UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 31 JANUARY, 2011

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2010-11 FACULTY SENATE

JANUARY 31, 2011 - MINUTES SUMMARY

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Kaen, Pescosolido, Pohl, Simos, and Smith.  Excused were Barber, Berenguier, and Nardone.  Guests were John Aber and Student Senate observers Christina Caiazza and Jeff Jett, as well as Graduate Student Senate observers Jessie Knapp and Bob Swarthout.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost welcomed the senators to the new semester and said that some aspects of the Strategic Plan are moving ahead quickly.  In order to provide support for faculty, there are three initiatives.  The first two are now doing pre-proposals, for wonder and innovation in teaching and for research leveraging.  The provost said that there is good depth of participation.  Also the inclusive excellence of faculty development program is providing training for new department chairs and mentoring for new faculty.  On February 3, at 7:00 p.m. in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building, Morris Dees will discuss how commitment to justice will chart the nation’s future, as America becomes more diverse and economic disparity widens.  The event also will feature a choral performance and a spoken word performance by UNH students.  At 2:00 p.m. in the same location, Katherine Brown, former president of the N.H. Women’s Bar Association, will moderate a conversation entitled “Unlearning Hate: Turning Corrosive Powers into Positive Action” with Morris Dees and Tom Martinez, a former white supremacist group member.

The provost said that a general proposal for the schools initiative has gone to the senate's University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee.  Faculty have also presented the application for the Marine School, which has been discussed by the provost's office and deans. Proposals for the Earth School and the International Policy and Service School are also moving forward, as is technology-enhanced learning.  In June the provost will participate in the Faculty Instructional Technology Summer Institute (FITSI), which is a week-long, hands-on learning experience that takes place each year, so that faculty can learn more about technology in the classroom.  Last year the Faculty Senate passed a motion that the provost’s office should convene a standing Committee on Scholars at Risk with an appropriate charge including the responsibility to monitor the network and distribute information to the faculty as appropriate.  Committee membership was to include tenure-track faculty from all UNH colleges.  The provost asked the deans for suggestions on members for this committee and would like input from faculty as well.  The Scholars at Risk initiative started at Harvard and now operates from New York University.  Other universities around the world may voice their support through letters or provide employment for scholars at risk.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the changes to the senate constitution regarding the new Instructional Technology Committee were approved by the Agenda Committee and will be on the senate website soon.  Pedro de Alba has stepped down from the senate and its Campus Planning Committee, and the new chair of that committee will be Erin Sharp.  The senate chair said that the senate committees should report on all of their remaining charges this spring, with a specific recommendation for each charge, whether or not senate action is recommended.

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the 11/15/2010 Faculty Senate meeting were approved with one abstention and no nays, with a modification changing the next-to-last sentence in the second paragraph of item V to refer to the need-based financial aid gap and say that “the university is required to fund that gap, which has increased from under one million dollars to over sixteen million dollars.”

V.  Graduate Student Senate concerns – Jessie Knapp, who is president of the Graduate Student Senate, and Bob Swarthout, who is a student representative to the Board of Trustees, presented a letter stating that, although the university has shown a commitment to becoming a research university through a number of avenues including the Blue Ribbon Panel on Research and several initiatives of the new Strategic Plan, despite the critical role graduate students play in this effort, the university has taken a number of steps indicating a lack of support for graduate student quality of life and education at UNH.  First, the proposed changes to RCM include the removal of state appropriation allocations based on salaries (including graduate student salaries), thereby removing a financial incentive for colleges to hire graduate assistants for teaching or research. Rather, these changes incentivize hiring post-docs, research scientists and instructors.  Removing teaching and research opportunities from graduate students will diminish the number of graduate students who will attend UNH and the quality of the education they will receive here.  Secondly, one likely outcome of the upcoming Graduate-School-wide program review will be the elimination of smaller graduate programs in order to decrease overhead costs and channel those dollars elsewhere. While the university has indicated that these new-found savings will be used to bolster the remaining graduate programs, it is entirely possible (and likely) that this money will be used to build up programs designed to increase undergraduate tuition revenues.

