Kevin Gardner
Kevin Gardner

The Faculty Senate met March 4 in Chao Auditorium, and opened with a memorial to Dr. Paul Brink, who passed away in January. Brink served 42 years in the School of Music, teaching theory and composition. A moment of silence was performed, and the tower bell chimed in his memory.   

Dr. Kevin Gardner, the new Executive Vice President for Research & Innovation, was introduced to the senate body and provided a summary of his background and vision for UofL’s research enterprise. 

“The vision is that our enterprise represents all the activity here and all that’s in the world: Meeting the needs of the public. Solving and addressing problems. Presenting ideas and research to the world with the aim that it helps the world,” he said. 

Before arriving to UofL, Gardner served in a similar role at the University of New Hampshire where he led that institution’s rise from its designation as an R2 university to an R1 university. Since starting his position in late January, Gardner has met with multiple deans from various colleges, library staff and faculty members to understand the technology and research development needs of UofL.

He will soon announce several different work groups to address the most pressing needs based on these conversations and three open forums will also be scheduled. 

Gardner concluded his introduction with comments on how he thinks about the external role of the enterprise.  

“How are we helping the university navigate the relationship between the faculty who are the lead of an idea, and then liaison with the companies or public that might be interested?” he asked. 

Rick Graycarek , AVP for Budget & Financial Planning, gave a budget update. His presentation, available online here, showcased an overview of the $1.2 billion current total budget, along with an overview of the upcoming FY20-21 budget planning process. 

For action items: the Redbook Committee will have a second reading on its revised bylaws at the next meeting. The Academic Program Committee proposed sending back a recommendation for closure of the French MA Program to the Provost; and the Planning and Budget committee proposed the establishment of a Board of Trustees for the LARRI (Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute) Center. Both were approved.  

Student Government reported that elections just concluded and a new president will be named after commencement. The Staff Senate representative reported that their body recently found that of the last seven staff RIFs, six were above the age of 40. The full Staff Senate report from February is available online

Faculty Senate Chair Krista Wallace-Boaz reported that the provost search is still underway, and candidates will arrive in April. Senate members will have opportunities to engage with the candidates. Also, a free speech work group that started back in April of 2019 is working to examine current policies on free speech and will build a page on the UofL website to centralize those policies along with resources.  

Wallace-Boaz also facilitated a discussion on the new Parking Permit Rates for Fiscal Year 2021. On behalf of the parking office, she presented a summary of rates that spanned from FY16 to FY21 and stated the goal was to keep the increase under 3%One faculty member expressed grievance for this being a decision without the senate’s involvement in the process. Another member brought up their hope that future rates could be altered for part-time faculty and be based on salary level. 

Tracy Eels presented updates on behalf of the current Provost, including that the Free Speech policy committee is being co-chaired by Paul DeMarco and Meg Hancock to provide an in-depth review of student rights and code of conduct in response to the KY Free Speech act of 2019. 

The Committee on Committees & Credentials reported that elections will be coming up in May for new faculty senators. The Part-Time Faculty Committee reported that they will soon be deploying a survey for part-time faculty.  The Faculty Athletic Representative reported that one of the university’s student athletes was named ACC player of the year. Full committee reports are available online

The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled for April 1 in Chao Auditorium.