UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 11 March, 2002




I. Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: Barcelona, Burger, Churchill, Denis, Frankel, Halstead, Miriam, Niesse, Pollard, Salloway, Simpson and VonDamm. Excused were Draper, Garofalo, Krysiak, Trowbridge, and Tuttle.

II. Communications with Director of Admissions Leslie and Vice Provost Rubinstein - Mark Rubinstein said that editorials about House Bill 1304 have been in newspapers recently and that the bill was voted by the house committee as "inexpedient to legislate". The bill would ban the use of quotas, goals or guidelines based on race, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic circumstance relative to hiring or admissions in public higher education and state government. The university looks for students who have the potential to succeed at the university and admits all the applicants who qualify. The university does not turn away any qualified students.

The majority of the students at UNH are from New Hampshire, and so are the majority of the UNH students of color. The number of minority undergraduate students is 391 for the fall, which is 3.75 percent of the undergraduate student body. A professor said that, while UNH should encourage a diverse student body and faculty, he is concerned about a clause in the General Education Study Committee document which would add a requirement for a diversity course.

The director of admissions said that UNH gets about 10,000 applicants each year and admits seventy-five percent of them. Of the 7,700 admitted students, 2,600 come to UNH as freshmen. UNH enrolls about the same percentage of its admitted students as similar universities do. The fall grade point average for freshman students is 2.7. UNH sends many mailings to prospective students, including a compact disk which gives an overview about UNH and encourages students to log onto the UNH website for more information. Materials about UNH should be sent to both the high schools and the middle schools. On-campus visits are extremely important recruiting opportunities, as is knowing faculty, staff, students and alumni. Parents and guidance counselors are also very important, and on the UNH admissions web site there will be a link for parents.

A professor asked if the cost of college open houses could be shared beyond the college. The Admissions Office plans some more-general open houses which the Admissions Office will pay for and which will include all the colleges. The Admissions Office will contact each department to help develop major brochures. A professor asked that the Admissions Office work with new programs to help them interest new students. The Admissions Office wants to institute a training program for admissions staff and include information about new programs.

III. Minutes - The minutes of the last senate meeting were unanimously approved, with the following changes. The third sentence of item VI will be: "Deans have changed grades based on formal or informal grievance procedures or under highly unusual circumstances." The second sentence in the third paragraph of that item will be: "In addition, sometimes the registration status of a student is changed based on a petition to the Academic Standards and Advising Committee." The first sentence in the next to last paragraph of the minutes, regarding the calendar rationale, will be deleted.

IV. Communications from the Chair - The Presidential Search Committee will do on-campus interviews at the end of March and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in early April. Faculty are encouraged to attend sessions for meeting with the candidates. Also, the General Education Study Committee will hold open forums this week to discuss the recommendations of that committee. The senate chair asked for volunteers for faculty representatives to serve on three accreditation self-study committees. Ben Thompson Day will be April 24, and members of the university community are encouraged to help beautify the campus on that day. Both the AAUP and the Academic Affairs Office will work on updating the Faculty Handbook. As a result of concerns expressed by the faculty and other constituencies, the draft of the Tobacco Use Policy will undergo further revision. The senate chair is on the committee which will prepare that draft.

V. Academic Action Plan Draft - The chair of the senate's Academic Action Plan Task Force presented a draft of the action plans for strategies assigned to senate committees. He asked for faculty input and said that he will revise this document and send it to Jim Varn who will combine it with the action plans for other strategies and bring the entire document back to the senate for input. A professor asked who would assign merit salary increases for faculty and suggested that peer evaluation would be the best method. Another faculty member asked how much additional time faculty would be expected to invest to achieve the goals of the plan. Strategy 6G talks about emphasizing "greater flexibility and individuality in fulfilling teaching, research and public service missions". A professor said that public service by faculty seems to be undervalued. Page eleven of the document says that the Faculty Senate would create a task force to review the evaluation of teaching, research and public service in promotion and tenure and faculty reviews. A suggestion was made to change "public service" to "service" wherever it appears in the document.

The Faculty Senate will have further discussion on this draft at the March 25 senate meeting. A professor asked if the senate should agree upon an optimal class size and student-teacher ratio for writing-intensive classes. Concern was expressed that some of the strategies might be unrealistic in some departments. Academic values should be emphasized; and if the university places more focus on research, how would that affect the ability to deliver academic programs? Funds could be moved from one focus to another. Faculty are asked to send comments on this document to Bill Stine via his email address of bill.stine@unh.edu.

VI. Reports from the Senate's Research and Public Service Committee - This committee worked on strategies for the academic plan and is concerned that faculty are asked to be all things to all people in that plan and could be stretched too thin. A monthly meeting should be held with the provost to monitor the implementation of the academic plan. The senate's Research and Public Service Committee did not review the draft of the Intellectual Property Policy, because a member of the AAUP said that would be inappropriate. A senator said that the Faculty Senate also could discuss the policy. The committee recommends that research faculty not be represented in the Faculty Senate, because they are usually not tenure-track faculty and shared governance decisions should be made by those who expect to have a long-term commitment to the university. The committee chair asks that faculty send him input on this issue.

VII. Code of Conduct - The Professional Standards Committee recommends against the creation of a new code of conduct for faculty, because there are already policies regarding many different areas of conduct and because faculty are already evaluated in lots of ways by many people. The committee suggests that the university administration set up a centralized web site to list all current UNH policies on conduct.

VIII. Faculty Housing and Pedestrian Safety - The senate's Campus Planning Committee recommends that the administration review and respond to the 1991 survey and study on faculty housing. That study presents several possible models. Pages 16 and 17 of the Academic Action Plan Strategies document detail action steps on this issue. The Campus Planning Committee chair will discuss these matters with Jim Varn and Candace Corvey. Regarding pedestrian safety, the committee is concerned that the crosswalk has been removed on Main Street at the top of the hill above the railroad overpass and yet many people still cross the street in that place. The senate committee should discuss this matter with the appropriate administrator. The pedestrian situation at the railroad underpass to the back of the field house is better now that the construction vehicles are no longer in that area.

IX. Faculty Luncheon - The March 8 faculty lunch held by the senate's Finance and Administration Committee was interesting and enjoyable and included discussion of the committee's charges and the parking situation.

X. Candidates for University President - Are there questions that faculty would like to have addressed by each candidate, during the on-campus visits of the presidential search candidates? They should discuss their views on, experience in, and commitment to working in a shared governance environment. Important aspects of shared governance include the president's attending the senate's Agenda Committee meetings and many Faculty Senate meetings and the president's meeting at least monthly with the chair and vice chair of the senate. The senate parliamentarian said that the 12/3/01 senate minutes list a number of characteristics and abilities that a new university president should have. The faculty should arrange for representatives to attend a forum for each candidate and bring up these questions. The meeting was adjourned.


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