Members of the University Learning Technology Advisors (ULTA) group consulted with several senate committees regarding the need to transition to a new learning management system. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has determined that the current onsite Moodle structure will not continue to meet the University's needs, and proposes that the University transition to a cloud based system, either Moodle Cloud or Canvas. Among the committees consulted were the Senate Committee on Information Technologies (SCIT), Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP), Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs (SCFA), and the Academic Health Center Faculty Consultative Committee (AHC FCC). ULTA also held several public fora in order to gather feedback. See the latest on the University's learning management system plans on ULTA's website.




The Outstanding Service to University Senate Governance Recognition honors faculty, P&A, and civil service employees who have made a significant impact on University Senate governance. The 2017 recipients are Frank Douma and Kathleen Krichbaum.

Frank Douma (left) is director of the State and Local Policy Program and coordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning degree program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, as well as a Research Scholar at the Center for Transportation Studies. He has been an active participant in governance since 2000 and was instrumental in the transition of the Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators (CAPA) to the P&A Senate in 2001. He also served in the University Senate and on the Senate Committee on Committees, and currently serves on the Retirement Subcommittee. 

Kathleen Krichbaum (right) is a professor in the School of Nursing and the current chair of the Academic Health Center Faculty Consultative Committee (AHC FCC). Krichbaum has been a member of the AHC FCC on and off since 1998, and served as chair from 2004-07 and 2014-17. She currently serves on the All-University Honors Committee. Krichbaum is a model governance member, working tirelessly to recruit individuals to participate in shared governance and always rising to the occasion when there is a need. 

Douma and Krichbaum were recognized at the University Senate meeting on May 4, 2017.


The work of the University and Faculty Senates is accomplished primarily through their 25 standing committees, as well as numerous subcommittees and task forces. Faculty, academic professionals, civil service staff, students, alumni, and administrators have designated positions on most committees. 


The Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) has been hard at work this spring. Items of business at the forefront of the FCC's agenda included issuing a statement, "Reaffirming our Values," in response to the executive order on immigration. The intent of the statement was to demonstrate to members of the University community who are feeling unwelcome and unappreciated that they are respected and that they have the support of the faculty. Additionally, the FCC unanimously passed a motion to disaffiliate from the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA), which the Faculty Senate also approved at its May 4 meeting. This action was not meant to imply COIA was not a noble idea, or that faculty do not care about athletics; it was simply to recognize that COIA is not working in its current state. The FCC also made housekeeping changes and clarifications to the constitutions, bylaws, and rules. Other topics the FCC addressed this semester included the need to improve the advising and mentoring of graduate students, a quasi-grassroots equity and diversity initiative, the System-Wide Strategic Plan, and proposed administrative policy revisions.


This semester, the P&A Consultative Committee (PACC) met with several top University administrators, including President Eric Kaler, Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett, Vice President for Human Resources Kathy Brown, and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Rebecca Ropers-Huilman. Representatives of the PACC also met with Rochester Chancellor Stephen Lemkuhle to discuss the P&A experience on the Rochester campus.  The Benefits and Compensation Subcommittee crafted a resolution on parental leave equity, which was subsequently passed by the PACC and later by the full P&A Senate. There were three meetings of the P&A Senate this semester. The February 3 P&A Senate meeting focused on safety on campus. Presenter Michele Gross, director, Policy Office, spoke with senators about guiding principles for safety on campus; Chief of Police Matt Clark provided an update on campus safety; and Kendra Okposo, associate, Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), presented a draft of the Administrative Policy: Sexual Misconduct for consultation. The April 7 P&A Senate meeting focused on human resources issues, and Vice President Kathy Brown provided an update on the Job Family Study and the Maintenance of Status Quo order. The May 5 P&A Senate meeting focused on awards and recognition and included honoring the recipient of the  P&A Outstanding Unit Award; recognizing the outgoing chair and subcommittee chairs; and commending the P&A recipients of the President's Award for Outstanding Service. Also at this meeting, Marissa Hill-Dongre, director of the newly formed Immigration Response Team,  gave a presentation on resources for immigrant and undocumented students at the University.


