University Senate - October 9, 2023 Minutes

Meeting Minutes
October 9, 2023

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., in 111 Harrison Hall on Monday, October 09, 2023. Members absent:  Tia Bakshi, Daniele Fioretti, Chip Hahn, Venus Harvey, Liz Mullenix, August Ogunnowo, Troy Travis, Cheryl Young  

  1. Call to Order and Announcements and Remarks – Tracy Haynes, Chair of University Senate Executive Committee
    1. The Rinella Testing Center is experiencing high volume, be empathetic with students when possible as they may not have their first choice of testing dates or times. Help remind students to schedule early and to have some flexibility.
    2. LEC is currently accepting proposals for the MPIL program to develop signature inquiries.
    3. A list of Ad Hoc committee members for mid term grades has been formulated. Invites are being sent this week; announcements about the full committee at the next  meeting. Care was taken to make sure each division was represented along with a student member and members of the student success committee.
  2. Approval of University Senate Minutes
    1. University Senate Full Meeting Minutes_09.26.2023  (Results: 51-Yes, 00-No, 00-Abstain)
  3. Consent Calendar:
    1. The following items were received and accepted on the Consent Calendar:
      1. Curricular Items _10.04.2023
      2. Graduate Council Minutes_09.12.2023
      3. Graduate Council Minutes_09.26.2023
    2. LEC Meeting Minutes_09.19.2023 were removed from the consent calendar for discussion on 10.23.2023
  4. Old Business
    1. SR 24-02 CPB - Biomedical Engineering - Master of Engineering, Keith Hohn, Professor and Chair Department of Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering -  (Results: 50-Yes, 00-No, 01-Abstain)
      1. Senator Question and Comments
        1. Senator: This applies to both programs, but can you provide some discussion on why you think that offering these programs will increase total enrollment. The current MS program has a non-thesis option, so that change seems unlikely to drive dramatic enrollment increases. I am worried that you will end up with 3 programs with 2 students each vs. a single program with 6 students. (A) We believe that the proposed Master's of Engineering programs will increase overall enrollment in our graduate programs for the following reasons:
          1. The new program should appeal to international students interested in pursuing a US-based Master's program with an eye towards industrial positions. The new programs should require less time than our current thesis-based MS program. The required 30 credit hours can easily be completed in three semesters; typically students spend four semesters in our thesis-based MS program. In addition, the new program includes an option for students to receive credit for an internship, which should appeal to international students who might like to work in the US over the long-term.
          2. We believe that the M.Eng. name is more recognizable as a coursework-only option as compared to a MS degree with a non-thesis option. This should help attract students looking only for a coursework Master's.
          3. The current program has both chemical engineering and biomedical engineering in the title. This might discourage students in either of those majors as undergraduates from applying. Having two M.Eng. programs with specific names will be more appealing to students.
          4. Just one more clarification: we had 6 students graduate from the MS program last, not 6 total students. We typically have around 20 students total in the program (many of whom are BS/MS students).
    2. SR 24-03 CPB - Chemical Engineering - Master of Engineering, Keith Hohn, Professor and Chair Department of Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering - (Results: 51-Yes, 00-No, 00-Abstain)
      1. Senators Had No Questions or Comments
  5. Special Reports
      1. Mental Task Force - Jayne Brownell, Vice President of Student Life and Brooke Flinders,  Associate Provost of Faculty Affair
        1. A changing landscape for Mental Health - Institutional Task Force on Student, Faculty, and Staff Mental Health and Well-being
          1. We’ve doubled our counseling staff and demand is still up and growing.
          2. We needed to think more broadly. You can’t hire your way out of this situation; it’s a continuum for students whose needs are fluid. We’re looking at prevention and education, support, and response and follow up for people in crisis or who need long-term care.
          3. Post-pandemic, students have very complicated lives. Every student we admit has the capacity to do well in school. When they don’t, it’s our job to find out why. Employees need to be kept well, too.
