UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 15 NOVEMBER, 2010

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2010-11 FACULTY SENATE

NOVEMBER 15, 2010 - MINUTES SUMMARY

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Morgan, and Simos.  Excused were Carr, Chandran, de Alba, DiNapoli, Jolley, Pescosolido, Prelli and Sharp.  Guests were John Aber, David Proulx, Jeff Jett and Christina Caiazza.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that he expects that the Central Budget Committee will come to a conclusion this Wednesday on the new responsibility center management formulas for the colleges.  Fiscal year 2011 projections indicate that all the colleges would be in the black without the hold harmless arrangements of the past; and the provost said that the proposed RCM version will be fairer and simpler.  He added that remarks in the press about a $70,000 earmark to study burping cows were not factual, as there was no earmark and the study was on greenhouse gases in agriculture.  Regarding repayment of student loans and debt levels for different categories of institutions, the University of Phoenix has a graduation rate of nine percent and a repayment rate on student loans of forty-four percent.  The provost indicated that, as a result of this and the data for other such institutions, more regulation for educational institutions will probably be proposed.  A former senate chair said that UNH students are complaining because the current UNH on-line catalog has 365 pages and information is difficult to access.  Also the time and room information did not arrive until a week after faculty needed it.  She added that faculty need a printed time and room catalog.  The student observer said that the former catalog format sorted by department was much better.  The provost agreed that the new format makes it more difficult to find information and said that he will pass on the suggestions.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that charge four of the Research and Public Service Committee has been changed from “consider whether or how a listing with information about faculty and their specialties should be made available on line by the registrar, now that faculty information may no longer be given in the undergraduate catalog”; and the new charge four will be as follows.  “Consider what role the faculty will play in the design, implementation, use and general oversight of the faculty activity reports and related information; and bring a motion on these matters for consideration by the Faculty Senate.”  There is an initiative to have the faculty activity reports done on line, and the report format could vary by college.  Some faculty have concerns about what information will be requested and the uses which will be made of it.  Ted Howard is the faculty representative to the Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) Project.  A senator said that the software and format of each college’s reporting system should be made compatible with each other and with past software and formats used for this purpose by CEPS and WSBE.  Also he said that staff should be designated to input the data the first time, because filling out the first reports will be time consuming.  The senate chair suggested that data could be added regularly throughout the year.  Faculty are concerned that the on-line reporting will take longer, not be as good, and fail to include some faculty work such as writing letters of reference, even though the on-line format will make completing accreditation materials easier.

Faculty are also concerned about who would have access to the data, and faculty expect to have input on that.  Faculty want to have control over what should be public and what should not be.  The committee should oversee these issues and also concerns about identity theft.  Although there seems to be no intention that the original faculty reports would become public, will faculty be protected and assured that this will not occur even if there is a legal freedom of information request or another type of legal suit?  Faculty privacy should be confirmed before the reports become part of the university’s database.  A former senate chair said that the Faculty Senate has jurisdiction over this area, because the constitution states that the “distinctive responsibility of the faculty is the academic mission of the university” and that this specifically includes “faculty status”.  He added that, if the switch to on-line faculty reports were to occur without protection for faculty privacy and without faculty approval, this could be considered a violation of shared governance.  Ted Howard said that, as the faculty representative to the faculty activity reports group, he has been pushing to make the proposed change as accessible to faculty review as possible.  He told the FAR group that consulting with college executive committees is not sufficient.  The FAR group proposed to hold an information session on the final examination reading day, but he told the group that this day would not be good for faculty.  He added that the group is planning a pilot program and would be willing to come to the Faculty Senate to discuss it.

Another former senate chair said that, by November 22, faculty are supposed to have listed their next semester’s textbooks on the on-line booklist, and in the 10/18/2010 senate meeting it was stated that the university should send to the faculty a link to the UNH booklist electronically at the appropriate time prior to each semester.  However, this email has not yet been received by faculty.   The chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee agreed and said that she sent a reminder about this to the administration last week.  A senator said that a professor had received an email from a student saying that the textbook was not listed on line and asking if the professor wanted to go to jail (even though that is a misrepresentation of the law).

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting were approved unanimously, with a modification to change the last sentence in item VIII to refer to William rather than Bob Woodward and to change the sentence in item X to “Marco Dorfsman said that the Academic Affairs Committee continues to review the January term pilot program.”  The AAC wants to rewrite its charge to say that the committee should review the January term as a whole.

