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Senate Summary | March 29, 2021

If you missed the Academic Senate meeting on March 29, 2021, or need a refresher, then keep reading for the highlights from the meeting.

If you missed the Academic Senate meeting on March 29, 2021, or need a refresher, then keep reading for the highlights from the meeting. For more information on the Academic Senate, click here.


Senate Resolution of Appreciation for Ruth V. Watkins

A Senate Resolution of Appreciation for Ruth V. Watkins was presented. Read the full resolution here.

Debate Calendar

Provisional Behavioral Health Innovation and Dissemination Center

Brian Baucom, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical psychology, presented the following.

The university has incredible strength in a wide range of issues involved in and resulting from mental and behavioral health problems. However, this grand challenge cannot be solved by any one program, department, or college on its own or operating in isolation from others with shared goals. The university needs a center dedicated to assisting researchers in developing non-pharmacological psychotherapies while also training students to deliver them and making these and other efficacious interventions available to the public. The primary mission of the BHIDC is to serve as precisely such a resource for the university and the community through three integrated aims:

  1. Research: an incubator for inter-disciplinary clinical and translational research on behavioral health outcomes.
  2. Training: an innovative training model that engages behavioral health professionals throughout their educational journey.
  3. Community service/engagement: a low fee service provider offering state-of-the-art, non-pharmacological psychotherapies to the community.

Two Writing and Rhetoric Studies Degree Proposals

LuMing Mao, professor and chair of the Department of Writing & Rhetoric Studies, and Jenny Andrus, associate professor and director of First-Year Writing/Graduate Studies in the Department of Writing & Rhetoric Studies presented the following.

The department proposes a standalone M.A./M.S. and Ph.D. graduate program that is exclusively dedicated to Writing and Rhetoric Studies, the one and only degree program offered by an independent Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies in Utah and in the West. The program trains scholars, teachers, and professionals in a growing and dynamic field that centers on research-informed pedagogy and unites research and pedagogy. It features faculty with disciplinary specialties including writing pedagogy/assessment, second language writing, histories and theories of rhetoric, global/cultural/indigenous rhetorics, discourse analysis, and professional writing. The program ensures both the best fit for students and more efficient and timely completion. It responds to growing demand in the marketplace for writing teachers, writing program administrators and second language writing specialists. It further enhances the University’s First-Year Writing Program, the teaching of WRTG 1010 and WRTG 2010, and the culture of writing across the campus.

Information & Recommendation Calendar

Graduate Council Reviews

Katharine Ullman, associate dean for the Graduate School presented the seven-year Graduate Council Program Reviews for the School of Dance, Department of English and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Dance: The merger of the Modern Dance and Ballet departments to form the School of Dance in 2016 is still an evolving process, but reviewers were impressed with the training offered and students expressed high levels of satisfaction. Since the review, the School has gained better balance at the faculty level between Modern Dance and Ballet and has made a hire that further bolsters their unique Screendance program. The School has also engaged a member of the external review team to facilitate ongoing discussion and planning centered around diversity. Certain space issues are seen as pressing needs to address.

English: Faculty in the English department were noted to be lauded scholars and educators, as well as serving widely in the University’s higher administration. They have sought innovative ways to evolve the department’s course offerings and attract students to the major. Current priorities include providing mentorship that fosters the success and retention of junior faculty. They are also making targeted improvements to their graduate programs in English and Creative Writing, which have already earned strong reputations.

Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH): Two master’s programs, a graduate certificate, and doctoral level training are offered by OEH, a division within the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Students spoke highly of their educational experiences and, among many commendations, the Division was noted for its success in creating robust relationships with partners in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new visibility and opportunities to the Division, with increased demand for workplace safety research, advice, and training.

Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy Annual Report

Mary Beth Vogel-Ferguson, Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy chair, and Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer, chair of the Thesis Document Subcommittee reported the following.

During the 2021-21 academic year the Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Policy (SACAP), continued following an issue initially raised in this committee: library subscriptions for scholarly publications. The findings of the task force formed by VPAA Reed will be released soon.

The SACAP also continued working on issues related to the Thesis Office processes and deadlines. A four person sub-committee was formed to further explore the issue. With the approval of the SACAP, the sub-committee partnered Dean Kieda and staff from the Thesis Office to create a survey of faculty graduate student advisors/chairs and graduate students regarding personal experiences with thesis document submission processes, resources and requirements. This survey will be distributed prior to the end of the Spring 2021 Semester.

Computational Physics and Astronomy Emphasis

Cyri Dixon and John Belz from the Department of Physcis & Astronomy presented the following.

Adding a Computational Physics and Astronomy Emphasis to the Physics major will provide our students needed technical skills to meet industry demand and prepare them for advanced studies. Many of our students feel they have to choose between physics and computer science, and roughly 25% of physics students enter a computer science or technology field after graduation. This emphasis will also allow our students more flexibility and opportunities in their major and future careers.

Annual Report of the Senate Faculty Review Standards Committee

Sarah Projansky, associate vice president for Faculty and Standards Committee chair, presented the yearly committee report, which included announcement of revision of RPT and TFR templates.

Athletics Academic Report

Chris Uchacz, senior associate athletic director for academic services provided a brief overview of the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) scores from 2020 and presented the academic performance of all Utah student-athletes during the spring 2020 and fall 2020 academic semesters.

New Business

Proposed Remote Work/Telecommuting Guidelines

Wendy Peterson, deputy chief human resource officer, presented the following.

In order to prepare the university for potential continued post-pandemic telecommuting, we put together a long-term telework strategy team made up of employees across campus including Faculty Affairs, Finance, OGC, UIT, UHRM, Sustainability Office, Space Planning, Auxiliary Services and the Strategy Office.

The first priority of this group was to review existing policies and guidelines to ensure they were up-to-date and addressed many of the questions that have been raised by managers and employees.

It was determined that the existing policy didn’t need to be updated. However, the existing guidelines need to be added to and brought up to date. We believe the draft guidelines will give managers, supervisors and employees the information they need for successful telecommuting.