The Civil Service Consultative Committee (CSCC) endorsed resolutions from two other committees: Privacy of Students' Counseling and Medical Records from the Equity, Access, and Diversity Committee (EAD) and the Resolution on Equal Opportunity and Title IX Education  from the Social Concerns Committee. Both resolutions will be presented to the Civil Service Senate later this month for approval. CSCC received an update from the Office of Human Resources (OHR) on a new recruiting/hiring process being piloted for the Finance Professional job family and reviewed changes to four performance appraisal programs. CSCC also met with Senior Vice President Brian Burnett to discuss his new role as head of finance and operations for the University, and received a briefing from Mike Miller, legislative advocacy coordinator for Government and Community Relations, on the University's 2017 legislative request and how civil service employees can be involved in this process. CSCC leadership visited the Duluth and Rochester campuses this academic year to meet with civil service employees and hear about their issues and concerns. Visits to Crookston and Morris will be arranged for the next academic year. The Rules Subcommittee is developing another set of changes to the Employment Rules to be presented to the Regents in fall 2017. 


The Student Senate Consultative Committee (SSCC) prioritized several issues this semester, including off campus housing issues, concerns with Aramark Educational Services, LLC (the Twin Cities food contract vendor) and M Dining, expansion of the medical amnesty portion of the Student Conduct Code, and assessing the need for system-wide funding to support victims of and education around sexual assault. The SSCC met with several administrators, including President Eric Kaler and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett, and worked closely with Interim Vice President for University Services Mike Berthelsen on M Dining issues. At the March 2 Student Senate meeting, senators passed a resolution calling for a response to reports of ethical concerns from Aramark Educational Services, LLC, and asking for a commitment from M Dining to address concerns regarding the lack of options for those with dietary restrictions. Additionally, the Student Senate approved a resolution calling for University administration to adopt a "sanctuary campus" designation. At the April 6 meeting, senators voted to approve a resolution calling for the addition of non-alcoholic drug related protections to the medical amnesty provision in the Student Conduct Code, provided the State of Minnesota changes the Minnesota State Medical Amnesty Statute to include drugs. At the May 4 Student Senate meeting, senators voted to approve a resolution calling for student representation on the committee to advance the vision for the St. Paul campus, and approved the Social Concerns Committee's Resolution on Equal Opportunity and Title IX Education.


Student Mental Health Resources Across the University of Minnesota System

Brianne Keeney, Ph. D., chair, Senate Committee on Student Affairs (SCSA)

The demand for student mental health resources at the University of Minnesota is at an all time high, with over 30 percent of students reporting a mental health diagnosis within their lifetime. To address this need, and in response to student concerns, the Board of Regents approved $300,000 for fiscal year 2017 to increase staffing levels at Boynton Health and Student Counseling Services. Additionally, President Eric Kaler and Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson committed a total of $200,000 from discretionary office budgets in each of the next two years, adding to nearly $100,000 in new funds from student service fees in the Twin Cities. Of this progress, President Kaler recently said, "Student mental health is a top public health issue for the University system. I am pleased to see that increased resources are making a difference for our students, who deserve credit for their strong advocacy on this critical topic. We will keep monitoring and assessing our efforts moving forward, with a goal of addressing student needs in a comprehensive way." 

Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, the Senate Committee on Student Affairs (SCSA) analyzed student mental health resources for system campus and international students. During the committee's year long deep dive on this issue, we consulted with several administrators to discuss the resources currently available for the students they serve, including Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young; Vice Chancellors Lisa Erwin, Sandra Olson-Loy, Lori Carrell, and Peter Phaiah; Gabriele Schmiegel, director of sponsored programs, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS); and Alisa Eland, associate director and head of counseling and advising, ISSS. The overarching goal of the committee while engaging in these conversations was to assess need and formulate recommendations to University administration regarding mental health support throughout the system. While the committee was very impressed with the work that is happening to address student mental health concerns, we learned that system campuses require additional resources to best meet student need. For example, on the Crookston campus, there is one counselor for every 3,568 students; in Duluth, one counselor for every 2,754 students; in Morris, one counselor for 553 students; and in Rochester, no full time counseling staff (counseling services are outsourced to a vendor, and appointment times are limited). As a best practice, the International Association of Counseling Services recommends one counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 students. This issue of resources for system campuses was also reported by the student representatives to the Board of Regents at the March 24, 2017, Board of Regents meeting.

While there is great work being done across the system despite minimal funding, student need is constantly evolving, requiring regular evaluation to assess the equitable distribution of resources. The committee was heartened to speak with so many administrators who are passionate about this issue and dedicated to finding solutions. Student mental health is clearly an important issue to the University, and we look forward to continued progress.



The Social Concerns Committee passed a resolution requesting that the administration require education around Title IX reporting for all University employees. In his State of the University address on March 2, President Kaler voiced his support for training, in light of the forthcoming Administrative Policy: Sexual Misconduct,  which will designate all University employees, including student employees, as mandatory reporters. The Student Senate Consultative Committee (SSCC) and Student Senate provided feedback on the resolution, and the Student Senate approved it at its May meeting. At the University Senate meeting on May 4, Chair Mark Pedelty of the Social Concerns Committee presented the resolution for consideration by the University Senate, thanking Randy Croce, Social Concerns member and former chair, and Kendra Okposo, associate, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), for their work in authoring and advancing it. The University Senate approved the resolution, and President Kaler thanked the Social Concerns Committee, as well as the Civil Service Consultative Committee (CSCC), the P&A Consultative Committee (PACC), and the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs (SCFA), who consulted on and endorsed the resolution, for their work on this important issue. 


Multiple committees have worked on issues surrounding parental leave this semester. The Senate Research Committee (SRC), with input from the Equity, Access, and Diversity Committee (EAD) and the Social Concerns Committee, has been in consultation with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and University Finance regarding the possibility of establishing a central fringe pool to pay for unplanned leaves such as parental leave. OHR and University Finance provided data to the SRC showing that implementing such a pool would be relatively cost neutral for the University. A central pool would alleviate difficulties around grant funded personnel taking parental leave, as well as minimize the impact of leaves on small units. Relatedly, the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (AF&T) and the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs (SCFA) met with the Women's Faculty Cabinet regarding that group's efforts around parental leave, and the P&A Senate passed a resolution on parental leave equity, calling for six weeks paid leave for all new parents, rather than just birthing parents. The Student Senate also passed a resolution regarding parental leave for graduate assistants and fellows in November 2016. However, the Maintenance of Status Quo order prevents action or discussion by the administration around parental leave until the faculty unionization question is resolved.



Trish Palermo, chair of the Student Senate and Student Senate Consultative Committee (SSCC), presented the Resolution on Aramark Educational Services, LLC that had passed at the Student Senate earlier that day. Before the resolution was approved, several students and University community members gave examples of how food quality and lack of options for those with religious and health related dietary restrictions affected their experience at the University. The resolution also highlighted reports of problematic business practices on the part of Aramark, also a concern of Students United and the Association of Big Ten Students, who passed similar resolutions. In response to these concerns, University Services agreed to reinstate the Student Advisory Council to advise on issues such as food quality and dietary restrictions, include student representation on the University-Aramark Annual Business Review Committee, and collaborate with student government groups on future survey processes and questions. University Services also committed to expanding food choices in dining services and meeting with local faith community leaders to identify options for students who follow kosher or halal.

