Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes Summary Oct. 7, 2013
Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes Summary Oct. 7, 2013
Meeting called to order at 3:10 p.m. October 7, 2013
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Basterra, Caron, Denis, Guo, Harkless, Kaen, Kalinowski, Morgan, Pescosolido, Shannon, Shore, Tenczar, Weintraub, White. Guests were Eleanor Abrams, Lisa MacFarlane, Michael Middleton, Mihaela Sabin, Julie Williams, and Joanna Young.
II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – Provost Lisa MacFarlane began her remarks by reminding the senate of five upcoming administrative searches. There will be a search for a new dean of the PAUL College. Another search will be for a Senior International Officer, an item from the president’s panel on internationalizing UNH for which new funds are now available. There will also be a search for the Carsey Institute to be morphed into a school as that proposal comes forward and is appropriately vetted according to the processes agreed upon last year. There will be a search for an associate provost for inclusive excellence, and in the spring there will be a search for a new director of Institutional Research and Assessment, as John Kraus is retiring. The provost referred to the GEAR UP training, outlined during the last faculty senate meeting by Monica Chiu, and assured the senate that all faculty and participants on search committees coming out of the provost’s office will receive the same training that departments will be asked to receive.
The provost and the senate chair announced that the senate agenda committee and the provost’s office will be co-sponsoring a panel on teaching and learning at UNH and beyond, which the provost feels will be a perfect collaborative venture for the Senate and Academic Affairs office. This panel will examine teaching and learning on campus, pulling together the many resources and areas of expertise across campus: learning, cognition, faculty development, outreach, and research. The many areas of high-level, substantial work being done at UNH are currently dispersed, and the aim of this panel is to find new ways to pull these strengths together in visible and supported ways in our work across campus, and off campus as well.
In reference to the president’s five initiatives, this fall the dean’s council has been working primarily on the STEM initiative and what that will mean for UNH, as the provost outlined in the last senate meeting. In the spring, the focus will be on the University of Choice. The provost’s council will have a retreat in late January to block out the process and come to an understanding of the meaning of that initiative and develop a thoughtful plan for it.
A senator posed a question about Marcy Carsey’s gift, asking how it was determined to have a school before there is actually a proposal for that school. The provost spoke of the delicate balance between donors and the university, and expressed the hope that the senate will invite Debbi Dutton to come and explain that process more fully. The provost indicated that Ms. Carsey is well aware that UNH has a process by which a school comes into being, and that part of that involves consultation with the senate. The provost said that Ms. Carsey is aware that, for her gift to be leveraged into a school, the faculty who will be involved must be a part of the process. The provost described Ms. Carsey’s gift as the articulation of a vision which was put together by a group of faculty in concert with the directors of development. The senate chair mentioned that he worked with this group last year, stepping down when his term as senate chair began, and described the connection between creating a new school, or a new policy, and the financial foundation needed to move such an entity forward without tapping into already limited resources of the university. The provost said that the university is deeply grateful for Ms. Carsey’s support, which extends and sustains the good work of the faculty.
The senator mentioned expressed a concern about the determination of academic programs being made by outside benefactors, an issue that the provost agreed is a serious and delicate issue for the directors of development and their potential donors. The chair added that the policy and proposal for a new school must stand on its own, and if it does not meet appropriate standards, then the senate will make statements regarding such a proposal.
III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The chair showed the senate two new items on the senate website. The new annual summary report of the senate will now be included on the welcome page of the senate website. A new area has also been added, entitled Special Rules Adopted by the Senate. This area is for specific items and motions that the agenda committee feels should be readily available for quick reference by senators and the university community.
The chair then spoke about the joint panel between the Senate and the Academic Affairs office on teaching and learning mentioned above by the provost. This panel is all about the academic mission of UNH, to which nothing is more central than teaching and learning. He is pleased to join with the provost and give this subject high visibility.
Finally, the chair thanked the members of the senate for the sacrifices they make to attend senate meetings and their committee meetings, emphasizing the importance of the work done in the senate and his appreciation for the commitment of the senators to that work.
IV. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for two abstentions.
V. Instructional Technology security presentation by Joanna Young – Joanna Young gave a powerpoint presentation (available as a link to this document on the senate website) regarding Instructional Technology (IT) security on campus. She told the senators that there had been an 87% increase in phishing attacks in the past year, and that these attacks often happen because a computer or server has been neglected in some way and thus become infected. These kinds of attacks no longer come solely from isolated individuals who are trying to disrupt the work of an organization, but rather are just as likely to be sophisticated attacks by organized crime or terrorists. She emphasized that UNH does not have to be the target to be a target. The increased flexibility and mobility afforded by new devices must be accompanied by increased responsibility on the part of the faculty and staff who use these devices. One targeted device has the potential to cause damage, expense, and destruction to the entire network. What faculty members can do to prevent such damage is to enable password protection on every device used to access the UNH servers, regardless of whether the device is provided by the university or was purchased by the individual. It is university policy that passwords should be changed every six months. Faculty should also use anti-virus software and, if sensitive information is being used or stored, encryption should also be used. The university has these products for both PCs and Macs, and faculty should communicate with the IT specialists in their areas to make sure that their devices are securely protected.
