Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes Summary Nov. 4, 2013

Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes Summary Nov. 4, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

 

Meeting called to order at 3:11 p.m.  Nov. 4, 2013              

             

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent: Glauber, Harkless, Kalinowski, Mebert, Morgan, Tenczar, and Wu. Woodward and Greenberg served as proxies for Caron and Seitz respectively. Dorsey was excused. Lisa MacFarlane was a guest.

 

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost had no remarks, but asked for questions from the senators.  The past senate chair asked about a report that the UNH-Manchester dean had resigned on Friday.  The provost confirmed the report and indicated that Dan Reagan would serve as the interim dean.  A consultant is working with UNH on reconfiguration, which is proceeding well.   There was a full faculty meeting on the UNH-M campus on October 29, with over half of the UNH-M faculty attending.  The provost reported that this was a very positive meeting, and that a recommendation will be made to President Huddleston by Thanksgiving.  A plan should be drafted by the first of the year clarifying what background and qualities will be desired in the new dean. The interim dean will possibly serve through the summer 2015, after which the new dean should be ready to take over.

 

A senator reported on his attendance at the recent meeting of the Board of Trustees Financial Affairs Committee, where the issue of the integration of the law school was raised.  The senator asked if this was a public document.  The provost responded that she believed it was, although it is an expansive document and still a work in progress.  She said that if it were, her office could provide that to the senator.  Some of the items will be implemented by January 2014, while others may take some time to implement.  The provost said that the law school is experiencing a financial deficit due to lower enrollments, which is not unique to our institution.  The school’s projections for increased revenues are based on raised quality of enrolled students as well as their application for ALS (Association of Law Schools) status, which prospect is positive.   

 

The provost concluded by saying that she had just come from the Cray XE6m supercomputer unveiling ceremony in Morse Hall.  She pointed out that this is the only Cray supercomputer in New England.

 

III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The chair reminded the senate of the dinner with the student senate in the Philbrook Dining Hall at 5:15 today, inviting all senators to attend and thanking those who have offered to sponsor a student senator for the meal.

 

The chair updated the senate on the recommendation by the Interim Dean of the Library, Annie Donahue, regarding the Physics Library:

 

After a careful review of the report submitted to me by the Physics Library Options

Committee, I concur with their recommendation to allow the Physics Library to

remain in DeMeritt Hall for the present time while a comprehensive plan to move

the Physics Library into an integrated science resource center in Dimond Library is

developed and implemented.  I recommend that the completion date to move out of

DeMeritt Hall be no later than December 2016.

 

Annie Donohue, Interim Dean

 

A senator, who served on the Physics Library Options Committee, indicated that he differed slightly from Interim Dean Donahue’s recommendation.  His concern is that her recommended date of December 2016 is not much time to carry out such a complicated change.

 

A visitor from the same committee confirmed the senator’s report, indicating that the faculty had differing ideas regarding the space.  A senator agreed that Donahue’s wording does not align with the committee’s recommendation, which included no completion date nor reference to Dimond library.  Such discrepancies do not seem to endorse the committee recommendation, as stated in Donahue’s report.  The committee recommended that the issue of moving the library be revisited, not enacted.  Thompson also noted that this is the first mention of a timeline for the closing of the Biological Sciences Library in Kendall, for spring 2014, which is a very short time.

 

A senator added that there are other entities being moved in Kendall, and wondered what is going on there.  There seem to be many rumors.  The chair said he would check into this, adding that that this an issue that the senate will need to track. The idea of a comprehensive plan to move the Physics Library into an integrated science center is predicated on the existence of an integrated science center, whether it’s in the Dimond Library or elsewhere.  This issue impacts the academic mission of the university and the senate needs to be involved and offer input through the committees making these plans.  A senator asked if the provost supported this recommendation.  The chair reported that in a recent meeting with the provost, he asked about the report on the physics library and the response he received was one of acknowledgement of the report with no statement about support or no support.  The chair will follow up with the provost to clarify that question.

 

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

 

V.  Motion to update senate constitution - Jim Connell, representing the agenda committee brought forward the motion presented at the last senate meeting on the housekeeping items in the constitution.

