Faculty Senate Minutes Summary March 18, 2013

Faculty Senate Minutes Summary March 18, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Connelly, Harrist, Kaen, Kazura, Minocha, Shannon, Shetty and Simos.  Guests were Ed Mueller and Sonic Woytonik.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the senate meetings in April and May will be held in room A218 of the Paul Creative Arts Center. 

III.  Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for two abstentions. 

IV.  Proposal for a marine school – The senate office sent an email to the senators saying that the marine school proposers have now agreed that the marine school will report through EOS and that the UCAPC recommendations will be an amendment to the marine school proposal.  Attachments were enclosed which included the SMSOE proposal, the UCAPC report, the SMSOE response to the UCAPC recommendations, and the motion passed by the senate on 2/25/2013.  Today on behalf of the Agenda Committee, James Connell presented the following motion to endorse the proposal for the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering.  

Whereas the proposal to establish a School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering has been in process for a number of years and has gone through UCAPC review several times and whereas the latest revision of the SMSOE proposal has responded to UCAPC’s concerns in detail and, furthermore, brought the parameters of the proposal into line with the General Schools Policy recently passed by the senate (Motion # XVII-M2), the Faculty Senate endorses the SMSOE proposal and recommends to the provost the establishment of a new School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, to be administratively located within EOS. 

The presenting senator said that he has been impressed to realize all the types of marine studies done at UNH and that he understands the need for better highlighting of this work.  Another senator suggested a friendly amendment, which was accepted, to add at the end of the above wording of the motion a statement that the acceptance of the SMSOE proposal is contingent on the agreement, in writing by the director of EOS, that the reporting line of the SMSOE will be to EOS.  The motion presenter said that the EOS director is in agreement and that the deans of CEPS and COLSA  also seem accepting of that plan. 

A senator said that the revised proposal for the marine school states on page four that the “…School, at times in conjunction with existing Departments, will offer and administer Graduate Degrees in fields related to the Mission of the School. Initial Degrees will be at the Ph.D. and M.S. levels in Marine Biology, Oceanography and Ocean Engineering. Each Degree Program will have a faculty Coordinator.”  A professor stated that EOS is not set up to offer degrees and that the motion should be amended to state that the degrees will be managed in the departments that currently offer the degrees.  The UCAPC report on the marine school proposal expressed concern about this matter.  A senator said that EOS is not licensed to approve or administer degree programs.  He said that either EOS should be licensed to do that or the SMSOE should report on its academic programs through a college or the Graduate School.  A professor said that some degree programs such as natural resources report through the Graduate School rather than through a department.  After considerable discussion, an amendment was proposed and seconded that “the Faculty Senate reiterates that the marine school degrees must be administered through departments, colleges or programs and that all existing procedures will be followed.”  Currently EOS offers some courses but does not have degree programs.  This amendment was approved, with all ayes except for two nays and two abstentions.  The main motion, with the addition of the friendly amendment and the above amendment, passed with thirty-two ayes, one nay, and two abstentions.

V.   Motions from the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, on E-UNH – The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee proposed the following motion:  “The Faculty Senate endorses the policy of the University Honors Program that does not allow online courses to count toward the Honors curriculum.”  The rationale is as follows. 

The University Honors Program (UHP), in consultation with the University Honors Committee (UHC), does not permit online courses to count towards the 32-credit requirement for completion of the Honors curriculum. The UHP is the quintessence of UNH’s aim to remain a high-touch brick-and-mortar university, and UHP students benefit from the smaller class sizes and real-time mentoring by faculty that is essential to their completion of the senior thesis, other program requirements, and participation in optional activities like those offered under the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.  The UHP and UHC, however, will, from time to time, review and discuss the status of online courses in Honors education.  

The AAC chair said that the University Honors Program has asked the Faculty Senate to endorse the above policy and that the AAC agreed to recommend such a motion.  The senate chair said that, since the proposed motion is only an endorsement, the motion does not need to lie over until a subsequent senate meeting.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Secondly, the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee proposed the following motion.   

The Faculty Senate endorses the position taken by both the Discovery Program Committee and the Writing Committee that a change in the mode of a course (from largely face-to-face to fully or substantially online) or in the time of a course (from thirteen weeks to five or fewer) is a sufficient change to warrant a review of a previously-approved course by the relevant committee.  The Faculty Senate also endorses the current moratorium on online courses for both Discovery Inquiry courses and Writing-Intensive courses (whether Discovery or not).  The moratorium will be revisited in the fall of 2013.  

The rationale is that, even in a traditional (face-to-face or “high-touch”) classroom, there are many ways to teach, including the use of the latest technology and online resources.  These various ways might be called modes, but we reserve the term here to indicate what we deem the extreme case:  all or nearly all online instruction.  The fact that almost all such courses are now compressed from thirteen weeks to five or fewer compounds the modal change.  Though the “content” may remain the same (although professors in some fields would dispute this assumption), the change in mode, usually a double change, makes a course sufficiently different to warrant a review. 

