University Senate - July 20, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, July 20, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox.

    1. Senator Cox reminded senators and guests of the norms and voting procedures.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the June 22, 2020, minutes of University Senate with the following corrections:

It should be noted that in the discussion regarding workload, it was raised that the Policy Library says there is no universal workload. Also, in the June 22, meeting, Provost Osborne recognized that most faculty are teaching more than usual and stated that this was not the new normal.

Consent Calendar

  1. The following items were received on the consent calendar:

    1. Academic Program Review Committee Annual Report

    2. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Sept. 3, 2019

    3. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Sept. 24, 2019

    4. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Oct. 8, 2019

    5. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Oct. 29, 2019

    6. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Nov. 12, 2019

    7. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Feb. 4, 2020

    8. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Feb. 22, 2020

    9. Liberal Education Council Minutes – Mar. 31, 2020

    10. Liberal Education Council -GMP Course Review – 2019-2020

    11. Liberal Education Council Annual Report


  1. Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost

    1. Provost Osborne indicated that we are still planning on a fall return to campus, but the situation is evolving. Although it may look very chaotic, it is in response to a evolving situation and to things outside of Miami’s control. The main goal is to keep our communities safe. The financial side is important but not the deciding factor. Butler County has experienced a better trend in regards to COVID19 cases, but the numbers are still high. Our partners uptown are supporting the overall health and safety by promoting facemasks and good practices; however, there still are large gatherings and people without face masks.

    2. There are still multiple concerns, including securing rapid and effective testing. The efforts on vaccines and treatments are moving very rapidly, but are still unknown. Miami also remains very concerned having a large number of undergraduate students in residence halls, due to the dense population. Also concerning are the students coming from areas of the country where the cases are on the rise. These situations are being actively monitored. PEC has been looking at different what-if scenarios, including what public schools and other universities are planning. For example, Rice University is utilizing outside tents for classroom space. We have talked to Physical Facilities as to whether that is an option at Miami. Classroom space has also been reevaluated to accommodate the 6’ distancing regulations and is also evaluating ventilation and incorporating more fresh air into the system.

    3. Miami is beginning to see some melt with the incoming class. Some are concerned with coming back to campus due to health reasons. Admissions is working with these students to look at solutions such as deferring for a semester. We continue to look at state subsidy. We are continuing to work with the Deans regarding the budget to ensure we aren’t constantly in deficit.

    4. Academic Affairs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives are continuing with assistance from Senator Coates. Associate Provost, Carolyn Haynes is reviewing previous recommendations and assembling a document as a starting point so from previous years to determine what the focus should be. Academic Affairs is focusing on three areas: faculty (Dana Cox is leading); students (Jeffrey Wanko is leading), and curriculum (focusing on the Global Miami Plan and bringing students into conversations – Carolyn Haynes is leading.) The President’s DE&I task force is very active as well.

    5. A question was asked regarding how to answer questions students have who would rather take courses online. Provost Osborne stated that although freshman and sophomore students are required to live on campus, this will be waived for sophomores this year in an effort to de-density housing. The message to students is that if they truly want to be online, they cannot just choose any course in the catalog. They would need to look for online courses or courses that would support the ability to be completely remote. Not all hybrid courses are the same. There are some pedagogical approaches where remote will not work. The ownness is on the student, not on the faculty member.

  2.  Classroom and Space Update – Jeffrey Wanko, Associate Provost

    1. With the Governor’s shift to 6-foot distancing in classrooms, PFD has worked on a survey of all classroom spaces to set new classroom maximums. The Regional Campuses already had their rooms configured with 6-foot distancing. After the room adjustments, the largest room, Taylor Auditorium, can seat 72. It originally seated 497 This includes an 8-foot distancing for the faculty member up front. We lose a significant amount of seating in room, such as auditoriums, which have fixed seating. Information was sent out this morning to all department schedulers so that adjustments can be made as needed for face-to-face or hybrid classes. A survey of other possible spaces was done and obtained 12 additional classroom spaces including Shriver Center (Dolibois Rooms and Heritage Room), Hall Auditorium (104 student capacity), Kumler Chapel, and Sesquicentennial Chapel. Some spaces, such as Kumler Chapel, may not have technology as typically in other spaces. There may be other spaces, such as the Wilkes Theatre in Armstrong, that can be used as classroom spaces.

