Faculty Senate Minutes Summary, Aug. 27, 2012

Faculty Senate Minutes Summary, Aug. 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Shore, Simos and Veal.  Guests were John Aber and Joe Gilbert.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that President Huddleston will do a state-of-the-university address in October.  In addition, the provost will send a letter to all faculty soon, regarding events of the last three years and especially the academic review and new budget initiatives.  The budget cuts were difficult but have been accomplished, and now the university will focus on excellence all across campus.  The separation incentive program resulted in 120 fewer faculty and staff.  That will put stress on many programs.  There are currently more out-of-state students, up to 55% from 50%.  The first set of Navitas students has matriculated at UNH, after spending a bridge year here in a transition program.  The UNH summer program also brought in significant revenue.  UNH is in the top five percent of universities regarding  graduation rate.  The four-year graduate rate at UNH has risen from around 55% to 70%.

The e-UNH forum was very helpful last May.  The university has made an agreement with a third party vendor to work on graduate professional programs.  A teacher of a graduate professional program asked if the faculty teaching such courses would be consulted about what the relationship with the third party vendor would be; and the provost replied that this discussion is ongoing and that the university has committed to working with one company and now will negotiate the details.  The provost said that nothing will happen on this without the agreement of the UNH academic programs involved.  If the third party vendor can offer high quality and enhance revenues, then the university will consider accepting those services.  UNH does not provide “massively on-line open courseware” but may be able to make use of some of the free material now on line.  The provost expressed concern about how totally on-line courses could confirm that examinations are actually done by the student who is taking the course.  A discussion ensued regarding intellectual property.  The provost said that ownership will belong to the university first.  A senator added that the university owns the intellectual property but that the faculty member has an unlimited right to use that intellectual property indefinitely.  Item VI of the 9/27/2010 Faculty Senate minutes deals with this matter, agrees with the above description, and can be reviewed at http://www.unh.edu/fac-senate/pub/minutes/9-27-2010FS.htm.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that during the summer the Agenda Committee worked on the committee assignments and charges and on reviewing the proposed general schools policy.  Hopefully that issue will soon be ready to bring to the senate. An e-UNH forum will be held on Friday, October 19.  The senate chair asked faculty to attend and asked for at least ten faculty senators to agree to participate, one per table, to address the ten questions raised by the faculty after the previous e-UNH forum in May.  In addition, the senate chair will send a letter to the department chairs to ask departments which have not yet done so to hold discussions in which the value of e-courses and their role in department curricula are thoroughly considered.  Higher education may be facing a major challenge as institutions find their way regarding on-line courses.  We want to talk about how we should deal with these matters.  The senate chair asked the senators to initiate these discussions in their departments. 

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the 5/7/2012 senate meeting were approved with three abstentions.

V.  Orientation – The senate parliamentarian said that his role is advisory and that the senate chair will rule on any parliamentary questions.  The parliamentarian can provide information on parliamentary procedure, and the Faculty Senate will use the parliamentary rules which it finds appropriate to protect the rights of all senators.  The senate chair said that the senate uses parliamentary rules in a collegial way.  He said that, when senators arrive at the meeting, they should sign the role and set up their name sign facing the front of the room.  A senator who is unable to attend a senate meeting should arrange for a proxy from the department to participate in the meeting.  The senate chair asked that senators or other faculty bring new issues to the Agenda Committee first if possible.  The senate has a number of standing committees which can examine charges and make a recommendation to the senate.

The responsibility of the Faculty Senate is the academic mission of the university.  The senate’s purview is anything that can affect academics at the university, including both teaching and research.  The Faculty Senate constitution includes the following.

The principle of shared governance in universities is long established by tradition and was formalized in the 1966 Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges). The Joint Statement affirms that the academic institution is a "joint effort," requiring communication and consultation among all constituencies, and addresses the distinctive responsibilities of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students in university governance.

The distinctive responsibility of the faculty is the academic mission of the university.  In particular, the joint statement asserts that, “The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons communicated to the faculty.”

The administration has accepted the Faculty Senate’s role in shared governance.  The past senate chair said that, in practice if a disagreement were to arise, it is possible to charge the Professional Standards Committee to review the matter and bring a recommendation to the senate for a vote.

VI.  Motion on UCAPC committee status – On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Larry Prelli presented a motion on the committee status of the senate’s University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee.  The rationale is as follows.

