Updates for June/July

The June meeting was packed with news from Dr. Jacobs and HR information. Faculty exit evaluations are finally up and running, with a link on the separation list for faculty who are leaving. Faculty may also interview in person with the ombudsperson, Dr. Cooper. This process has taken a long time to get set up, and we are pleased to have it available for faculty feedback. Faculty turnover was reviewed, and although it is low on total numbers, there are pockets of higher turnover that warrant exploration. The Provost reports that he works with the Chair or Dean in the affected department when this occurs. The Senate is continuing to ask questions about the areas which have high turnover.
Be aware that you may request of someone, or his or her supervisor, that “nominate participants” is checked in their ePerformance. This will trigger evaluation feedback from others that is reviewed along with the annual self-evaluation.
In response to the Faculty Practice Resolution last month, Dr. Jacobs will discuss with UTMB hospital increasing compensation so that clinical faculty can practice. Faculty need to practice to stay current in the field and maintain certifications. The requirements of the practice plan make this difficult for some specialties.
Finally, the Senate representative of the Strategic Research Group reports the issue of publication costs are still under review. There is thought of organizing a list of the impact factor of journals compared to the cost of publishing in that journal in order to help individual faculty decide where to submit manuscripts.
As always, all faculty are invited to attend the Senate meetings held the second Monday of the month at 4:30 in the Marie Hall room. We welcome you!

Suzanne Alton, Chair

Greetings for April and May!

In April, the Senate welcomed Mr. Paul Bristol from the Provost’s office to answer a variety of questions. Many were related to how evaluations are linked to the faculty compensation plan, pay increases, and incentives. Please review the minutes as it’s not possible to summarize his points any more succinctly. It is a good reminder to make sure you check your My Power values to ensure they are accurate since this is what incentives are based on.
The Senate passed a resolution, “Faculty Senate requests each school to have goals in order to promote faculty diversity.” A request was sent to the Deans and Provost that each school formulate a plan for how they encourage diversity and inclusion, and it will likely be different for each school. For example, one school might request Dr. Alfredo Torres, Director of Faculty Diversity, to consult with them on how to improve diversity in hiring. A different school may want to focus on increasing diversity in promotions of rank or faculty retention. The UT System formalized this value in 2016 by adopting the “Rooney Rule”, whereby senior administrative positions must include a qualified candidate from an underrepresented group in the final round of interviews. The UTMB Senate wants to affirm that diversity is a value of the UTMB faculty, to the point that we request each school consider this issue and formulate specific goals of how to promote diversity in their setting. We’ll be happy to pass these goals as they come to the Senate.

Happy Spring,
Dr. Suzanne Alton

February and March Musings

Winter Greetings to faculty!
In February we welcomed Dr. Alfredo Torres, Director of Faculty Diversity for SOM to give us an update. I’m happy to say that diversity continues to be a UTMB value, but we’d like to know if you want diversity to be included in UTMB’s #1 institutional goal of investing in the success of our workforce. The Senate will be looking at making this a resolution, so please share your feedback.
Chief Engells gave us an overview on smoking on campus. His officers will continue to encourage smokers to put it out if they’re on campus. His officers responded to over 2000 incidents of this last year. Smokers at Shriner’s and on the Harborside meridian remain problematic and are not enforceable by UTMB PD. Concealed carry has not caused any problems on campus since it started. There may be some push back coming from the legislature on how few of our buildings allow concealed carry.
• Please answer our one question poll on turnover on the Senate webpage. Our faculty turnover rates are actually low, at 8%, but we’d like to hear your perception on how accurate this seems to you.
• Dr. McCallum updated us on the success of the scribe program in the clinical settings. We look forward to seeing more scribes in the clinics to help decrease the burden of the EHR.
• Associate Vice Chancellor Tony Cucolo and the Chair-elect of UT Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) will be coming to UTMB to review how shared governance is working on our campus. We hope to have great results to report.
• UT FAC also has a taskforce on workload to reevaluate our current policy. Please send your opinions of what should be included in this to me.
• We’ve received the results of the burn out survey done, but are expecting more to come in. When we have them all we will be sharing them with you and looking at ways to address faculty issues.
• Finally, I’m happy to report that President Callender confirmed his statement made at Town Hall, that at this time we will not be increasing student enrollment. I know those of us in the SON are happy to hear this!
Our committees are hard at work and we ask that you send any issues, questions, or problems to us—
if you send them to me I’ll see they get to the correct committee, sealton@utmb.edu, or just click on the link “UTMB Senate wants to represent you. Please forward questions or issues to the Senate to be addressed.”
See you next month!
Dr. Suzanne Alton

