UTMB Faculty Senate

July 11, 2011

4:30 – 6:00 pm



Present:  Drs. S. Croisant, Presiding Chair, G. Anderson, K. Beal, C. Cooper, P. Crane, S. Higgs, C. Jansen, L. Massey, N. Mendias, D. Powell, E. Protas, T. Riall, E. Smith, H. Spratt, C. St. John, A. Torres, C. Wiggs, D. Wild and C. Wisnewski


Absent:  Drs. I. Boldogh, B. Bryant, Y. Davila, L. Farmer, S. Gerik, C. Houston, J. LeDuc, M. O’Keefe, H. Pine, P. Singh, D. Solanki and Utsey


I.      The meeting was called to order by Dr. Sharon Croisant, Faculty Senate Chair-Elect.


II.    The Approval of the June 13, 2011 minutes.  The minutes of June 13, 2011 were voted and approved by email on July 8, 2011.


III.  Dean’s and VP Report

·      Dr. Anderson stated that the last two to three weeks they have been working on the budget.  It has been difficult but we did obtain funding for the new hospital and the two-year $150 million to use and tuition revenue bonds.  The new Student Information System will work better next year; they had quite a bit of updating plus working with the central University regulation system.  A question was asked about training for using the new system, Dr. Anderson stated there had been some training already, and as we move along, we can expect more opportunities for training in the next year.  Dr. Croisant asked about cuts on the academic side.  Dr. Anderson stated no rifs are planned at this time but will have to keep monitoring the situation, if necessary, they will use a point system and some considerations to be used are: essential skills, disciplinary acts, evaluations, and lowest score.


·      Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) – report provided by Dr. Cooper

·      Dean, School of Health Professions (SHP) – report provided by Dr. Protas

·      Dean, School of Nursing (SON) and Vice President for Education – reports provided by Dr. Watson


IV.        Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy for Research – Mr. Williams New, MA, Associate Dean for Research Administration

Mr. New presented the Senate with a PowerPoint presentation, version 1.3:

·      Background: 

o      General loss of public trust

  Media cases

  Mistrust of institutions

o      Criticism of NIH’s handling of COI

  Negotiation between Senator Grassley’s Senate Finance Committee and NIH

  OIG Review:  January 11, 2011

  Spring 2010, NIH’s Notice of Rule Making

o      Mandates from UT System

  Problematic disclosures by some UT faculty

  UT System negotiation with Senator Grassley’s Senate Finance Committee

  New requirement and model policy

o      Conservative changes to UTMB’s policy, given uncertainty about Federal requirements.


·      Major Changes from Existing Policy: 

o      Required

  Changes in scope of policy

  New disclosure requirements:

o   Types

o   Thresholds                                             

o      Possible

  Public Web Access

  Educational program every two years


·      Changes in Policy Scope: 

o      New UTMB Policy will become more narrow, targeting research conflicts

  Other policies, to be developed, will cover other institutional disclosure requirements, for example:

o   Disclosures of commitment

o   A&P staff disclosures

o      Applies to unfunded research

o      Changes in definition of “covered individual.”

  Covers only employees responsible for the conduct of research

  Also now includes obligation to disclose interests of those financially dependent on the researcher

  Also obligation to report financial interests for any person in regard to whom the researcher has a direct and substantial interest


·      New Disclosure Requirements: 

o      New types of financial interests to report:

  Any royalties, whether from UTMB or other entities

  Travel expenses paid directly by others or reimbursed by others.

  Fiduciary positions with non-profit entities

  Unpaid consulting services

  Family foundations


o      If UTMB requests, researcher must provide UTMB a copy of the contract or agreement for any disclosure


·      New Thresholds: 

o      Embedded in the policy is the concept of the “rebuttable presumption:” financial interests above a threshold is considered significant and should not be allowed.  The definition of significant thresholds drives many of the committee’s determinations.

o      Significant conflict threshold changes from $10,000 to $5,000

o      Threshold is cumulative for benefits from an entity

  For example, a $1,500 honorarium from a company with two $2,000 trips (paid by them or reimbursed) exceeds the “significant threshold.”

o      More than $5,000 or 1% ownership interest in a publicly traded company.


