Faculty Senate holds last meeting of fall 2013 semester
Editor's note: For more detailed information, including meeting minutes, visit the Faculty Senate website.
11:42 a.m., Dec. 5, 2013--The University of Delaware Faculty Senate approved the provisional establishment of three degree programs and established a new standing committee during its final meeting of the fall semester, held Monday, Dec. 2, in Gore Hall.
Senators gave provisional approval, for five years, to a 3 plus 2 bachelor’s degree program in physics and master’s degree program in materials science and engineering; a master of science degree program in anatomy and clinical health science; and a doctoral program in financial services analytics, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.
Building leadership skills
Senators also gave the green light to the establishment of a standing UD Faculty Senate Budget Committee. The committee will consist of seven faculty members, the majority of whom will be tenured. An eighth member of the committee will be appointed by annually by the provost to serve as a designee to facilitate interactions between the committee and relevant administrative offices.
Also approved was a resolution reaffirming the senate’s recommendation that administrative searches at the level of dean or higher be conducted in “a reasonably open manner, such that the short-listed candidates are announced and opportunities are provided where our students, faculty and other members of the University committee may engage them and provide feedback before a finalist is selected.”
During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, senators approved a request to revise the master’s and doctoral degree programs in materials science.
University Provost Domenico Grasso discussed the challenges facing higher education and the evolution of UD’s mission as a land grant college as it prepares to update the Path to Prominence strategic plan.
Grasso noted that the 1996 Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land Grant Universities called attention to challenges faced by colleges due to shifting public views, changing demographics and quickly evolving technologies as they respond to concerns of parents, students and the larger community.
“This is something that is not new and that we have to take seriously,” he said.
The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 was signed by President Abraham Lincoln as the country was engaged in the American Civil War. The legislation, Grasso noted, was designed to both enhance economic development and provide students with a well-rounded education.
“The land grant act was not solely about vocational training to educate students for the world’s businesses and the industrial pursuits and professions in life,” he said. “It was also designed to liberally educate a larger group of individuals. There are many elements of this that have been either forgotten or misunderstood in interpretations across the nation about what the bill was intended to be.”
Among the major contributions of the act is the fact that 55 percent of America’s top research universities and 60 percent of its doctoral granting institutions are land grant institutions, Grasso said.
While the achievements of land grant institutions have been significant, much has changed in the higher education landscape, he said.
“We changed from an agrarian to a manufacturing to a knowledge-based society, where technology and computational power are everywhere,” Grasso said. “What hasn’t changed is how universities organize themselves. Many institutions of higher education still deliver education in the same way that was done in the 1800s, when classes were smaller, with lecture periods where education was delivered in one direction.”
Grasso also cited the 2012 Research Universities and the Future of America report issued by the National Research Council.
“The report said that research universities have emerged as a most important national asset,” Grasso said. “It didn’t just occur by happenstance the report traces it back to the Morrill Land Grant Act. It is an important part of the economic activity of our nation.”
As the University prepares to update the Path to Prominence strategic plan, it must look at curriculum opportunities, institutional structures, partnerships and other key concerns, he said.
“The faculty are key to organizing and developing our implementation and making sure that this is what our University wants to do,” Grasso said. “Any change must be owned and promoted by the faculty.”
Security breach update
Carl Jacobson, vice president for information technologies, updated senators on measures taken to address the security breach that occurred in July, affecting more than 74,000 individuals, most of them current and past employees.
“In mid-July the servers that were used for administrative websites were hacked and the hackers took data from the websites,” Jacobson said.
Once the breach was discovered, Information Technologies (IT) took action, shutting down the servers, he said.
“The vulnerability was in a third-party software system,” Jacobson said. “The company announced the vulnerability, and within two hours UD was infected.”
As it rebuilt the services, IT also began a damage assessment, calling in the FBI and forming an incident response team including representatives of the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Communications and Marketing and the UD Police Department.
The University engaged the services of Kroll Advisory Solutions and notified those affected electronically and by letters through regular postal channels.
“They manned a hot line to help people, and we manned one here to take the calls that Kroll couldn’t handle," he said. "They offered three years of credit monitoring services.”
Currently, IT is working to provide a balance between customer services in an “open for business” environment while looking to maintain security in an environment in which there are thousands of hacking attacks daily.
The University also engaged with W.L. Gore and Associates and DuPont to learn about the challenges faced by these global business giants.
Working with leaders in business and industry and representatives from other universities will complement internal IT efforts to meet the challenges by hackers made more potent by the computing cloud, mobile communication devices and social networking, he said.
“This is not just about personal identify information, it can also be about financial information and research data,” Jacobson said. “We also are working to expand central computing controls further out into the various departments and colleges.”
Faculty Senate President Deni Galileo, associate professor of biological sciences, briefed senators on several points of information, including the creation of an online form by the Faculty Senate Coordinating Committee for the approval of noncredit certificates.
“The form will appear as a spreadsheet, and if the Coordinating Committee needs more information than what you submit, they will let you know,” Galileo said. “The deadline for submitting existing programs for approval is Jan. 10, 2014. New programs need at least a 45-day lead time to be approved.”
Galileo also noted the academic calendar for the 2015-16 year was submitted to the Undergraduate Studies Committee and the Coordinating Committee and was approved as submitted by the Office of the University Registrar.
“In the fall  semester there are 68 days of instruction, 24 days in the Winter Session and 67 days of instruction for the spring  semester,” Galileo said. “The minimums specified for the number of Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Tuesday-Thursday classes have been met.”
Galileo also recommended that senators look at the 2013 UD Women’s Caucus 2013 Report, available at this website.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the UD Faculty Senate is Monday, Feb. 3, in 104 Gore Hall.
For more information on the UD Faculty Senate, visit the website.
Article by Jerry Rhodes