Grawemeyer Hall
Grawemeyer Hall

UofL Faculty Senate, September 2016 meeting

The Faculty Senate met Sept. 7, 2016 in the Chao Auditorium of Ekstrom Library, with Pam Feldhoff calling the meeting to order and passing the gavel onto her Senate Chair successor, Enid Trucios-Haynes. Trucios-Haynes is a professor in the Brandeis School of Law.

Feldhoff thanked the body and encouraged senators to carry on their strong voice for the university and to work hard to advance research and academic goals. Trucios-Haynes presented her with a gavel, which was inscribed with the words: “Steady leadership during turbulent times.”

Minutes of a special meeting held in June were approved, as were minutes from the July meeting.


Meredith Cooksey, acting vice president of the Student Government Association, presented an update on her body’s behalf. The SGA worked with the library to increase study hours at the library to 2 a.m. (from 12 a.m. previously).

“This is a big win for students,” Cooksey said. The SGA is also working on growing its Student of the Month Award, which includes some benefits, and is hoping to get more promotional information out soon.


Ginger Brown provided a report from Staff Senate, which did not meet in August. Staff Senate hopes to collaborate with Faculty Senate in the coming year and a message from Will Armstrong, new chair, was provided to Faculty Senators.

Action Item: Redbook

Kurt Metzmeier provided Redbook updates, including a second reading on the School of Music’s minor changes to its statement of purpose. The language was approved.

The first reading of the Brandeis School of Law’s promotion and tenure language took place. A second reading of the minor changes will be done at the next meeting.

Action Item: FS meeting dates

Senators approved the proposed Faculty Senate meeting dates. The calendar for 2016-17 is available online and the next meeting is on the HSC Campus.

Action Item: Committee on Committees & Credentials Election

There were three committees with vacancies and ballots were handed out to senators. Vacancies were for the Academic Programs Committee (two), the Redbook Committee, and the Student Government representative.

Discussion Item: UofL’s next president

The Faculty Senate discussed desirable attributes and characteristics of a 21st century university president. The discussion will be reviewed by the executive committee. Among the attributes suggested were:

  • Academic background
  • Awareness of conflict of interest
  • Awareness of need for transparency, legal requirements
  • Transparency with all stakeholders, including the press
  • Prior commitment to community engagement
  • Position is one of service
  • Committed to and evidence of faculty/shared governance
  • Experience in upper administration
  • Finance, budget experience
  • Advocate for public higher education as a public good

Trucios-Haynes said the Board of Trustees is expected to consult with the faculty, but the Redbook doesn’t outline many details about the process and plans to facilitate further discussion about the process and attributes.

“It’s a good idea for us to be proactive,” she said.

Reports: Standing Committees

  • Academic Programs: There are two new certificate programs in the pipeline and both will be available soon – structural engineering and transportation engineering
  • Committee on Committees & Credentials: No report other than the aforementioned election
  • Redbook: Annual report is available online
  • Part-Time Faculty: Held its first meeting last week with a goal to generate goals for this year
  • Planning and Budget: N/A
  • Executive Committee: Both the August report and the annual report are available online.

Report: Dr. Dale Billingsley, acting provost

Dr. Dale Billingsley, the acting executive vice president and provost, thanked the senate for their support during his transition into the acting provost role. He also provided an update on dean searches that are underway, including at the College of Business and the Brandeis School of Law.

The Title IX coordinate has been hired; Brian Bigelow reports to Michael Mardis, the vice provost for student affairs. James Begany has accepted the position of vice provost for strategic enrollment management and student success and will begin in early October.

A new faculty fellow in undergraduate affairs position has been created. Billingsley said this person will take on many of the meetings he had been attending in his previous position as vice provost for undergraduate affairs.

Billingsley also reported that the search for a new ombudsman will be initiated soon. Dr. Bob Staat fills the role in the interim.

Cedric Powell, from the Brandeis School of Law, has been named the new faculty grievance officer.

Finally, Billingsley discussed the enrollment numbers for the fall semester. UofL fell shy of its goal by about 100 students, however numbers are up from last fall and students’ GPA and ACT metrics are higher. The incoming class also includes the highest number of African Americans and Latinos ever.

Report: Dr. Neville Pinto, acting president

Dr. Neville Pinto opened his remarks by thanking Feldhoff for her work as chair, and reminding senators that they’re in good hands under Trucios-Haynes’ leadership. He said that the job he abruptly found himself in this summer is an “important responsibility that I take very seriously” and that he will work to make sure this university hits all of its goals.

Pinto introduced his team to faculty senators, including Billingsley, Greg Postel, interim VP for health affairs, Harlan Sands, senior VP, CFO and COO, Bill Pierce, EVP for research and innovation, and Leslie Strohm, VP for strategy and general counsel.

“This is your team,” Pinto told the senators. “How I view this year is as a transition. We will continue to pursue the 21st century plan. We are already seeing some outcomes. The good news is despite the turbulence, there has been no impact on the ability to draw the very best students.”

Pinto also addressed concerns over whether or not the university’s accreditation is at risk with the current board under legal review. He said SACS has sent the university a letter asking for more information about the board of trustees’ makeup.

“If we don’t have a satisfactory answer in December, we will have a meeting to explain what’s going on. What I expect is since it is in the court system that it will be resolved by then,” he said.

Pinto explained the development of a budget model to fit the state’s proposed performance funding requirements, in which 5 percent of the total funding base for all state universities will be put into a pot. The following year, that amount will go up to 15 percent.

The state and university leaders are contemplating a model on how to return that investment to the institutions, considering metrics such as student progress and student outcome. It is very early in the discussion process.

“The discussion is around how you weight those two (metrics). There is not a lot of progress yet,” Pinto said. “Our recommendations will be submitted by Dec. 1.”

Report: Dr. Greg Postel, interim EVP for health affairs

Dr. Greg Postel, interim executive vice president for health affairs, provided a PowerPoint presentation on what is happening on the HSC campus, which includes $8,000 staff, faculty and students in 30 buildings, as well as 16 centers and institutes.

He said key recruitments have been made, including Dr. Thomas G. Bradley as the new dean of the Dental School; Nancy Tierney, interim associate VP of facilities planning and management; Gary Ermers, interim associate VP for finance; and Peter Gouws, interim CFO for ULP. A national search will be underway soon for the director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

There was a groundbreaking recently for the Pediatrics Medical Office Building, and early planning is underway for the east end adult ambulatory facility.

This has been the most successful year ever for clinical trials – totally nearly $11 million. The School of Medicine has moved up seven spots in the NIH rankings. And, HSC plans to hire six additional dedicated development officers this year, while also investing $1 million annually to diversity initiatives and 12 new HSC diversity scholarships.

The HSC campus has focused on deficit reduction and income augmentation, and is on a “hiring frost.”

“We’ve been thoughtful about every position, which has saved about $5 million a year,” Postel said. “We’re preparing to invest in the future, and selectively invest in things that make sense.”

Report: Chair’s report

The meeting concluded with Trucios-Haynes’ chair report, including an update to salary equity goals behind the $2 million that was allotted for distribution among faculty ($1 million) and staff ($1 million). Last spring, an effort was made to get senators’ input on how money should be distributed to faculty. Deans are reviewing unit data on this matter and were expected to provide their comments back to central administration in late August. 

The next regular monthly meeting is Oct. 5 on the HSC campus at a location TBA.