UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 22 October, 2012





I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Harrist, Kaen, Kazura, Murphy, Scherr, Simos and Whistler.  Guests were John Aber, Deborah Dutton, Jeanne Sokolowski, and Sonic Woytonik.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that, at the last senate meeting, he and the senators discussed in detail the draft of the general schools policy and that interaction on this policy has been an excellent example of shared governance.  He said that the process started four years ago when former Provost Mallory initiated changing the names of certain UNH schools to colleges.  Also, the Strategic Plan identified the creation of schools as a priority.  Then during the 2011-12 academic year and this summer, the provost, the senate’s University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee, the Faculty Senate and the Agenda Committee worked on revisions to the policy.  The provost said that the policy now has a lot of wording from the Faculty Senate.  However, some faculty may still have concerns about such issues as what might happen to funding for undergraduate programs and to faculty workloads and time for teaching departmental courses.  He said that the policy has reached a stage where more changes may not improve it and that he asks that the Faculty Senate provide final input on the policy.  He said that tenure-track faculty already have responsibilities for scholarship and research and that the schools initiative is just a better way to allow faculty to increase their efficacy and enable them to succeed, as stated in the policy document.  He said that this is about growing the budget pie, not redividing it.  An individual school will proclaim to the world that this is an area in which UNH excels and that students in the field should enroll here.  He said that new schools will help UNH to grow.  The provost and some senators discussed recent growth in areas which may propose new schools.  Three possible new schools were mentioned in the strategic plan, but any new schools would have to adhere to the general schools policy and be approved separately.

The fourth bullet in item II of the policy says that:  “Schools can be the organizational home of a limited number of undergraduate minors, options, or dual majors, but not disciplinary majors, which would retain their location in the Departments.”  The provost said that there will not be new majors offered by the schools.  The document also states in item III.A that “While graduate degrees and certificates may be proposed, developed, and implemented by Schools, the Graduate School will retain the same degree of oversight authority as applied to other graduate programs through office of the Graduate Dean and the Graduate Council.”  The provost said that the document was also modified to make more transparent the use of memoranda of understanding and that he agrees that MOUs should be clear, transparent and public.

III.  Remarks by and questions to Deb Dutton on advancement – Deborah Dutton, who is the new vice president for advancement, said that faculty are the lifeblood of the university and that she wants to partner with faculty in order to be more effective in fundraising for the university.    She asked that faculty contact her with any concerns or suggestions.  She described her background, including work as a vice president doing fundraising for Colby College in Maine.  She attended the University of Maine at Orono and believes in access and public education.  She said that the advancement team at UNH is doing great work.  The staff is dedicated and wants to be successful on behalf of the university.  There has been a great deal of turnover at the top of the Office of Advancement, and three units have been combined to form that office.  Deborah Dutton would like to remove any redundancies in the combined offices.  She sees a continuum of communications, engagement and philanthropy.  Her office is doing a lot of work to recapture contact information for the alumni.  At the current time, only seven percent of the alumni contribute to the annual fund.  She described ways that an alumnus might stay in contact with the university, including attending a reunion, receiving UNH information and solicitations for funds, and coming to a small group get together, with this process perhaps culminating in a meeting with the university president and a large donation.

The senator from the Department of Communications said that his department chair is very interested in contacting former majors from the department but that he has in the past found it difficult to work with the Office of Advancement.  Deborah Dutton said that she wants to partner with faculty and that, although formerly UNH had moved away from college and department centered philanthropy, now we know that it makes sense to work closely with the departments.  She asked that the department chair contact her in order to make both of their efforts more effective.  Another senator said that many departments have the email address or other contact information for their graduates, as required to obtain certain accreditation information.  He suggested that the Office of Advancement could contact the department chairs in an effort to share information.  Deb Dutton agreed, saying that her office works to raise money for the departments and colleges and the university as a whole.  Fund raising is often most effective when it is department or college oriented.  Another professor said that there are a number of students in the summer program, certificate programs, and the regular academic year who do not graduate but could still be a resource which should be used more.  Also, e-UNH will allow the Office of Advancement to contact more students.  A senator said that he has been at UNH for twenty-five years and asked why no one has ever asked him to speak to an alumni group.  Deborah Dutton replied that we need to do more of that and also that, when students are studying here, we need to educate them about giving. 

