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Academic Senate Speakers Explain Patent Forms, E-Grades, and Library Changes

A full slate of guest speakers helped update UC San Diego's Academic Senate last Tuesday, with Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra Brown, Registrar William Haid and University Librarian Brian Schottlaender describing developments in key areas of campus life.

Chair Joel Sobel introduced the speakers after delivering his own update on the still-dire budget, the review process for two proposed Organized Research Units, and the continuing discussion about making California Western School of Law part of the university.

Vice Chancellor Brown explained that University of California employees, as well as visiting professors, researchers, and others who use UC research facilities or resources, are required to sign an amendment to a patent document that they signed when first coming to UC, a step made necessary by court decisions in a Stanford lawsuit that put the university's rights to patents and inventions at risk.

E-mails from UCOP-selected vendor VR Election Services, asking employees to electronically sign the amendment, began going out in November but, because of the unfamiliar source of the mail, may have been disregarded or discarded by many recipients, Brown said. About 40 percent of university employees have electronically "signed" the amendment to date.

The e-mail campaign will continue through Feb. 29, with individuals who do not sign the amendment receiving additional reminders.

Researchers, in particular, Brown said, should be aware that it is necessary to sign the amendment in order to participate in activities covered by agreements in which the university has made a legal commitment regarding inventions.

The patent amendment does not change UC's Patent Policy or an individual's rights and entitlements regarding intellectual property with which they are associated.

More information about the patent-amendment project, including frequently asked questions, is available here.

Registrar Haid announced that UC San Diego would join its UC peers in transitioning to e-grades. UC San Diego is now the only campus to still use paper for grading, and generates many thousands of pages per grading period to do so. The new system will be launched in the spring, with tutorials available for teachers and graders in April and May.

University Librarian Schottlaender provided an update on library consolidations, made necessary by ongoing decreases in funding and staffing ranging from 12 to 18 percent. From seven library locations in 2008-09, the Libraries have consolidated into four -- Geisel, the Biomedical Library, one floor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the off-campus library annex.

The consolidations, Schottlaender said, are designed to ease access for users, put resources closer to divisions and schools, and integrate and cluster collections to support academic divisions.

In formal business, the Senate elected Marianne McDonald to the Senate Council; accepted annual reports from the Committee on Admissions and the Committee on Extended Studies and Public Service; and approved changes to bylaws and regulations requested by the Committee on Committees and the Education Policy Committee.

One approved change consolidates the Committee on Distinguished Teaching and the Committee on Faculty Research Lecturer into the new Committee on Senate Awards, to simplify and speed those awards. The other change will help administrators distinguish between grades that are on hold for academic/research reasons (noted by "IP") and those on hold for academic-dishonesty reasons (formerly "IP," now noted by "x"). The committee chair emphasized that the "x" notation will be invisible on a student's transcript.

With no other reports, petitions, or unfinished business, the Senate adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the Leichtag Building conference room. Find more information about the Academic Senate here.