·      COI Reporting System: 

o      Former reporting system was decommissioned

o      New system approved for development

o      Timetable under development

o      Targeting testing the new disclosure system before the end of the fiscal year: university –wide disclosure date not yet established

o      Once established, will resume annual disclosures


·      Steps Going Forward: 

o      Develop COI reporting system

  Will have context-relevant help messages

o      Hold education sessions for details of the COI policy and how to access the new disclosure system

  For those who cannot attend, and for the new faculty in the future, develop an on-line education module

o      Announce reporting date

o      If required, we will base our educational module on the CTI modules.

  Developed by a consortium of leading research institutions

  Used currently for IRB related training


V.   Sexual Harassment and the New Compliance Training – Ms. Carolee King, JD, Senior Vice President and General Counsel


Ms. King discussed the new training and said this training had been planned before Ike.  But other priorities had delayed implementation.  Also, there have been changes in the law and the course needed to be fine-tuned.  First, the training will be for managers or anyone in a supervisory position, then the rest will take this training.  In addition, this is not an annual training course.  This will protect individuals and institution.  The evaluations that have come back were positive; just a handful that were not interested.

Background checks – probably 1000 completed.  Other institutions have implemented theirs differently.  Because UTMB is an academic health science center providing patient care, it has long been a policy to do background checks on employees, so we have not been as impacted as some of the other institutions in the UT System. 


VI. Reports by Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Committee Chairs

·      Dr. Croisant commented that it sounds better now with the RIFS; from Dr. Anderson’s stating today no RIFS were planned as of yet, compared to the recent Town hall meeting where it was announced that perhaps there could be rifs for 120 potential positions.  UTMB is diligently working on reducing our dependence upon state funding.  Dr. Croisant also noted that we have received funding for the Hospital Towers in the Texas State Budget and there would be about 600 beds with John Sealy reduced to about 200 because of reconstruction.

·      Dr. Wisnewski stated Dr. Callender spoke to the Executive Committee about the current plans to address the reduced budget.  At the meeting, he discussed the use of furloughs but stated that furloughs are not an effective way of dealing with reduced budgets.  He gave the example that if you have a staff member who is given a furlough of one day we week, then work related emails would be a violation of the furlough.

·      Dr. Wisnewski encouraged the Senators to attend the Professional Summit, Friday, July 15, 2011, 11:30am - 1:00pm and seating was limited.

·      Senators St. John and Smith presented a PowerPoint for the Faculty Quality and IHOP Committees and provided handouts of the “Proposal on Abandonment of Academic Positions or Programs.”  Senator St John had sent this document by email last week for the Senators to review before today’s meeting.  They discussed the proposal and Regent Rule 31003.  The Senators have a few minor changes.  The committee will update and then will send to the Chair for the Council of Deans.  Dr. Croisant questioned whether the hearing committee would include tenured faculty only or those who are tenure track, since only tenured rather than tenure track faculty not protected by the policy.  Dr. Torres asked if there were any underrepresented faculty on the committee.

·      Senator Jansen reported for the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee:  The Committee’s focus is faculty development and they should have their presentation in August.

·      Senator Massey reported for the Governance Committee:  Other than the information that Ms. King gave the senators earlier that the security background checks had begun, she has no further information on the background check policy.  Dr. Croisant asked Senator Massey to check with Ruth Finkelstein about the Background check.  If there is no policy in place, then how was it possible that background checks have already been initiated?

·      A motion to extend the meeting for 10 minutes was seconded and approved.

·      Dr. Croisant reminded the Senators that today a Chair-elect should be nominated and voted on and she asked if there was anyone in the School of Medicine interested in the Chair elect position.  No nominations was made from the School of Medicine and a self-nomination came forwarded and will be considered if no School of Medicine Senators step forward.  Since the Chair-elect position was not determined, this meeting has been recessed until a Chair-elect has been nominated and voted in.  Dr. Croisant stated that she would send the SOM Senators an email asking for any nominations or self-nominations. 


6:14 pm, a motion was made to recess the meeting until a Chair-elect has been selected, was seconded and approved unanimously.  The Committees met following the general meeting.


Addendum:  Dr. Utsey adjourned the meeting on Tuesday 7/19/2011 4:29 pm.