UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 14 November, 2011

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2011-12 FACULTY SENATE

NOVEMBER 14, 2011 - MINUTES SUMMARY

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Kaen and Simos.  Guests were John Aber, Peter Weiler, Heather Barber, Ron Croce, Erik Swartz, Jessica Fruchtman, Carter Bascom, and Bob Swarthout.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – Provost John Aber said that the state-of-the-art presentation speaker will be Willem DeVries this afternoon.   The event will begin with light refreshments and end with time for conversation and questions.   The senate chair asked that in the future such events be scheduled so that there is no overlap with Faculty Senate meetings.  Today the provost and the Faculty Senate discussed legal and ethical expectations for behavior at Pennsylvania State University and UNH.

III.  Update from Peter Weiler on university advancement – Peter Weiler, who is the vice president for advancement and the president of the UNH Foundation, said that this past year he has worked on the culture of philanthropy and its structure and execution.  He compared the growth in money raised by UNH’s cohorts with money raised at UNH.  He said that the new campaign will focus fund raising and encourage more aggressive solicitation for our front line fund raisers.  On July 1, UNH started a seven year effort.  During the first two to three years of a campaign, the fund raising is done quietly without publicizing the amount.  A draft of the case statement was written in December of 2010, approved by the Campaign Steering Committee in October of 2011, and distributed at today’s senate meeting.  Peter Weiler said that the staff reorganization is complete.  Regarding the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee’s charge about the capital campaign, he said  (a) that it is very important to have faculty representation through Faculty Senate appointments on the steering committee for the capital campaign, (b) that the operating budget for the proposed arts center will be built into the budget, (c) that gender equity cannot be advanced through the capital campaign, because that is prohibited, but that endowed professorships would be funded, (d) that there will be a grass roots contribution to fundraising, and (e) that financial aid will be a large part of the fund raising effort and will help the colleges.  Peter Weiler added that we need to leverage our assets and engage pride in the university.  He hosts dinners in his home and invites interesting faculty members to dine with potential donors.  He would like faculty and staff to suggest names of those who might be potential donors.  Although the university cannot hire a fund-raising consultant now, one is volunteering his time to this effort.  Peter Weiler said that we need to build a closer relationship with the alumni.  A professor asked for guidance on how to develop the students’ view of the contributions the university can make in their lives, and Peter Weiler suggested following a student tour discreetly to listen to the comments and questions.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair asked faculty senators to sign up for and attend the dinner with student senators, which will be held in a specially-assigned area of the Philbrook Dining Hall on November 28 at 5:30 p.m. after the Faculty Senate meeting.  Meals there cost $8.50; and the senate’s Student Affairs Committee is sponsoring dinners for some students who do not have dining passes. 

V.  Minutes – The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved with three abstentions and no nays.

VI.  Resolution that the senate chair should send a letter asking faculty to include information relevant to educational requirements in the course syllabiDeb Kinghorn proposed a friendly amendment which was agreed to by the mover of the motion on course syllabi proposed in the last senate meeting.  After another amendment on the wording was passed, the motion was as follows:  “The Faculty Senate endorses Student Senate Resolution XXXIII-R1 and thereby requests that all faculty indicate on their course syllabi when the course meets Inquiry, Discovery Program, or Writing Intensive Program course requirements.  This endorsement and request will be communicated by the senate chair to the provost, college deans, and all teaching faculty.”  Clarifications which are not part of the motion are as follows.  (1) Inquiry attribute courses are those courses other than 444 Inquiry courses that have been approved by the Discovery Committee to meet that requirement and are labeled INQ on the course listings. (See Time and Room Schedule: Spring of 2012, p. 11 and note that Inquiry and Discovery Program course requirements apply for all students admitted for fall of 2011 or later and to students admitted as first year students for fall of 2010 or spring of 2011.)  (2)  Discovery Program courses are those courses that have been approved to meet at least one of the designated Discovery Program distribution requirements. (See Time and Room Schedule: Spring of 2012, p. 10; also look on-line at the registrar’s homepage <www.unh.edu.registrar> for the most updated listing; and note that Inquiry and Discovery Program course requirements apply for all students admitted for fall of 2011 or later and to students admitted as first-year students for fall of 2010 or spring of 2011.)  (3)  General Education course requirements are those courses that have been approved to meet a designated General Education Program requirement and are labeled GN1-8 on the course listings. (See Time and Room Schedule: Spring of 2012, p. 13-14; and note that the General Education Program requirements apply for all students admitted for September of 1984 through spring of 2010.  Those requirements also apply for transfers admitted for fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.)  (4)  Writing Intensive Courses are courses that meet the university’s writing requirement and are labeled WI on the course listings.  (Note that students admitted for fall of 2000 or later are required to complete four writing-intensive courses, including ENGL 401, at least one in the major, and at least one at the 600-level or above.)

