What Every Faculty Member Should Know
Once a month, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee sends out a broadcast email to all LSU faculty members on highlighted news and events for that month. The broadcast email can also be read here. If you do not receive emails from the Faculty Senate but would like to be added to the Faculty Senate email list, please email email@example.com.
Faculty Council meeting
April 17, 2:30, Royal Cotillion Ballroom, Union. A quorum is crucial as an assertion of faculty governance. Every full-time faculty member, from instructor through Boyd Professor, should plan to attend!
The Faculty Senate passed FS Resolution 23-01, “Resolution to Expand Retirement Choices for LSU Employees,” that calls on LSU leadership to pursue legislation in the 2023 LA Legislative Session to address the inequities created by the ORP and its implementation as “a retirement plan classified as a pension plan” and to offer the many employees who desire to revoke their election into ORP and participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) the ability to do so in a fair, affordable way.
- LSU has directed employer contributions on behalf of ORP members to pay for unfunded accrued liability that serves employees in TSRL and not the ORP.
- LSU contributions to ORP have been at times less than federally mandated Social Security contribution levels for employers on a percentage basis.
- SB10 of the 2022 Louisiana Legislative Session by Senator Jay Morris proposed legislation to offer an ORP participant an opportunity to transfer to the defined benefit plan on an actuarial basis, but it did not get out of the LA Senate Finance Committee.
- For more on this issue, please see this article: Louisiana faculty sound the alarm on retirement crisis - Louisiana Illuminator (lailluminator.com)
LA State Senate Resolution 6
LA State Senator Cathey has announced he will not convene the tenure task force as per SR-6 and instead plans to introduce a bill on tenure in upcoming senate session. The Faculty Senate stands by FS Resolution 22-06: A Call To Reaffirm Protections of Academic Freedom and Tenure.
The Zero-Based Budget Provost’s Committee report is complete. On behalf of the Faculty Senate, President Inessa Bazayev and Vice-President Daniel Tirone have urged Provost Roy Haggerty to make the report public, but his preference now is not to do so. He is considering releasing an executive summary of the report.
Graduate Student Stipends
Confusion and concern, particularly around the issue of graduate student health insurance, remain high. For example, higher stipends may make graduate students ineligible for some government benefits. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) is working with the Graduate Student Association and the wider faculty to clarify and articulate those concerns.
New Graduate School Entrance Requirements
The Faculty Senate approved the Graduate School's proposal to allow departments to opt of requiring the GRE for admission and to also allow the GS to use the alternative admission metric described in their proposal for graduate admission decisions.
The GS has piloted a comprehensive review score that is based on:
- overall undergraduate GPA,
- undergraduate GPA last 60 hours,
- GPA of all graduate level courses completed (if any)
- a personal statement focused on why the student wishes to pursue a particular graduate degree at LSU,
- letters of reference from up to three non-family members who can attest to maturity and dedication of the applicant,
- the years of experience an applicant might have,
- an essay about the applicant’s drive and persistence.
In the pilot, the comprehensive review scale is based on a 4.0 scale and a score of at least 3.0 was required for admission.
Departments that wish to use the GRE for admissions may continue to do so.
Student Health Center, the OLOL Takeover, and Concerns about Mental Health
The LSU’s Health Center’s partnership with Our Lady of the Lake is effective Feb. 27, and is part of a wider partnership, including a significant alliance with the Athletic Department, a research component, as well as a new science building.
- OLOL will take over the Health Center’s Medical Clinic (with the exception of the GYN Clinic) and Mental Health Services.
- The Health Center, funded by the student fee, will continue to run Wellness and Health Promotion and the Lighthouse Program, as well as all GYN services, including contraception. All existing staff will remain.
- OLOL is investing $10 million; plus $3 million for uninsured and underinsured students; it will also provide pharmacy and delivery services, expanded access to telehealth, and access to a nurse line.
- Julie Hupperich, Executive Director of the Student Health Center, explained that although
students must wait two weeks for a new appointment with Mental Health
Services, they also have access to Same-Day Walk-In appointments every day.
