ABSTRACT of Faculty Senate November 9, 2009

Daniel Larner, Faculty Senate President, called the 2009-2010 Senate to order at 4:03 pm.  Senators accepted Senate minutes of October 12, 2009 and Standing Committee minutes. Senators postponed acceptance of Academic Technology Committee minutes of 10/21/09 pending clarification of a proposal to “outsource email”. 

·         President Larner and the Executive Council are working on a charge for a potential graduate advisory committee which will come to the Senate for debate. 

·         President Shepard reported 1) that he is making the argument to legislators that even a best case scenario cut of 2% is ridiculous; 2) Shepard’s offer of space and student volunteers to the Whatcom Middle School was appreciated by the community; 3) Shepard plans to move forward with the search to fill Buff Schoenfeld’s position; 5) Shepard will attend Veterans’ Day ceremonies with the Vice Presidents.

·         Provost Riordan caught the attention of the legislature with the argument that we normally hire 30 faculty but this year we hired only three. While there is no hiring freeze Deans are urged to be cautious, and to fit projects under themes that might be part of next year’s fundraising campaign. 

·         Marsha Riddle Buly, Senate Legislative Liaison, urged faculty to publicize data that shows that while other aspects of education get legislative funding the public baccalaureates are down 7.3%.  Washington State ranks 48th in the country in the public’s participation in 4-year college degrees, but leads the nation in the percentage of our students who graduate.  Riddle Buly suggested each college choose a month and ensure that several of their faculty show up at local town hall meetings.  Students too need to learn about higher education issues.

·         Ramon Rinonos-Diaz reported the following: 1) students are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Viking Union; 2) 300 students voted in the Bellingham elections using campus ballot boxes; 3) the AS is writing a specific charter to reflect student partnership with the university.

·         Steven Garfinkel, UFWW President, reported on 1) combined efforts of the four regionals to leverage as many contacts as possible with legislators; 2) Bill Lyne’s blog site has useful information and many hits at http://www.ufws.org/blog ; 3) bargaining units will be working to get a seat at the table of state bodies that determine medical fees.

·         Constituent Concerns:  1) The Seattle Opera young artists will perform at the PAC on Friday evening at 7:30; 2) a campus safety officer is not allowing faculty who teach in Humanities to be dropped off; 3) WTA is holding a board meeting 11/19 to discuss loss of certain bus routes; 4) the “Course Reaction Survey” ordering process ought to be automated and the question of class evaluations brought to the bargaining table.  Shepard commented that students have the right to evaluate their classes, but that these surveys are used improperly to evaluate teaching when there is a lack of more meaningful alternatives such as peer review.

·         Senators heard Steven VanderStaay, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, report on his current initiatives including review of First Year programs and Honors; Assessment and Accreditation plans; the alignment of data reports with departmental needs; and review of VPUE program directors. 

·         Senators adjourned at 5:40 pm.

APPOINTMENTS AND ELECTIONS – Chuck Lambert, Appointments Officer

Vacancies:  Cold Beverage Awards committee (2-3 faculty).  This committee is involved in negotiating the contract for cold beverages for the university and is different from the committee that awards beverage funds for campus speakers.