        2. Our charge was to:
          1. Inventory and assess Miami’s current approach and resources
          2. Assess Miami’s approach using an equity lens
          3. Assess Miami’s culture, evaluating how our environment supports or inhibits the well-being of our community and subgroups within it
          4. Review best and emerging practices in comparison to our current offerings and make recommendations for improvement
        3. Structure and Process
          1. Three workgroups made up of 64 faculty, staff, and students from Oxford and Regionals: Student workgroup, Faculty and Staff workgroup, Community workgroup
          2. Steering committee oversight
          3. SWOT analysis
          4. 27 listening sessions
          5. Faculty/Staff Wellness Survey
          6. Student Health Survey
          7. Benchmarking and literature review
        4. Current State -- Miami's Strengths
          1. Resources and services
          2. Training, education, and programming
          3. Support and response systems
          4. Cultural strengths
        5. Challenges and opportunities: Communication, Staffing and resources, Availability of services, Cultural challenges, Misalignment of student expectations and Miami’s practices and services
        6. Future State: 54 Recommendations that fall into these 4 categories. Steve Large, is going to Chair this charge
          1. Systems: Foundational systems, organizations, policies, and services.
          2. Communication: Ensure accurate information is readily and easily available.
          3. Education: Programming and training for students, faculty, and staff. 
          4. Culture: Requires buy-in and commitment from all members of the community.
        7. Systems: Infrastructure
          1. All Campuses: Establish a standing university committee on well-being
            1. Prioritization and implementation
            2. Sustainability and culture
          2. Faculty/ Staff: Create a dynamic employee wellness program and website. Collect data on faculty/staff needs, utilization, and interests.
          3. Students: Explore alternatives to leaves of absence for students in distress. Ease reentry for students returning from a leave.
        8. Systems: Services
          1. Faculty/Staff: Develop “faculty of concern” system, Establish “life change communities”/affinity groups, Expand mentoring opportunities
          2. Students: Assess and align counseling services across campuses, Expand local MH service partnerships, Assess accessibility of services, Increase peer support opportunities
        9. Communication:
          1. All Campuses: Develop and coordinate broad communication strategy re: MH, Push MH resources through Miami Matters, Social Media, etc., Be sure community partners are aware of resources for students
          2. Faculty/ Staff: Better advertise EAP services, Highlight exemplar wellness initiatives in departments/ divisions
          3. Students: Improve communication about access to counseling and dispel myths, Increase promotion of services and programs, Publicize Student of Concern process, Discuss role of MUPD in times of crisis.
        10. Education
          1. All Campuses: Utilize wellness technology platforms, Create plug and play toolkits for faculty and student leaders, Establish standard onboarding messages about wellness resources, Offer parent webinars on MH
          2. Faculty/ Staff: Train supervisors about how to refer to resources, Offer employee training on resources beyond on-boarding, Offer resources across the 8 dimensions of wellness
          3. Students: Provide pre-departure meetings about MH for those studying abroad, Offer gatekeeper training, Add wellness requirements to Red Brick Rewards funding process, Create videos about MH resources for students. 
        11. Culture:
          1. All Campuses
            1. Actively work to reduce stigma about MH, with specific messages for subpopulations
            2. Facilitate conversations about Miami’s culture and how we can better support well-being
            3. Identify systems and processes that create stress and simplify where possible
            4. Encourage communication practices that facilitate wellness
            5. Examine idea of wellness days, and alternatives
            6. Encourage opportunities for in-person engagement and community building in depts and between faculty/ students
            7. Address the 8 dimensions of wellness as they affect MH
        12. Conclusion
          1. Broad range of resources available, yet some people remain unaware of them and there are varied opinions about what should be offered. 
          2. Many ways to strengthen and build on the foundation we have
          3. Need a comprehensive, sustained institutional effort focused on mental health and well-being of students, faculty and staff across all of our campuses
          4. Will require the effort of each member of our community to build of a genuine culture of care
        13. Senator Question and Comments
          1. Senator: Did they have a conversion about virtual mental health? (A) It is really new and the quality is variable and in findings we have found that in person gets higher ratings. We would rather hire our own, but we are continuing to look at in person versus virtual, but right now we are giving both options of  in person and virtual when scheduling these appointments. 95% of students are choosing in person appointments.
          2. Senator: Cutting Employee Health Programs at the height of the pandemic sent a very clear message. Physical health and mental health are linked. We need to do more to service our physical and mental health programs and utilize Phillips Hall 1113 better and our community better.
