UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 24 January, 2005




I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Burger, Collins, Drake, Neefus, Powell, Schlentrich, Sheriff, Smith, Tenczar, VanDeveer, and Vangundy.  Excused were Ament, Broussard and Savage.  Wanda Mitchell, Lisa MacFarlane, John Aber and Jenna Coulp-Yu were guests.

II.  Communications from the chair – Young Dawkins has resigned as president of the UNH Foundation, as of May 16.  Marc Herold has agreed to serve on the Social Justice Awards Committee.  The COLSA dean and the COLSA faculty submitted to the president two plans for college restructuring, and President Hart will trigger the formal programmatic review process by the end of January.  The provost will run an election to choose the three members of the review committee from COLSA, and the senate has already nominated faculty to be on that committee.

III.  Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting.

IV.  Honors Program – Lisa MacFarlane was appointed Director of the Honors Program in September for a three-year term.  Currently students enter the Honors Program in three ways:  upon university admission by having a score of 1200 on the SATs and being in the top ten percent of the high school class, or by having at least a 3.2 grade point average at UNH by the end of the first semester of the freshman year, or by entering an honors-in-major program in the junior year.  The University Honors Committee, which has faculty representatives from each school and college and members from other constituencies, met six times during the fall semester.  The Honors Program usually has about 1100 students enrolled.  Currently the program offers about seventeen INCO seminars each year plus another fifteen to eighteen sections, plus seats in non-honors courses for a total of about 750 general education seats; and also departments are responsible for the honors-in-major programs.

In the last four years, changes have occurred due to the RCM implementation, the honors programmatic review, the new Academic Plan, and the Discovery Program implementation plan.  The Honors Program would like in the future to enroll a smaller proportion of the student body, simplify the program’s designations, revise the admissions process, converge curricular goals with the Discovery Program, develop a cohesive curricular plan from Inquiry to thesis courses, and parallel the themes of the Academic Plan.  The goals of the program are to collaborate with the Discovery Program, review relationships with departments and colleges, continue collaboration with academic partners such as UROP and CIE, clarify funding, update the technology and the website, and work more closely with students and Honors Program alumni.

Last year, 140 students graduated from the Honors Program.  The program does not contemplate reducing the points of entry but may revise the timing.  Honors students are not clustered in any college, but there are big variations among departments; and the program would like to work with departments to find out what their needs are.  The Honors Program is a significant recruiting tool at UNH.  The Discovery Program will now offer small classes for freshmen.  There is a wide range of reasons for attrition in the Honors Program.  Faculty are asked to send input about the program, preferably by the first of April, to Lisa MacFarlane.

V.  Diversity – Wanda Mitchell, Vice Provost for Diversity, thanked the senate for crafting the Faculty Senate statement on diversity and for recommending Professors Paul McNamara and Nancy Kinner to serve on the Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force.  An assessment of diversity on campus was done in the first semester of last year, and the diversity web site was created as a result.  The Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force met frequently and also participated in a workshop with Dr. Bill Harvey of the American Council on Education.  The task force has asked the Faculty Senate chair to speak at one of its meetings and to participate in a meeting of the diversity officers from other New England universities.  In addition, the group has explored what those schools are doing about diversity.  A team of faculty and staff attended the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ diversity and learning meeting, and the UNH diversity office co-sponsored a survey on diversity and the curriculum on campus.  The diversity office is participating in corporate outreach activities and has worked with the Division of Student and Academic Services and with a consultant.

The diversity office is working with departments and colleges to develop effective strategies for recruiting diverse faculty.  These strategies include creative networking, the charge and composition of search committees, statements in position-available announcements, and where the announcement is circulated.  The provost has approved a Faculty Recruitment and Hiring Check-list, a fourteen-point process to help faculty look outside the box and bring in strong candidates.  In addition, the diversity office is willing to help with the hiring process by setting up informal dialogues with candidates of color.