The proposed graduate student housing project at Leawood Orchards is another example of the university prioritizing undergraduate education ahead of graduate education.  The Campus Master Plan, adopted in 2004, calls for sweeping improvements in the quality and availability of graduate and family housing. The Master Plan proposes decommissioning Forest Park, renovation and transformation of Woodside Apartments from undergraduate to family housing, as well as the development of family housing at the Leawood Orchard property.  The Master Plan recognizes that the renovated units at the Woodside Apartments will “likely attract graduates and some junior faculty members,” while “sites further out, such as the Leawood Orchard….will likely appeal to junior and more senior faculty members new to the area….”  However, little progress has been made on the proposed changes described by the Master Plan.  At this time, the only proposed graduate housing that remains is the idea of development at Leawood Orchards, which the developers of the Master Plan recognized to be less than ideal for graduate students. There is no plan for the renovation of the Woodside Apartments, and the university is essentially removing itself from the graduate housing market.  Under this proposal, the university will no longer operate Forest Park or Babcock Hall and will have no financial responsibility regarding the new development. While the location of the Leawood Orchard development is problematic, the main source of concern is the part of the proposal that relieves the university of all responsibility for this project.  This housing proposal was met with intense disapproval when brought to the Graduate Council, and faculty members serving on the Graduate Council voiced numerous concerns with the use of Leawood Orchards as graduate student housing.  For example, the distance from campus and the lack of available parking would make it difficult for students who could not adhere to a fixed bus schedule; the walk to campus would be lengthy and potentially unsafe; the university has not specified how it will deal with a financial or contractual failure of the independent operator; and most importantly, the current proposal represents a failure of the university to provide for quality graduate education.

Together, the end of the RCM incentive for hiring graduate assistants, the upcoming graduate program review, and the proposed changes in graduate housing will negatively impact graduate education and will not support the research mission at UNH.  The Graduate Student Senate's intent in bringing these issues to the attention of the Faculty Senate is to ensure that there is sufficient oversight in the planning and implementation of these policies to mitigate this impact.  The Graduate Student Senate hopes that the Faculty Senate will join in holding UNH accountable for fulfilling its mission by supporting graduate education.  A faculty senator asked that the Graduate Student Senate provide numerical data, such as the percentage of difference in the financial incentive for colleges to hire graduate assistants.  Another problem is the new plan to subtract, from the graduate tuition dollars which go to the college, an amount to support a central administration fund.  A professor said that the provost had told the Faculty Senate that the committee doing the next round of RCM would reconsider the decision about the funding of graduate students.  A faculty senator suggested that the graduate students speak with David Proulx to gather the desired data.  Another faculty member spoke of the benefits of walking and the need for a greener campus.  However, many graduate students do not have cars; and their research may require them to come to campus late at night; and thus living in Leawood Orchards would be inappropriate even if that housing ever becomes available.

A former senate chair said that on 4/6/09 the Faculty Senate passed a motion on family housing.  The motion’s rationale was as follows.  “Several years ago the university raised the rents in the family housing at Forest Park and demolished a number of housing units there; and the administration had agreed at that time to replace the demolished units by converting some of the Woodside Apartments from undergraduate to family housing; but that did not happen because the administration admitted more undergraduates and did not actualize the plan.  The senate’s Campus Planning Committee and many other faculty are concerned about where graduate students and new faculty can live.  Any housing at Leawood Orchard would be far in the future, if it ever exists.  Immigration law for foreign graduate students limits the number of hours the student may work and prevents the family members from working; and so housing is an important problem.  Senators Brigitte Bailey and Anita Klein were present at that agreement on housing, and the senate chair said that the provost and the dean of the graduate school also remember it.  However, the Campus Housing Office has not been directed to implement the agreement.  Mimi Becker said that she has a 2003 email from former Vice President for Finance and Administration Candace Corvey discussing this agreement.  Another senator said that this matter was detailed in articles in the Campus Journal and The New Hampshire at that time as well.”  The motion was as follows.  “Consistent with the previous agreement, the Faculty Senate asks President Huddleston and Dick Cannon to convert the Woodside Apartments to family and graduate housing as soon as possible; the senate recommends that graduate housing be increased as part of the vision expressed by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Research at UNH, because the current level of housing is not adequate to support this vision; and there should be some faculty representation on the ad-hoc group on family and graduate housing conducted by Dick Cannon et al.  The senate chair should send a letter to the university president and Dick Cannon in that regard.” 