          3. Senator: Third party provider is a revenue stream for them, but have we compared the total cost to service? Where do we go for our revenue stream versus provider? (A) Students' first 3 or 5 appointments are free and then there is a $25.00 fee unless the student can’t afford it. Long term care goes on their insurance and that goes through a referral process. We do have a new care coordinator to help navigate this.  Employee side runs through the health plan. 
          4. Senator Follow Up: As long as someone is looking at the cost to serve and keeping that balanced. (A) Scope of service is on the website. We are designed to be short-term episodic.
          5. Senator: How are we addressing the counseling shortage? A) We recently lost 4 counselors and we are working on replacing them. We are hopeful that 2 or 3 will be filled in the next few weeks. We retain those who are interning with us each semester at a high rate.
          6. Senator: Are there programs where new students are getting to watch the Lived Experiences Documentary? (A) I’m not sure.
          7. Senator: Do you have updated references for advisors to approach students about health or counseling? (A) Every single appointment is holistic–not just about academics, but showing up for the whole student. Just ask people how they are to open the door.
          8. Senator: Did the report get sent out as I was only able to find it in the student scope email?(A) I am not sure but we can ask Jenn Walter to send that out.
          9. Senator: There are multiple cultures here and part of the issue students have is navigating these. (A) Thank you.
          10. Senator: Resources for faculty and staff, different affinity groups are great, but we talked a little bit about how to get people to prioritize their mental health in the workplace. We need to be creative to help them make social connections in the workplace to make sure people have time for these connections. Figuring out ways for them to balance their time for these social connections.
          11. Senator: I didn’t see anything regarding veterans and PTSD, I just want to make sure we have something for them too.
      2. Process for New Majors and Sunsetting Majors - Nathan French, Associate Professor and Lead Departmental Advisor, Religion and Carolyn Haynes, Senior Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives
        1. Goal: review policy, mainly the policies that are tied to academic curriculum changes as well as policies that are related to changing, combining or sunsetting departments. The Miami Student  (“Award winning”)has been covering the changes happening here at Miami. I can not stress enough as a member of a department and major that is low-enrolled that this is real, it is happening and it is coming. It is very important that we get this right, to be very clear in our questions and to document all of this as this will change Miami moving forward. 
        2. For those who aren’t in low-enrolled programs, listen to your colleagues. It’s not that we didn’t market hard enough or think about career impact, our major is real-world applicable, there just aren’t enough students enrolled. We do feel hidden in Miami’s marketing and we feel marginalized. 
        3. Encourage your students to see the courses that come out of this transformation. Think about areas where you might invite this expertise throughout your curriculum. Otherwise, retrenchment might be in our future and I don’t want to see that.
        4. Deadline for reports is the end of December, but we found out in August. This is tiring work.
        5. Like many universities Miami is facing unprecedented challenges. I have been here 30 years and have been through many provosts and this is by far the toughest time we have ever faced. It is due to many different factors. We know that liberal education and outcomes are incredibly important for our students no matter what their majoring in or profession. That is the Miami way and our value added.
        6. How do we advance liberal arts in new ways? How do we create a portfolio of new programs that will serve our students well and leverage our most precious resource here, which is our faculty? We cannot sustain  the low enrolled-majors. 
        7. Addressing the Dilemma of Low-Enrolled Programs – Advancing a New Vision
          1. Create a vision to leverage… We have to move away from high-profile low-enrolled stand alone majors.
          2. Responding to these unprecedented challenges by advancing a proactive, bold new vision for academic affairs that infuses the power of interdisciplinarity and collaboration into the way we teach, serve and work so that our graduates across all majors are ready to thrive as leaders in their professions and fields and enjoy a fulfilling life
          3. Streamlining and updating our academic program portfolio while advancing liberal arts outcomes across the curriculum 
        8. Options for Low-Enrolled Majors
          1. Ffocusing on minors, certificates that align with student demand
          2. Contributing to sites of innovation (Honors College, Miami Plan Signature Inquiry, Education Abroad, etc.)
          3. Offering “shared” core courses across multiple majors
          4. Combining stand-alone programs into one consolidated major with multiple concentrations
          5. Creating new interdisciplinary programs (majors, co-majors, certificates, minors)
          6. RCM mindset set a competitive culture
        9. Process
          1. Provost announced changes in a variety of venues, but took a personalized approach with individual departments and people. Announcements at Tea Time, academic administrator breakfast meetings, CAS Council of Chairs, Humanities Future Meetings
          2. Provost’s office and relevant deans met in person with relevant chairs to discuss options. 
          3. Provost will meet in person with faculty in affected departments upon request. 
          4. Associate Provost has been in communication with chairs offering consultation and exploring options
          5. Chairs and faculty explore options, consult with possible partners and develop general ideas for a plan by December 1. 
