Faculty Senate

Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting               May 7, 2008


The regular meeting of the 2007-2008 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by President LouAnn Simpson.  The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting. Allen, Bohorquez, Conley, DeLaet, Esposito, Harvey, Houle, Keefer, Nelson, Parsa, Reincke, Sanders, Saylor, Swilky, Torry, Vitha, Walker, Younger

Absent: Allen, Harvey


The March 2008 minutes were distributed and accepted as corrected. 

Vice President DeLaet presided at the meeting.


President Maxwell was not present.


Report from Provost Troyer

- Provost Troyer announced that there are currently 923 tuition deposits for first year students for the Fall 2008 semester.  Both Vice President Tom Delahunt and the Provost believe that the final number will be less than 900.  The academic profile for this class is quite strong with an average ACT of 26.8.  He indicated that there are challenges which need to be met to provide Drake’s rich academic experience to this incoming class such as having enough First Year Seminars available as well as all their AOI courses.  This is being studied and as well as determining where the classes will be held.  The Senior Advisory Counsel (SAC) has approved the two First Year Advisor positions for another year.  Another big challenge will be housing the first and second year students.  There is an early indicator that there may be a record retention rate of the first year students to their second year.  This early rate is based on the number of students who have requested housing. 


Senator Parsa asked if much is known about why there is this increase in enrollment.  Provost Troyer was hesitant to make conclusions.  Many of these students are in the top one fourth of their class and are stating that Drake’s academics are a main selling point. He stated that is no evidence that the recent basketball success had any direct effect.  He continued by noting that it is sobering to look at Creighton, Bradley and Butler who are reporting falling short of their enrollment goals. 


Senator Vitha asked if there was any capital campaign report or plans for any announcements the summer.  Provost Troyer indicated that the Case Statement Plan is with the Board of Trustees and he would expect more information to be available during the Fall 2008 semester.


Provost Troyer reported that the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee was not an eventful meeting as compared to the past several meetings.  There was a student panel from Art Sanders class which dealt with the January caucuses.  The students did a great job of describing their experiences even though none of them wished to be candidates.

Topics for next year’s Board meetings may include emerging academic trends or programs and having faculty present who have studied abroad.


Campus Council Report:

Senator Walker indicated that the Council had reviewed and found acceptable the Academic Calendar.


Report from President Simpson

President Simpson expressed her thanks for having the opportunity to serve again as the Faculty Senate President.


Old Business – none presented


New Business –

Reports from Faculty Representatives to the Board of Trustees

Klaus Bartschat reported that the Enrollment Committee met twice during the past year.  It is a committee which has a monitoring role like the Faculty Senate Admissions Committee and did not deal with any controversial items this past year. There had been presentations during the year by Vice President Tom Delahunt and Director of Financial Planning Susan Ladd.  Mr. Bartschat acknowledged that enrollments are hard to predict.


Mr. Bartschat also reported on the Budget and Finance Committee.  The committee met regularly as various budget versions which are presented and reviewed.  Bond refinancing is a current major issue due to the national credit situation. He stated that from what he can tell Drake University is in fine shape.


The Business and Finance Committee passed a resolution concerning Darfur which was unanimously approved.  Trustee Johnnie Carson made a presentation and another motion was passed directing certain actions for the fund managers.  Drake and many other higher education institutions are communicating on this issue and he was happy with this outcome.


Mary Edrington reported on the Athletics Committee. The year’s issues ranged from monitoring Drake’s NCAA compliance status, a proposed survey of all on campus females which is within the Gender Equity plan, new personnel and facilities tours.


Provost Troyer commented that he was involved in the recent hiring process for the new men’s basketball coach. His meeting concerned academics.  


Rachel Caufield reported about Student Life which she has served on for three years.  She indicated it was a committee which wants to make student services available to all students.  There is a trend which indicates that counseling issues have increased.  The most recent meeting included information concerning an initiative to provide blueView access to parents which would include their being able to access their students grades and billing. 


A past concern is that some faculty are negative to students involved with Greek life.  She has stressed that the committee should not be evaluating course content and worked to dispel this belief.


Senator Reincke indicated that it was her impression that Drake’s Counseling Center is overwhelmed.  Ms. Caufield indicated she believed that it is under control and she has encouraged the Center to reach out to faculty to let them know what student behavioral signs are of concern.  Provost Troyer indicated that Dee Wright has stated that they do not need additional staff.  Senator Esposito thanked Ms Caufield for being vigilant on the social issue and would want the Board Committee members to be as passionate about all University wide issues.


Senator Reincke reported on the Building and Grounds Committee.  There will be two major projects this summer; a) rebuilding 28th street within campus and b) there will be expanded parking lots created.  The 28th Street project is being funded with federal transportation monies.  A question was raised concerning 31st Street near the new Drake West buildings as to whether or not a lighted crossing would be built.  The reply was that no specifics are yet known concerning any enhancements after construction is completed.  Provost Troyer did not believe that a stoplight would be placed.


Associate Provost John Burney was recognized and brought from the University Curriculum Committee a request that during the 08-09 year support be given from Faculty Senate to engage faculty participation in the curriculum revision process. He asked that Senators consider how this might be accomplished.  He mentioned that even though canceling classes for a day to have such a discussion is extreme, it is an idea to be considered.  The curriculum revision discussion is quite important for all faculty.


Faculty Senate closed at 4:35 p.m.  Nancy Geiger, Secretary