University Senate - September 11, 2023 Minutes

Meeting Minutes
September 11, 2023

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., in 111 Harrison Hall on Monday, September 11, 2023. Members absent:  Kenya Ash, Steven Elliott, John Forren, Venus Harvey, Yong Lin, Troy Travis

  1. Call to Order and Announcements and Remarks – Tracy Haynes, Chair of University Senate Executive Committee
    1. Thank you for attending the Senate Retreat. We had great discussions during the retreat that were centered around AI, Academic Freedom vs. Freedom of Speech, CODI, and the curriculum approval process. 
      1. Senate Executive Committee will push for next steps for all of those discussions so you can be looking forward to hearing some more about those. 
      2. We had overwhelming support to continue our working sessions. John Forren has graciously offered to work the Senate working sessions, but we just need to have one more volunteer.
      3. We had great conversations about current practices and keeping our meetings effective and organized and balancing them to make them a comfortable environment so that everyone can feel like they can speak. We are going to change a few things and if you look at the back of your name plate you will notice cheat sheets as we felt this would help.
      4. We wanted to make sure we can keep a better handle on making sure that everyone gets a turn to speak, so this means allowing everyone to speak once before speaking again. So the chair elect will help during busy discussions to help ensure everyone gets their turn.
  2. Approval of University Senate Minutes 
    1. University Senate Full Meeting Minutes_05.01.2023  (Results: 49-Yes, 00-No, 01-Abstain)
      1. Revisions made to the absentee list and to correct a typo in Old Business from 05.01.2023
  3. Consent Calendar - The following items were received and accepted on the Consent Calendar:
    1. Curricular Items_09.06.2023
    2. Graduate Council Minutes_08.31.2023 
    3. LEC Meeting Minutes_08.29.2023
  4. New Business
    1. Establishment of Centers & Institutes Policy Proposal,  Carolyn Haynes, Senior Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives - Presentation only; Discussion and Anticipated Vote on September 25, 2023
      1. Rationale
        1. While establishment guidelines have existed for a number of years on the Office of Research website, they were not easy to locate, leading some to develop units without following procedures.
        2. Guidelines were enhanced to align with practice and HLC accreditation expectations, clarify gaps, and follow standard protocols used at other universities.
        3. Creating a policy opens the opportunity to review and update what we do and to advance shared governance.
      2. Process
        1. Existing guidelines discussed by academic deans and revised (mostly to clarify points)
        2. Deans were encouraged to share guidelines with appropriate persons, including those involved in centers & institutes
        3. Academic Policy Committee reviewed and approved
        4. Council of Academic Deans reviewed and approved.
      3. Summary
        1. Terms (“center” and “institute”) are defined with institutes having the opportunity for a more formal role - e.g., the capacity to offer credit-bearing curricula or serve as an umbrella for other centers. 
        2. Approval process which includes proposal template and approval by chair, dean, vice president (if applicable) as well as Council of Academic Deans and Provost. 
        3. Heads of the unit report to dean (if in division) or to Provost if not housed in division.
      4. Other Criteria for Centers & Institutes
        1. Must use appropriate branding, follow MU polices & procedures
        2. Must have director responsible for overseeing unit
        3. Faculty affiliated with unit retain rights/ privileges of appointment in their home department; annual reviews should take into account center or institute contributions
        4. Annual report submitted to supervisor and Office of Provost
        5. Discontinuance can be done voluntarily;  if disagreement occurs, Senate Bylaws, Section 8.A applies
      5. Additional Items
        1. Centers can be research-oriented or service/ consultation-oriented or a combination. Staff and faculty can be assigned to centers and institutes. 
        2. Research centers are expected to secure external funds for operation. 
        3. Institutes must have an external advisory board. 
        4. More enhanced guidelines that include proposal and report templates will be available on the website.
      6. Senator Questions
        1. Senator: I noticed that some things in here contradicts the recent budget House Bill. What are your thoughts about that? (A) Law trumps our policies. The Ohio Legislature does not follow these guidelines but we will still make sure we follow that law. It is a Center, but it is not a center in the way that we perceive a center. We will have to follow the law as it applies to us.