Extreme Building Temperatures
FSEC has expressed the faculty’s concern
about overly heated or overly chilled classrooms, labs, office space, practice rooms, etc., and the resulting detrimental impact on teaching and research.
- Facility Services Interim Executive Director Bryan Andries and Assistant Director Gerald Sansoni acknowledged that the number of outages has increased over the last year. In March 2022, LSU embarked on a modernization project: $115 million investment, scheduled to be complete by end of 2024, with the hopes that the system will then have enough capacity for the new buildings under construction now. This modernization process has caused problems: when parts of the old system are demolished to make way for new, the system loses reserve capacity, then equipment breaks down.
- Repairs have often been slowed by supply chain difficulties.
- Faculty should report all problems to the building coordinator and/or via a direct phone call or email to Facility Services. All building coordinators have received a list of every faculty member teaching in their building.
Senate Pres. Bazayev is meeting with Academic Affairs to develop a campuswide policy; in the meantime, CxC has put together a web page of helpful resources.
Phi Kappa Phi President Louay Mohammad asked senators to
inform their units and students of the opportunities for financial support through PKP, which gives out $1.3 million pa to qualified students, in the form of awards ranging from $1000 to $35000. Faculty Sabbatical awards of $50,000 are also available.
Resolution 23-01, “Resolution to Expand Retirement Choices for LSU Employees”
- Resolution 23-01, “Resolution to Expand Retirement Choices for LSU Employees,” sponsored by the Benefits Advisory Committee, received its first reading. The resolution refers to SB10 of the 2022 Louisiana Legislative Session, which proposed legislation to offer an ORP participant to transfer to the defined benefit plan (TRSL) on an actuarial basis. This bill did not move out of committee. Resolution 23-01 calls on LSU President Tate to endorse a similar piece of legislation in the 2023 Legislative Session, so that the many employees who desire to do so, can revoke their election into a defined contribution ORP and participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.
- The Zero-Based Budget Committee report was submitted to the Provost on Friday, Jan. 20. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) has asked that the report to be made public as soon as possible.
Extreme Building Temperatures
- As extreme building temperatures (below 60 and above 90) continue to have a negative impact on faculty research and teaching, faculty are urged to report each and every problem to Facility Services (225-578-3186), to the Building Coordinator, and to the Administrative Process Improvement Committee (APIC). FSEC has asked that a representative from Facility Services attend the Feb. Faculty senate meeting to answer questions and to provide a timeline for remedying the problems.
- A number of faculty reported delays in obtaining approval for outside employment contracts under PM-11. After consultation between FSEC and Academic Affairs, those delays should no longer occur. Other concerns with the permanent memorandum still exist and are the subject of continuing discussion between FSEC and Academic Affairs.
ILC Course Assessment
- Faculty who encounter difficulties should contact their college representative on the Faculty Senate Integrative Learning Core Committee.
LSU’s contract with Caesar’s Sportsbook
- Keli Zinn, Executive Deputy Director and COO of LSU Athletics, and Clay Harris, Deputy
Director of Athletics for Revenue Generation gave an overview of the Caesar’s Partnership:
- Caesar’s receives access to prime signage, radio spots, TV spots, print, website and use of LSU logo. In exchange, Caesar’s is now one of the highest donors to LSU Athletics.
- The contract runs thru 2026.
- The broadcast email sent out to all students and faculty (urging us all to place our first bet through the Caesar’s app) was the product of serious human error and will not happen again.
- LSU Sports Properties, the exclusive marketing & multimedia rights holder of LSU Athletics since 2005, is a private corporation, a separate legal entity from LSU, and not subject to public disclosure laws. All agreements through LSU Sports Properties are protected; the secrecy surrounding the contract with Caesar’s was not unique.
- No faculty committee consults with LSU Sports Properties.
- Zinn was not able to say who at LSU approved the contract or to describe the consultation and communication process between LSU Sports Properties, LSU Athletics, and the academic university.
There will be a Town Hall meeting on December 13, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. in the Halliday Forum in the Manship School. The Town Hall meeting is open to faculty, graduate students, and staff.
