Faculty Senate March 9 Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 4:32 PM by Dr. Nikos Vasilakis, Faculty Senate Chair

Day Care Facility Update - Shawn McCann, Sr. HR Business Partner, HR Employee Relations presented briefly to the Senators. Here are a few highlights from his presentation:

Moody Foundation Participation - The Moody Foundation is interested in participating with/funding the new day care facility. Survey to Determine Metrics - In light of this, HR would like to conduct a survey to get a better understanding of the metrics pertaining to this initiative (hours of operation needs, age groups serviced, etc.) In discussing this survey, HR discovered other issues, separate from the day care, that needed addressing (housing initiative, funding initiatives, etc.), and has decided to create a 30 question comprehensive survey to reduce the burden (survey burnout) on the faculty and staff. This survey is currently being planned; no timeline given as to the distribution of the survey.

Open Discussion (15 minutes) - Kathleen O’Neill, Director, Employee & Occupational Health, HR Corp Administration was unable to attend, and is scheduled to present in April. Dr. Vasilakis called for an open discussion period during this available time.

Travel Issues - The issue was raised concerning the current travel restrictions at UTMB, particularly involving the use of VRBO, Air B&B and similar lodging options. It was mentioned that other UT System institutes announced similar restrictions in 2019 but have since allowed them to be used (stating the UTMB is about a year behind the current “mood” of other UT System institutes concerning this topic. General consensus is that due to liability issues, these restrictions are more than likely non-negotiable at this time.

Academic Enterprise Service Center Q&A - Dr. Vasilakis mentioned the AE held an informative Q&A session for the Department of Pathology; others are encouraged to work with their department chairs to have AE hold similar discussion in their departments (for updates and answers).

Chair Announcements - Senate leadership has recently met with Dr. Raimer concerning use of endowment funds to support salaries. Leadership will look further into this issue for the upcoming fiscal year. The question was raised by Senators that specific knowledge of endowment amounts is not readily available throughout the year - it was suggested any individual needing this information contact their budget office, as a detailed breakdown of accounts is available from the AE Service Center on a monthly basis (this is currently only being provided to department chairs, but a broader distribution is scheduled to be implemented sometime this fiscal year.

Additionally, the topic of Research Enterprise’s representation on committee to inform/advise the Responsibility Officer was discussed, and it has been announced that three (3) new committee positions have been created (to be filled by active researchers) to address this lack of representation.

Committee Updates

Clinical - Prescription monitoring program still being discussed. Discussion concerning clinical quality standards

University - Discussed possibility of additional survey (sent from the Faculty Senate) on day care initiative to ensure complete view of need.

Education - Discussed scheduling challenges involving the HEC; will contact Janet Southerland for assistance

Research - Discussed the need for clarification regarding startup funds use; discussed human subject protocols (pre-screening, visitation regulations, etc.) in light of the current environment (COVID-19); discussed the use of leftover award funds (non-NIH), specifically the potential of using them for further clinical research; discussed simplifying the process for eternal volunteer research sign-up.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 PM.