Faculty Senate Meeting Notes
April 8, 2021
- Senators had the opportunity to ask Chief Information Officer Lee Leiber questions about technology issues raised by their constituents. Website concerns centered on access. While departments cannot maintain their own online content at this point, they may request updates to content on the public and intranet sites by submitting a “JotForm” service request with 24-hour turnaround during the work week. Individuals may request updates to their Signature profiles by completing an IT work order, located in the IT service portal.
Other issues involved changes to College-wide applications Zoom and Box. Leiber said the goal is to gradually transition Baylor to Microsoft Teams, which includes a video meeting platform and a cloud-based storage system, One Drive, in the next 12-18 months.
The Communications & Public Affairs Committee shared information on Baylor COATS, a community outreach initiative with research, shadowing, mentoring and underserved community service opportunities for faculty members as well as learners and staff.
The Faculty Affairs & Benefits Committee reported on a conversation with Chief Operating Officer Joe Doty about the pace of the phased return to the 8% College retirement contribution. Currently at 5%, the contribution will increase an additional 1% every six months, depending on Baylor’s financial health. Any expedited return to 8% must be sustainable with budget constraints and commitments for fiscal year 2021.
Dr. Jonnae Atkinson, senate secretary, reminded senators of the April 29 deadline to sign up as a candidate in the 2021 elections. With 12 term-limited senators, there is opportunity for fresh faces to represent departments, centers and faculty at-large.
Feb. 11, 2021
President Paul Klotman provided an update on the Strategic Plan, using Baylor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as one example of how an interconnected “Learning Health System” functions effectively: 1) It works with different entities to gather and analyze data in order to gain a better understanding of the virus, 2) develops and revises strategies for prevention and treatment based on the data, 3) generates new data from the revised strategies, and 4) feeds the data into a continuous loop of improvement. Similar examples exist across the campus. A goal of the Strategic Plan is to strengthen the College’s bioinformatics resources and increase the use of data to advance research, healthcare and education. The Senate Strategic Planning Committee is tasked with engaging the faculty in the plan as it is implemented this year.
Process improvement was also the topic of an update by Research Dean Mary Dickinson, who outlined projects including infrastructure development for clinical trials and vaccine research, changes to sponsored research processes, a plan with Institutional Advancement to raise seed funding and a strategy for the Center for Comparative Medicine.
Medical School Dean Jennifer Christner discussed plans for the school’s regional campus in Temple, which will be overseen by the dean and educated by Baylor faculty following the same curriculum as the Houston campus. An inaugural class of 40 medical students, selected through the SOM admissions process, is anticipated to begin training in fall 2023, expanding enrollment from 186 to 226 students per class. The Senate voted to endorse the Temple campus after the meeting.
Senate Chair Christie Lincoln announced the dates for the 2021 General Elections. Applications to be a senator or to run for re-election will be accepted April 1-29. Electoral unit elections will be May 10-17, with at-large elections June 1-8. The new Senate term starts July 1.
Senate Position Statement on Anti-Racism
We, as faculty, staff and students at Baylor College of Medicine live in the most diverse city in the nation. Likewise, the BCM community proudly reflects the diversity of Houston. The recent deaths of George Floyd and others have forced each of us to confront the issue of racism and social inequality in our homes, communities, and work environment. It is important that we use this opportunity to engage in inter-cultural and inter-racial dialogue that will increase awareness and understanding of the issue, as well as inspire action that will result in meaningful change. As clinicians, educators, researchers, and scientists, we have an influential voice that can be used to advocate for groups that have been marginalized, oppressed and disenfranchised in our society. Given the national and global response to recent events in our country, we cannot remain quiet.
The strength of the BCM community lies in each of us, irrespective of race, age, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, or ethnicity. It is our individuality, unique talents and different perspectives that create an environment that cultivates new ideas, spurs collaboration, and enhances knowledge. Therefore, we join the collective efforts of our partnering institutions to promote a culture of anti-racism in health care, education, research, and science. Now more than ever, it is important that we reflect on our BCM values of respect, integrity, innovation, teamwork and excellence as we continue to lead during this challenging time with compassion, empathy and love.
The Faculty Senate
June 15, 2020
Senate Position Statement on Chinese Visa Restrictions
Recently, the White House released a Presidential Proclamation calling for the blocking of entry into the United States of certain Chinese post-graduate students and postdoctoral trainees engaged in research, as well as a review of comparable Chinese J and F visa holders already in the U.S. We, the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, cannot support these restrictions on access to education, patient care, and scientific discovery by qualified individuals. This proclamation is significantly antithetical to the BCM’s multiracial and multicultural environment. Our Chinese students, faculty and researchers are critical to the success of Baylor College of Medicine and are valued by us.
We are here to support you in this difficult time. If any faculty, student, researcher or staff member experiences xenophobia, racism or discrimination, please reach out to your chair, senate representative, program director, dean, or anonymously to the Integrity Hotline (855-764-7292), Center for Professionalism or Ombuds Office. In our response, we pledge to uphold the values of respect, integrity, innovation, teamwork, and excellence that define Baylor College of Medicine.
The Faculty Senate
June 15, 2020