        2. Senator: The Law doesn’t mention what happens when the 2 million dollars runs out and I feel like that could be problematic. I hope the financial viability applies. (A) I couldn’t agree more.
        3. Senator: Did the previous approval process name centers University Centers, or did it leave room for departmental or divisional centers?(A) They all have to be University approved so that is no change.
        4. Senator: An institute might be a way for a department to rethink their curriculum. You use existing resources, declare the institute and go from there?(A) Yes it is very similar..
        5. Senator: Point 2 and 3 in additional criteria …point 2 isn’t necessary if point 3 holds. Point two and three are both about using the branding. Can we get rid of Point 2? Also, for annual reports, can Centers/Institutes use reports they already submit to funders instead of writing a separate or new report? (A) Typically that is what was happening.  So, yes we will try to work with them on this.
  5. Special Reports 
    1. BaShaun Smith, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
      1. Our Mission: The office of the Dean of Students provides care, support, and advocacy through student-centered programs, services, and resources to foster growth, learning, and success. 
      2. ODOS Staff
        1. BaShaun Smith, Dean of Students
        2. Tim Parsons, Associate Dean of Students
        3. Cecilie McGhehey Assistant Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator
        4. Alex Woods, Assistant Dean of Students
        5. Ben Williams, Assistant Dean of Students
        6. Taylor Tuggle, Administrative Assistant
      3. Office of the Dean of Students - Lines of Service
        1. Title IX Reporting & Support
        2. Student of Concern
        3. Bias Incident Response
        4. Medical Withdrawals
        5. Care Team
        6. No Contact Directives
        7. Faculty Notifications
        8. Special Events Funding
        9. Adaptable Resolution
        10. Faculty & Staff Consultation
        11. Mediation and Capacity Building
      4. More Than Lines of Service: We not only respond when students face unexpected challenges, but we also coach, guide, and walk with students in moments of thriving as well. We focus on the holistic perspective.
      5. Duty to Report: The duty to report includes administrators, supervisors, managers, faculty and staff. Graduate Assistants (GAs), Resident Assistants (RAs), Student Orientation Undergraduate Leaders (SOULs) and student managers in Campus Services are also required to report. 
      6. How to Report?
        1. Title IX Coordinator: or 513-529-7157
        2. ODOS: or 513-529-1877
        3. MUPD: 513-529-2222
        4. When in doubt… Ask for help
      7. Senator Question and Comments
        1. Senator: Kudos to your office and endorsement of their services that they offer. I had an experience with your office last year that went well. Thank you for all you provide and do.(A) I’ll let my staff know, thank you so much for that.
        2. Senator: Are you noticing more students that are missing classes due to illnesses? (A) Covid is popping its head up and with students following protocol students they may be missing classes and we are encouraging them to communicate that with faculty when that occurs. That is what we have been seeing on the illness side of the health center, but that is all that we have seen.
        3. Senator: When someone reports something, what is the time frame for action? (A) Really depends on the setting if it is a resident hall or classrooms is another thing. Based on if the student wants to go with the formal route or informal route, we set up an appointment to discuss and see if they want to go with the formal route or pursue any supportive measures. Overall 24 hours even on the weekend we take reports pretty seriously.
        4. Senator: Last year, the Senate discussed the event of a student death. We heard that we let the family lead and may not put an announcement out to faculty or larger community? (A) This doesn’t mean no communication occurs, in fact, a lot is handled on the back end along with coordination between offices.  This is out of care for the family so that we are being as respectful  as possible. For example, we wouldn’t want families to receive an ill-timed message from billing. We try to be just caring so that parents are not getting surprised during their grieving process
        5. Senator: What about cases where a student approaches you about rumors/slander that are circulating about them that they are stating are false claims–do we have a duty to report? What if an event was never actually reported and this rumor was circulating and it is affecting the students reputation/credibility? (A) Report on the side of caution to make sure that we can ensure that it is just a rumor and not actually true. It is a safer way for us to investigate it and figure it out. 
