UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 28 January, 2002




I. Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: Barcelona, Becker, Bornstein, Burger, Denis, Draper, Fletcher, Frankel, Halstead, Pollard and Tucker. Excused were Churchill, Farrell, Trowbridge, Tuttle, and VonDamm.

II. Communications with the President - The president said that the state will delay the transfer of this year's funding allocation until June 30. This will not affect the base budget but will cause the university system office to lose some expected interest income, which can be managed this time at the system level, with reserve funds. However, if a cutback to the expected base budget were to be made by the state next year, the trustees would consider raising tuition to offset this. In the biennial allocation, the state promised a five-percent increase to the base budget for next year; and if that were cut to three percent, this two-percent loss of state funds would require a three-percent increase to the in-state undergraduate tuition. Added to the already-anticipated four-percent tuition increase, this would total a seven-percent increase for in-state undergraduate tuition, which would amount to a $420 increase above the current $6000 tuition. Out-of-state tuition is now $15,420 and is not expected to rise beyond the already-announced four-percent increase of $619, because any additional increase would not be competitive and might cause an unacceptable loss of enrollments. Out-of-state students pay essentially the full cost of their education now, and New Hampshire state funds are not used for their schooling.

This semester the student retention is good; and enrollments seem to be as planned in the budget model, with about the same in-state and out-of-state mix. The president said that the university probably has a student capacity of 13,000 and that unused space in academic programs is not evenly distributed. Currently the enrollment is around 12,500. More students could perhaps be added, if the new students could be properly distributed. The undergraduate applicant pool now seems especially good for Liberal Arts and CEPS, with some increases in the Whittemore School and Health and Human Services as well. The university is considering an increase in graduate enrollments in certain fields. The president commented that deans and faculty will take a look at possible grade inflation.

A professor asked if retirement incentives will be offered to faculty this year, and the president replied that a decision has not yet been made. That decision depends on funds being available in the USNH benefits pool. Another faculty member asked how many fewer students will be enrolled this spring semester compared to the fall, and the president said that she would email this information to the senate chair for distribution to the senators, when R+30 enrollments are known.

In response to a question about international studies, the president said that students are showing increased interest and can see that in many programs they can take study-abroad courses which are accepted by UNH, so that the international study does not increase the time needed for graduation. The president added that students who study abroad come back with important experiences which enrich not only those students but also the whole university.

A professor expressed concern that UNH-Manchester does not have an advertising budget to compete with that of Southern New Hampshire University. The president said that she will ask the UNH-Manchester dean for further information about this. The president added that she is pleased with initiatives taken recently by UNH-Manchester in a number of areas.

III. Minutes - The minutes of the last senate meeting were unanimously approved, after further discussion of the possibility of grade changes being made by a dean. Any such change would be rare, and the minutes say that the faculty member should be informed of any grade change and should have a chance to respond. The senate chair said that he would ask the provost what written university policy states that deans can change grades given by faculty. The senate chair added that the provost had previously said that faculty do have the right to appeal but should first discuss the matter with the department chair and the dean and then, if necessary, the VPAA. As discussed in the senate previously, the Academic Standards and Advising Committee does not change grades to a new letter grade but might allow a change in registration status. A professor said that this committee has agreed to apprize the appropriate faculty member of the resolution of any student petition to this committee.

IV. Communications from the Chair - The senate chair announced that today's agenda item on the intellectual property policy will be postponed to a later senate meeting. He added that during this semester the senate will hear from VPFA Corvey on responsibility center management and on transportation policy, Director of Admissions Leslie on admissions qualifications and on diversity, John Seavey on the General Education Study Committee recommendations, Steve Hardy on the University Accreditation Self Study and on athletics and the NCAA, and Chancellor Reno. The senate chair asked faculty to attend the open fora on the General Education Study Committee recommendations and to review the recommendations prior to the senate discussion. A professor asked if the university's director of English composition could also speak to the senate, and the senate chair replied that the Agenda Committee will look into this suggestion. He added that four major issues which the senate will consider this spring are the General Education Study Committee recommendations, academic planning, the policy on web sites, and the internet security report.

