The Ohio University Faculty Senate met on Monday to hear updates from OU President Hugh Sherman and Executive Vice President and provost Elizabeth Sayrs on vacancies, especially in the services culinary matters, and the amount of money the university has saved from vacancies at the university.

“We are very confident that we can begin, immediately, to reintegrate faculty and staff increases (in) planning the budget for next year and moving forward,” Sherman said.

As part of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee, Andrew Pueschel, Assistant Professor of Management, and Katie Hartman, Assistant Vice-President, Faculty Development, presented a plan to conceptualize and operationalize the teaching excellence by developing a clear definition of teaching excellence.

Hartman explained that the language around teaching assessments in the faculty textbook is vague. It only specifies that teacher evaluations by students are required and that instructors are expected to cooperate in these evaluations. Concepts suggested in the proposal included assessments of course material preparation, attention to student needs, instructor expertise, and curriculum improvement where necessary.

Char Miller, chair of the industrial relations committee, presented three resolutions for first reading in the Senate. The first resolution would specify which deans of the OU would receive annual reviews. He clarified that deans of academic units with at least five full-time professors, with permanent residences or promotions in the unit, would receive annual evaluations and that deans of regional campuses would no longer be evaluated annually.

The second resolution clarified the process in which professors request leave. The third resolution dealt with the renewal of professors’ contracts; the proposed resolution states that clearly defined sets of decision-making criteria should be in place for the offering of multi-year contracts as well as the non-renewal of faculty.

Douglas Clowe presented the OU Faculty Medicare Benefit Budget on behalf of the Finance and Facilities Committee and the Benefits Advisory Board. Health care costs are expected to rise more than 5% for the university next year, Clowe said. Due to the increases, the finance and facilities committee has been asked by the university to reduce the cost of benefits.

The options to reduce costs were: increase the percentage of the cost of health care plans paid by employees, increase deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, and change the coinsurance policy.

A decision will need to be made by January, and Senate members have been encouraged to send Clowe the preferences of other faculty members in their schools.

John O’Keefe, a senator from the Chillicothe campus, brought forward a faculty proposal for the elimination of administrative bonuses for the third time. The Senate resolution on the inclusion of bonuses was passed despite six dissenting votes.

@AddieHedges

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