    2. EMSS/Admissions Update, Brent Shock, Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Success and Bethany Perkins, Assistant Vice President and Director of Admission
      1. Fall 2023 First-Year Confirmations Residency
        1. 2021 - Non-Resident 1,655, Domestic Non-Resident 1,580, International 75, Ohio Resident 2.929, with a Grand total of 4,584
        2. 2022 - Non-Resident 1,545, Domestic Non-Resident 1,460, International 85, Ohio Resident 2.512, with a Grand total of 4,057
        3. 2023 - Non-Resident 1,479, Domestic Non-Resident 1,423, International 56, Ohio Resident 2.489, with a Grand total of 3,968
        4. 2022 to 2023 - Non-Resident -4.%, Domestic Non-Resident -2.5%, International -34.1%, Ohio Resident -0.9%, with a Grand total of -2.2%
      2. Fall 2023 Demographic and Quality Measures
        1. 2021 - Average GPA 3.84, Average ARS 14.1, Average Test Score 26.9, Students of Color 13.4%, First Generation 13.7%
        2. 2022 - Average GPA 3.89, Average ARS 13.8, Average Test Score 26.8, Students of Color 14.1%, First Generation 16.3%
        3. 2021 - Average GPA 3.84, Average ARS 13.3, Average Test Score 26.2, Students of Color 14.7%, First Generation 17.7%
      3. Special Populations
        1. Class of 2026 - Honors College 476, Pathways 87, Bridges Scholars 208, Summer Scholars 117, Presidential Fellows 18
        2. Class of 2027 - Honors College 452, Pathways 100, Bridges Scholars 214, Summer Scholars 126, Presidential Fellows 13
      4. Fall 2023 Tactics Update and Results
        1. Update - Executed all key tactics for 2023
          1. Expand digital marketing and physical presence out-of-state and internationally
          2. Increase digital advertising and creating aura of selectivity for events
          3. Increase name purchases across all high school years to grow the top of the funnel
          4. Identify high impact counselors and invite to Counselor Advisory Board and other programs
          5. Recruit institutional partners for Consortium Travel
          6. Reimagine the campus visit experience
          7. Reimagine high-achieving student yield event
          8. Combine undergraduate and graduate recruiting internationally
        2. Strategy: Increase Prestige By Decreasing Admit Rate - Increase application pool 27% by 2026 and Decrease admit rate 2% each year (see graph in slideshow presentation).
      5. Strategy is to Focus on Highest Yielding Activity - Visits: Re-imagine key on-campus events maximize attendance.  Increase attendance from 2,800 to 3,000. Increase MIM yield from 56% to 60%. Refine and Increase Daily Visits. Increase daily visitors by 8%. Increase application rate of visitors from 85% to 89%.
        1. Yield for Scholarship Interview Day attached to Make it Miami event is 35.7%, 22.9% percentage points higher than overall yield for Honors students
        2. Make it Miami attendance decreased by 2.6%, and yield increased by 1.5% to 57.5%
        3. Campus visitors declined by 6.9% representing a national trend in visiting prior to admission, and 82.5% of Class of 2023 visitors applying post-visit. 
      6. Affirmative Action Update and Next Steps: Affirmative Action in Admission
        1. Recap of SCOTUS decision
        2. Miami Working Group: Admission, General Counsel, Five academic divisions
        3. College Board Landscape
        4. Initial Modeling Results
        5. Implications for the Future
      7. Fall 2024 and Beyond: Building a Foundation Amidst Uncertainty
        1. Landscape: Certainties and Uncertainties
          1. Certainties: Fewer Students, Significant growth in historically underrepresented populations, Top institutions, in particular flagship publics, rely more on domestic for NTR
          2. Uncertainties: College Board decreases in name availability, USNWR changing ranking calculations, Affirmative Action decision, Senate Bill 83 
        2. Recruitment and Yield in Future Classes
          1. The Bad News: In Ohio, Miami must distinguish ourselves in new ways, We cannot depend on undergraduate revenue to meet our goals, Students have really good options - at the admitted stage.