          6. Most already have generated creative, thoughtful possibilities. 
          7. Carolyn Haynes: This is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my career and this is personal to me. I myself have experienced this first hand as a faculty member of a program that was closed years ago due to low-enrollment, so I know how horrible this is for everyone involved. However, I have been incredibly impressed with my colleagues who are going through this and continue to address the issue with empathy, hope, and creativity. We have incredible faculty and leadership across our departments
          8. Be willing to collaborate. We are all in this together.
        10. Process Continued
          1. Once faculty, in consultation with the dean and provost, develop a proposal, they follow their normal governance process for curricular approval. If the plan is approved by the dept, they complete the appropriate proposal, submit the concept to MAPI (if new program) and then complete the proposal in the CIM system. 
          2. The proposal undergoes a normal approval process for all curriculum. 
          3. See “Changes in Academic Curriculum” section of Policy Library, particularly ” Eliminating or Revising a Degree, Major, Co-Major, Minor or Certificate” portion of policy.
          4. There is something here, but it’s minor from Nathan. Asking empathetic response.
        11. Process
          1. If the department cannot come to an agreement following their governance procedures, then the chair, dean or Provost can request the Senate Executive Committee to appoint a process coordinator who will ensure that the decision-making process is fair, deliberative, inclusive and transparent (see Senate Bylaws, Section 8A).
          2. This process includes multiple steps: (1) rationale; (2) timeline and impact analysis; (3) proposal and presentation to Senate and Deans.
          3. Once a decision is made, a proposal (if appropriate) can be submitted via CIM system.
          4. We’ve done this before and it’s worked really well. You try to pick a neutral mediator and it helps people problem-solve.
        12. What about departments?
          1. At this point, we are focusing on academic programs (majors). Some departments, however, are also thinking about new possibilities.
          2. Senate Bylaws, Section 8A applies if a department is eliminated, partitioned, transferred or consolidated. Section 8A outlines a similar Senate process with a chair, dean or Provost requesting the Senate Executive Committee to appoint a process coordinator to oversee the same type of deliberative, transparent, inclusive decision-making process.
        13. Support
          1. Existing
            1. HumanitiesFUTURES steering team will be holding workshops (workshop in November) or meetings each semester to provide support, generate new solutions and innovative curricular ideas. We asked that you come up with ideas by December.
            2. Miami Academic Program Incubator – guidelines for cross-dept and cross-divisional programs; EAB feasibility studies, Gray scorecards
          2. Future Needs
            1. Strategic, coordinated faculty development effort
            2. Refinement of Miami Plan to align with new vision
            3. Making minors, certificates, concentrations more visible
            4. Exploring new incentives and removing barriers for significant cross-dept collaborations
        14. Pan-Humanities Workshop - November 7, 2023 from 12:30-4:00 pm at the Shriver Center, Dolibois Rooms
        15. As a reminder for Senate, if a department elects to sunset a major, that will come to us through the consent calendar. If there is a decision to discuss that major it will have to be pulled from the consent calendar to do so. You may want to discuss this with the department first prior to just pulling it from the consent calendar so that you understand why they have decided to sunset the major.    
        16. Senator Question and Comments
          1. Senator: Where is the actual money being saved coming in? (A) The ability to be flexible, labor changes, it depends on which one is being done, and about the larger effort to be more flexible and resilient.
          2. Senator: So there isn’t a dollar amount that you know right now?(A) We are doing that analysis, but there is some cost-saving.
          3. Senator: I’m asking as a UPAC rep, this will there be cuts to classified and unclassified staff for cost savings have an impact on staffing? (A) Yes. It will vary from program to program. 