Faculty should also physically protect their devices by locking offices and securing all devices. Any device that is lost or stolen should be reported to UNH IT and to departmental supervisors, whether it is a university provided device or a personal device. If it is used to access the UNH network, or to store UNH information, the device should be well protected. Legally protected and restricted data should only be stored in university approved systems, including student records and Banner. Email is not a secure system, and faculty should not use email to communicate secure information, but rather use telephone communication or secured systems. Ms. Young also reminded the senate that all communications at UNH are subject to right-to-know requests and open to the public, including emails.
Another way to protect data is to use one of the two commercial built data centers (Enterprise – UNH IT, and Research – RCI). These two entities are working together to provide well-managed security to the UNH community. A department who has needs should contact UNH IT to see if there is a way to meet those needs.
A senator asked if student grades are included in the secure information that should not be sent over email. Ms. Young suggested that individual grades requested by students are not necessarily restricted information, as long as the faculty is sure that the requestor is actually the student. Any documents that include assigned student numbers or social security numbers should be stored in an encrypted file.
A senator asked about a report of a denial of service attack. Ms. Young confirmed that such attacks, intended to halt or slow down a website, do occur and that UNH did recently experience such an attack, but reassured senators that the network team caught it quickly and addressed the issue.
A senator asked how one can identify phishing attempts that claim to be from UNH IT. Ms. Young suggested that if there is any question, faculty should call UNH IT to ask for clarification, especially if they receive more than one suspicious email in a short period of time. From time to time, UNH IT sends out warnings about identified phishing attempts. Another senator suggested right-clicking on the ‘from’ email address; this often reveals that the email is from a random address and not from a unh address.
The chair invited senators to send suggestions for future senate discussions on IT security to the senate office at email@example.com and thanked Ms. Young for the valuable information shared today.
VI. Engaged Scholarship: the beginning discussion with Julie Williams and Eleanor Abrams – Julie Williams from the Office of Engagement and Outreach thanked the senate for the invitation to come and speak about engaged scholarship. Eleanor Abrams gave a brief history of the Engaged Scholars Academy, which was formed as an outcome of the 2002 NEASC accreditation process. The UNH definition of Engaged Scholarship is “a mutually beneficial collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and community and external and community partners for the purpose of generating and applying relevant knowledge to directly benefit the public.”
In the past ten years, engaging 250 faculty over time, the Engaged Scholars Academy has found that the focus on engaged scholarship has had tremendous benefit for student learning and civic engagement by students, and deepened student learning opportunities. The work done in the academy is for faculty and by faculty. One of the challenges has been that engaged scholarship is not valued in the P & T process as much as it could be. In examining what the criteria for quality engaged scholarship should be, research has shown that universities look at the tenets of good scholarship as we know it, as well as the impact on community partners, examining ways that the intellectual and research questions, the methods, the results, and dissemination of those results affect and reflect the disciplines, the institutions and the community partnerships.
While peer-reviewed journals, grants and more traditional forms of scholarship may remain the gold standard, an important question to examine is how this form of scholarship values and helps communities.
Dr. Michael Middleton was invited to share his experience in two engaged scholarship projects he has carried out in recent years. An educational psychologist studying children’s motivation in the context of schools and communities, he found that practitioners in the field wanted to know what his research meant for them in the context of advancing the work in marginalized communities. He described the time involved in setting up the research in communities in a variety of locations, beginning with smaller grants and leveraging them into larger grants that were dictated not just by his team, but also by their community partners; a Native American regional association as well as cooperative extension and 4-H programs in rural areas. He described the way this experience has helped to change his views on scholarly research, particularly in regards to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and its standards to protect research subjects, which Dr. Middleton found were not stringent enough for the marginalized groups with which his team worked. He spoke of the way in which his community partners held him accountable for the practical use for his research. He also described the amount of time necessary to build deep relationships of trust with the communities in which he conducted his research, and the need he discovered to adjust the language and perspective of his work in order to make it more accessible to those communities.
Mihaela Sabin then spoke about her work at UNH Manchester as Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Computing Technology Program in the Division of Science and Technology. Her research has been in computing education; how to design and build systems that will engage and motivate students. Through her association with the Engaged Scholars Academy, she has learned how to connect the dots of expertise and talent to create a proposal that is inclusive of different talents. In conference proceedings and general papers she has shared with her colleagues what she has learned from that project. She also found that her research drew her outside of UNH boundaries. Through her work with a variety of stakeholders in education, like career communication centers, community colleges, cooperative extensions, and open source communities, she got involved with other partners in Hartford, Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio. For her, engaged scholarship is not about turning service into scholarship, or making service count as scholarship. It’s about refining scholarly research to be more competitive by integrating community engagement. She has learned that to make proposals more competitive it’s important to take into consideration collaborative projects and partnerships larger than your own particular research. In this way you can expand your proposal and discover new directions for your research.