          2. The Good News: Regional and targeted advertising show immediate and long-term returns, Opportunity in revenue-generating grad programs is promising, We have a large funnel, and students are opting in at a high rate. 
          3. For Fall 2024, inquiries are already up 11% to date. For Fall 2025, inquiries are up 32% to date. 
        3. Moving Forward
          1. Increasing and elevating campus visit experiences and crucial
          2. Early outreach and immersive experiences must expand to achieve diversity goals
          3. We are expanding international recruitment, with in-country staff, travel, expiration of emerging markets, and additional agency agreements. 
          4. Miamis is investing in brand awareness and differentiation both in our backyard and key national markets
          5. Improving the process and increasing enrollments in graduate and transfer will be primary ways to increase revenue moving forward. 
      8. Senator Question and Comments
        1. Senator: Affirmative Action if our student body reflects the growth in our population, MU is going to be more diverse. How do we expand our pipelines into diverse and local students/school systems? (A) In the past, we’ve tasked our DEI team with too much, so we’ve adjusted the position and now have someone who is building pipelines and outreach programs and coordinating efforts. It’s not a good look when more than one person reaches out to coordinate a program, so this person will have that as a sole focus. 
        2. Senator: Gratitude for 30 years of Service to VP Shock. 
        3. How do students outside of the university perceive us? (A) It’s not great. They still know us as a public ivy, which is great as long as it’s elite, not elitist. We are also living under the shadow of our admit rate during COVID. We need to tie the quality of our programs with a more accurate admit rate. Word of mouth is still strong and that is because our Brand is still strong. However, across the country the tide is shifting from liberal arts towards more job-focused and career-ready programs. Regardless if we like that or not that is the mindset of students right now. 
    3. Humanities Futures Committee and Initiatives, Tim Melley, Director of the Humanities Center and Liz Mullenix, Provost & Executive Vice President
      1. Taskforce Structure
        1. Steering Committee: Liz Mullenix, Carolyn Haynes, Renee Baernstein, Ron Becker, Pepper Stetler, Steve Conn, Tim Melley. 
        2. Faculty Volunteers
        3. Community Input: Focus Groups and Collaborative Exercises will be used throughout the year to solicit broad input.
      2. Guiding Questions
        1. This is not a new problem, there is existing and valuable data on career outcomes for people in humanities, that’s not the problem. It’s a problem because it’s a perceived problem.
        2. How, in the current climate can we ensure that Miami continues to advance liberal arts outcomes (e.g., thinking critically, expressing ideas persuasively, understanding other cultures, developing the capacity to prove enduring questions)?
        3. How can we strengthen humanities departments, curriculum, and programing?
        4. Can we better communicate the value of a liberal arts education?
        5. How can we make humanities courses and degrees more attractive to students?
        6. More central to their Miami education?
        7. How do we help students identify directions they might be heading, even if they are in a major that isn’t directly related to that outcome? It takes them through curriculum and experiences that are adjacent to those goals.
        8. Is the brand still a liberal arts brand? Even if it’s not something that families are thinking about–they are on a vocational path–it’s something that is important to me and we are a liberal arts brand, but it’s going to look differently going forward. That’s what this group is about. It’s student demand for STEM, how do we adapt to that paradigm shift? That’s important to me as the Provost.
      3. Humanities Futures Focus Areas
        1. Curriculum
        2. Communication
        3. Careers
      4. Develop New Curriculum
        1. Interdisciplinary majors that are collaboratively designed and administered and draw core courses from different departments
        2. Innovative cross-departmental and cross-campus majors with shared core courses and various  concentrations in related but different fields. The LAMP program at Indiana is an example. 
        3. Applied Minors & Certificates
        4. Contributions to the Miami Plan and the Honors College
        5. Strategic pairings between high-enrolled majors and relevant humanities majors, minors, or certificates
        6. Innovative Workshop Courses and Winer Term Offerings
        7. We are trying to support curriculum rethinking within the humanities. How to maintain the integrity of what we are teaching and discipline while achieving more efficiency. Finding more ways to be more flexible to prevent more low enrolled classes. So that when students come here we show them we have a support system ready to support them for their career readiness.  That we also have a curriculum ready for them to support that development. We need to ensure that we meet people in this space. 