When asked how her office works with the university leadership and the Campus Planning Steering Committee to guide the use of large donations, she said that large gifts must have a good strategy.  The foundation board is focused on what will change the face of the university and discusses these matters with the university president, who makes the final decision.  The board tries to arrange meetings between potential large donors and the UNH president, in order to talk about vision and combine the needs of the university and donor passion.  In answer to a question about stability, Deb Dutton said that she is from southern Maine, does not want to move again, and wants to build relationships for the university and enhance the capital campaign which will last many years.  Currently the university is in the silent, leadership phase of that campaign.  During that phase, sixty percent of the goal should be raised, and that will probably take three to five years.  A feasibility study is in progress.  After the leadership phase, the campaign will enter the public phase.  The Faculty Senate office will forward information to the senators on the advancement spectrum and the campaign timeline.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to Jeanne Sokolowski on fellowships – Jeanne Sokolowski is the new director of the Office of National Fellowships.  She can work with students one on one, in order to help them be aware of and apply for suitable fellowships and scholarships.  She can also help faculty craft letters of recommendation for national scholarships.  She said that faculty are the best people to inform students about scholarships and about the help that this office can provide and also to let this office know about students who may qualify for the scholarships.  Faculty are needed to serve as a point of contact for this process.  She asked that faculty email her the name of an appropriate student.  She said that, although UNH has many scholarship winners, there is a lot of potential at UNH which has not yet been tapped in this area.  A senator asked if the Office of National Fellowships could send a summary page listing appropriate scholarships for each college or department.  Jeanne Sokolowski agreed and also offered to meet with departmental or college faculty.  She is redoing the fellowship office website, and she would like to get funding for a ceremony to recognize the scholarship and fellowship winners.

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

VI.  Motion on general schools policy – After concern was expressed about having MOUs be transparent, Larry Prelli moved and Gary Weisman seconded an amendment that a contingency of Faculty Senate approval of the general schools document is to add, at the end of the next to last paragraph of item III.A, the following sentence:  “All MOUs developed as part of the schools must be public and available to the university community.”  This would mean that, whenever MOUs are used in regard to schools, the MOUs should be public regardless of the parties involved.  A senator said that, even if an MOU is made public after it has been negotiated and confirmed, the MOU could still adversely affect the other faculty in the department.  The past senate chair agreed but said that the amendment would provide a check and that faculty might raise the issue later of how these deals are being designed and implemented.  In answer to a question about who would police the MOUs, a senator replied that the general schools policy says that the schools will be reviewed regularly and that he expects that the MOUs would be part of that review.  Another professor said that MOUs are needed to give the schools flexibility, that MOUs may already be in the proposal for an individual school, and that it is sufficient that the MOUs will be public.  A senator expressed concern that MOUs might be used so that tenure-track faculty could be in a department by title only, in order to meet the letter of the faculty union contract, and that this would be an abuse.  Faculty would need to know how often this might happen.  The amendment passed unanimously.

A senator said that his department has requested a “no” vote on the general policy, because the department sees the general schools policy as a mechanism for changing university structure from the RCM structure which is transparent.  The department thinks that, if the schools policy is accepted, the ability of department chairs and deans to resist pressures and to negotiate successfully may be more limited.  The senate vice chair said that, if faculty are not able to stand up for important issues, faculty are not worthy of shared governance.  He is in favor of the general schools policy, as it has been revised, because the document contains many clauses designed to protect departments and undergraduate teaching.  After discussion on who might become a school director, Subhash Minocha moved and Ihab Farag seconded an amendment that a contingency of Faculty Senate approval of the general schools document is to add the word “tenured” to the first sentence of item III.B, so that the sentence reads:  “Schools will be led by a Director who will be a member of the tenured Faculty of the University and will report through one or more Colleges, Institutes, or through the Graduate School selected to enhance the cross-college and interdisciplinary focus and purpose of the School.”  This amendment passed unanimously.