Now the Faculty Senate's Campus Planning Committee has set up a meeting with Doug Bencks to discuss these matters.  A professor expressed strong concern about these issues and suggested that the Faculty Senate should take a straw poll to serve as a guide to the senate's Campus Planning Committee.  The Strategic Plan says that the university should emphasize internationalization, and yet these recent actions by the administration would appear to move in the wrong direction for international graduate students.  UNH wants to become known as a leading university in research.  The message in support of graduate student education should be consistent.  A professor said that some aspects of RCM appear to incentivize things that are detrimental to education, both for graduate students and for faculty.  He recommended consulting also with the senate's Finance and Administration Committee.  A faculty member said that the administration should make less use of highly-paid outside consultants and find more funding for these important needs.  Although graduate housing would cost money, it would be for the greater good of the university.  Gary Weisman proposed and Marco Dorfsman seconded a straw poll which stated that the Faculty Senate urges the university to find appropriate graduate student housing on campus.  This poll would give a sense of the senate.  After discussion of the wording, the Faculty Senate passed the motion with thirty-eight ayes, no nays, and one abstention.  The senate chair will send this straw poll to the senate's Campus Planning Committee.

VI.  Report from the Student Affairs Committee on the medical amnesty pilot program – Barbara White said that, according to Mark Rubinstein (Vice President of Student Affairs) and Anne Lawing (Dean of Students), there has been a growing trend across U.S. institutions of higher education, to pilot implement a policy that allows someone (typically a student) to call for help for another student who is in medical need from illegally drinking alcohol or using drugs.  The person who would call is typically underage and at legal risk as well, though not always.  The medical amnesty program allows for one-time-only amnesty from UNH campus and Durham police sanctions for alcohol only.  Amnesty may be provided for campus housing and other UNH campus privileges. The program does not promise amnesty; the student(s) need to apply for it. Further, the Durham police will not promise amnesty but have agreed to review each case individually.  There is also no promise of amnesty for any academic scholarships, etc.  Amnesty comes with a required course in appropriate and legal alcohol consumption.

The pilot program has been in development for a couple of years and was reinitiated by Student Senate request.  Faculty members have been involved periodically in this effort.  The charge of reviewing this pilot policy was given to the Student Affairs Committee in late October.  Administrators have expressed both concerns and hopes for the program. It is a difficult policy from a UNH-Durham police standpoint.  Durham police cannot grant amnesty but can work with each student case individually. The relationship between both police departments and the university has been strong historically, and the handling of student infractions has seemed fair. After reviewing the document and speaking with Mark Rubinstein and Anne Lawing, the Student Affairs Committee asked that they consider the following.  (1) The SAC asked to receive a summary report at the end of the academic year.  (2) The SAC asked if UNH would consider paying the $35 fee for the alcohol awareness course for the caller who is eligible for amnesty.  (3) The SAC asked that both police forces consider extending medical amnesty to all Durham residents regardless of UNH student status.  Mark Rubinstein and Anne Lawing agreed to give the SAC a report at the end of the academic year and to seek SAC input as needed.  By December of 2010, only one medical amnesty application had been submitted.  The administrators also said that UNH would consider covering the $35 fee in the case of student need and agreed that was a good idea if needed.  Mark responded to the third discussion point by noting that UNH has no jurisdiction over the Durham police department but that historically the Durham police have treated UNH students fairly in these circumstances.  He noted that both police departments tend to be more educational than punitive when dealing with first-time offenders, in both UNH and Durham resident cases alike.  The senate's Student Affairs Committee will continue to monitor these issues.

Barbara White said that the university has checked the policy in other institutions throughout the U.S.; and she believes that the UNH amnesty policy is a little stricter than some, although there are also many institutions with no amnesty policy at all.  Some professors commented that the UNH policy should be less punitive and that amnesty should be automatic with no application required.  Also, currently if a student is involved with alcohol and makes such a call, the parents would be notified; and the student may no longer qualify for study away programs, etc.  A professor said that the fact that only one amnesty application has been submitted is probably a result of the punitive aspects of the policy.  A senator said that the SAC should request that UNH experts on campus do a study of these issues.  The student observer to the Faculty Senate said that students would like the policy to be more relaxed but had to make a number of concessions during the writing of the policy, in order to get the policy started.  The policy refers vaguely to “a condition stemming from the use of alcohol”; and an underage drinker could be at risk for very little alcohol consumption, if an accident occurred and brought the drinking to the attention of authorities.  The senate chair suggested charging the SAC to continue to monitor these matters and to communicate with Mark Rubinstein about these issues.