    2. The clinical health science building has been pushed back a year. It is on the site of the current Student Health Services building The opening will be the summer of 2023, instead of the summer of 2022. Physical facilities is looking at flow and signage in classrooms and departments.

    3. Senators had the following questions and comments:

      1. Since we won't be hosting conferences, will Marcum be a possibility? It is being taken offline for the fall to be used for other purposes. Hamilton Hall sorority suites are going to be used for classrooms, seating 30-36 students. Additionally, Harris Hall will be used second semester for classroom space and for the health center space during construction of the Health Sciences building.

      2. Will classroom spaces be marked on the floor for 6-foot distancing distance? Yes, maps are drawn out as to where the seats will be and will be posted in the rooms. The chairs and seats will be marked as where they need to be in the room to maintain 6-foot distancing between students and an 8-foot distancing from the instructor.

      3. Why weren’t the 6-foot designations done in May? The lateness has caused a lot of stress and work on behalf of the schedulers and department chairs. The labor needs to be acknowledged. The time has been used for many other purposes. Issues have been prioritized using information as it comes in. A number of buildings had already been looked it, but It takes a lot of time within PFD to look at the details of each room.

      4. A clarification was needed regarding hybrid courses. it was noted that hybrid has a lot of different forms. It can be one where students meet face-to-face and have an online component. It can also be a hyflex model where there is a rotation of students. We are not telling students that all sections can be fully remote. There's a notation on hybrid classes.

      5. What happens if a student cannot participate in a face-to-face portion of a hybrid course? A student could be sick which would yield them reasonable accommodations or a student could just be indicating that they don't want to participate, which is a different issue. If part of the class is offered face-to-face, it would be expected that the student attend except in the case where they are ill.

      6. Is there going to be information about students who only want to take online classes? Students will have to look at their options. Parents will also be notified and given the information about how to select the best fit.

      7. A student had a concern that this is not feasible for some students to attend courses face-to-face at risk of their own health or the health of others in their household. The University should not put the ownness on the student, but rather making this as accessible as possible. Provost Osborne acknowledged this concern, and indicated that while there are more online options this semester than before, it is not possible to put everything online.

      8. One Senator indicated that they're going to work diligently with students regarding substitutions and other viable options to fulfill degree requirements. She also asked if a student, who had an online class following a face-to-face class, could utilize spaces such as the lobby for the online class. Yes, we need to be mindful of the spaces and are looking at how to do that.

      9. What happens when an instructor gets sick? Can we teach asynchronously if we are sick? Yes, if you can there's a lot of extra work happening how are we addressing the differential impacted the pandemic.



  3. Safe Return to Campus Committee Update – Dana Cox, Chair, Senate Executive Committee

    1. Gwen Fears, who is co-chair of the safe return to campus committee was introduced.

    2. The question was asked what happens when we get sick. No one should come to work or class when sick. That is important, but even more so today. While making plans explicit ahead of time is important, Gwen and Dana reiterated that it may not be as simple as finding someone to fill in for you.

    3. We are listening. In addition to the Safe Return to Campus meetings, Gwen and Dana meet with different groups, and have received 950 messages via Formstack, which we are trying to address. We have been given the opportunity to do a lot of advising and have realized how one decision affects many things.

    4. There are no set subcommittees within the Safe Return to Campus Committee. Subcommittees are formed as needed. A recent subcommittee was formed to examine intermediate measures to gauge the health of the community. One of the issues is a concrete and systematic plan for testing. We are consulting experts in public health and epidemiology.

