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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

The May 2019 Meeting

Wednesday, May 8, 3:30-5:00pm
Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall

Leave comments below in case you did not get a chance to speak or if you think a particular topic needs further discussion. Check below to see what your colleagues have to say.


Tentative Agenda:

Call-to-Order [2 mins]

Sam Nelson (Speaker)

Announcments [3 min]

Charles Van Loan (Dean of Faculty)
Slides

Sense of the Senate Votes [10 mins]

Chris Schaffer
Slides
Policy 6.4 Procedures

Financial Policy Committee Report [15 min]

Rayna Kalas
Slides

Four Resolutions [25 mins]

Charles Van Loan (Dean of Faculty)
Slides
Resolution on Grade Changes  [ slides ]
Resolution on Meeting-Time Patterns  [ slides ]
Resolution on the Free-Time Zone  [ slides ]
Resolution on Student Accommodations [ slides ]
Ballot for eVoting

Discussion of Freshman Admissions [30 mins]

Scott Campbell (Executive Director of Engineering Admissions)
Angela Herrera (Director of ILR Admissions)
Heather Marcotte (Director of CALS Admissions)
Shawn Felton (Director of Admissions)
Slides

Good and Welfare [5 mins]

Last Updated: May 10, 2019 at 8:20 am

Comments

  1. The Draft Policy 6.4 Procedures for Employees (dated 3.21.19) is much improved in creating a process specifically designed to consider academic freedom issues, with participation by the Senate Academic Freedom and Professional Status Committee. The draft Policy 6.4 is also much improved by providing due process through information sharing in the investigation process and an extensive hearing process.

    I hope the Faculty Senate and others involved in this policy-making will discuss the points raised in the following comments. There are, of course, other issues for discussion, but I would like to highlight two issues here:

    1. I believe that the hearing panel for faculty should consist of faculty only, to provide for peer review in a hearing that could result in serious employment repercussions, including dismissal. (see p. 34 of the draft) The process for appointing faculty on the hearing panel and for appointing the Chair of the hearing panel should be determined through faculty governance processes, not by the university administration. The Faculty Senate should determine the appointment process that will be used, for example, appointments/selection of hearing panels and panel chairs from a pool of faculty elected by the faculty. See, https://www.aaup.org/report/recommended-institutional-regulations-academic-freedom-and-tenure#text10 Similarly, the staff hearing panels could consist only of staff to provide for peer review in serious employment matters.

    2. There are problems with the proposed deadline for the parties submitting “mitigation/impact” statements (p. 37 of the draft) by the start of a hearing. It seems far more logical and fair to give the parties the opportunity to submit such statements after the hearing decision has been issued. Such a statement is relevant to sanctions, if those are called for, depending on the hearing outcome.

    Risa Lieberwitz
    ILR School
    Faculty Senator

    1. I thought I would briefly address your concerns.

      Early submission of impact statement: This seems to work fine in the student procedures, where I serve on panels. The impact statements are not seen by the panel unless there is a finding of responsibility. For the complainant, it is pretty natural to produce this ahead of the finding of responsibility. For the respondent, I agree it is odd to be drafting a statement about the impact of being found responsible for something you are defending yourself against. I do believe, however, that the significantly increased speed of action and being able to avoid having to bring the panel together for yet another meeting (typical is ~3 meetings, plus the hearing) is worth this slightly odd feature for the respondent.

      Panel membership: Panels would be 3 people, with majority faculty for faculty respondents and majority staff for staff respondents. On the panels I’ve served on for the student process, I’ve found it helpful to have folks with broad perspectives looking at the evidence with me. For an academic freedom issue, the faculty appeal and potential dismissal is ahead of any hearing, so faculty protections for academic freedom are already faculty-centric and up front. After that, I think reasonable minded people, regardless of their job, are equally capable of rendering fair judgement. Restricting the panels to just faculty would make scheduling harder and wouldn’t increase the fairness of the panels (and may actually decrease them a bit, if my experience of the value of broad perspectives is representative).

      Recruitment of panel members: I actually support the idea of the Title IX office taking the lead on recruiting and training faculty and staff to serve on panels. This is not a great position to cajole/convince someone to take on (as we often do for Senate-appointed committees). We really need folks who care about this issue, are willing to devote the time, are not shocked by some of the behaviors that come up, and are able to remain objective and fair minded in their judgement. The process we use to recruit faculty and staff for student panels is probably a good model — broad call to the faculty, from the Dean of Faculty office, for faculty to apply to serve on panels. Applicants are then selected by a committee run in Title IX office, with faculty input (Charlie does this for student panels), and then trained by Title IX office. Frankly, I don’t see why the panel of faculty and staff could not be the same for staffing both student and faculty/staff hearing panels.

      The Senate of the Senate vote yesterday was unanimous in favor of supporting the new procedures.

      Best,
      Chris

      Chris B. Schaffer
      Associate Professor
      Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
      Associate Dean of the Faculty

  2. So in chem for some years we’ve found that the demand for lab spaces is extraordinarily high on Friday; so high that we run out of rooms/TA’s who are available…are only understanding of this is that there are large numbers of MW classes, leaving students with open blocks on F. Last time I looked we had no possibilities of opening more F lab slots….having all the new slots only on MW would seem to exacerbate this problem…though perhaps less if it is restricted to “high-number” courses. If, however, this spreads to the more introductory courses where the “hands-on” methods are supposed to be most important….

    David Zax
    Chemistry & Chemical Biology
    Senator

  3. On the grade changing issue:

    does “by the provost” mean by the provost, personally, spending actual time on investigating the decision? Or does it mean by whomsoever he/she designates? I would strongly hope it is not understood to be the latter, which would essentially turn this into a rubber stamp.

    Is advising the faculty the same as consulting with the faculty? One says I’ve made a decision, and here it is; the second says, here are considerations you may not have known about. When Cornell Health, the Title IX Office, or the University Counsel provide input, is their input available to the faculty member?

    The preamble talks about students who neglected to withdraw; they seem not to be covered in the language as given.

    Where in the process do we get to understand how academic integrity interacts with the withdrawal process? I had one case several years ago, a student came in for an academic hearing during the reading period; she had delayed having a primary hearing on a prelim until it could no longer be avoided. Every correct answer on her exam was copied from the student who sat in front of her–including one 20 word answer which ended at identical word 17, presumably because the other student flipped the page. She got her college to process a W for her on the basis that she had a mental illness which forced her to copy from other people’s work….

    When a medical leave of absence is approved, does it require withdrawing from all courses, or only those courses where one wants to avoid the assigned grade?

  4. As to the medical accomodations….that’s another real horror show of issues. For example, we are told that students are not to be accomodated if they have just fallen behind in their work; that is unfair to everyone else.

    So I have students who ask to put off the final as they are “overwhelmed”. If they ask nicely the week before the exam, the answer is no. If they don’t appear, and then announce that they were unable to show up, then they are accomodated. Is that what we wish to encourage?

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