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Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting March 15, 2006

The regular meeting of the 2005-2006 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by President Matt Esposito.  The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting. Alexander, Bartschat, Cairns, Courard-Hauri, Dore, Esposito, Freeman-Miller, Gilbert, , Larson, Lyons Nelson, Pandit, Reed, Reincke, Sanders, Simpson, Tice, Wade

Absent: Gillespie, Martin, Morrow

The February 2006 minutes were accepted. 

President Maxwell.

--Earlier this semester, the Spring 2006 DUIN magazine issue was brought to President Maxwell’s attention.  The issue’s content was found to be very hurtful to some and with help from various faculty, including Nancy Reincke, multiple conversations were held on a variety of topics.  One result will be a letter in the near future to the Times-Delphic from President Maxwell.  There is a need to honor First Amendment rights and yet, for several involved, to learn the constructive use of satire.  There is an appropriate way to educate and respond to sexual violence issues, but this publication was not the best quality which Drake can produce.

--Recently formed on campus is a student group, Citizens for Tight Borders, which is small in number but seem to be targeting those who are of underrepresented voices. Their pronouncements have the potential for becoming explosive and as a university we know they have the right to have their views but we also have the right to not give them a forum for misinformation.  The President indicated he plans to remain calm and have a measured, productive response rather than a provoked reaction.  He acknowledges that any response he has will be the perceived as the official university stance.  He continued by stating that there are signs that this local group has national backing. 

One immediate concern is that there is a multi cultural reception on campus this evening and the attendees will inevitably see the group’s posters.  President Maxwell will present as best he can the University’s position one the many issues presented.

A short discussion followed which centered on various traits which lead this to be a national issue and concern.  It was stated that Des Moines’s political stature and position will easily make this and related issues become louder all the way through next year’s caucuses.

Provost Troyer was not in attendance as he was out of town on university business

President Esposito

--President Esposito indicated that the 06-07 Faculty Senate elections will begin after Spring Break.

-- The Academic Calendar Task Force is back at work on their review of Dead Day.  They are hosting a Town Meeting on March 28th at 5:00 p.m. in Olmsted.  Senators are encouraged to attend and review the previously presented materials on the Senate web site.  The Senate Executive Committee supports the work of the Task Force.

-- Senator and University Benefits Chairperson Bruce Gilbert made an announcement that the rates for health benefits for active employees will be raised 7-8%. He doubted there will be any major changes to the benefit structure in the near future. Also, there are changes forth coming from TIAA-CREFF concerning their services and fund offerings.

Unfinished Business –

Senators Sanders moved and Reincke seconded to move Motion 06-07 from the table.

Be it resolved, the Faculty Senate recommends that Drake University end the practice of presenting honorary degrees at commencement.

President Esposito began the discussion with some remarks.  He cited some past Senate documents concerning the practice of awarding Honorary Degrees. He confirmed the observation that there has been some interest in reforming the process of awarding an Honorary Degree for more than two decades.  The documents seemed to support the value for an honorary degree but the process and procedures have not been addressed in great detail.  He presented a response to the motion from Student Senate. They are in favor of integrating the honoree more directly with students.  President Esposito requested a focused discussion and vote on this motion yet today.

President Maxwell offered a point of information stating that when a person is invited, there are no automatic costs which will be covered by the University for the award recipient.  He did indicate that occasionally some costs are covered by the institution.  An effort was still under way to gather the opinions from former student leaders regarding the practice of awarding honorary degrees.

Senator Freeman-Miller expressed that she did not view this as an academic issue, but rather a community and marketing issue. She continued that for such a small investment there is value in what is received from those we honor. She saw value in having strong and public criteria.

Senator Larson spoke in favor of reform but for some different reasons. He desired to see the honorees limited to one person and involve that individual in activities throughout the weekend.

Senator Gilbert received clarification from President Maxwell that if the Senate chose to only recommend one person per year and not pass the motion, then this issue would not need to be presented to the Board of Trustees.