A senator asked if the motion refers only to Writing-Intensive and Discovery Inquiry courses, and Barbara White replied that the review called for should include all Discovery Program category courses.  She added that this motion would call for a new review process and that, currently at UNH, once a course has been accepted there is no policy in place for review if the course is substantially changed.  She said that the Discovery Committee generally does not reject courses but rather may ask for a change or adjustment in the course so that it can qualify as a Discovery Program course.  This motion calls for review of any Writing Intensive or Discovery Program category courses which change substantially in mode and/or time, and the motion would include both summer school and January-term courses in which there is a substantial change.  She said that there has been discussion with the deans and agreement on a reasonable process for deciding which courses to review first.  New course revisions will be given first preference for review.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Thirdly, the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee proposed the following motion.   

On April 16, 2012, the Faculty Senate passed a motion that included this clause: “We ask all departments that have not yet done so to hold discussions in which the value of e-courses and their role in department curricula are thoroughly considered.”  A letter was sent by the chair of the Faculty Senate this fall to all department chairs, asking for such discussions.  We now add that in their discussions departments should consider any course that changes its mode, from face-to-face to largely or entirely online, to be a “new” course, that is, sufficiently different to warrant a review.  The same consideration should apply to courses substantially compressed in time.  Such courses that have already been taught but without departmental review should not be taken as “grandfathered” in.  (We do not intend that such changed courses must be taken as new as a catalog listing and thus trigger the normal approval process at the college level.  The review we urge is intra-departmental.)  We move that a letter be sent to all chairs to this effect. 

A professor said that he has put a lot of time and effort into preparing his online course.  He asked what would happen if some members of his department do not want change or any online courses?  The AAC chair responded that the professor would need to work out concerns with his department.  The motion passed with all ayes except for one nay.

VI.  Report from the Student Affairs Committee, on e-books as texts – The SAC chair said that the committee’s report on e-books as texts was emailed to the senators on 3/18/2013.  This report discusses the many advantages, disadvantages and concerns about whether or how to use e-books as texts.  In addition, the committee provided email to the senators on 3/13/2013 with two other reports:  on how to enhance the learning experience of students from very low-income families and on considerations for military-affiliated students.  Today the SAC chair asked the senators to share these three reports with their departmental colleagues and to contact her or other SAC members with any questions or concerns.   

VII.  Report from the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee, on the weight of faculty  votes – The charge for this committee was as follows:

Policies governing the weight given the votes of faculty (including tenure track, “formula funded”, research, clinical, etc.) differ among departments and colleges.  In AY 2011-12, the Faculty Senate charged the RPSC with developing a uniform policy regarding voting privileges for faculty.  The committee determined, however, that circumstances across these bodies differed significantly enough that a one-size-fits-all policy would not be advisable.  The committee also determined that the various procedures and guidelines should be clearly stated in writing and easily available to all members of the faculty in that academic unit.  The current charge to the RPSC is to ensure the implementation of this recommendation and to verify that all units of the university have written guidelines governing voting privileges of such members.

Today the RPSC chair reconfirmed that each department and/or college should define its procedures for the weight given the votes of each type of faculty, clearly and in writing.

 VIII  Report from the Student Affairs Committee, on advising problems – The SAC chair said that the committee has worked with Mark Rubinstein on an advising survey and that there has been good response to the survey.  Mark Rubinstein’s office was able to arrange for a raffle which gave incentive for student response.  When the results of the survey are available, the SAC will share them with the Faculty Senate and the departments and colleges. 

IX.  Report from the Library Committee, on library support – The committee’s report on library support was emailed to the senators on 3/12/2013.  This report discusses the UNH Library’s financial difficulties caused by budget cuts and rising costs and emphasizes the significant effect of this situation on faculty and students.  The report includes the following recommendations.  There is a need for the university administration to review and address the situation with regard to resources in the Library, especially the need for instructional faculty and the effect of inflation on fixed collection budgets.  This is essential if UNH is serious in meeting its aspiration to be among the top research universities.  It appears that researchers benefit the most from the journal and database subscriptions; and therefore it would be appropriate if the provost and vice-provost for research start a conversation seeking a greater contribution from externally-sponsored research projects, to the Library collections development budget.  It is important that Library administration and faculty be included in discussions about the development and funding of new academic initiatives.  This is especially critical in the current administrative structure where the dean of the Library is not part of the Provost’s Council.  Given the limited finances of the university, the administration should designate the Library as a priority in UNH’s fundraising campaign.  The Library Committee also urges faculty members to be more active and vocal advocates for the Library.  Given its staffing situation, the Library has limited opportunities to reach out to the academic departments.  It would be helpful if the faculty could work more closely with their library faculty liaisons.  The faculty should also let their department chairs and deans know about their concerns about the Library and ask their deans to convey their comments and suggestions to the provost.  The whole university will benefit if the Library is able to get the attention of and additional support from the university administration. 