VII.  Report from the Discovery Committee on its chair and procedures for staggered terms – Barbara White said that, regarding the Discovery Committee chair, the senate’s Agenda Committee had agreed unanimously, with the concurrence of Lisa MacFarlane, that the Discovery Program director should serve as chair of the Discovery Committee.  Regarding the committee membership and staggered terms, there has been no WSBE member since spring of 2010, despite repeated calls and attempts to recruit, although there is full participation from the other colleges.  COLA has made substitutions for sabbaticals and so forth; and currently there are two designated alternates for Professors Richman and Hiley:  Professors Monica Chiu and Jeffry Diefendorf.  Designations were made by Associate Dean Kirkpatrick, with confirmation by the Discovery Committee.  In the fall of 2010, the Student Senate requested that a student representative be added to the Discovery Committee. In consultation with the Agenda Committee, following discussion within the Discovery Committee and following a meeting between the Discovery Director, the VPAA and a student senator, the Discovery Committee added a student representative to the committee.  Last fall, the Discovery Committee asked the Agenda Committee for voting privilege changes for three members.  The Agenda Committee agreed that the Discovery Committee chair should be able to submit a vote in the case of a tie, consistent with other UNH committees.  The Agenda Committee and the Discovery Committee did not agree on voting privileges for the student member and for the Honors Program Director.  These positions remain non-voting members.  The Registrar currently serves as the liaison between the Writing Committee and the Discovery Committee.

Regarding staggered membership, one representative each from CHHS, UNHM, and the Library have terms ending in May of 2012.  One COLA representative’s term will end in May of 2011; and the other will end in May of 2012.  Representatives from CEPS and COLSA will be elected in May of 2011 for three-year terms ending in May of 2014.  The WSBE representative’s term should end in May of 2013.  The Faculty Senate representative will serve a rotating one-year term consistent with other senate committee membership commitments.  The Student Senate representative will be elected by the Student Senate to serve a minimum of a one year term.  The Discovery Committee report said that an open election shall be held within each college for faculty representatives to the Discovery Committee.  Faculty terms of service shall be three years unless otherwise specified.  If representatives are unable to fulfill a three-year commitment (e.g. sabbatical leaves, etc.), the associate dean of the college will ask the individual who received the next highest number of votes to serve; or the college shall hold another election.  The Discovery Program office will notify the associate dean of the college when the representative’s term is completed and the need for an election is forthcoming. The Writing Committee shall send a representative to serve for a one-year term.

VIII.  Report from the Campus Planning Committee, on household pets in campus buildings – Erin Sharp, who is now the chair of the senate’s Campus Planning Committee, said that in the past USNH had a system-wide policy which stated that no household pets were allowed on campus.  However, in the 1990s the USNH policy moved to a campus-specific policy.  Currently, UNH is the only university in the USNH system that does not have a policy for faculty and staff, addressing pets on campus or in campus buildings, although there is a policy for students, the Memorial Union Building, the dining halls, and a few academic departments.  The Campus Occupational Safety Committee, chaired by Guy Eaton who is the communications and information coordinator for facilities, has proposed a policy, which was presented to the Operating Staff and PAT Councils in the fall of 2010.  The proposed policy reads in part as follows.  “Pets in campus buildings may create an unhealthy and unpleasant environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.  Additionally, pets may behave aggressively, injure members of the campus community, and/or could impede egress in a building evacuation. Under no circumstances should animals be allowed to run loose or be tied to buildings, handrails, trees, bicycle racks, or other objects. Pet owners will be responsible for all costs involved in removing unattended pets, including pets left unsupervised in vehicles where the animal’s safety is in jeopardy.  No household pets are allowed on campus athletic fields.”  Exceptions to the proposal include service animals, animals used in university research or classrooms, animals trained for specific UNH-sanctioned performances (i.e., outside theatrical production), fish in aquariums containing no more than 30 gallons of water,  and pets on farms as permitted by the dean of COLSA. 

