Main Content

Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting               November 18, 2009

The regular meeting of the 2009-2010 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by President Houle. The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting: Bartschat, Courard-Hauri, Chesnut, Cramer, DeWitt, Gilbert, Houle, Klipec, Knepper, Lyons, Parsa, Petersen, Reincke, Vitha, Walker, Van Wyke

Absent: Clapham, Cravero, Dore, Mosser

Upon proper motion and vote, October 2009 minutes were accepted.

President Maxwell Report

President Maxwell indicated that Vice President Tom Delahunt has reported undergraduate applications for Fall 2010 are 20% ahead of last year.  President Maxwell reminded the group that it is still early in the process. The priority-setting meeting for the Futures II Conference has not yet been arranged.

President Maxwell indicated that he and other staff have been dealing with recent student incidents related to underage drinking.   He acknowledged Senator Reincke who read two questions which she had posed electronically to him earlier in the week.

This is a question from the English Department:  we are impressed by the careful planning that went into Drake's H1N1 response, including making academic accommodations for students who contracted the virus.  We believe that this level of awareness and coordinated planning is also warranted for the mental illnesses suffered by our students during the course of the semester.  Could you tell us what the University's plan is for dealing with mental health issues that can (or should) make a student miss classes?

Second, this is a comment from the Women's Studies Program:

We are concerned that the "Statement from Drake University President David Maxwell" published in the Des Moines Register today (Nov 16) gives the impression that Drake takes "the abuse and misuse of alcohol" by our students more seriously than it does sexual assault.  The statement refers explicitly to alcohol abuse but does not explicitly address sexual assault, referring to it only by implication ("the range of terrible consequences").

Would you please comment on this statement and how it fits with Drake's overall approach to dealing with sexual assault?  I see that in the Clery Report there is only one "forcible sex offense" for 2007 and for 2008 and none at all for 2006.  How accurate a representation of the prevalence of sexual assault on or near campus are these figures?


Several Senators expressed how there seemed to be swift action by the University in regards to the alleged hazing incident and excessive alcohol but not as quick or public response regarding the reported sexual assaults. President Maxwell shared a general timeline of events surrounding the hazing incident noting that the two students directly involved had cooperated with authorities and the victim’s family. 

There was a discussion of how a Des Moines Register’s headline concerning the recently reported sexual assaults was not in concert with the perceptions of the incidents by the students or the administration.  Several Senators reiterated that they felt there seemed to be swift action in regards to excessive alcohol incidents but not as quick or public reaction from the administration regarding the reported sexual assaults.  President Maxwell received the comments and pledged to author a letter to the local newspaper regarding the headline.

Senator Reincke stated that Drake needs to do something so that the first response is the right response to a reported incident. Senator Petersen agreed that the goal is an environment where reporting is taken seriously and creating a climate where the act is not tolerated. President Maxwell agreed. He sought to learn from those on campus who have knowledge and expertise st that the administration can be more responsive.

Senator Reincke also expressed concern about Drake having a systematic mental illness awareness, response preparation and systematic accommodations plan. It was stated that Drake needs to have a ‘culture of comfort’ for reporting and that this topic may be sent to Senate Executive committee requesting a more complete discussion in the future.


Provost Renner Report

Provost Renner indicated that a Futures II Report is being finalized and will be posted to the web when finished.

Although the current H1N1 related class absences have fallen by half, he commented that more are expected after the Thanksgiving Break.

Provost Renner summarized conversations at the Deans Council related to the recent student security matters. He stressed that there is desire to have a real ‘teaching and learning’ moment on campus with conversations lead by students. He believed that the biggest effect will be created with small direct interactions.  Also, it is being discussed to possibly have senior leadership show up at a local establishment as a presence. He welcomed input from the Senate. 

Student Norah Carroll commented to the Senate from the student perspective. She indicated that to date the formal statements do not say a lot to reassure students.  Student Jennifer Henry spoke that all she was hearing is that it is a faculty issue and she felt that it needs to be addressed from within the full Drake structure. The group of students in attendance at the meeting desired to know that it is okay to come forward concerning sexual assault incidents. President Maxwell indicated that he would want Drake to be that place and such a statement would be made.

Senator Klipec asked if the First Year Seminars should contain content to address ethical conduct.       


President Houle Report

Senate Executive Committee has set up a small ad hoc group to review the University Curriculum Committee’s (UCC) charge. Mark Vitha is chairing that group.

Noah Carroll, Student Senate liaison, reported that Student Senate is working to make their body more accountable and transparent. Also, various sustainability discussions may yield a resolution for the administration.


New Business

Senators Reincke moved and Klipec seconded motion 10-01:

The Sustainability Oversight Committee to disband

The Sustainability Oversight Committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the President’s Cabinet through the Faculty Senate on issues related to the environmental and social sustainability of Drake University in its actions, infrastructure, and activities. The Committee will monitor progress in working toward the goals set forth in the Statement of Sustainability, and will report this progress in an accessible way to the campus community. The Committee will also recommend further steps which the University can take to improve and promote sustainability at Drake.

The Sustainability Oversight Committee is chaired by a faculty member and consists of one additional faculty member, the director of facility services (or their designee), one other staff member, and two students. Appointments are for two years and are staggered for each group, with the longer-serving faculty member serving as chair (or the member whose term expires first in the case of simultaneous appointments). The members are appointed using the standard procedures for appointment of standing committees.

Senator Courard-Hauri noted that the Sustainability Oversight Committee began in 2005. It grew out of a task force and its purpose was to be an advisory unit. Last year, Vice President Payseur started a university committee with wide representation including faculty. The group has had wide access to good resources so far, stated Senator Reincke. When asked about the Vice President’s committee composition, a full listing was not known.  A concern was noted that faculty representation should not go down to zero. Senators on the current committee indicated they would bring that point to their group.

The motion passed on a voice vote.

Senators Chesnut moved and Reincke seconded motion 10-02:

to change the membership description of the Intercollegiate Athletics Council (IAC) effective Fall 2010

Intercollegiate athleticS council

The Council reports to the Senate and makes recommendations regarding policy and program.  The Council shall give primary consideration to the educational goals of the University and benefits to students, both participants and spectators.  Budgetary and personnel matters shall be the responsibility of the administrative officers of the University.  The council shall have jurisdiction over the scheduling of contests and the granting of awards.

The Council shall consist of six members of the Faculty of Instruction;the Faculty Representative for Intercollegiate Athletics; three students, two of whom may be participants in intercollegiate athletics; a member of the Student Life division, and an alumnus. Faculty members will be appointed to three-year term, renewable for one additional term.  Ex-officio, non-voting members include the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; an Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; and the Director of Compliance. The Chair will be a faculty member who has served for at least two years on the Committee.The Council meets regularly once a month during the academic year and at other times upon the call of the Chair.

Senator Chesnut noted this committee description is a part of the Academic Charter, thus if approved, then the motion will go to the Board of Trustees for action.  She stated that since the committee does not deal with money matters the Vice President of Business & Finance involvement is not needed. Also, the number of alumni would be reduced from three to one but add a student life member since the committee does deal with student welfare issues.  The NCAA has recommended that the Faculty Athletic Representative not be the IAC’s chair.

Senate Esposito asked if the alum could be a Drake employee. The reply was that option was left open on purpose.

The motion passed with a voice vote.

President Houle suggested that the agenda item from Bruce Gilbert be moved to the December meeting considering the time of day.  There was no objection.

The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m. Secretary, Nancy Geiger