In his State of the University address, President Eric Kaler said we are living in "turbulent and, for some in our community, frightening times." As a chemical engineer, he expressed his concern over the "current attacks on facts and science," specifically with regard to climate change. He also emphasized the obligation to support those with marginalized identities while maintaining the University's commitment to free speech, and announced the creation of a new Immigration Resource Center along with the receipt of a $25 million endowment by the Law School's James H. Binger Center for New Americans. Members of the community asked questions about key issues on campus such as Title IX reporting and guidelines, the concern that conservative voices on campus feel silenced, the football program, and the possible conversion from Moodle to Canvas. Read President Kaler's responses to these and other questions in the minutes from this meeting.

At the May 4, 2017 University Senate meeting, Tina Marisam, director and Title IX coordinator, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) and Brian Slovut, deputy general counsel, Office of the General Counsel (OGC), presented a draft of the new
Administrative Policy: Sexual Misconduct and the accompanying Board of Regents policy. Senators voted to endorse these drafts.

The Joint Task Force on Student Mental Health, established in fall 2016 by Provost Karen Hanson and the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC), presented its report to the University Senate. The task force reiterated that mental health challenges impede the University's academic mission and made five broad recommendations:

  • Instructors should understand the key role they play in student mental health
  • Instructors should adopt instructional strategies to prevent unnecessary stress without compromising the academic rigor of the course, as well as provide appropriate accommodations to students with documented mental health disabilities
  • Instructors should strengthen their proficiency in responding to students in distress (a number of resources can be found on the University's Student Mental Health website)
  • Departments and units should foster an environment that promotes positive mental health
  • University leaders should continue to show a strong commitment to student mental health
The task force emphasized that this report should not be viewed as an endpoint, and there is more work to be done.

In his report, President Kaler spoke of the working group he convened in March of 2017 to assess the University's education around, and response to incidents of, sexual assault. This working group made five recommendations, including initiating a sustained public health and public awareness campaign and mandating training around sexual assault issues for faculty and staff. The working group's full recommendations are available on the Office of the President's website. Kaler also thanked the Social Concerns Committee for its work on the Resolution on Equal Opportunity and Title IX Education, which the University Senate passed at this meeting.

President Kaler then reported on discussions around higher education funding in the Minnesota State Legislature and said that it is looking to be a challenging year for the University and higher education in general. Lack of state funding jeopardizes the University's ability to deliver on its mission and may lead to tuition increases, he said.

In an item of new business at the Faculty Senate meeting, the Faculty Consultative Committee moved that the Twin Cities Faculty Delegation of the Faculty Senate rescind its membership in the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA). Senators voted to entertain the motion and it was approved.


Above: President Eric Kaler (left) and Professor Mark Pedelty (right) take questions on the Resolution on Equal Opportunity and Title IX Education


A message from Professor Colin Campbell, chair of the Senate/Faculty Consultative Committees

This semester, the FCC consulted with various University staff and administrators on a number of matters, including the Administrative Policy: Reporting and Addressing Concerns of Misconduct (Boyd Kumher, chief compliance officer), and a draft Administrative Policy: Sexual Misconduct (Tina Marisam, director and Title IX coordinator, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action). We also met with President Kaler, Provost Hanson, and Regent Chair Dean Johnson and Regent Vice Chair David McMillan. I am grateful for the collaborative spirit of President Kaler and members of the administration, and for their support of shared governance. When we all work together, the University benefits greatly.

As we transition into the new academic year, I would like to welcome the newly elected FCC membersTabitha Grier-Reed (CEHD) and Ned Patterson (Vet Med). Professor Joseph Konstan (CSE) was elected as FCC chair for the 2017-18 academic year.  

This will be my last update as FCC/SCC chair, a role I have been honored to hold for nearly two years. I would like to thank my colleagues on the SCC and FCC, whose individual perspectives, intelligence, and energy are very much appreciated. I especially want to acknowledge the vice chair of the FCC, Joseph Konstan. I am hugely indebted to him for his energetic support, thoughtfulness, and great intelligence. The FCC/SCC will be in good hands under his leadership.


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