        8. I encourage all you to look at what is called the program finder as I find this very fascinating. As I feel like this could be improved and would help.
        9. As we do this work it is not just about the university and low enrolled majors, it is about the entire university and us rethinking what the liberal education looks like for 2023 and for the next 50 years and that is a question mark that I would like everyone to think about. Should we infuse more humanities into existing majors and how to infuse more of that across the university. This is a collective problem that we need to work to solve together and not just a problem for a few departments.
      5. Support Curriculum Review: Supply external models of innovation, efficiency, disciplinary integrity, student interest.  Curricular Mapping Exercises to strengthen key outcomes and possible efficiencies:
        1. Prioritize Key Outcomes
        2. Simplify Requirement Pathways
        3. Enhance Flexibility and Reduce Redundancy/Overlap
        4. Collaborate with Other Areas
        5. Reducing Staffing Challenges and Under-enrolled Courses
        6. Emphasize Career Readiness
        7. Communicate Value
      6. Improve Communication and Outreach
        1. Enhance the way Miami communicates the value of liberal arts education to students and families
        2. Enhance student recruiting and outreach efforts for interested high school students, new matriculants, returning students, and families. 
        3. Develop new communications materials and portable language for use in departmental websites, social media sites, and internal events such as Make it Miami.
        4. Identify institutional structures that may inadvertently direct students away from liberal arts subjects.
      7. Strengthen Career Guidance
        1. HumanitiesWorks started as a Humanities Center-CAS-CEES collaboration.
        2. Work will continue on the original goals of the program:
          1. Provide evidence of humanities degree outcomes nationally and at MU
          2. Integrate career readiness advising into humanities degrees
          3. Provide families with a clear sense outcomes and support for their students
        3. Departments can contribute by
          1. Tracking alumni careers and developing alumni contacts
          2. Endorsing departmental career readiness plans for their students
          3. Communicating career data and outcomes
          4. Communicating to families a commitment to career readiness
        4. Is there an aspect of our curriculum that speaks to the large questions from humanities? Should we have a stronger infusion of humanities into our university? It’s a collective problem that we need to solve together.
      8. Senator Question and Comments
        1. Senator: Universities are finding ways to incorporate humanities and social sciences into more occupational majors. We need to have cross-divisional conversations. (A) That is part of the goal to have those conversations to help support each other.
        2. Senator: Our frame of reference is different from everyone else. Liberal is a word that is sometimes used pejoratively. Can we call this “classic education” or something else to attract people who will not do the research to uncover what it means? (A) The word Liberal is not actually the best selling point and we are aware of that. 
        3. Senator: Can this work inform international recruitment? (A) Thanks. Yes.
        4. Senator: We aren’t built for innovation. The curriculum process is laborious. Maybe the senate can help with those processes. (A) I think that is really important and what this group has talked about regarding changes would be ambitious and could take years and now we have to do it under a short time period. So that is something that we will have to keep in mind.
        5. Senator: Majors have justified having research faculty. However, now we might lose the argument to hire research faculty. How might we preserve programs where research faculty interact? (A) I was hoping we could start and get a year or two ahead of what we were anticipating as budget cuts and etc. We are looking at eliminating some low enrolled majors and it is a very difficult decision and process. . We should work swiftly to make immediate progress. We don’t want to retrench faculty, so we need to rethink liberal education in the 21st century. We need to express the humanities in new ways that haven’t done before.
  6. Provost Updates
    1. We eliminated 14 support staff members that report up through the Provost over the summer and by doing so we have saved over a million dollars, but it was a very painful decision made this summer.
    2. I encourage all faculty to go to the Conversation Pitch Party on Wednesday at College@Elm at 4pm. And share your research with the editors there as it is a great opportunity and great for our Miami brand too.
    3. I will report more on Ohio Law at a later time. 
  7. Adjournment