 

Motion: the Agenda Committee moves to amend the senate constitution as follows:

 

Item 6.c wording will change from:

 

The Professional Standards Committee. The Professional Standards Committee will concern itself with matters affecting the welfare of the faculty including academic freedom, promotion, tenure, workload assignments, faculty personnel policy, and professional ethics. This committee has a role established by the collective bargaining agreement relating to termination or severe sanctions placed on faculty members. The Professional Standards Committee will be elected by bargaining-unit faculty by approval ballots in Liberal Arts, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Agriculture, Business and Economics, Health and Human Services, UNH-Manchester, and the library. All tenured faculty members will automatically be the nominees on their respective ballots. The Faculty Senate will supervise this election. The Professional Standards Committee will have seven directly elected members, one from each of the following:  CEPS, COLSA, LA, SHHS, WSBE, UNH-Manchester and the library.  In addition the vice chair of the Faculty Senate will be the eighth member and the chair of the committee.

 

to:

 

The Professional Standards Committee. The Professional Standards Committee will concern itself with matters affecting the welfare of the faculty including academic freedom, promotion, tenure, workload assignments, faculty personnel policy, and professional ethics. This committee has a role established by the collective bargaining agreement relating to termination or severe sanctions placed on faculty members. The Professional Standards Committee will be elected by bargaining-unit faculty by approval ballots in CEPS, COLSA, COLA, CHHS, PCBE, UNH-Manchester and the library. All tenured faculty members will automatically be the nominees on their respective ballots. The Faculty Senate will supervise this election. The Professional Standards Committee will have seven directly elected members, one from each of the following:  CEPS, COLSA, COLA, CHHS, PCBE, UNH-Manchester and the library.  In addition the vice chair of the Faculty Senate will be the eighth member and the chair of the committee.

 

Item 6.d wording will change from:

 

Other Faculty Senate Committees. The Faculty Senate may establish whatever other committees it deems appropriate, as needed, such as the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee (UCAPC).

 

to: 

 

Other Faculty Senate Committees. The Faculty Senate may establish whatever

other committees it deems appropriate, as needed.

 

Rationale: These changes are made for clarity.

 

Needing a 2/3 majority to pass, the motion passed with 35 ayes, no nays and no abstentions.

 

VI.  Motion to update senate bylaws, Item 4 – Again representing the agenda committee, Jim Connell moved to amend the senate bylaws as discussed in the last senate meeting, under Item 4, Definition of Faculty Senate members as follows:

 

From: 4.  Definition of Faculty Senate members

            For purposes of Faculty Senate membership, the following academic departments are eligible to elect senate members.  The Agenda Committee is responsible for monitoring this list annually.

 

to:       4.  Definition of Faculty Senate members

            For purposes of Faculty Senate membership, the following academic departments, and successor departments, are eligible to elect senate members.  The Agenda Committee is responsible for monitoring this list annually.

 

Changes in department titles:  Biological Science to Biological Sciences, Electrical Engineering to Electrical and Computer Engineering, Family Studies to Human Development and Family Studies, and Mathematics to Mathematics and Statistics.

 

Friendly amendments from senators were made regarding department titles and formatting, including a brief discussion on the official abbreviation for the Paul College of Business.  The senate will defer to the registrar’s abbreviation used in the time and room schedule of PCBE. 

There was a discussion of tenure-track faculty who are not attached to a department, and how they are represented by the senate.  The chair indicated that the unit of analysis for the senate is the department, although all tenure-track faculty are welcome.  A senator reminded the senate of the former provost’s statement that there would be no new tenure track hires in programs, and it was noted that while it may be unclear if there are tenured faculty working outside of departments, the current policy is for all faculty to be attached to a department.  The chair said that the agenda committee would consider the issue, which may bring up questions about other ways in which the senate organizes itself.

 

With all changes agreed upon by the senate, the vote was called and the motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.

 

VII. Motion to update senate bylaws, Item 3.C – The chair indicated that there has been no official policy on attendance at senate meetings, nor rule established for the recording of when absent senators are represented by a proxy. The agenda committee believes that it is important to bring the conversation of attendance at senate meetings into the senate bylaws. Deb Kinghorn, representing the agenda committee, presented the motion to add the following items to Item 3.C of the senate bylaws, as there has been no clear guideline on the topic to this point:

 

3.C.1  Departments that do not elect and seat a senator will be contacted by the chair of the senate to state that the department will not be able to bring motions forward on their own nor will the department have a vote on senate business until the department seats a senator.

 

3.C.2  If a senator misses three Senate and/or committee meetings in a semester without securing a proxy as per 3.C, the senator shall be contacted by the Senate Chair to discuss the situation.  Failing improved participation, the Agenda Committee, upon recommendation of the Chair, may declare the seat vacant and contact the department for a replacement.  It is the right of the department to respond to the vacancy.