A senator thanked the Library Committee chair for the good report and also pointed out that the recommendation that the provost and the vice-provost for research seek a greater contribution from externally-sponsored research projects to the Library collections development budget may be unfeasible because of legal restrictions.  Another senator said that, while the library faculty and staff positions have been cut drastically since 2009, UNH administrative positions keep being increased, most recently with the announcement of a new position for an executive director for engagement and faculty development.

 X.  Report from the Campus Planning Committee, on parking – The committee’s report on parking was emailed to the senators on 3/12/2013.  This report said in part that concerns about parking at UNH-Durham are long standing and are brought up frequently.  Considering the addition of new buildings, the renovation and construction efforts around existing buildings, and reconfiguration of existing parking spaces into different categories, it is easy to believe that parking spaces are being permanently consumed for other uses and that in the future it will be increasingly difficult to find a parking spot within walking distance of one’s own office.  Parking data provided by the University Transportation Policy Committee show that, overall since the 2002 academic year, total parking spaces have grown from 6,585 to 6,829 (a growth of 244 spaces or roughly 4%). Over this same time period, available parking for faculty/staff has also grown. 

Currently the Transportation Policy Committee calculates that there is a ratio of 0.65 F/S permits issued for each available F/S space. However, this includes all F/S spots on campus, including those shared with commuter students.  Additionally, in the fall of 2012 there was a ratio of 1.12 F/S permits issued for every F/S space in the core campus; this figure is down from a ratio of 1.3 in the fall of 2002.  This shows that there should be ample parking available for faculty and staff when the distant lots are included. However, if we assume that all faculty/staff park in core campus lots and that all faculty/staff come to campus on a daily basis, then there is an admitted shortage of F/S parking on the core campus. The Campus Master Plan (both the 2004 and the 2012 versions) is based on the premise of keeping the total ratio of spaces to permits relatively constant but to gradually decrease the ratio of permits to headcount (student/faculty/staff) through increased use and availability of Wildcat Transit, increased carpooling, and increased bicycle/walking commutes as part of the overall effort to “green” the UNH-Durham campus.

 A senator pointed out that, contrary to what is shown in the report's data, the Thompson Hall parking lot is not usually available for general use by faculty and staff and also that faculty and staff are still not allowed to park in the lot behind Parsons Hall.  Another senator said that including the lots shared with commuter students in the list of faculty/staff spaces is a distortion, because most of those spaces are usually taken up by the commuter students.  However, data from the Transportation Policy Committee show that the number of student commuter permits issued has decreased by 919 (from 3,242 to 2,323) since 2002.  Faculty and staff prefer to know the number of spaces on the core campus which are exclusively for faculty and staff and how this has changed over the years. 

XI.  Report from the Campus Planning Committee, on the relationship between the Master Plan and the Advancement Office – The charge was to find out what was the relationship, if any, between the Campus Master Plan and the Advancement Office.  After consulting with the chair and vice-chair of the Faculty Senate, the committee interpreted this question as a request to examine the alignment of the efforts of the Advancement Office with the stated intentions and priorities of the Campus Master Plan.  The Campus Master Plan is completed and approved by the university’s administrative leadership, with input from faculty, students and other stakeholders. As such, the Campus Master Plan should be considered the primary guide for the development, renovation and improvement of the university’s physical campus.  However, the university has some obligation to take advantage of potential gifts, when in alignment with university needs; and donors have the right to specify how their gifts can be used. This presents the possibility for conflict when a donor desires to give a specific gift for a physical building (or the improvement of a physical building) that is not on the priority list of the Campus Master Plan.  

The vice president for advancement is on the Steering Committee for the Campus Master Plan. Consequently, it would be expected that, as the Advancement Office engages with potential major donors, its personnel would be doing so in a manner that facilitates the fulfillment of top priorities from the Campus Master Plan whenever possible.  Conversations with multiple members of the Campus Master Plan Steering Committee reflect that members of the steering committee and the Campus Planning Office are generally consulted very early in the process of bringing in major gifts regarding campus buildings. With few exceptions, these bodies are asked to help the college (or other unit) and the Advancement Office to determine the scope of the project. This includes conducting a needs assessment with faculty, determination of rough building and maintenance costs, and other assessments. As a general rule, it appears that the CMP Steering Committee and the Campus Planning Office are asked to participate in conversations with the Advancement Office very early in the process.

 Additionally, the Campus Planning Committee notes that there have been several substantial changes to the Advancement Office recently. These changes have been not only in terms of leadership but also in terms of structure, notably the decentralization of advancement and the housing of advancement officers in the individual colleges. Several members of the committee commented that these recent changes have allowed for a much stronger partnership between the Advancement Office and faculty, and the general consensus of the committee is that this is a welcome shift from previous policies.  In sum, the Campus Planning Committee finds that the partnership between the Advancement Office and the CMP Steering Committee and the Campus Planning Office will, as a general rule, ensure that the efforts of the Advancement Office are in strong alignment with the directions laid out in the Campus Master Plan.  Today a comment was made that the new Peter T. Paul College Building may have been an exception to this. 

XII.  Adjournment – Today’s meeting was adjourned, and additional items on the agenda were postponed.