In response to a question, the senate chair said that whether overhead money would go to the department or to the school could be made clear in an MOU, because no one policy could cover all contingencies.  However, that arrangement would be stated in the individual school proposal.  Another senator added that, although schools will not be RCM units, there should be an MOU saying who will handle the funds.  The policy document states, at the end of the first paragraph of item III.C, that “Clear MOUs describing the financial arrangements between the School and other units shall be developed at the time of establishment of a School. When Schools belong to more than one RC Unit, the MOU will be negotiated with and signed by each RC Unit Head.  Budget impacts on other units, and on undergraduate education in particular, will be considered in crafting of MOUs.”  A senator said that one business service center should be assigned to the school.  The senate vice chair said that the two items on MOUs dealing with funding are required at the time of the approval of the individual school policy.  This is shown in the quote above and in the second paragraph if item III.B, which states in part that “The nature and source of funding for any administrative structures should be delineated in an MOU developed at the time of the founding of the School.”  Also, in response to concerns that administrators might use schools for their own purposes, a senator pointed out that the policy document states in the beginning of item III.A that “It is expected that proposals for an interdisciplinary academic and/or professional school will originate within groups of interested and committed faculty….”

A senator said that his department is in favor of the motion to accept the revised general schools policy because, although no policy can cover every contingency, the revised document is now a good, transparent proposal and because the university needs to increase the ability to be entrepreneurial, especially when budgets are tight.  Another senator said that he is in favor of accepting the policy, because the potential benefits may be tremendous and are greater than the concerns.  The past senate chair said that he is on the fence about this policy but wanted the document to be as strongly and clearly worded as possible.  He added that his concerns cannot be solved by modifying the wording.  He said that he is not so sure that the rewards will be great and mentioned that some types of federal funding are becoming scarcer.  He expressed worry that, if the policy is approved, this might be the first step in a restructuring that could have very large implications.  He said that, if a number of schools are formed, a big proportion of the faculty might be in the schools.  What will happen regarding cluster hires and departments’ ability to hire graduate assistants?  He said that the Faculty Senate is a body representing the tenure-track faculty and the departments and disciplines and that senators should stand up to protect that.  Today the Faculty Senate voted to accept the Policy on Interdisciplinary Schools, dated October 15, 2012, as modified by the two amendments above.  The vote in favor was twenty-one ayes, sixteen nays, and four abstentions.

VII.  Report from the Academic Affairs Committee, on Thompson School numbering – On behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee, Michael Ferber presented a motion on renumbering the courses at the Thompson School.  The rationale is as follows:

In response to a motion from the faculty of the Thompson School, followed by letters from Regina Smick-Attisano, Director of the Thompson School, and from Timothy Barretto, Chair of the Thompson School Faculty Executive Committee, the Academic Affairs Committee brings the above motion to the UNH Faculty Senate.  This effort has a surprisingly long history, about two decades.  A senate motion in April of 2005 to renumber the courses failed in a close vote, largely, it seems, because WSBE was then worried that transferring credits from 200-level TS courses might affect WSBE accreditation, then in progress.  (This matter seems no longer to be a source of great concern.)

Already about a fourth of all TS courses are numbered in the 400s, and a handful are in the 500s to accommodate UNH students who take TS courses. The result is a confusing double system, whereby a student might take several courses at the 400-level, or even the 500-level, and then take a capstone course in the 200s.  Students and parents have complained, with some justice.

Our motion would not affect the criteria for transferring credits.  When a student applies to UNH after a year or two at the Thompson School, his or her transcript would be evaluated by the admissions office in the same way that all transfer student transcripts are evaluated; and then by the same token the administrator of the student’s major would decide what courses will count toward what major requirements.  The motion is to allow the Thompson School to renumber its courses in a more rational manner; it is an internal housekeeping measure.

The motion is that the Thompson School may renumber its remaining 200-level courses to bring them into alignment with the 400- and 500-level course numbers at UNH.  This motion will lie over until the next senate meeting.

VIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.


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