A senator said that requirements are changeable and complicated, that many syllabi are works in progress, and that therefore this motion should not be passed.  Other professors agreed, saying that the requirements should be listed in one place only, such as the Time and Room Schedule, so that inconsistencies do not occur.  Another senator spoke for passage of the motion, saying that this would help faculty to be more aware of the Discovery Program categories and attributes and to be more accountable.  The senate chair said that the motion would only be a request, but a senator replied that the motion might later be interpreted that faculty should list those requirements on the syllabi, even though that is not the current intent.  There was speculation that the syllabus might be considered a contract and bring complaints if it were incorrect about the requirements.  The Students’ Rights, Rules and Responsibilities document states that the student is held responsible for fulfilling all graduation requirements.  That takes precedence over the syllabi.  A student observer said that this motion is only a request and that, although it is the students’ responsibility to know the requirements, students would appreciate the Faculty Senate passing this motion, in order to add to the checks and balances and to make it more likely that all requirements could be fulfilled in a timely fashion.  A professor said that, although students are informed by their advisors about graduation requirements and what course might fulfill a requirement, students often change courses at the last minute at the start of a semester; and therefore seeing in the syllabus what requirements are fulfilled by a course would be helpful.  A senator said that, since the university has an expanding number of lecturers, if this motion is passed, the orientation for the lecturers must include material to prepare them for this.  Graduate students also teach courses.  The amended motion passed with forty ayes, four nays and two abstentions.

VII.  Report from the Research and Public Service Committee, on Faculty Activity Reporting –The committee’s charge was to consider what role the faculty will play in the design, implementation, use and general oversight of the faculty activity reports and related information and to bring a motion on these matters for consideration by the Faculty Senate.  Wayne Fagerberg, who is the committee chair, said that Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) would be electronic activity reporting that will be applied consistently across the university.  Faculty in two UNH colleges already do electronic activity reporting.  The committee chair said that the same people who currently have access to faculty reports would have access to the data in the new FAR system.  The administration would be able to use the data for the whole university more easily.  Also, he said that the data will facilitate faculty applications for advancement and tenure.  Some colleges may differ in what they consider scholarly activity.  Faculty can get further information at http://digitalmeasures.com/aifdemo/faculty.html.  He added that faculty are represented on the Faculty Activity Reporting Committee, that FAR is a good way to archive faculty data, and that faculty can cut and paste from other documents.  It would be beneficial for the university if faculty at all levels would include their full information.  The administration is asking for only the information that faculty now put into their annual reports.  In response to a senator’s concern that the FAR might not ask about all work that faculty do, the committee chair said that any such work can be added in spaces marked “other”.  The Digital Measures Company is providing the technology but will not have access to the data.  The data is owned by the university, not the company.  UNH college deans would have access to all the data for that college, and the university president and provost would have access to the data for the whole university.  The senate chair said that he does not see many concerns at this time, that faculty may send any concerns to the committee chair, and that, if necessary, the committee might propose that the senate weigh in on this policy.

VIII.  Report from the Academic Affairs Committee, on the Academic and Strategic Plans – On behalf of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, Michael Ferber proposed a motion to the senate.  The rationale is as follows.

