon emissions. Olivia did not make that statement. As it is not a contributing factor to carbon emissions.
  6. Provost Updates -- Luxembourg
    1. Having just returned, this was a profound experience for me.
    2. No institution of higher education was included at the outset for Luxembourg. We will send our citizens out into the world and they will come back to make our country better.
    3. The University of Luxembourg began 20 years ago, but MU 35 years  before that.
    4. We celebrated Miami U. Dolibois European Center: 55 year anniversary
    5. Convocation with four honorary doctorate degrees: Shefali Razdan Duggal, George Lenz, Carlo Krieger, Philip Crowther
    6. MOU signed with the Ministry of Education
    7. Reception at the US Embassy and meeting with Ambassador Barnett
    8. Audience with the Grand-Duc about MUDEC
    9. Meetings with key partners: Provost of University of Luxembourg, business leaders, cohort leaders: International School, Architecture firms, LUNEX (U of Health, Exercise, and Sports), and CEO Luxinnovation
    10. Collection of dissident Russian art: Guy Demuyser
    11. Met International faculty
    12. We drew up an agreement to do some faculty research exchanges and partnerships. Sustainability is one of their key areas. We met with business people about internships and a way to work with our courses.
  7. Adjournment