    5. Senators had the following questions and comments:

      1. What happens if a student becomes ill? Details will not be announced for protection of the student. There is a plan and procedures in place to help that student get care and to report any positive tests to the Butler County Health Department.

      2. Will the instructor be told if a member or student in one of their classes is ill? Not necessarily. contact tracing is not in Miami's hands.

      3. What happens if a child or family member has symptoms - who do we tell? It could be the case that it’s a second or third degree contact. If you have come in contact with someone who is positive, then there is a protocol to follow. We will provide more education about the process to follow to determine need for quarantine (waiting for symptoms or a positive test) or isolation (positive test).

The Safe Return to Campus Committee includes various local experts including Cody Powell who is the head of physical facilities. Bridges between theory and practice have formed and our procedures here on campus are grounded in science. 

Senator  Cox asked that the agenda be reordered and discussion of Title IX be placed first before the SR 20-25 discussion. One senator expressed concern due to the need to discuss SR 20-25 at this meeting because of amendments that have been suggested by several senators. A motion was made and passed to reorder the agenda.

Old Business

  1. Title IX Policy Updates – Senator Kenya Ash

    1. Senator Ash has led a group discussion that included Helaine Alessio, Jen Green, Gaile Pohlhaus, Gabby Dralle, Collin Baer, Theresa Kulbaga to discuss the pros and cons of changing the Title IX reporting policy. It was decided that there was not enough time to make the decision to change the policy now. It was decided not to do anything until could be discussed further. Gabby Dralle can present 3-5 year trend data at a later date.

    2. One Senator commented that they would like to see a committee that draws on the resources here at Miami, but this is more than a legal issue. It's a holistic issue that includes psychological and social factors.

  2. SR 20-25 - Sense of the Senate – Flexible and Prepared – Fall 2020

    1. The amended resolution was shown some of the wording changes were substantial a motion to consider was approved.

    2. Senators have the following questions and comments:

      1. It was asked if emergency remote delivery could be included? This would expand to include faculty and administration. It was asked what CPAC and UPAC feel about this in terms of including staff in the resolution? Several staff members responded indicating that they felt this was more of an instructional resolution. The UPAC representative indicated that UPAC has been discussing staff needs and situations during these challenging times.

      2. There was appreciation voiced regarding all the work done on this resolution. An amendment was proposed that would have been Section 5 for faculty who want to teach online as well as staff and students who want to be online. Senator Cox indicated that it was not felt that the amendment could go in. One issue would be that professors would have to accommodate any request from students wanting to go online. Additionally, how are we going to allow any staff to say they can't come in, especially in areas like the dining halls. With faculty, there is more of an option to be remote. There are a variety of perspectives and no good answers. We may then have students not getting on campus experiences. Provost Osborne indicated that department chairs and Deans have been asked to manage this. There have been high expectations from parents.

      3. Many accommodations for faculty have been made. Provost Osborne would like to know of situations where people haven't been accommodated. With a 6-foot distancing some of the courses may have to go online due to space considerations.

      4. One senator felt that the new suggested edits were good additions and at this point we can't count on what K-12 and nursing homes are going to do. We all need to work together and to extend faith and trust and think about everyone's health. it was noted that we are following what local school districts are doing. It's not just child care but family care. The health of K-12 is directly tied to the health of the University. We have a mission to provide a face-to-face education. We can’t invite students back to campus and have all online classes. There should be autonomy regarding choices.

      5. A senator suggested wording to include an appeal process if a faculty member was denied a request to teach online.

      6. Provost Osborne recognized the tremendous load of the department chairs and also recognized the work of the schedulers. He thanked everybody for providing feedback during this time.

      7. A senator in the department of Spanish and Portuguese wanted it acknowledged that their faculty have already been teaching a 4/4 load (TCPL) and 3/3 (T/TT).

    4. A motion was made to call the question. The motion did not pass by 2/3 majority (20 aye; 13 nay; 2 abstentions). A motion was then made to adjourn the meeting.


  1. The Regular Session of University Senate was adjourned at 5:13 p.m.