The Faculty Senate,
Academic Freedom
and Civil Discourse
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
With the beginning of a new academic year, it is vital for us to recall and review our community's previous work on the creation of an inclusive campus. The Faculty Senate promotes and protects a diversity of ideas and the dedication to academic freedom and free speech. On the heels of controversial statements leading to a petition for the removal of a faculty member, the Senate revised its Statement on Academic Freedom in 2016. The statement supports and protects the rights of faculty to hold and express a variety of opinions in a civil academic discourse, excluding only that which "intentionally promotes hate of individuals or groups". In the wake of the 2016 presidential election and concerns about divisive dichotomization of our campus, the Faculty Senate wrote and passed a Resolution of Principles. This resolution re-affirms our longstanding commitment as a community to the inclusion of a diverse variety of ideas and people, with an emphasis on "justice, respect and civility" for all. As the academic year unfolds, we have an obligation to continue the vital work of the creation and preservation of an academic community built on diversity and civil discourse.
The New  
Executive Committee Assumed Leadership July 1.
Geoffrey M. Fleming, M.D.
Chair, Faculty Senate    
Leslie Hopkins, DNP
Vice Chair, Faculty Senate    
Vicki Greene, Ph.D.
Chair-elect, Faculty Senate   

Jeremy Wilson
Vice Chair-elect, Faculty Senate
                                              Charlene M. Dewey, M.D. 
    Past C hair, Faculty Senate   

   Brian L. Heuser, Ed.D.  
   Past Vice Chair, Faculty Senate
   Click to learn more about this year's Executive Committee
   of the Faculty Senate. 
Faculty Senate Meeting Summary
Senators Only Meeting - The Senators Only meeting was held September 14. After robust discussion, Senators requested a letter to the Board of Trust (BOT) regarding concerns with a proposed off-campus stadium. The letter was delivered to the BOT.
First Full Faculty Senate Assembly Meeting - The first meeting of the 2017-18 academic year took place on October 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm in the Law School's Flynn Auditorium. Chair Geoffrey Fleming offered an update from the Executive Committee that included the following highlights:

Faculty Senate Initiatives - Former Senator Scott Pearson continues to move forward the Faculty Commons Project.

Faculty Senate Office Relocation - The Office of the Faculty Senate has relocated to 1119 Branscomb Quadrangle.

Chancellor Remarks - Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos eloquently discharged rumors surrounding an off-campus stadium.  Chancellor also discussed DACA, immigration, the travel ban, and healthcare. He informed the Senate about his search for a new Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The largest endowment in the country for graduate fellowship is at Vanderbilt Univeristy. 
Committee Reports -   
  • The Academic Policies and Services Committee reported on a new program named Vanderbilt Genetic Counseling Program.
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee reported on their information gathering activities to define a scope of charges.  
  • The Faculty Manual Committee introduced a proposed amendment to the Faculty Manual. The proposal received from Provost Susan Wente falls under Part II, Chapter 1, Section B, "Titles for faculty who may provide health care services".   
Invited Speaker Remarks - Brett Sweet, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Chief Financial Officer was the special guest speaker. He gave an informative and transparent financial update. Vanderbilt continues to do well financially. VUMC reorganization strengthened both organizations. His presentation can be viewed on the Faculty Senate portal.  
For more detailed meeting information, review the October 5 draft minutes here.  

What's News for the Faculty Senate?
A Faculty Senate Resolution: Commendation of Our Administration for Their Handling of DACA Related Matters.
Whereas :
The Office of the Chancellor;
Office of the Provost;
Office of the General Counsel;
Office of the Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs;
Office of the Vice Provost of Academic & Strategic Affairs;
and Office of The Dean of Students have provided bold leadership to our University and even our peer institutions of higher education through their statements and actions related to the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
 Let it be known:
That the officials of these offices have acted with integrity, clarity, and acumen to protect and advocate for those "young student scholars and leaders raised and educated in the United States" (Zeppos, Sep. 5, 2017). 
Be it resolved:
The Vanderbilt Faculty Senate , as the deliberative and representative body of the University faculties, offers our sincere gratitude to and commendation of the Vanderbilt Administration for its response to the challenges posed by recent changes in US immigration law.
The Vanderbilt Faculty Senate remains dedicated to the principles of an inclusive community of students, staff and faculty, including, but not limited to, ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, ideology, immigration status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
          This resolution was adopted at the October 5, 2017 Faculty Senate meeting. 

We Are Here to Serve.
As we embrace the crispness of fall, and new areas of opportunity for the Faculty Senate, we are reminded that service is often seen in one way or another as outside the scope of scholarship. However, in the Senate we demonstrate that faculty service is a cornerstone of faculty life. Service in and out of the classroom is the key to life-long learning and career success. When faculty and administrators cultivate a discipline of engagement and acknowledge the significant role of service in both the internal and external functioning and well-being of Vanderbilt, faculty can experience integrated academic lives that impacts teaching, research, and service by reinforcing and supporting one another.  

  Focus on Wellness:

Good health - physical, mental and oral, is essential for a productive and vibrant America. A focus on wellness must be integrated into the life cycle, from birth, and be encouraged in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.

  • Healthier lifestyles, better compliance with recommended care
  • Lower rates of preventable diseases
  • Guarantee access to primary care
  • Focus on prenatal care and children's health at an early age
Public Policy Ideas for Change
  • Invest in the provision of primary care services
  • Promote healthy pregnancies and newborns
  • Invest in America's public health
  • Provide incentives to encourage healthy choices and behaviors  
  • Provide a national investment in school and community-based health
  • Call for a national media campaign focusing on healthy lifestyles
  • Provide support and coaching needed to change unhealthy behavior
  • Enhance health professions education to include a focus on wellness
  • Focus on chronic care management
American Hospital Association - AHA's report on trends in areas of health care reform: Wellness   

Faculty Senate Meetings 2017 - 2018

Flynn Auditorium - Law School 040  

The meeting time is 4:10 pm - 5:30 pm.

September 14, 2017 **Elected Senators Only**  
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)  

October 5, 2017                 
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)

November 9, 2017                  
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)

December 14, 2017                 
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)   

January 11, 2018 
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)

February 8, 2018
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)
March 1, 2018  **Elected Senators Only**
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)

April 12, 2018
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)    

May 7, 2018 Reception to follow        
Flynn Auditorium (Law School 040)
Guest Speakers  
  • November 9 - Melissa Thomas Hunt, Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence
  • December 14 - Mark Wallace, Dean of the Graduate School
  • January 11 - David Williams, Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics
    Thoughts, Concerns, New Business:
     Please send your  thoughts, concerns or new business for the Executive Committee in writing to the EC via 
mail or anonymously via the Faculty Senate Portal Feedback Form . Your comments are appreciated. 
                              Wishing you a healthy and productive semester!  
From Your 2017-2018

         The next Faculty Senate Meeting is on 
                        If you have any questions, please contact:                        
   Debbie Hayes
   Administrative Manager