A professor asked how the University of Vermont is able to double the percentage of minority faculty at UNH, and Wanda Mitchell replied that this involves both funding and the length of time that institution has been concentrating on this issue.  Differences include a large staff, grant writing, private foundations, supplementation of salaries, housing, and spousal hires.  Wanda Mitchell said that she would be happy to come to departments to discuss strategies for diverse faculty hiring and also could send information and samples in advance.  She provided a schedule of Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force meetings and guest speakers in an eight-step planning process for adopting the Diversity Strategic Plan, and this schedule will be distributed with the senate minutes.

VI.  UCAPC report – Sam Shore said that the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee is responsible for advising the vice president for academic affairs/provost on all academic and curricular matters that have inter-college and/or campus-wide effects or are likely to affect the overall quality or integrity of the realization of the university’s academic mission.  UCAPC does not replace the curriculum and academic policy committees of the schools and colleges.  However, UCAPC has the authority to review the decisions of those bodies when they are deemed by UCAPC or by affected parties to have impacts beyond the school or college in which they originate.  UCAPC is responsible for supporting the integrity of education at UNH.  UCAPC has discussed whether it should be proactive or only respond when someone brings to the committee an item of concern, and UCAPC has so far been responsive rather than proactive.

UCAPC was charged with (1) monitoring curriculum changes in order to track their impact on academic programs over time, (2) considering whether units are inappropriately changing their practices in order to maximize enrollments and funds in that unit, (3) reviewing the EOS University Institute Proposal, and (4) reviewing inter-college issues of proposed changes to the Race Culture and Power minor and a proposed new Adolescent and Youth Development minor.  UCAPC has asked the Agenda Committee to clarify the first two charges.  Regarding the third charge, the original EOS University Institute Proposal has been withdrawn; and guidelines for the creation of university institutes have not yet been formulated.  Regarding the fourth charge, there seem to be no inter-college conflicts about the minors, which actually seem to originate from inter-college cooperation; and therefore UCAPC encourages the proposals and sees no reason to weigh in on these cases.  UCAPC has invited the senate chair and vice chair and the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee chair to come to UCAPC’s next meeting and discuss with the committee and with Alan Ray how to clarify all their roles in relationship to the UCAPC charges.  Today a professor suggested that UCAPC should act as a zoning board and planning board and that any group should be able to appeal to UCAPC to review an issue for the good of the university.

VII.  OSR and BSC-related barriers to research proposals – Tony Tagliaferro said that the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee was charged with working with the vice president for research and public service to identify problems and/or recommend corrective actions for Office of Sponsored Research or BSC-related barriers that impede faculty members’ ability to prepare and submit research proposals or receive timely information on the status of research accounts.  The senate’s committee has been meeting on a regular basis and will report to the senate on March 7 but wanted the vice president for research and public service to share information with the senate on this issue.

Vice President John Aber said that the information presented to him by the Research and Public Service Committee has been very helpful.  He feels that the concerns with OSR are at the front end of the grant process, i.e. how to recognize an opportunity and submit a grant proposal.  Several surveys have already been made; and in the summer of 2003, OSR underwent a two-day review by Julie Norris of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and OSR responded to action items recommended during that review.  Certain non-value-added steps were eliminated, such as writing thank-you notes individually.  There have been some personnel changes and restructuring of the office, including moving staff into the post-award area.

There is some interest in making more efficient the process of helping people write grants, especially their first one; or perhaps OSR could propose other ways of inspiring people to write grants.  The vice president said that faculty often feel their course load prevents them from having time to write grants.  Perhaps a course buy-out program in exchange for writing grants could help with that problem.  What services should be offered by OSR and by the BSCs?  Should OSR put a staff member in the BSC to help principal investigators write the grants?  There should be more personalized service closer to the grant writer.  The OSR has been reorganized to make it more efficient.  Perhaps experts in the requirements of each type of grant could work with people across the colleges.  A professor asked that OSR be responsive to small grants as well as big, and John Aber said that OSR cares about both.  Another professor said that the principal investigators need to hear back and get copies of the approved budgets.  Also a major issue of concern to faculty is how the acquisition of research money is valued in promotion and tenure decisions.

VIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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