          4. Senator: Liberal Arts has been under attack for 15 years. Our students are a part of that conversation, pushed by parents, but we’ve yet come up with an institutional strategy to face this existential threat of Liberal Arts or even the term itself Liberal Arts being under attack and I think we really need to have that conversation?(A) I agree we have got to have a new vision.
          5. Senator: There are social sciences and interdisciplinary studies caught up in this too, who are marginalized by referring to this as arts and humanities? (A) That is why we need your help in how we craft this new vision.
          6. Senator: If there is money being saved, when will Senate see those financial justifications? (A) I will pass that on to get confirmation as I want to get clarification on that before fully responding.
          7. Senator Follow-Up: It seems like if we are making advance decisions based on money or legislation that hasn’t passed yet, that it is a very vague justification so it would be good to have harder evidence. (A) The decision to reconsider low-enrolled programs is not part of the legislative action. That action impacts the Miami Plan changes.
          8. Senator Follow-Up: But if the reason isn’t cost? (A) The reason is cost and flexibility. Those are also questions that the senate could ask the process coordinator about. 
          9. Senator: Parents and students come in very career-oriented. Is there a way Miami could develop Career-plus packages that get added on to an existing major? A model would be what we do for pre-medical/pre-health. Could we design a career plus program? (A) Yeah. That’s a great idea and that HumanitiesFUTURES group will be discussing that.
          10. Senator: Have you considered our competitive set that they are about half of our majors and programs. How many majors do we need across the state of Ohio to fund publicly?(A) There is research like that, 70% of our students are in 30 majors. The rest of it is spreading resources across it. Think about where we can share better. Have fewer majors, more collaboration. When you are also trying to retain faculty, it is harder to imagine cost savings, though I believe there will be cost savings there.
          11. Senator:  The process itself really shapes the outcome. When we use data from EAB and Grey’s, that might have an impact on the outcome. Are we sure that the process itself won’t determine the outcome? (A) We don’t go by external data exclusively, it is just data that we use.
          12. Senator: Is this  about programs? (A) That slide regarding the policy library is about curriculum. If a department gets to a gridlocked position, they can request a coordinator. 
          13. Senator: This is a reality across this nation and I am glad that someone that has gone through this is handling this now. How are we going to make it better this time based on your previous experience? (A) I think the difference is that we have historically only added programs. We haven’t looked systemically at our portfolio (that I am aware of). What I’ve seen is that you get an edict. The whole idea is that it’s relational and collaborative. We want to come to an understanding that is inclusive, transparent, and in person. That’s the difference.
          14. Senator: Is there anything folks outside of humanities can do to help? (A) What I’m most worried about is not even the Liberal Arts faculty, it’s the faculty from programs with higher enrollments not being willing to collaborate. Because the curriculum is controlled by the faculty, there isn’t anything I can do to overcome that. 
          15. Presenter: Ask your students: What do you think makes you different from someone in a non-Liberal Arts program?
          16. Presenter: Thinking about some of our professional majors, the value added is the more liberal arts focus. Are there ways you can collaborate with your colleagues that will add to a student's life-long success and happiness?
      3. Change in Voting Laws Announcement - Liz Wardle, Co-President for the League of Women Voters
        1. November 2023 Election: Voting Code Changes & Impact for Students (Link provided in slide)
        2. Ohio’s New Voting Law HB 458
          1. The legislature passed HB 458 a lame duck session in December and made sweeping changes to voting rights in Ohio. 
          2. In early January 2023, the Ohio governor signed HB 458.
          3. There has been no voter education by the Secretary of State about the changes.
        3. Deadline for Registering to Vote: Ohio has a 30-day voter registration requirement-you must register 30 days before election. Deadline for November election is this Wed: October 11
        4. To Register To Vote You Need:
          1. Online: An unexpired Ohio BMV-issued driver’s license or ID card - 
          2. On paper: Last four digits of your social security number
        5. To Vote In Person in Ohio You Now Need:
          1. One of these unexpired forms of ID:
            1. Ohio driver’s license
            2. Ohio BMV-issued ID card (now free)
            3. US Military/Dept of Veterans Affairs, or Ohio National Guard ID
            4. A US passport
        6. You Can No Longer Vote in Person In Ohio Using:
          1. The last four digits of your social security number
          2. A copy of a photo ID or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or other form of government ID
          3. This will likely impact many students, especially out-of-state students
        7. Out-of-State College Students Who Want to Vote In Person in Ohio:
          1. If they are from another state and have kept that state’s driver’s license, they would have to give it up to get the Ohio ID (even the general ID that is not a driver’s license)
          2. If they give up their out-of-state ID, there may be an impact on their current residency status and/or their financial aid package. They should check before acting. 
