The Senators Meeting 
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Welcome to the March issue of Engage! We hope that you will enjoy the issue and find it to be appropriately informative. As a member of the faculty, you have an influential voice that spans the diverse academic and cultural landscape of Vanderbilt. Our aim is to broadcast this message above the noise through respectful engagement, insight, and intelligent thought-provoking discourse. As educators, we reach across social, political, and geographical borders to affirm meaningful positive connections. With your collaboration, Engage pushes the conversation forward while continuing to champion those things that inspire us and gives our work meaning. 

You will receive monthly newsletters the week after the Faculty Senate Assembly meeting. We will continue to highlight faculty secrets of success. Past issues of our newsletters can be viewed by clicking here. Feel free to forward to a friend or colleague.

You are encouraged to contact us directly if you have ideas for future newsletters, any comments, questions or concerns. We appreciate your input.  

March 2017 Senators Only Meeting:

On March 2, The Senate held its second Senators Only Meeting of the year. After ranking topics to discuss, the planned Agenda included:

1.         Shared Governance
2.         Faculty Wellness
3.         Diversity, Inclusion, and Community
4.         Faculty Senate Governance and Senator Roles
5.         Faculty Relationships across Schools/Colleges
Other, if time allowed:
a. Faculty Club
b. Unions at Vanderbilt
Shared Governance: This was an important discussion point and consumed most of the meeting. Senator David Merryman provided an update based on the summary recommendation of Co-Chairs Holly McCammon and Richard Willis. A printed copy of the recommendation was available for Senators upon entering the meeting space. The printed document was individually reviewed and the group elected to weave union activity and online teaching into the discussion on shared governance. Vice Chair Heuser opened the floor for a robust discussion focusing on the process of shared governance and online teaching modules. The discussion highlighted the importance of shared governance that involves faculty feedback in the planning of all curriculum changes. From this robust discussion, recommendation were made for which the Senate will follow up. The topic of online teaching, related to faculty being persuaded to sign external contracts without the benefit of legal representation, will be discussed with leaders in those particular schools. 

The discussion on Faculty Wellness included an update on the task force (sent out with the agenda) and the Faculty Senate survey on Faculty Wellness. The Faculty Life Committee, led by Senator Scott Pearson, M.D., presented updates and raised discussion points related to means of implementing the wellness survey using a system that is supportive of data collection in a secured program, while storing the information in VIRG for future access. The Senate also discussed basic provisions around the future Faculty Club. This item was added to the Faculty Wellness Survey.

The last three Items (3 through 5) were not discussed due to time constraints. No minutes are kept during Senators Only Meetings. If you were unable to attend and want more information, please check with the other Senators in your school/college or a member of the Executive Committee.
Faculty Wellness Survey: Coming March/April/May 2017!!! This confidential one-time survey is being conducted by the Faculty Senate to address faculty concerns and risks around wellness and health. We are using a separate, confidential survey tool. The survey has four sections and only a few demographic questions. One section of the survey focuses on the Faculty Club. Please complete the survey when you receive it in an email from the Faculty Senate. We value your opinion!!!

Faculty Challenge:

Update on Savor Diversity: During the month of January, there were 10 Savor Diversity events held on both the VU and VUMC campuses. Thank you to all who supported the initiative and hosted a Savor Diversity event in January and February.
Complete Project Safe Training: 
  • To access the course, log in to Vanderbilt's Learning Exchange
  • Search for the course: Golden Opportunity/Golden Obligation
  • Print the Project Safe Logo to place on your door or within your syllabus.

What's News for the Faculty Senate?
1. April is a busy month for the Faculty Senate. Please mark your calendars for  
    the following events and join us at:
  • The Spring Faculty Assembly: April 6 at 4:10 pm in Langford Auditorium. Teresa A. Goddu, Associate Professor of English and American Studies is the faculty speaker and will present, "Climate Activism and the Antislavery Movement".
  • The April Faculty Senate Meeting : Dr. Jeff Balser is our invited speak for the Monthly Faculty Senate Meeting on April 13. The last day to submit questions is March 20 by 5 pm. Submit your questions to: or through the Senate Portal.  
  • The Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) - Faculty Senate Joint Annual Meeting: Thursday, April 20 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in 140 Frist at the School of Nursing. Please join us for discussions with the VSG and Faculty Senate. Topics include Academic Freedom of Expression for students and the posting of faculty syllabi. We encourage ALL Senators to attend and engage in the discussions as a representative of your college/school.
Faculty Vote at the Spring Assembly!!!
The Faculty Senate voted on motions to change the Faculty Constitution concerning what constitutes a quorum and future succession planning. These motions MUST be voted on by the faculty.