V. Internet Task Force - John Limber, the senate's representative to the Internet Task Force, reported that the task force is charged with giving guidelines to Computing and Information Services regarding developing written policy for CIS. The chair of the task force wrote a report and gave it to CIS which is drafting a policy guided by the report. This policy will cover concerns about email privacy, privacy of files on networked computers, and privacy regarding what web sites a person visits. CIS says that it needs to perform limited monitoring, in order to check on external security problems, and that CIS should try out computer hacking techniques to see if there are breaks in the university's computer security. CIS would also like the policy to specify oversight for CIS and its employees, establish policy for dealing with problematic equipment and users, and establish a system of computer registration. CIS wants the registration system, in order to minimize the possibility that those who are not UNH students or employees could use or interfere with the university's network and wireless services.

A professor suggested that any employee of CIS who would be authorized to monitor other people's computers should be bonded, so that there could be some economic redress in case of inappropriate access. Professor Limber replied that he would make that suggestion at the next meeting of the task force. He added that the Internet Task Force will review the policy that CIS is preparing and will provide it to the senate and the other campus constituencies for comment. He also said that those who are really concerned about computer privacy could take steps to increase the security of their computers through personal passwords, encryption, etc. He asked that faculty contact him with any further input on these matters.

VI. Communications with the Chair of the Board of Trustees - John Lynch, the chair of the Board of Trustees, graduated from UNH with a B.A. in English. He said that of utmost importance at the university is the relationship that exists between the faculty and the students and that the Board of Trustees should work to facilitate and enhance that relationship. The board is supposed to set policy and goals for the university system and oversee strategic planning, ensure management performance and financial responsibility, support and encourage the chancellor and the presidents, act as advocates for the university system, and assess its own effectiveness as a board. Last year, one of the board's major accomplishments was Project Keep, which secured one hundred million dollars for capital projects, including renovation and repair of a number of campus buildings. This is in addition to separate plans for the construction of new dining facilities and residence hall accommodations.

The Board of Trustees has four goals this year. First, the board wants to increase higher education's affordability and accessability for New Hampshire students, in order to increase the rate of participation in higher education. The capital campaign has reached eight million dollars and will provide increased financial aid and student scholarships. Also, the new written policy on transferability of credits gives a more structured path for students to start at community colleges and then transfer useful credits into the university system. A professor said and John Lynch agreed that a good system of two-plus-two programs is needed, in order to maintain high standards. A professor asked if there is a system of periodic review of the articulation agreements regarding credit transfer, and he expressed concern that the process might start out well but not continue at that level. We need to ensure that quality standards are maintained. The trustee chair replied that a committee which includes faculty and deans has been set up to watch over this process.

Second, the university system needs to be an effective partner with industry. Higher education is more important than ever for workers in today's complicated world. Third, the board would like the university system to enhance its use of technology and long-distance learning. Fourth, the board wants to spend more time on governance and management functions and to think through what the system's relationship should be with technical colleges, legislators and others.

The chair of the Board of Trustees complimented the quality, excellence and outstanding performance of UNH faculty members. He said that the Board of Trustees can be a strong advocate for funding for the university system. He sees the inclusion of low-income students to be an important part of diversity. He also wants to consider what role the Board of Trustees should play in helping to coordinate the strategic planning of the institutions in the system.

Regarding the presidential search and President Leitzel's expected retirement at the end of June, eighty applications or nominations are being reviewed, and a choice is expected in April. Discussion ensued about ideas to set up a more constructive contract negotiation process and to improve the relationship with the legislature, as well as to consider the differentiation between the institutions in the university system. For example, the College for Lifelong Learning was originally set up to offer programs in under-served areas of the state but now is trying to offer classes in Concord. Community colleges and technical schools are changing, and institutions in the university system compete increasingly with each other.

Regarding the quality of students, a professor said that his classes seem to have about the same number of very good students now compared to the past but that there seem to be more students who are not able to do the work. The trustee chair said that SAT scores and grade point averages are going up but that more students are working many hours a week at outside jobs. The professor said that a review is needed not just of the averages but of the ends of the curve, over an extended period of time. Another professor said that students today need more skills than before, such as computer and internet skills. Of course, the students also need competency in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as library and research skills. Dialog is needed with the high schools regarding the preparation students should have.

John Lynch asked that professors email him at johnlynch77@aol.com if they have any questions or suggestions.

VII. Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.


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