Needing no second, the motion was opened for discussion.  A senator said that he felt the measure is rather draconian and that he did not approve of it.  Another senator asked if a sitting senator could serve in a dual capacity, as both attendee and proxy for an absent senator and be given the privilege of voting for the absent senator, having been directed by the absent senator in regards to position on a topic.  The chair indicated that the senate could conceivably revise the definition of proxy, but that currently such action is not within the parameters of the senate rules; that each senator or proxy may have only one vote. 

 

The past senate chair brought up the case of a senator who was elected by their department for three years and yet never attended any senate meetings.  If the senate asks the administration to take this body seriously in shared governance, then faculty members need to participate in the process. The past chair also indicated that he had investigated faculty senates at other institutions and found that attendance requirements are not unusual for such bodies. 

 

A senator from the agenda committee pointed out that the clause does not authorize the expulsion of anyone from the senate; rather it is intended as a way to authorize the senate chair to take up the problem with the senator and/or the department, who has a right to know if their elected representative is not attending senate meetings.

 

A senator said that there are other measures for such communication.  The chair indicated that there has not been any official mechanism in the bylaws regarding this matter.  By placing this wording in the bylaws, the concept is clear and up front, allowing for the maintenance of the senate as an effective body.

 

A senator asserted that if departments aren’t represented, the senate won’t be taken seriously by the administration; that this body is our display of voice and power.  Another senator pointed out the imbalance of committee workload that occurs when elected senators do not participate in senate committees.   A senator asked if committee chairs would be required to report attendance to committee meetings on a regular basis to the senate chair.  The chair indicated no, and that such communication would only be necessary if the committee chair felt there was a problem. 

 

A senator asked if there is an option for a senator to be excused from a meeting without a proxy.  The chair indicated that that is an option, by prior communication with the senate chair or the senate admin, but that his hope would be that the senator had made a reasonable attempt to secure a proxy first.  The motion shall be held over to the next senate meeting to allow time for senators to bring this information to their respective departments

         

VIII. Motion on the holding over of substantive motions – Representing the Agenda Committee, Jim Connell presented the following motion:

 

Motion: The Faculty Senate shall vote on main motions of a substantive nature, unless otherwise decided as below, at the regular meeting following the meeting when the motion was introduced.  On introduction, the main motion may be debated and all subsidiary and incidental motions are in order.  If a motion entailing further delay (tabling, postponement to a certain time, commitment, etc.) is adopted, that delay, provided it is no sooner than the next regular meeting, shall apply.  If the previous question is adopted during the initial consideration, only consideration at that meeting shall end, with no vote being taken; consideration, including debate, as below, shall resume at the appropriate future meeting. 

 

When consideration of a substantive main motion is resumed at a subsequent meeting, it is fully open to debate and amendment and may be voted upon at that meeting provided no amendment is adopted at that meeting that substantively alters the fundamental intent of the motion.  In that case, it shall be delayed as if it were a new main motion. 

 

Upon adoption, this rule supersedes any previous rules on the subject. 

 

Rationale: The above has been the custom in the Faculty Senate with the often cited advantage of Senators being able to consult with their departments before voting. Many assumed it was a procedural rule, but recent research by our new administrative assistant has failed to disclose any such a rule having been adopted.  This has left the Chair and the Agenda Committee in an ambiguous situation they wish to resolve. 

 

It may be noted that “substantive” is not defined.  The chair, when a motion is introduced, makes the determination.  The chair should, as in all such matters, rule conservatively.  As with any decision by the chair, a member can appeal the chair’s decision and, the appeal being seconded, a vote will be taken. 

 

Should the chair proceed to a vote on a main motion and a member feel the vote is in violation of this rule (or any other), they should raise a point of order and the chair will rule. 

 

Even should a main motion be substantive, the Senate may still suspend the rules in order to vote at the meeting when the main motion was introduced should it desire or need to do so. 

 

This rule will be placed with other special rules on the senate website if passed.  In the spirit of the motion, this will be held over until the next meeting for a vote.

 

IX. Engaged scholarship and creative artistry – The chair opened the discussion on engaged scholarship and creative artistry by asking what comes to mind when we use those words.  The former senate chair asked how such scholarship differs from the existing definitions of scholarship and service, and if there is no difference, why would a new term be needed?  Several senators offered possible examples of engaged and disengaged scholarship.  Others asked how it would be possible to have scholarship without engagement. 

