Senate Summary | September 2020

If you missed the Academic Senate meeting on Sept. 28, 2020, or need a refresher, then keep reading for the highlights from the meeting. For more information on the Academic Senate, click here.

Election Day Resolutions

Resolution One: Be it resolved that the Academic Senate encourages all faculty to move any academic engagement planned for Nov. 3, 2020 (Election Day), to asynchronous activities with nothing due on Nov. 3 or 4.

Resolution Two: Be it resolved that the Academic Senate encourages the University Administration to classify Nov. 3, 2020 (Election Day), as a non-instructional day.

The resolutions were initially requested by student senators interested in increasing student engagement in the upcoming elections and received widespread faculty support. The resolutions were transmitted to President Ruth Watkins on Tuesday morning, Sept. 29.

Reports

Report from the Executive Committee

Senate Officers' Recommendation Regarding Meeting Procedures During Pandemic

  1. Retain the current in-meeting voting system where votes against a motion are first recorded, then abstentions are recorded and then and all other members present are recorded as having voted in favor of the motion; provided that if a vote appears close, Senators will cast their vote by email or other electronic means to the Senate Parliamentarian during the meeting. (86.4% of respondents favored)
  2. Schedule the discussions about university “strategic policy questions” as separate meetings; attendance is optional and meetings are recorded and posted on online discussion board for Senators to view and post any comments. (79.1% of respondents favored)
  3. Start Senate meetings at 2:30 p.m. with Informational/non-voting items being scheduled for the first 30 minutes of the meeting; meeting is recorded and available for viewing by Senators unable to begin the meeting at 2:30 p.m. (73.9% of respondents favored)

Debate Calendar

Postdoctoral Trainees University Policy Committee Proposal

Amy M. Barrios, associate dean for postdoctoral affairs and professor of medicinal chemistry), and Harriet Dashnow, Utah Postdoctoral Association junior chair, chair UPDA Advocacy Committee and postdoctoral fellow in genetics presented on the following.

The University of Utah has minimal policy protections in place for our postdoctoral scholars (see Policy 6-309). Postdocs are valuable members of our academic community and deserve greater policy protection. Of particular concern are policies governing hiring, dismissal, leaves of absence and grievances. We are far behind our Pac12 peers on these issues. We propose that the Academic Senate approved the creation of a special committee to identify concerns and draft updated Guidelines/Rules/Policies to bring back to the Academic Senate in the spring of 2021.

Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity

Stephen Alder, Ph.D.; Jay Barney, Ph.D.; and Abbie Griffin, Ph.D. presented on the following proposal.

The proposed Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity aims to promote societal prosperity by integrating value-creating business innovation and entrepreneurship with improved health. Housed in the David Eccles School of Business and benefitting from engagement across the University of Utah and around the world, this center will focus on a mission of ‘advancing societal prosperity through education, research and engaged service using integrated approaches that expand capacity through business innovation and entrepreneurship with those that improve the health of communities’. The center will focus on (1) preparing learners from diverse backgrounds for lives of impact as leaders and citizens; (2) generating and sharing new knowledge, discoveries and innovations; (3) engaging with local and global communities to promote education, health and quality of life; and (4) promoting entrepreneurial grit, continuous curiosity, empathetic global citizenship, and world impact.

Information and Recommendations Calendar

Digital signage

Brett Eden and Patricia Ross presented on the transition from an analogue-based advertising and communication platform, to a state-of-the-art digital signage platform.

The university continues to make tremendous progress in advancing its strategic missions. As we pursue long-term institutional vitality (one of the U’s four core goals) we are identifying and evaluating opportunities to gain operational efficiencies while generating incremental resources to serve the U’s academic mission. Incremental resources generated by innovative strategic solutions will be directed to presidential initiatives. Specific to this effort, the U will transition from an analogue-based advertising and communication platform, to a state-of-the-art digital signage platform. The cross-campus digital signs will provide a single solution that serves the informational, promotional, branding, entertainment and emergency broadcast needs of the university as a whole. By implementing this strategy, the university will be able to accomplish four distinct goals.

Surveillance Systems Administrators Committee (SSAC) Annual Report

Harriet W. Hopf, M.D., chair, SSAC, gave the Surveillance Systems Administrators Committee (SSAC) Annual Report.

The Surveillance System Administrators Committee (SSAC) was established by University Policy 3-234 (Building Access and Surveillance Systems), effective July 1, 2019. SSAC members, including faculty, students, and administrators from related areas, as specified in the policy, are appointed by the President and serve three-year terms. SSAC is charged with developing and implementing processes and procedures for oversight of surveillance systems, specifically: development of a campus standard for systems, inventory of existing systems on campus, development of a comprehensive registration system, education of the campus about requirements of the new policy and development of a plan for removing and replacing systems not meeting the campus standard. The report reviews SSAC responsibilities, key accomplishments over the first year and plans for AY 2020-21.

New Business

Election Day University Holiday Proposal

Note from Academic Senate President Randy Dryer on the two resolutions approved.

The two resolutions below were passed that relate to teaching on Election Day (Nov. 3):

Resolution One: Be it resolved that the Academic Senate encourages all faculty to move any academic engagement planned for Nov. 3, 2020 (Election Day), to asynchronous activities with nothing due on Nov. 3 or 4.

Resolution Two: Be it resolved that the Academic Senate encourages the university administration to classify Nov. 3, 2020 (Election Day), as a non-instructional day.

The resolutions were initially requested by student senators interested in increasing student engagement in the upcoming elections and received widespread faculty support. The resolutions were transmitted to President Ruth Watkins on Tuesday morning.


Consideration of a Third Resolution, seeking to schedule no Academic Senate meetings on Yom Kippur, was postponed until the next meeting of the Senate on Nov. 2, 2020, and the discussion will be expanded to include the larger issue of whether the university should recognize Yom Kippur or other religious holidays as official university holidays. Faculty and students are encouraged to contact their elected Senators and express their views on this complex issue.