Questions have arisen as to the status of the Academic Plan in the light of the more recent Strategic Plan.  The original version of the “Academic Plan for the Future of the University of New Hampshire”  bore the dates “2003 – 2008,” while “The University of New Hampshire in 2020:  Breaking Silos, Transforming Lives, Reimagining the University” was promulgated in 2009.  Thus it has seemed on the face of it that the later plan has replaced the earlier one.  While the later plan was arrived at through wide consultation, with members of the Faculty Senate among many others, that plan was not submitted for formal endorsement by the senate, as the Academic Plan had been.  While concerns as to whether “shared governance” has been bypassed are reasonable, the Academic Affairs Committee believes that nothing in the Strategic Plan itself cancels or alters any section of the Academic Plan.  They are different sorts of plans and may co-exist amicably.  The Strategic Plan explicitly refers to the core categories of the Academic Plan and adds:  “This plan thus builds on and reinforces the central themes of UNH’s existing Academic Plan” (page 2).  It is the opinion of the provost that, despite the apparent “sunset” provision implied by the dates, the Academic Plan is still in force and the Strategic Plan does not supplant it.  No revision of the Academic Plan is under consideration at present.  This is not to say that there are no concerns regarding the Strategic Plan; but they have to do with the implementation of particular features of the plan, such as the J-term e-courses; and the Academic Affairs Committee believes that these features, like any other program at the university, should be monitored from time to time to be sure that they are consistent with our academic standards and with the values of the Academic Plan.  We think it might nonetheless clarify the situation if the Faculty Senate issued a simple statement along the following lines.

The motion is that the “Faculty Senate holds that the Academic Plan of 2003 is still in force as the guiding document concerning academic matters at UNH.  The newer Strategic Plan (“The University of New Hampshire in 2020”) builds on the Academic Plan and does not supplant it.  Should conflicts between them arise, it is to the Academic Plan that we must refer for guidance.”  Senators are asked to read the two plans prior to discussion at the next senate meeting.  Is there a disconnect between the two plans?  The senate’s Academic Affairs Committee says that the senate can review each issue, including January term and NAVITAS, as it comes up for implementation or assessment.  Action on the motion was postponed until the next senate meeting.

IX.  Report from the Library Committee, on scholarly communications and institutional repository initiatives – The committee’s charge is that Eleta Exline is planning to start up a university-wide committee, to advise about the library scholarly communications and institutional repository initiatives, and that the senate’s “Library Committee should work with and provide a representative to this committee.”  On October 24, 2011, the Library Committee met with Professor Exline, Digital Collections Librarian, who is leading these initiatives.  She also provided answers to requests for information sent by the committee chair via email.  The plan is to establish the advisory committee for the initiatives, during the spring semester of 2012. According to the plan, a member of the Faculty Senate’s Library Committee and a Faculty Senate member at large will serve on the committee.  The library has selected, tested, and implemented open source software, Fedora, that will be used for UNH’s Institutional Repository (IR).  Fedora is a flexible and robust repository architecture that can be extended in any number of ways.  It is currently being used for the library’s digital collections initiative, in which some university publications are being collected along with digitized library materials.   Fedora can also temporarily house faculty publications until the institutional repository is in place, although the digital collections interface is not optimal for this use.  The next step in institutional repository development is to create a customized interface for the deposit, search, and retrieval of faculty publications.