 

A senator expressed having felt some pressure towards this “new” kind of scholarship, but that after the presentation by Julie Williams and Eleanor Abrams on October 7, it became clearer that the goal was research that has meaning for the public beyond UNH, or that has meaning in shaping public policy.  She asked if such scholarship is applicable in every field, or if it would be incumbent for the community to recognize the value of the research for it to qualify.

 

Another senator said that engaged scholarship and creative artistry may not apply universally to all fields, but agreed that engagement should mean a connection with people outside of the university community, more than just the dissemination of information; to receive a concern from the community and seek to find a solution, providing a unique setting for the application of scholarship.

A senator asked why a new term is needed; isn’t all of this simply scholarship?  Would broadening the definition of scholarship altogether provide a meaningful result?  Another senator asked about peer review of such scholarship.  In a community-connected project, who are the expert reviewers of the research? A third senator asked what emphasis would be placed on engaged scholarship and creative artistry in the promotion and tenure process.

 

Art Greenberg, who serves on the Promotion and Tenure Oversight Committee, and attended the meeting as proxy for an absent senator, reiterated the concern about evaluation and review of such research.  He indicated that in the 2003 academic plan, the objective was to value and reward “engagement and outreach” of faculty in addition to their teaching, scholarship and creative work and research, but the term “engaged scholarship” does not appear.  In the 2008 academic plan, requisite #2 included a broadened definition of scholarship, “one that affirms the essential interconnection of teaching, research and engagement.”  He said it is not clear that the faculty at large understands or has adopted this definition.  The chair agreed that the term lacks clarity.

 

The past senate chair concurred, saying that what is being suggested is that faculty bring the work that they are doing to the world; to our cities, our state, our nation, and beyond.  He spoke of grant donors who want to know how citizens are involved and impacted by the researcher’s plan.

 

Another senator suggested that there is a continuum on which the work of the faculty rests, including teaching, research, public outreach, and service, defined by each educator.  Another senator pointed out the different kinds of research that can be done by faculty on their own as compared to research done with students.  The chair asked if a greater or lesser value is placed on certain types of research by administrators.  Another senator asked how faculty are challenged, burdened, or benefitted by the term engaged scholarship and creative artistry – what does the university gain by using this term?  By and large it seems to be defined as “a collaboration between scholar and community.”

 

A senator expressed that while he has no problem with the concept in the language of the university, he is concerned that the emphasis being placed on engaged scholarship and creative artistry may point to the devaluation of other kinds of scholarship that may be deemed less engaged.  Another senator agreed, asserting that if obscure scholars are less valued than those who are deeply engaged in public forums, the university community may be losing their vision.

 

The senate vice chair suggested that engaged scholarship falls under applied research, where research problems have implications for groups of people in the community.  He feels that he knows what it is, but he is unsure if a separate term is needed for it.

 

A senator brought up the concept of risk; that engaged scholarship and creative artistry may require a large investment of time, which makes it risky for the faculty member who is seeking tenure.  By placing more value on this type of research, the university is diminishing the risk of this kind of research for such faculty.

 

Art Greenberg asserted that there’s very little difference, other than in terms of peer review.  Rather than re-defining scholarship, he suggested that departments be allowed to set their own criteria for what they value in terms of method or type of research. Another senator pointed out that using a single word to define a style of research can be demeaning of other styles of research. He recommended simply including new forms of research as valued under such criteria rather than trying to diminish the value of any form.  Another senator asserted that the term itself could be used as a tool of the administration to push certain kinds of scholarship. 

 

Another senator said that he doesn’t see how engaged scholarship would be demeaning.  Rather, he would hope that the university would reward engaged scholarship and creative artistry.  He referred to the Morrill Act and the evolution of teaching and research here at UNH, bringing faculty from simply teaching their subjects to sharing their research with the community. As far as what the university gains, he suggested that as UNH receives minimal support from the state, engaged scholarship is a way to show the state what we do and how our work is meaningful to our communities.  He agreed that being forced into a particular form of scholarship is not appropriate, but hopes that engaged scholarship can be equally valued and rewarded.

 

A senator reminded the senate that this term has been a Carnegie Foundation classification since 2006.  Many other institutions are forming policy with similar language.  The chair said that even the university president has some questions about what this term means, and suggested that faculty continue this discussion, particularly in reference to new tenure track faculty who are wondering if they can afford to engage in engaged scholarship and creative artistry.

 

X. New business – none

 

XI. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 5:02 p.m.