By Casey S. Elliott
Faculty Senate suspended its rules Monday night and approved a resolution seeking changes to the committee leading the search for Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl's successor.
Krendl has announced her resignation, effective June 30, to accept the presidency of Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio.
President Roderick J. McDavis has extended invitations to 23 individuals to serve on the search committee, to be chaired by Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College Rathindra Bose, a professor of biomedical sciences, chemistry and biochemistry. Committee members' names have not been announced because not all invitees have yet responded, Rebecca Watts, chief of staff and special assistant to the president, said this morning.
As currently invited, committee members would include one Classified Senate representative; one Administrative Senate representative; two undergraduate students (including a student trustee); one graduate student; two other trustees; six faculty members, including a distinguished professor; five deans; four executive staff members; and a representative of the university's Caucus of Educators and Staff of African Descent.
Faculty Senate Chair Sergio Lopez-Permouth brought the resolution forward on behalf of the senate's executive committee, saying the proposed committee structure violates the Faculty Handbook. The resolution states that because the position is an academic appointment in that the executive vice president and provost serves as the chief academic officer, a faculty member should chair the committee, the majority of which should be faculty members (not a handbook provision), and the size should range from six to 14 members, (a "reasonable range," according to the Faculty Handbook).
McDavis said he will take the senate's concerns into consideration. He also said he is considering naming a faculty co-chair in addition to Bose -- a message he also conveyed earlier Monday to the senate's executive committee.
McDavis stated that faculty have more representation on the committee than any other group.
"There will be ample opportunity for the faculty to have input in the (selection) process," he said.
Neither the Faculty Handbook nor university policy include provisions for the EVPP position, to which Krendl was named in May 2007.
Several senators expressed a desire for more faculty members on the committee because the provost has influence in faculty tenure, employment and other decisions.
Before voting, senators amended the resolution to include language that urges faculty members not to serve on the search committee unless the chair of the committee is a faculty member, the majority of the members are faculty and the group ranges in size from six to 14 members. The resolution also calls on academic units not to offer tenure options to the person hired unless those practices are followed.
A second resolution, which Senator Ken Brown introduced for first reading, seeks to roll back employee health care premiums to July 2007 levels because that year's premium increase was not approved by Faculty Senate, as spelled out in the Faculty Handbook. It also asks that contributions exceeding the 2007 amounts be returned to employees in the form of a "premium holiday."
Earlier in the evening, McDavis accepted responsibility for the error, saying he is working with budget officials to attempt to resolve the issue.
"The Faculty Handbook procedures were not followed, and I accept the responsibility as president," he said. "I acknowledge that it was my mistake."
Brown added later that Faculty Senate shared some responsibility for not recognizing the procedure. However, he felt a statement needed to be made to ensure the Faculty Handbook regulations are followed in the future.
Other faculty members expressed a desire to hold off on the resolution to give McDavis time to rectify the problem.
In other business, the senate approved:
- A resolution to change Faculty Handbook language on syllabus statements regarding academic integrity. The change would require academic misconduct statements on syllabi to include a definition of academic misconduct, possible sanctions, student appeal options and the potential for additional sanctions through University Judiciaries.
- A resolution to change Faculty Handbook language on academic dishonesty to cite the appropriate policies related to academic misconduct and how the university addresses it.
- A resolution to change Faculty Handbook language on grade appeals involving academic misconduct. The changes would require faculty and students to document their allegations and refutations in writing and include supporting documentation, in accordance with the grade appeal process followed by the college or unit.