September 23, 2014

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Approved 10-21-14




Tuesday, September 23, 2014
115 International Center

Present: T. Alsaeed, A. Anderson, D. Apostoleris, S. Kautz (for M. Baba), E. Bank, K. Bartig, M. Becker, T. Bitner, N. Bunge, G. Burns, R. Caldwell, G. Chao, M. Chavez, J. Christensen, D. Clark, D. Clemons, M. Crimp, T. Curry, P. David, W. Davidson, W. Donohue, J. Dudziak, R. Edozie, O. Elsherif, C. Loeb (for S. Esquith), D. Estry, M. Floer, P. Floyd, J. Forger, K. Forrest, J. Francese, J. Gaboury, J. Wagner (for S. Gupta), A. Weismantel (for C. Haka), A. Adekson (for S. Hanson), M. Sedlak (for D. Heller), C. Alsup (for J. Howarth), C. Jackson-Elmoore, P. Julakanti, T. Wolff (for L. Kempel), R. Kirkpatrick, Judith Stoddar (for K. Klomparens), S. Lacy, X. Liu, P. Lombardo, W. Ludman, K. Maass, R. Maleczka, J. Maurer, M. Maxwell, A. Shaw (for D. Maybank), E. McCallum, D. Moriarty, M. Mundt, D. Nails, M. Nair, M. Noel, J. Palac, R. Brandenburg (for F. Poston), J. Powell, S. Printy, M. Raven, J. Rosa, N. Rovig, K. Samra, C. Sauchak, J. Schwartz, R. Sebree, J. Sherry, R. LaDuca and D. Prestel (for E. Simmons), D. Sinistaj, R. Smith, C. Smith, W. Spielman, B. Sternquist, M. Sticklen, W. Strampel, E. Strauss, A. Susarla, C. Taggart, C. Vermeesch, C. Waters, M. Wesolowski, C. Wiebrecht, M. Worden, J. Youatt, B. Zandstra

Absent: President Simon, A. Addrow-Pierson, J. Baker, S. Carter, J. Conwell, E. Crockett-Torabi, T. Davis, A. Dickerson, P. Dickson, A. Faulkner, G. Fink, H. Fitzgerald, S. Garnett, C. Gelbke, D. Grooms, L. Harris, G. Howe, S. Hsu, R. Hula, C. Johnson, D. Katz, C. Loelius, B. Miller, E. Moore, R. Opoczynski, A. Paganini, F. Ravitch, L. Robinson, F. Salem, S. Smidt, L. Sochay, D. Solomon, J. Torrez, C. Traister, J. Turner, K. Vaninsky, J. Walton, S. Yoder

The Meeting was called to order by Chairperson Deborah Moriarty at 3:20 p.m.

Approval of Agenda:
The Agenda was approved as distributed.

Public Comments:
There were no public comments.

Approval of Draft Minutes for April 22, 2014:
The draft minutes for April 22, 2014 were approved as distributed.

President’s Remarks:
President Simon was out of town.

Provost's Remarks:
Provost Youatt reported Welcome Week went well and students are back and active. During the past week she attended the University Innovation Alliance in Washington D.C. MSU has joined with 10 other institutions that have publicly agreed to work together to share innovations to try to accelerate graduation rates, with emphasis on low income, first-generation college students. The alliance believes that students who are admitted to an institution should have an equal chance to be successful at that institution. The Alliance institutions have used a variety of successful strategies and have agreed to share our successes and failures with other institutions that are working toward the goal of improved graduation rates. The goal is to disseminate information across the country. Other members of the Alliance include Ohio State, Purdue, and the University of Texas at Austin.

It was recently announced that Michigan State was awarded a $5,000,000 grant from the Dow Foundation to continue to innovate in areas of STEM education. The College of Education, Lyman Briggs College, the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Science combined to create a successful proposal. It is very satisfying to see that we are recognized for our innovations in STEM education. It was a very competitive grant and to get the entire award reflects well on leadership and innovations of our faculty.

