Presidential Search Committee members Professors Kiho Kim, Sharon Weiner, and Sarah Menke-Fish reported that the search is underway. They are impressed with the candidate pool. They were limited in what they could share, and senators reiterated that the resolution passed in the spring emphasized the need to have a president with academic experience.
Senate Chair Todd Eisenstadt welcomed new and returning senators; nominees for the Faculty Senate Executive Committee Bryan Fantie and Emily Lindsay were elected.
Provost Scott Bass reported that three new deans, for Kogod, WCL and SOE, are in place, as well as a new Vice President for Undergraduate Studies Jessica Waters. A report about the RiSE initiative was submitted to the Mellon Foundation and will be distributed shortly. The AU Core will undergo review by the Senate this term. Undergraduate enrollments are on target, as are graduate enrollments when online courses are taken into account. The University is successful with keeping at-risk students enrolled into the second year (90.1% retention), although this number could be improved. AU’s ranking in US News and World Report dropped from 72 to 74, which is not significant.
DAA Mary Clark reviewed the objectives and structure of the university retreat, the theme of which is One AU: Culture and Community. Issues of diversity and inclusion as well as matters of student experience will be addressed. Both faculty and staff have been invited and the roster is at full capacity.
The Senate approved proposed changes to the Academic Grade Grievance Policy brought forward by Jessica Waters.
Chair of the Committee of Academic Budgets and Benefits Olivia Ivey asked that budget requests be submitted as soon as possible. Town halls organized by the University Budget Committee will be held down the line. Todd Eisenstadt emphasized than the Senate is charged with representing the faculty through this process while bearing in mind the overall budget. Senators were urged to remember the one-time payment of last year and advocate that merit raises to base salaries be restored. A desire for data on faculty salaries was expressed. Olivia Ivey reminded the Senate that student representatives serve on the Committee of Academic Budget and Benefits and the UBC; students have a voice in the University’s financial decisions. Scott Bass asked to know the position of Senate as the UBC is constituted.
Senate Vice Chair Andrea Pearson presented the following resolution:
The Faculty Senate appreciates that the university has begun to address term-faculty salaries, particularly the process underway to raise the lowest term-faculty salaries. While we recognize there is still more to be done, we applaud the fact that AU is now in the 80th percentile—the top tier—for the AAUP salary rankings for instructors. We are concerned, however, that compensation both for the lowest-paid and for long-serving term faculty still remains inadequate, given the extraordinary cost of living in the DC area and the possibility that some term faculty are unlikely or unable to take advantage of certain benefits included in total compensation, such as the matching retirement contributions. In addition, there remains significant inequity between term and tenure-line salaries. Therefore, we call on the Academic Budget and Benefits Committee, the University Budget Committee, the university administration, and the Board of Trustees to continue to support increases for the lowest-paid term faculty and to begin to attend to the low wages of long-serving career term faculty.
Larry Engel, Past Chair of the Senate, moved to accept, and note in the minutes, that a vote in favor of the resolution indicates the sense of the Senate on this matter. The motion was seconded and the resolution was approved unanimously.