Board of Trust:
The Faculty Senate Chair and Vice Chair will present to the Board of Trust on Thursday, April 20.
SACS Visit: There is a scheduled SACS visit March 28-30.
MAPS: Consider MAPS training !! "MAPS is a Vanderbilt University joint initiative with the Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) and the Center for Student Wellbeing designed to prevent suicide in the campus community while promoting mental health awareness."
Engage: Senators should inquire at their department meetings if faculty members are receiving their monthly issues of the Engage Newsletter. If not, please email the Faculty Senate at .

Focus on Emotional Wellness:
This month we focus this column on the concept of Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman has written several books on this concept. He outlines the importance of emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) as being twice as important as your IQ or intelligence quotient or technical skills. A few basic stats found on the internet include:

  • Individuals with higher EI levels earn more money.
  • 90% of high performers have a high EQ.
  • EQ is responsible for 58% of your job related activities.
While other models exist, I will review Goleman's. In the article titled, "What Makes a Leader?" by Daniel Goleman (Best of Harvard Business Review 1998), he listed five main abilities that leaders should embrace for assisting in their leadership roles. The abilities he identified are:
  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skill
 He briefly describes each as follows:
  1. Self-awareness: "Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest - with themselves and with others." "The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drivers, as well as their effect on others." ~Goleman, 1998.
2. Self-regulation : "The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods." Intentional and
    purposeful effort to manage physiologic and emotional responses in your body. It is the "Propensity
    to suspend judgment - to think first."
      • One option to help foster cognitive control is mindfulness (discussed in last month's issue).
      • In the book, "Search Inside Yourself," by Chade-Meng Tan, the author describes a model for enhancing EI using mindfulness. He uses the symbol of a stop light to help describe the process of self-regulation.

stop, calm down and think before you act. 
Yellow: think of a range of things you can do and consequences for each.
choose the best option and act.

3. Motivation: "Passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status." Motivation helps us
    pursue goals with energy and persistence and keeps us optimistic in the face of failure.
4. Empathy: "Ability to understand the emotional makeup of others." "Treating people according to their
    emotional reactions." Those with empathy can read other individuals and respond accordingly without
    being judgmental so behaviors are professional and respectful.  
5. Social Skills:"Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks - finding common ground
    and building rapport." Social skills are needed for effective leading, persuasion, and building
    relationships and teams. Three important ingredients include:  
      • The art of listening - the ability to hear others without interrupting or making early decisions/judgements.
      •  The art of resolving conflict - the ability to identify points of conflict and addressing them productively to advance relationships.
      •  The art of cooperation - the ability to work collectively in teams for the greater good.
Interested in learning more:
  • Vanderbilt Resource: Training/coaching can help with enhancing emotional intelligence. The Employee Assistant Program (EAP) or Work-Life Connections/Faculty Physician Wellness Program (FPWP) is a resource available to all VU/VUMC faculty members.
  1. Goleman, D. What Makes a Leader? Best of Harvard Business Review, 1998; p 82-91. Web page at: 
      2. Tan, CM. Search Inside Yourself. Harper-Collins, USA, 2012.
Faculty Survey Working Group Town Hall, March 15:
The Faculty Working Group is analyzing the results of a faculty survey conducted at Vanderbilt last spring. The survey included full-time, tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty that report to the provost. From this COACHE data, they have prepared a preliminary report and are seeking faculty input. The next town hall meeting is March 15 in Mayborn, Room 204 from 4 -5 pm. Faculty are encouraged to review the preliminary report and to provide input using the anonymous feedback form on the   survey website.

The faculty working group has completed its preliminary report as the first step in the completion of a final Report to the Community to be released in May. The final report will  incorporate faculty feedback from COACHE data, town halls and online.

Charge: The COACHE Faculty Working Group is charged with analyzing and assessing the results of the 2016 faculty survey.   