Regarding the effects of budget cuts and a hiring freeze, the plan last year was to hire three positions which would contribute significantly to institutional repository development:  (1) a metadata librarian to develop a metadata application profile for the institutional repository, (2) a web applications developer to work on Fedora and the IR interface, and (3) a scholarly communication assistant to help gather IR materials and support faculty services.  Only the scholarly communication assistant was hired before the hiring freeze.  The budget cuts and hiring freeze have prevented the hiring of the first two positions listed above.  Hiring a web applications developer is particularly crucial, because current library staff cannot carry out the responsibilities of that position.  This has been the largest obstacle to progress on the IR.  In response to this issue, the library will investigate options for outsourcing Fedora development.  The library’s Scholarly Communication Office is developing a bibliography of faculty publications, initially starting from the year 2000 forward.  Preliminary work on CEPS and COLSA has been completed.  The Scholarly Communication Office is planning to request departments or individuals from both colleges to review the publication lists for accuracy.  Professor Exline is currently developing a guide for data management and planning, which will include information on complying with NSF and other funding agency requirements for data planning.  Through participation in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), the UNH library is taking part in two initiatives.  First is the author rights model language, wherein the BLC and its member libraries have agreed to attempt to insert author rights language into contracts for academic journals. This would expand the rights of authors publishing in those journals beyond the rights granted in typical individual publishing agreements.  The language would include the right to reuse the faculty’s work in subsequent works and to distribute the work in the classroom, on faculty websites, and in institutional or disciplinary repositories.  Second is the Berlin Declaration on the Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and the Humanities.  The BLC has signed on to this international understanding of open access principles. 

X.  Motion on athletics budgeting – On behalf of the Committee on Organization of Other Entities, at the last senate meeting Bob Taylor proposed a Faculty Senate motion as follows:

Whereas, on October 14, 2011, President Huddleston stressed before the Faculty Senate the need for quick action to begin addressing the university’s structural deficit in time for submission of a proposed biennium budget to the Board of Trustees in December, and

Whereas the president indicated that all units are “on the table” for consideration of budget cuts to address the structural deficit, and

Whereas a structural deficit is addressed through alteration of significant parts or units of the structure that contribute to its deficit, and

Whereas the Faculty Senate’s ad hoc Committee on Organization of Other Entities has completed its examination and report on the university’s Athletics Program, and

Whereas the UNH Athletics Program budget of $23,059,481 (FY 08) depends largely on student fees ($8,452,984 or 37%) and institutional support from tuition and state funding ($7,444,082 or 32%), and

Whereas the student athletics fee cannot continue to increase at a 5 percent rate as it nears $1,000 per student each year, and

Whereas there is growing concern about raising tuition to a level that prospective students cannot meet, and

Whereas state funding has been reduced dramatically with dim prospects for restoration in the immediate future, therefore

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of New Hampshire advises the university administration to consider the Athletics Program along with other academic and non-academic units when exploring programmatic budgetary cuts to address the university’s structural deficit.

The student observer said that it is difficult for students to put so much money into something which is only accessed by a small number of students but that athletics contribute a lot to the college experience for some students and also draw outside interest to the university.  She added that the university should consider athletics, as well as academic programs, for budget cuts.  The Graduate Student Organization is also considering a resolution on this matter.  Many senators said that their colleagues want athletics to be on the table now for budget cuts.  Other senators said that such a motion should wait until other entities have been considered and can be added to the motion.  Athletics is connected to an academic department.  The motion already states that the Athletics Program should be considered along with other academic and non-academic units when exploring programmatic budgetary cuts to address the university’s structural deficit.  The senate chair said that the aim is to look at programs with deficits and at non-academic programs which have recently had significant expansion.  He added that the COOE and other groups will continue to review other entities and that those entities may include information technology, the university system, and others.  This is an iterative process, and the senate needs to move quickly on it.  The senate chair invited suggestions for what other entities should be considered.  The motion might generate publicity about how the state budget cuts may affect the university and the community.  The faculty should ensure that non-academic programs, as well as academic ones, are considered for budget cuts.  The student observer said that students cannot continue to sustain the five percent per year increase in athletic fees year after year.  The senate chair said that senate meeting time is limited, that faculty from academic departments have a senate representative who can speak for them in the Faculty Senate, and that such faculty are welcome to share their opinions and expertise at the COOE meetings.  One or two student observers have been invited to attend the Faculty Senate and may occasionally speak there.  Consideration of the motion will be postponed until the next senate meeting.

XI.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.  The January term will be considered also at the next senate meeting.

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