The senate chair invited discussion from the senate regarding the meaning of engaged scholarship. A senator asked if there was a clear line between scholarship and service, both of which should be valued. Mike Middleton responded that the fact that his scholarly work has an impact on the community does not diminish its scholarly value. It is the responsibility of the scholar to clearly define his or her work with measures of impact and methods of contextualization in the field. The discussion continued regarding funding of research, partnering with the community, and whether service learning on the part of students is a form of engaged scholarship or pedagogy.
A response was that valuing engaged scholarship does not mean that all scholarship must be engaged scholarship. It needs to fit into the questions of the discipline and the skill set of the faculty member. What are the standards of accountability we hold ourselves to in our scholarship and our teaching? Julie Williams said that there is a large national group in the arts and humanities supporting the concept of engaged scholarship. Eleanor pointed out that some faculty are not comfortable doing this kind of research until they have successfully completed the tenure process.
Art Greenberg, an invited visitor to the senate from the Chemistry department and chair of the senate’s adhoc Promotion and Tenure Oversight Committee asked to share some relevant insights from that committee on this subject. His committee feels that the definition given of engaged scholarship seems process driven rather than outcome oriented and reiterated the question of how engaged scholarship differs from service, as well as whether promotion and tenure policies reward scholarly engagement. He asserted that valid peer review by widely recognized experts with a stake in the process is essential in the promotion and tenure process, including in the important area of engaged scholarship.
A senator pointed out that that engaged scholarship is at the heart of the mission of a public land grant university, referencing the impact of the university’s cooperative extension program over decades of research, teaching and outreach. Engaging students in real research blends together many layers of scholarship and teaching in unusual ways that may be difficult to evaluate, especially in the face of increasing pressure to bring in large, prestigious grants which may not be the kinds of grants that truly are helpful to the communities with which we are engaging.
The chair wrapped up this portion of the meeting by positing that if we believe that engaged scholarship is an important part of what we do at UNH, then we need to be clear about how it is supported, rewarded, and acknowledged in our departments. He strongly encouraged ongoing discussion within departments on this topic to define, not to dictate, the place of engaged scholarship. The chair described today’s discussion as a starting point, and reminded the senate that it is important to value the “public” in “public university.”
VII. Report by Academic Affairs Committee on a proposal to move the common exam time – The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee offered the following report [faculty senate agenda item VII.A 10/7/2013, sent to senators by email on 10/3/2013, includes the full report]:
It has been proposed by some administrators that there would be advantages to moving the common exam time (CET), now on Tuesday-Thursday 12:40 to 2:00, to later in the day: it would free classrooms for what would be a popular course slot, and it would prevent or reduce the crush of students in the dining halls at 12:30 or so two days a week.
Our Committee has considered the pros and cons of this idea, in consultation with several Senators from the sciences and with Kathie Forbes of the Registrar’s office, and has concluded that to move it from its present time would create more problems than it would solve. We therefore make no motion.
The chair accepted the committee’s report.
VIII. Report on a proposal to shorten the spring term – The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee offered the following report [faculty senate agenda item VIII.A 10/7/2013, sent to senators by email on 10/3/2013, includes the full report]:
After a noisy alcohol-drenched party among students last April that led to a fracas and drew a large number of police, officials from the Town of Durham and the University have met several times to consider ways to prevent such disturbances in the future. Apparently some Durham spokespeople thought the students “had too much time on their hands” and proposed a reduction or elimination of the reading period and a compression of the exam schedule. The Academic Affairs Committee has been charged to consider this possibility, as the Senate oversees the calendar.
We doubt very much that this proposal has any purchase on the causes of the disturbance. For one thing, the event took place on the Saturday preceding the last full week of classes, plus one more class day, and not during reading period. If the troublesome students had too much time on their hands at this busiest period of the semester, when papers and projects are nearing their deadlines, then they will have too much time on their hands no matter what we do. We saw statistics that show that disturbances and arrests reach peaks during the warm weather and on weekends, and are not tied to the academic calendar in any discernible way. Not long ago there was a riot in October having to do with the Red Sox.
So we see no merit in the idea of shortening the reading period, which is only two days long as it is, or compressing the exam schedule, which seems compressed enough already, solely because students have misbehaved in April. We therefore make no motion.
The chair accepted the committee’s report.
IX. New business – The chair thanked the senators from science departments who contributed to the conversation on these two charges to the Academic Affairs Committee.
Barbara White spoke on behalf of the Student Affairs committee, which worked with the Academic Affairs Committee on the above charges to shed light on the student perspective of such proposed changes. The Student Affairs committee concurs with the Academic Affairs Committee that neither of the above charges warrant a motion. A senator made the suggestion that perhaps certain colleges might alternate days for their common exam time (i.e., Tuesday or Thursday) to make classrooms available for staggered usage.
The chair said that the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees have discharged their tasks, and that others who have additional ideas are welcome to bring them forward in the future.
X. Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.