Faculty Working Group
  • Andre Churchwell, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs, Medicine
  • Josh Clinton, Professor, A&S
  • Tracey George, co-chair, Professor, Law
  • Brian Heuser, Faculty Senate, Assistant Professor in the Practice, Peabody
  • Sarah Igo, Associate Professor, A&S
  • Kane Jennings, Professor, Engineering
  • Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Associate Professor, Peabody
  • Dave Owens, co-chair, Professor of the Practice, Owen
  • Phillis Sheppard, Associate Professor, Divinity
Charge: The COACHE deans' working group is charged with providing insights for each of the deans and their faculty on the COACHE results.

Deans' Working Group
  • Michelle Collins, Professor, Nursing
  • John Geer, Chair, Vice Provost of Academic and Strategic Affairs
  • Larry Marnett, Dean, Basic Sciences
  • William H. Robinson, Associate Dean, Associate Professor, Engineering
  • Jacci Rodgers, Associate Dean for External Affairs, Peabody
  • Kamal Saggi, Professor, A&S
  • Chris Serkin, Professor, Law
  • Melissa Snarr, Associate Dean, Associate Professor, Divinity
  • Mark Wait, Dean, Blair
  • Richard Willis, Faculty Senate, Professor, Owen
SEC Academic Leadership Fellows
Attend Leadership Meeting:

The Executive Committee's Chair-elect, Geoffrey Fleming and Vice Chair-elect, Leslie Welch Hopkins are Vanderbilt's SEC Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP) fellows for the 2016-17 academic year.  In February, they visited Mississippi State University to take part in a series of workshops at the SEC Leadership Development meeting.

As members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Dr. Geoffrey Fleming, associate professor of pediatrics and assistant professor of anesthesiology, and Dr. Leslie Welch Hopkins, assistant professor of nursing, are members of the esteemed program along with the 13 other SEC universities faculty and administrators.

The meeting was held at Mississippi State University and focused on an array of topics. Title IX concerns, cyber security, faculty governance, classroom issues, and campus crises management were some of the areas covered in the workshops they attended. The fellows also participated in an exercise dealing with  hypothetical situations in which they could find themselves on campus.

The SEC ALDP identifies, prepares and advances academic leaders for roles within and beyond SEC institutions. Associate Provost for Digital Learning John Sloop also attended the conference which prepares fellows for administrative roles in higher education.

Rising Star:

Senator Jennifer Kim, assistant professor of nursing, has been named a "Rising Star" by the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA). GAPNA represents the interests of certified advanced practice nurses who work with older adults in a wide variety of practice settings. Dr. Kim was the founding president of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses of Middle Tennessee. She has been a certified gerontological nurse practitioner since 1997 and has coordinated geriatric content for the School of Nursing nurse practitioner students since 2002.  

Important Senate Dates  
  • March 15 - Faculty Manual Meeting at 3:00 pm in 112 Sarratt
  • March 23 - SPAF Committee Meeting at 4:00 pm in 306 Rand
  • March 29 - Faculty Manual Meeting at 3:00 pm in 112 Sarratt
  • March 30 - Union Town Hall at 3:00 pm in 140 Frist
  • April 6 - Spring Assembly at 4:10 pm in Langford Auditorium
  • April 10 - Faculty Life Committee Meeting at 12:00 pm in 306 Rand
  • April 12 - Faculty Manual Committee Meeting at 3:00 pm in 112 Sarratt
  • April 13 - Faculty Senate Assembly Meeting at 4:10 pm in 140 Frist
  • April 20 - Faculty Senate/VSG Joint Meeting at 3:30 pm in 140 Frist 
All First Year Senators, we need you in leadership roles. If interested, send your bio to by April 15 and identify the role in which you want to serve.

     Thoughts, Concerns, New Business:
     A ny senator with thoughts, concerns or new business for the Executive Committee to address can submit them in   
     writing to the EC via e
mail or anonymously via the Faculty Senate Portal Feedback Form . Your comments are 
     expected and appreciated. 
                                              We wish you excellent emotional health!  
From Your

The next Faculty Senate Meeting is 
                     If you have any questions, please contact:                        

Debbie Hayes
Administrative Manager