          3. They can vote in person with a passport without giving up their ID from another state.
        8. Voting With Absentee Ballot In Ohio
          1. Absentee (mail-in) voting does not have the same ID requirements as in-person voting: Students can cast a ballot by mail without needing an Ohio ID and thus without giving up their driver’s license from another state. They must provide the last four digits of their social security number on the absentee ballot. 
          2. Recommended for out of state students!
        9. It is Now More Challenging to Request an Absentee Ballot
          1. Voters must print a request to receive an absentee ballot and pay the postage (in the last few elections the SoS mailed every voter the request form).
          2. Voters must mail the request to their county board of elections and pay for postage or drop it off at BoE; (SoS no longer provides postage-paid, pre-printed envelopes).
          3. Voters must request an absentee ballot 7 days before election (previously this was 3 days). October 31 is the deadline to request. 
          4. Ballot cannot be requested online; form must be printed
        10. Help Students Request Absentee Ballots: You can print out absentee ballot requests, and help students fill them out and return them; deadline is October 31. Printing and postage are barriers for students. 
        11. Returning Absentee Ballots
          1. Return by mail:  Must be postmarked by the day before the election and received within four days of the election
          2. Drop off at Board of Elections by 7:30pm on Election day; do not drop it off at a polling place
          3. HB 458 allows only one drop off box in each county, which might require a far drive for some voters (for Butler County, the drop off is the BoE: 1802 Princeton Rd, Hamilton)
        12. You Can’t Return Absentee Ballots For Your Students/Friends
          1. Only a “near relative” can drop off a ballot for someone else: spouse or the voter’s father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, or sister of the whole or half blood, or the son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece.
          2. Do not return ballots for your students or friends. In Ohio this will now be considered voter fraud. 
        13. What Should You Do Right Now? Tell Your Students:
          1. If not registered, get registered to vote today or tomorrow!   
            1. Register online with an Ohio driver’s license or BMV-issued ID card. 
            2. Register via paper with the last 4 of SSN; voter registration forms can be printed from the Secretary of State website and returned to the Board of Elections in person. 
            3. You can print voter registration forms and return them for your students to the BoE
          2. If they want to vote in Ohio: Do they have an Ohio BMV-issued ID or passport?
            1. Yes? They can vote in person, early or on election day.
            2. No? Request an absentee ballot immediately by going to
        14. If Students Need Help Getting BMV-Issued ID: VoteRiders works with voters, both virtually and in-person, to ensure they have the ID they need to cast a ballot that counts. They provide personalized assistance for voters, including:
          1. Covering the cost of required documents (like birth certificates or Social Security cards) and ID
          2. Arranging and paying for transportation to their local ID-issuing office
          3. Answering questions about their state’s voter ID laws
          4. Providing pro bono legal assistance with certain document issues
        15. Note: Early In-Person Voting Times Have Been Compressed
        16. Miami Democracy Bus: Ride to Early Vote or Drop Off Absentee Ballot Saturday, Nov 4:
          1. Bus from campus to BOE for early voting  
          2. 10:30 - 1:30 (length depending on lines) 
          4. Contact Mollie Duffy with questions: duffyme4@miamioh.ed
        17. Upcoming Events
          1. Wednesday, Oct 11: Candidate Forum, 7-9pm, The Knolls
          2. Wednesday, Oct 25: Take Action for Democracy, 7-9pm, Howe Center, King Library
        18. Stay informed
          1. (Election info from Secretary of State)
          2. (Find your ballot and issue overviews from League of Women Voters)
        19. Question and Comments
          1. Senator: Just to make sure out of state students may still be interested in their own states elections? (A) Yes, that is completely fine, but if they are considering this their primary residence and want to vote here they are eligible to vote here which can be a source of confusion for many.
  6. Adjournment