In November, the Faculty Senate Executive Council solicited faculty feedback via senators. A summary of the comments received was emailed to all senators for distribution to units and departments. If you have not received this summary, contact your senator.
Enrollment Management and Student Success:
- In the fall of 2022, Enrollment Management assigned course schedules to incoming students based on a survey that the students had filled out. At Orientation, students were offered 1:1 academic advising if they were concerned about or wanted to change their schedule. Aviles admitted that this process was flawed but insisted that the university is moving quickly toward a more relational approach whereby all incoming students will meet with academic advisors. LSU currently does not require students to consult with academic advisors on their course schedules.
- Since 2017, LSU has made impressive gains in the number of out-of-state students (up
182%), beneficiaries of Pell Grants (up 82%), students from historically underserved
backgrounds (up 144%), and first-generation college students (up 160%). This success,
however, means that LSU must do much better on ensuring that these new populations
do well at LSU.
- University College, the Center for Academic Success, and Financial Aid are now under Enrollment Management. This restructuring is part of a longer-term strategy to ensure that every incoming freshman is assigned a “Student Success Team” comprising an academic advisor, an academic coach, and a financial advisor.
- An effort to improve the University College student: advisor ratio is underway. In Fall 2021, the ratio within the College was 600:1 (which is abysmal). In Fall 2022, that ratio was 350:1 (considered the bare minimum, by national standards). By hiring additional advisors, Aviles hopes to bring the ratio to 250:1 by Fall 2023.
- This expansion in the number of advisors will allow 1) the assignment of an advisor to every first-year student, and 2) the use of predictive analytics to identity and approach at-risk students.
- The planning process for a new library is underway. Libraries Dean, Stanley Wilder,
is soliciting faculty input on the following:
- Disposition of print collection:
- What should go? The two-million volume print collection has never been weeded and it must be.
- What kinds of print collections should be in browsable format (as opposed to stored off-site)?
- Envisioning the new library: from functions (e.g. should the Testing Center be located in the library?) to square footage.
- Disposition of print collection:
Why You Should Get an ORCID:
- Federal grants now require a digital persistent identity, like ORCID.
- Will make sure you are credited with the work that you do.
Generates data that are important for rankings.
- Will save time-- will link to other platforms, Elements, many publication submission and grant application forms--can set up ORCID account to automatically update itself and it works retroactively.
- Required by many publishers
- firstname.lastname@example.org: Library staff will help update and connect (can authorize librarian as “trusted source” to update your account).
- Click here for more information on ORCID
In November, the Faculty Senate formed a special Sabbatical Review Committee that will work with Academic Affairs to revise university policies governing sabbaticals in response to questions that have emerged about sabbaticals for untenured faculty and for instructors, among other concerns.
Faculty Teaching Colloquium:
- January 13, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Featuring José Bowen on Teaching Change: How to Develop Independent Thinkers Using Relationships, Resilience, and Reflection. Register here for the Colloquium.
The meeting of the LA Senate Concurrent Res 6 Legislative Committee (tasked with investigating tenure) has been indefinitely postponed. The Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates (ALFS) and the LSU Faculty Senate Executive Committee are monitoring developments and will keep you posted.
- The initial meeting of the SCR6 taskforce to study tenure was scheduled for November 17th, 2022, but it has been postponed indefinitely.
Zero-Based Budget Proposal:
- Following the announcement of the Zero-Based Budget proposal from the Office of Academic Affairs on October 27th, 2022, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee solicited feedback from Senators. We received feedback from 17 departments and compiled a summary capturing broad concerns across campus, regardless of disciplines, and more unit-specified concerns. This report was forwarded to Senators for distribution in their units. If you did not receive a copy of the Executive Summary, please be sure to contact your Senator.
Faculty Council Meeting:
- The Faculty Council Meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 17th, 2022 at 2:30pm. More details about the location are forthcoming.
Zero-Based Budget Model:
- The Provost's presentation to the Faculty Senate on the new Zero-Based Budget Model, which includes adjustments to graduate student funding, is on October 20th, 2022
- The Faculty Senate Executive Committee conducted a survey of all faculty to identify individuals willing and able to serve on the Faculty Senate and the administrative committees.