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Senate Summary | December 2019

If you missed the December Academic Senate meeting, then read all the highlights here.

If you missed the Academic Senate meeting on Dec. 2, 2019, or need a refresher, then keep reading for the highlights from the meeting. For more information on the Academic Senate, click here.



President Ruth V. Watkins shared the university’s selection as a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, an invitation-only group of 65 institutions at the forefront of academic excellence. The president also noted the ceremonial groundbreaking on Nov. 30 for the Ken Garff Performance Zone that will add seats and make other improvements to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Watkins also provided an overview of the new For Utah Scholarship and a grant the U received from the Office on Violence Against Women to better coordinate services and develop comprehensive prevention strategies.


ASUU President Anna Barnes updated the Senate on how active ASUU was in November.

For a completer update from ASUU, click here.

Notice of Intent Calendar

Moving Expense Policy revision

Interim Associate Vice President of Financial and Business Services Laura Howat, Deputy Chief HR Officer Wendy Petersen and Payroll Associate Director Susie Bird presented on the deletion of Policy 3-032: Reimbursement of Payment of Moving Expenses, and the replacement of the policy with guidelines attached to Policy 5-403: Additional Compensation and Overload Policy.

They propose to delete from the University Regulations Library existing Policy 3-032, which has become obsolete as a result of changes made in federal law. The changes to federal law resulted in the university implementing a new process for departments assisting new employees with expenses of relocation. The new process is administered by Financial and Business Services and Human Resources, and details of the process will be described in detail in a guidance document which is being attached under Policy 5-403.

The Senate voted to move this item to the Jan. 6, 2020, Debate Calendar.

Debate Calendar

B.A. and B.S. in Biochemistry proposal

Vahe Bandarian, professor of chemistry, presented on the proposal to establish B.A./B.S. in Biochemistry degrees in the Department of Chemistry. The degrees would incorporate core courses in chemistry, math and physics, but be distinct from the Department of Biology emphasis in that it will provide significant flexibility to the students to fashion the degree to meet their educational objectives.

Click here to read the proposal.

The degrees were approved by the Senate.

Information and Recommendations Calendar

Graduate Council 7-year Program Reviews

Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies

The Department of OTRT was formed in 2017 during the College of Health reorganization. The review highlighted the success of merging groups together, as well as increasing emphasis on research and scholarship. Student retention and outcomes are impressive. Recommendations include addressing a shortage of space and the need for more faculty.

Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry

The Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry is nationally renowned but faces the challenge of maintaining this prominence as senior faculty members retire. With searches for a new chair and new faculty members underway or planned, there is an opportunity to improve diversity at the faculty ranks. The doctoral training program in the department is rigorous, with strong outcomes and active continuous improvement efforts.

Presented by Graduate School Associate Dean Katie Ullman.

University Athletics Compliance Update

Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Kate Charipar gave an update on the national issue of student-athletes’ gaining the ability to use their name, image, and likeness, as well as a brief update on national admissions issues.

Click here for more information.


Student Mental Health at the U and Resources for Faculty

Vice President for Student Affairs Lori McDonald, Ph.D., and University Counseling Center Director Lauren Weitzman, Ph.D., provided an overview of student mental health concerns at the U, along with University Counseling Center utilization and client improvement data. University resources for faculty to assist in supporting students in distress were also identified.

Click here for more information.