There was a discussion of how Drake could or would be able to incorporate an honoree into the end of semester activities considering this is already a hectic time for faculty and students and also not cost the University a great deal of money. 

There was interest from more than one Senator to reform the selection process but with out any specific reforms being mentioned.  More than one Senator was not happy with the current practice of receiving materials late in the semester and late within a meeting and being asked to vote on the person(s) presented in the materials.

Senator Sanders indicated he was skeptical of reform but would not stand in the way of such a course of action.

Senators Reed moved and Simpson seconded a motion to refer Motion 06-07 to the Honorary Degree/Drake Medal Committee with the request that they work on a revised motion to set up candidate selection criteria and review the nomination process.  The Committee is urged to include the President’s Committee on Commencement in addressing concerns stated in the 06-07 motion and raised in Senate discussions.

Several Senators mentioned interest in this year’s body being able to act on this topic and others indicated interest in the matter not being rushed since any action this semester would not go into affect any earlier than an action done during the 06-07 year.

Previous question was called and passed.

The motion to refer passed.

New Business

Senator Alexander moved and Simpson seconded motion 06-10

The University Curriculum Committee moves adoption of the following rules for release of undergraduate and graduate degrees beginning with the 06-07 academic year.:


Undergraduate Graduation:

Students must file an application for graduation by the deadline posted at /studentrecords/.  Once requirements have been fulfilled and verified, the Records Office will post the degree and mail the diploma with the established graduation date in May, August, or December. The student must complete and the College Office must verify  all requirements within one month 45 days of graduation to have the degree posted with the applied-for graduation date. Students who meet the requirements for graduation at a later point in time will have an effective graduation date of the following established graduation date in May, August, or December.

Graduate, Pharmacy, and Law Graduation:

Once graduate, pharmacy,  and law students have filed an application for graduation and are certified to meet the requirements for graduation by the College Office, the Records Office will post the degree dated the 15th of the following month (pharmacy students cannot graduate prior to the established graduation date in May).

Senator Simpson moved and Gilbert seconded an amendment to make two changes requested by the Council of Administrative and Academic Departments (CAAD).  A) in the first line to place deadline before posted and b) replace one month with 45 days.

The amendment passed.

The motion as amended passed without comment.

Senators Sanders moved and Wade seconded motion 06-11

The University Curriculum Committee moves adoption of the following rules for approval of new cross-college programs, effective from the beginning of the Fall 2006 Semester:

Faculty proposing a new cross-college program shall submit a written proposal to the University Curriculum Committee.  The proposal shall address, at a minimum, the following information:

(1) Evidence that the proposed program fulfills a university need.

(2) Evidence that the program meets the academic and administrative criteria set out in the Drake Strategic Plan, as well as the Drake Mission Statement and Explication.

(3) Evidence that the proposed program has a high likelihood of enhancing the learning experience of current students or of attracting new students to Drake.

(4) Evidence that the program is viable.  This shall include evidence that it will retain students, that it will be supported administratively by the relevant colleges, and in particular that any ‘core’ courses will be offered on a regular schedule by qualified faculty.

Following provisional approval by the Committee the proposal shall be shared with the Dean’s Council, appropriate Associate Deans and departmental chairs for feedback.  If it secures their support the proposal will gain final approval at the following regular Curriculum Committee meeting, or as soon as reasonably possible thereafter.

President Maxwell noted that there was no specific mention of resources.  Senator Reincke indicated that resources fell under item #2.  Senator Alexander asked what did official support mean. Senator Colins indicated that is from the review in the previous sentence. Sue Wright noted that no provision is stated for a Dean’s input.

Senators Simpson moved and Reincke seconded to insert Dean’s Council, before appropriate.  The amendment passed.

There were friendly amendments made and accepted to change the word official to their and combine the fragmented sentence based on the change.  Also altered was the word address in place of contain in the sentence before item #1.

The amended motion passed on a voice vote.

Senator Cairns requested to withdraw the calendar motion since errors have been found in the Summer 2008 listing.  He requested the motion be introduced at the next Senate meeting.

The Senate adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Secretary, Nancy Geiger