January thoughts

Greetings Faculty!
The UT System Faculty Advisory Council is revising the faculty workload formula. Please forward any and all feedback to Dr. Alton before the end of January in order to have it inform the new policy. This affects your day to day work life!
In January we welcomed Dr. Callender as our guest, and he answered many questions. The costs associated with publishing are a concern for many, and so Drs. Jacob and Neisel will be meeting with Deans and Department Chairs to discuss how to prioritize the limited funds available and will be getting back to us. The Memorial Hermann facility going up across from Victory Lakes is planned to include UTMB providers delivering services- a surprising collaborative move when we were expecting competition. Stay tuned to see how this plays out. The MD Anderson layoffs are not expected to impact the collaboration between UTMB and MDA at Victory Lakes.
Dr. Neisel forwarded this link on the trend of decreasing faculty tenure:
Legislation in two states seeks to eliminate tenure in public higher education

As always, please forward your questions, issues, and comments to me or your local Senator.
Dr. Alton

December 2016

Happy Holidays! The Senate is gearing up to meet with President Callender in January, so if you have questions for him please forward them to us from the Senate homepage.

David Niesel, PhD, Sr. VP and Chief Research Officer and Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was our guest again for December. He updated us on the Research Governance Report. The Senate is pleased with the inclusion of a Senate member to the Strategic Research Group.

The committees reported on various projects. The Clinical Committee is quite active with finding out about parking after hours, obtaining ppd skin tests on site, and the meaning of FTEs over 1.0. The Committee successfully pushed out an email to clinicians asking for their concerns.

The Research Committee is addressing the issue of some salaries below standard expectations, and the problem of expiring funds. They would like to see the funds be used productively for future needs. The issue of funds to publish in open access journals will be brought to President Callender next month.

The Education Committee continues to work on the issue of providing certified education credit, as required by the new educational incentives. The cost of providing CME may be prohibitive.

The University Committee is discussing the need for 360 degree evaluations for top administrators. In addition, they are working with the Clinical Committee on the FTE issue.

The Senate will be sending out a call for nominations from physicians for the CFAS representatives.

Finally, from the UTMB Executive Leadership meeting, Dr. Callender gives a big shout “Thank You!” to faculty.

As always, the Senate is interested in faculty question and input. Please click the “Faculty Feedback” link to deliver a message straight to the Chair. We are here to represent you!

Dr. Suzanne Alton
School of Nursing

November 22, 2016 Update

Greetings from the Senate! As brought up last year by Dr. Walker, Senate Leadership is working making our presence better known to faculty. This includes updating our webpage and getting this blog started.

Progress is being made in the Academic Time Initiative, put forth by the University of Texas System (UTS) Faculty Advisory Committee Health Affairs division. This Initiative is analyzing the nationwide issue facing academic health care institutions on the trend of moving clinician time and effort primarily to the profitable clinical mission, and away from research and education efforts. While we all know there’s no mission with no margin, the reason most faculty choose to practice in an academic setting is to contribute to these varied missions. The danger is that limiting clinicians to only clinical practice prompts some to leave academia for better paying private practice positions. The Initiative wants to put UT institutions on the map by taking the national lead on creating innovative ways to address this complex issue. This endeavor reflects Chancellor McRaven’s quantum leap to Win the Talent War by retaining and recruiting excellent faculty. Great strides have been made in the Initiative by joining with Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Faculty Affairs (AAMC GFA) to co-sponsor the UTS Symposium on this topic as part of their Professional Development Conference July 13-16, 2017 in Austin.
While at this time the Initiative is focused primarily on physicians in clinical practice, I am hopeful that it will have a trickle down effect to other UTMB Schools. For example, in the School of Nursing and School of Health Professions most faculty are .9 education, without effort in clinical practice or research. Other missions and scholarship activities are fulfilled only by using personal faculty time.

David Niesel, PhD, Sr. VP and Chief Research Officer and Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was our guest for November. He updated Senators on the direction research is going at UTMB. The top priority areas are Neurodysfunction and Infection and Immunity. These are followed (in no special order) by Physical medicine & rehabilitation, Population health, Pulmonary and Cardiovascular, Burns, Diabetes, and Maternal fetal medicine. Other goals are to optimize the clinical research infrastructure, and expand imaging capabilities and informatics. Budget estimates have been worked out to align with UTMB priorities.

As always, the Senate is interested in faculty question and input. Please click the “Faculty Feedback” link to deliver a message straight to the Chair. We are here to represent you!

Dr. Suzanne Alton
School of Nursing