UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 7 October, 2002

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2002/03 FACULTY SENATE

OCTOBER 7, 2002 - MINUTES SUMMARY


I. Roll - The following faculty senators were absent: Black, Bocarro, Burger, Calculator, Fletcher, Frankel, Kraft, Lugalla, Miriam, and Pollard. Excused were Craycraft, de Alba, Garcia-Rasilla, Hatcher, Laue, and Schlentrich. President Ann Hart and University Librarian Claudia Morner attended part of the meeting.

II. Minutes - The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved as amended, to include corrections requested by Steve Fan in the last paragraph of item VI. That paragraph will now read:

Since the contract was signed, there have been discussions on the negotiation process itself, on the list of comparator institutions, and on merit and equity raises. The faculty negotiators asked if the university intended again to hire an outside lawyer who would be expensive and who might not understand the needs of the university community. In past negotiations, the faculty union wanted the comparator schools to be the New England state universities, but USNH wanted to use a list approved several years ago by the trustees, that included schools such as Utah State and Mississippi State. After a great deal of discussion, fourteen schools were agreed upon as comparator institutions. Based on FY 01 data, UNH salaries are below the mean of this group by 7.2 % for professors, 5.5 % for associate professors, and 10.9 % for assistant professors. These numbers have improved somewhat for FY 02. No agreement was reached on merit and equity. They will be among the issues to be included in the coming formal contract negotiations. Medical insurance benefits will also be an important issue, and the union negotiators have been meeting with the system benefits people every couple of months. The union wants to look into the number of HMO organizations available and what they offer. The faculty negotiators will be the same as last year: Professors Beverly James, Steve Fan, Chris Balling, Dale Barkey, Deanna Wood, and Curt Givan. Union members are asked to attend an AAUP caucus meeting at 2:10 p.m. on September 27 in 312 McConnell Hall.


III. Communications from the Chair - Tim Quinn will be the chair of the senate's Academic Affairs Committee; and the chairs for the senate's Campus Planning Committee, the Research and Public Service Committee, and the Ad-hoc Committee on the Discovery Program will be announced shortly. The senate chair said that UNH faculty should be concerned about adequate education in kindergarten through twelfth grade because, if children do not get an adequate education, they will not be able to become UNH students in the future. The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee has asked the senate's Academic Affairs Committee to review certain study abroad issues which were raised in an email from Ted Howard, Director of the Center for International Education.

IV. Communications with the President - The senate's Agenda Committee has sent to the president nominations for members and co-chairs of the Provost Search Committee, and the president hopes that this search committee will be up and running within two weeks. Special programs at the university were funded as a result of the last capital campaign; but due to the recent economic downturn and the consequent reduction in the value of investments, there is now concern about the funding of those programs. A law on the uniform management of endowment funds in New Hampshire places restrictions on the use of the principal of such funds, allowing only the interest and dividends to be used, if the current market value of such a fund is below its traditional book value. Therefore the university is trying to find new ways for interim support of those programs; and some programs, which have not yet started, may be delayed. The UNH Foundation Board and members of the administration are working on these issues, and hard academic choices may have to be made.

The president said that there is a debate on whether higher education is a public good or a private good, and she believes that public higher education benefits both the state and the individual. The university needs to focus on obtaining scholarship funds and on encouraging public officials to pay attention to the data which shows that education at UNH helps both the state and its citizens.

V. Update on the Boston Library Consortium - UNH has been accepted as a member of the Boston Library Consortium, joining other institutions such as MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis, Tufts University, Wellesley College, the universities of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. An extensive application was required, to show that UNH would have enough in its collections to be a fair partner and that funding for the UNH collection would continue. Membership in the consortium will help the university to support more fully the research needs of the faculty. Obtaining books and information through this program will be both fast and free for card holders. Any UNH student, faculty, staff, or faculty emeritus with a valid UNH library card and a Boston Library Consortium card, which is obtainable at the main desk in Dimond Library, will be able to check out books at any of the libraries in the consortium; and the books may be returned later at any consortium library, not necessarily where they were taken out. Undergraduate students would need to demonstrate a specific scholarly research need, in order to qualify for a consortium library card.

As of November 12, reference information will be available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week from the consortium libraries, via the internet. An on-line card catalogue will be designed so that users can see information about the combined collection and place requests for the materials. The consortium has thirty-one million volumes in its collection. Most materials will be loaned in hard copy, but some items will be available electronically.

The UNH librarian is currently reviewing strategic planning for the library and will work with the Faculty Senate's Library Committee on this plan. The university librarian invites faculty to contact her to discuss their needs. Additional information about the Boston Library Consortium is available on the internet at http://blc.org. The university must pay an annual membership fee and a joining fee to the consortium, and the provost has found funds to pay for this. Public libraries do not belong to the consortium, because they go through the state library.

VI. Update from the President's Commission on the Status of People of Color - John Ernest, the chair of the commission, said that it was established in 1997 and that its purpose is to enhance diversity and support people of color within the university community, to facilitate minority student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, and to encourage diversity through curriculum development. Members of faculty search committees are sent a copy of the university's faculty search guidelines. The university's inability to attract more diverse faculty members affects its ability to attract and retain diverse students. Faculty need to establish networks and contacts where potential minority faculty and students exist. For example, faculty could attend certain professional meetings where the faculty member would stand a good chance of meeting minority candidates for faculty positions.

The chair of last year's Professional Standards Committee said that, under university guidelines, the search committee members usually do not know which candidate is a minority member unless that candidate self discloses the information. It is not legal for the search committee to inquire about minority status. However, faculty could connect more regularly with professional associations such as the organization for black engineers. Many faculty wish there were more funds for hiring minority faculty members. A professor said that his department had lost a candidate because the administration did not offer the candidate's spouse a position here. Faculty could try to make contacts with other institutions where there may be a larger pool of minority Ph.D.s.

In addition, faculty should try to document much more carefully if a candidate is lost because the administration does not provide the needed support. Then we could talk to the administration about this matter, using facts and figures which are more effective than anecdotes. A professor said that the Affirmative Action Office has a number of documents that faculty search committees must fill out, and that a form could be developed to cover this area as well. Search committees should keep better logs about the search process, the efforts to widen the candidate pool, and why certain candidates may have declined. Faculty should try to show that they went beyond the requirements, in order to contact faculty and potential candidates at institutions that have minority Ph.D.s. This documentation could also help later search committees know what efforts have been successful in the past.

A professor said that a search committee he was on worked with Pat Gormley of the Affirmative Action Office, on ways to widen the initial pool of candidates. It helps to contact certain organizations in order to encourage interest in UNH. Faculty can say that we want a broader group of individuals to enhance the cultural experience of students and faculty at the university. Faculty members wonder whether the term "people of color" is the most appropriate way to designate certain minority persons. Some faculty suggested that diverse culture is the more important issue. Faculty could promote scholarly debate about the meaning of race and diversity. While terms for ethnic or racial groups may be inadequate, debate on the proper terms has gone on for centuries.

A professor suggested that the provost should offer to fund a new position in departments which could hire a minority faculty member. Faculty commented on the progress made in the effort to hire women faculty in areas in which they are under represented. Faculty could rethink their strategies, question their assumptions, and expand their vision in order to develop ways to enhance the results of faculty searches.

VII. Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.

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