A member of the Campus Planning Committee spoke with Guy Eaton on 1/28/2011, to see if there had been any movement on this policy.  He believes that the policy, which was sent to John Aber by Brad Manning, has been put on the back burner.  A member of the Campus Planning Committee contacted an AAUP representative who indicated that a change in pet policy would constitute a change in working conditions that cannot be put in place without AAUP approval.  The CPC also noted that the Faculty Senate constitution states that the responsibility of the faculty is the academic mission of the university and that “the faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons communicated to the faculty."  After the policy review, the statement by the AAUP representative, and the CPC’s reading of the role of the Faculty Senate, the Campus Planning Committee does not feel that pets on campus is a Faculty Senate issue; and the CPC recommends no senate action.

IX.  Electronic archiving – The senate chair said that he has spoken to the registrar and expressed the senate’s concerns regarding paperless advising and electronic archiving.  The registrar’s office now provides documents both digitally on Webcat and also, at least for now, in paper form.  Currently there are no on-line advising folders.  Faculty are concerned about cost-shifting to the departments if the registrar’s office were to stop providing hard copies of the documents.  The senate chair has reminded the registrar of the 11/15/2010 motion the Faculty Senate passed which was as follows.  “The Faculty Senate requests that faculty representation be required in the planning, implementation and evaluation of systems for electronic archiving of student academic records.  We recommend that this happen as soon as possible.  The Faculty Senate, through its Agenda Committee, will appoint faculty representatives to this committee.”  Today the senate chair said that he anticipates that the registrar and/or the UNH chief information officer might come to the senate this semester to discuss these matters and plans, currently on hold, to develop or acquire “virtual advising files” for faculty end users.  Senators expressed concern about how changes in these areas could make their work more difficult.  Also, how would UNH-Manchester be affected?  The senate chair said that he would send to the senators instructions on how to access and review the advising documents on webcat.  A professor said that on Webcat there is a faculty advisor menu which he has found helpful.

X.  New business – Elizabeth Boulton proposed and Robert Taylor seconded a motion from the senate floor to censure Tom Brady, who is the dean of COLSA.  She presented as rationale a document detailing, among other things, the four faculty votes to continue the Animal Sciences degree.  The proposed motion is as follows.  "Given that there has been a gross violation of shared governance for which the dean of COLSA bears responsibility, the Faculty Senate hereby censures Dean Tom Brady for his action in arbitrarily canceling the B.S. degree in Animal Sciences.  The B.S. in Animal Sciences was removed from the UNH supplement application for admission and removed from the undergraduate catalog and the listing of COLSA majors on the dean's office website.  These arbitrary actions were taken despite a series of faculty votes to keep the Animal Sciences major in existence.  According to the 1966 joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, a statement agreed by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards, the “faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.'"  The senate chair explained that, unlike many motions which come from senate committees or the Agenda Committee, this motion to censure has come from the senate floor.

Then Ted Howard moved and Larry Prelli seconded a motion that, “in 2007, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved senate motion XII-M1 defining a procedure for motions of censure.  Following a motion of censure and its seconding, the senate procedure requires an immediate tabling of said motion and for very specific steps to be taken thereafter.  Pursuant to approved senate procedures, I move that the motion of censure be tabled and the appropriate senate procedures be invoked.”  The motion to table the motion to censure, until those steps can be taken, passed with thirty-five ayes, no nays and two abstentions.  The senate chair said that the procedures stated in senate motion XII-M1 will be followed.  The Agenda Committee of the Faculty Senate will confer with appropriate administrators and/or faculty.  The case may be resolved by mutual agreement among the aggrieved parties, dismissed, or referred to the Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate.  If referred to the Professional Standards Committee, that committee will informally inquire into the situation, attempt to mediate a mutually agreeable resolution and, if no resolution is reached, make a recommendation concerning censure to the Faculty Senate Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate.  The motion of censure would then be debated and voted upon by the Faculty Senate.  Elizabeth Boulton said that she can provide documents showing the history of this matter.

XI..  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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