 The Faculty Senate’s constitution states that “The Faculty Senate will have seven standing committees, each comprised solely of Faculty Senators.”  The constitution then lists those standing committees as the Academic Affairs Committee, the Finance and Administration Committee, the Campus Planning Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Research and Public Service Committee, the Library Committee, and the Information Technology Committee.  However, even though UCAPC is a university-wide committee with many members who are not faculty senators, senate motion X-M1 on the UCAPC charter revision states that “The UCAPC is a standing committee of the UNH Faculty Senate.”

To resolve this inconsistency, today’s motion is that the Faculty Senate moves to modify the 10/31/2005 senate motion X-M1 on UCAPC charter revision to change the first sentence under “Responsibilities of the UCAPC” to “The UCAPC is a permanent committee of the UNH Faculty Senate.”

A standing committee should have only faculty senators as members.  UCAPC reports to the Faculty Senate and was created by the senate.  Item 6.d of the senate’s constitution states that the Faculty Senate may establish whatever committees it deems appropriate, as needed.  Other committees established by the senate and reporting to the senate include the Professional Standards Committee and the Discovery Committee.  Some, such as the PSC and UCAPC are expected to be in place no matter how the curriculum may change, whereas the Discovery Committee might change if the curriculum were revised a long time from now.  UCAPC’s charter states that:

UCAPC is intended (1) to serve as an appeals and fact-finding body to consider academic and curricular matters which have inter-college and/or campus-wide effects or which are likely to affect the quality or integrity of the realization of the university’s academic mission and (2) to advise the Faculty Senate on its findings and recommendations. The Faculty Senate will consider the UCAPC’s recommendations, act and forward the recommendations arising from the senate’s deliberations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The UCAPC does not replace the curriculum and academic policy committees of the schools and colleges. However, the UCAPC has the authority to review the decisions of those bodies when those decisions are deemed by the Faculty Senate, the VPAA, or affected parties to have impacts beyond the school or college in which they originate.

Since the senate created UCAPC and its charter, the senate has the authority to revise the charter as described in today’s motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

VII.  Senate committees – Documents showing the standing committee members and chairs and the senate committee charges were sent to the faculty senators on email.  The committee charges were not listed in order of priority.  Senate committees may set up their own schedule of meetings, but often the committees meet on the alternate Monday afternoons when the senate does not meet.  Senators should contact their committee chair with any questions.  Regarding the Professional Standards Committee, the chair is Todd DeMitchell; and the members are Marco Dorfsman, John Sparrow, Tom Foxall, Arthur Greenberg, Michael Gass, Carole Barnett, and Deanna Wood.  The chair of the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee will be elected by the committee, and the members are Christina Bellinger, Cesar Rebellon, Dante Scala, Lu Yan, Tom Laue, Michael Carter, Michael Charpentier, Brooks Carter, Jim Wible, and an additional member each whose election has not yet been accomplished by the deans of UNH-M and COLSA.

VIII.  Update on schools – The senate chair said that the provost has continued to work on revising the proposed general schools policy, with input from the Agenda Committee.  On 5/7/2012, the Faculty Senate passed a motion which detailed important concerns and issues that were insufficiently addressed by the proposed general policy on interdisciplinary schools and that should be addressed in any proposal for an interdisciplinary school.  The provost would like the proposed general policy on schools to be approved quickly, because a decision on the general schools policy is needed before proposals from any particular schools can be given final consideration.  The marine faculty are working on a proposal for a marine school, but no revision was sent to the Agenda Committee this summer.  The provost has said that the faculty wanting any school must be responsible for the proposals and revisions as needed.  The senate chair said that, as a matter of shared governance, the general schools proposal and any individual school proposals must come before the Faculty Senate for a vote.  The senate should consider the advantages and disadvantages that schools may have.  The past senate chair said that the relevant motions from last fall are available on the senate’s website at http://www.unh.edu/fac-senate/pub/InterdiscSchoolsPolicy-XVI-M23-5-7-2012.htm and http://www.unh.edu/fac-senate/pub/MarineSchoolPolicy-XVI-M24-5-7-2012.htm.  An automatic assignment for each new senate vice chair is to review the previous year’s senate motions to see that they have been implemented and to report to the Agenda Committee on their implementation status.  It is the senate’s mission to see that academic changes are done properly and with appropriate shared governance, and the administration must allow time for that process.  The individual school proposals should address the financial impact which that school will have.

IX.  New Business – The state-of-the-art lecture this fall will be held on Wednesday, October 17, in the late afternoon, with refreshments and then a talk by Professor Michael Goldberg on rethinking economic theory.

X.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.