The Steering Committee Chairperson's Remarks:
Professor Moriarty welcomed all new and returning members and introduced the At-Large Steering Committee members and the new Interim Secretary for Academic Governance as:

Interim Secretary for Academic Governance: John W. Powell

Steering Committee At-Large Members:
Martin Crimp from Engineering,
Mary Noel from Human Medicine, William Davidson from Social Science and Mariam Sticklen from Agriculture and Natural Resources

Professor Moriarty identified a number of changes that are in the works for both Faculty Senate and University Council. The goal is to continue to improve communication and transparency for Senate and Council activities. For example, the first faculty Senate meeting consisted of small working groups regarding what they expected from Faculty Senate. This approach will be useful as other issues are brought forward for consideration by Academic Governance. There are a number of issues that have been identified for future agendas that include, but are not limited to, proposals from the Faculty Health Care Council and the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Professor Moriarty announced that Faculty Focus Groups will meet on October 7-8 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and again on October 13-16 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The objective of these discussions is to gain additional insight regarding faculty thoughts and ideas related to the development of an on-site health center. The meetings will be moderated by Professor John Beck from Human Resources and Labor Relations.

Update: Option to Declare a Major at 28 Credits:
The Provost requested an endorsement from the University Council for the proposal for an Option to Declare a Major at 28 Credits. The option does not require that students select a major after 28 credits but allows them the choice to do so if it fits their progress to graduation plans. This will provide more flexibility for college advisors to support students in their progression to graduation, especially for transfer students and students coming with advanced program credits. It also allows programs with restricted admission to admit students when they have completed admission requirements prior to the current 56 credit requirement.

A Motion was made to approve the proposal, and the motion was approved following discussion.

Discussion: Provost Youatt reiterated support for the increases in advising assistants that may be associated with this policy.

Human Resources Presentation to University Council:
Prior to the presentation, the Council used I-clickers to respond to questions related to Human Resources.

Sharon Butler, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, presented an overview of some of the changes in Human Resources. She focused on the improvement in access through their website, efforts to improve communications through focused emails, and the creation of a program that is responsive to the breadth of HR activities. In addition, AVP Butler presented a video that described the HR Solutions Center that begins in October, and provided a broad summary of the findings of the Human Resources Customer Experience Survey.

Following AVP Butler, Renee Rivard, Director of Total Compensation and Wellness, reported that HR handles student insurance programs and operations, negotiates contracts with vendors, establishes requests for proposals from new vendors, and manages all areas associated with compensation and wellness. She provided a summary report of a survey conducted last spring regarding the Voluntary Benefits program offered by MSU. The survey focused on why people enrolled or didn’t enroll and their experiences with the enrollment process. These programs are a part of a suite of options available through HR Benefits Plus. Director Rivard also reported on the replacement of the current Flexible Spending Account administrator and identified Conexis and the new vendor for 2015. The new vendor was selected after review of a number of proposals based on policies and procedures related to high performing customer service operations.

The open enrollment period for the 2015 benefits year is October 1 through October 31. Those who intend to make changes in benefits plans, need to go through open enrollment. A change this year is the availability of the Consumer Driver Health Plan to include faculty, academic specialists, and all non-represented employees. She pointed out that the plan is now administered by Community Blue and that this change will open more access to providers across Michigan.

There will be a slight contribution to the Aetna Dental Plan due to an increase in the cost of the program. Aetna members must go through open enrollment to accept the premium contribution.

Chris Hannah, Director of Human Resources and Benefit Plans presented the premium contribution plans for the Health Benefits program for 2015. This year’s increase is less than has been seen in the past few years. MSU’s annual health care costs are less than the national average of 6–7%.

Review of New Academic Governance Web site:
Professor Powell gave a short presentation and demonstration of the new Academic Governance Web site. The new Web site will have a calendar showing all governance meetings populated by schedules of events. Eventually other committees will be sent a form to fill in all the committee’s events; and this information will be used to populate the master activities calendar. A Current Topics page will be created identifying topics that Academic Governance is considering. The site will identify starting dates, progression through the discussions, and a closing date. The Web site will launch on October 1, 2014.

New Business:
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,


John W. Powell

Committee Meeting Date: 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 3:15pm
Committee Type: 
Minutes Status :