V.  Discussion with David Proulx on FY 2010 budget summary – David Proulx showed parts of a power point presentation on the fiscal year 2010 financial summary.  The data has undergone an external audit and includes a statement of revenues, expenses and net assets and their changes. 31.5% of the university’s revenue is tuition and fees net of financial aid, and 20.8% comes from sponsored programs.  Other revenue comes from the auxiliaries, gifts, endowment income, and federal financial aid; and only 13.3% comes from the State of New Hampshire general appropriations.  Most tuition comes from undergraduate students, and the auxiliaries are also supported by student payments.  When state funding stays at the same dollar amount but university expenses such as utilities and insurance increase, then state funding tends to become a smaller and smaller percentage of the university’s income.  Over the last ten years, enrollment has increased; and revenue from tuition, fees and auxiliaries has risen substantially; income from sponsored programs has risen somewhat; and the state general appropriation, gifts, endowment income and federal financial aid have remained relatively flat.  When adjusted for inflation, revenue from sponsored programs is flat over ten years, although it had a surge from 2003 until 2007.  UNH has considerably more students enrolled now than ten years ago, although the continuing education students are fewer.  Because of the higher enrollment, the university now is experiencing a shortage of classrooms and housing, as well as pressure on health services, the library and other services.  To increase income without aggravating those shortages, there is an effort to utilize January term and enhance income from summer sessions, on-line courses, study away and UNH-Manchester.  Student housing is at 107% capacity.

A senator asked about using differential pricing in order to encourage enrollment in areas which are not currently at capacity, including January term, summer sessions, and evening or late night courses.  David Proulx replied that Mark Rubinstein is looking at those issues.  UNH is at the top of what it can charge out-of-state students.   Although the NAVITAS plan will replace some potential traditional students in the near term, the NAVITAS partnership is expected to offset the forecasted demographic decrease.  Another senator said that the number of tenure-track faculty has shrunk in the last ten years.  David Proulx said that he will send data to the Faculty Senate about the numbers of faculty and of administrators at UNH over the last ten years.  He will also ask the provost's office to provide data on the percentage of UNH students working with tenure-track faculty versus contingent faculty over that time.  There has been a big spike in need-based financial aid for New Hampshire students in the last ten years.  The university is required to fund that gap, which has increased from under one million dollars to over sixteen million dollars.  No revenue stream has kept pace with that.

A senator said that the amount paid for athletic scholarships has almost doubled in the last ten years; many team competitions do not have spectators except for family members; and so why is UNH spending so much on athletics.  Merit-based academic scholarships have not grown in the way athletic scholarships have.  Senators would like an administrator to come to the Faculty Senate to discuss the issue of athletic versus academic funding.  David Proulx will send to the senators the Report of the President's Panel on Intercollegiate Athletics.  David Proulx added that, overall, athletics do not make money at UNH or at most other universities and that the president decides how athletics fit into UNH funding, with athletics currently at a lower percentage of UNH funding than at most other universities.  Also a senator asked if Mark Rubinstein could come to the senate to discuss enrollment management issues.  David Proulx said that state funding on a per-student basis has decreased and that we should make this clear to the public and the state legislators.  In 2001, twenty-three cents of every UNH tuition dollar was spent on financial aid, and now the figure is at thirty cents per tuition dollar.  A professor said that the faculty senators should ask the president and the provost some questions about the academic budget and the athletic budget and the matters discussed above.

The UNH endowment value has decreased as the economy has worsened, and UNH only gets about a four percent net investment return on its endowment.  63% of the UNH budget is for personnel costs, including 16.6% for fringe benefits.  The president's salary is included under the PAT staff category.  UNH has a very large backlog of deferred maintenance on buildings, because the state has not provided funds for that; and soon some buildings may become unsafe and not up to code.  State law forbids the university from borrowing money for building repair or renovation.  Financial aid, state funding and deferred maintenance are the most important budget issues which must be dealt with in the next ten years.  State funding for higher education in New Hampshire is the lowest in the nation.

VI.  Charge two of the Student Affairs Committee on paperless advising and motion on faculty representation regarding the electronic archive system – The senate voted to take off the table the motion discussed in the last senate meeting as follows.  “As both generators and end-users of electronically-archived advising documents, faculty must be involved in the development of systems for such documents.  The Faculty Senate calls upon the administration (1) to involve faculty in the discussions, planning and implementation of a system for electronic archiving of student academic records and advising documents and (2) to ensure that the cost and consequences of moving to an electronically-archived system be sufficiently addressed prior to implementation.”  Barbara White moved and Elizabeth Boulton seconded that the motion be amended to be worded 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.”  A senator asked if the SAC was satisfied that this version deals adequately with the questions of cost and how the archiving system will be funded; and the SAC chair responded that faculty would be represented in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the archiving systems and that therefore the issue of costs would be covered.

The SAC chair said that Russ Carr had sent an email on his concerns about the accuracy of the electronic recording processes.  He said that a former student who was his advisee during the nineties was seeking new employment in September which required a background check.  The student reported on his application that he had attended UNH from 1992-1997; but when UNH was contacted, it was initially reported that the student had only attended from 1996-1997.  The student first contacted the Registrar’s office and then Professor Carr for help.  The grade book and  paper records in the department showed that the student had been enrolled at UNH from 1992.  The department secretary then contacted the registrar’s office, and the student’s enrollment was eventually validated.  Secondly, Professor Carr is advisor to the department's current senior class planning to graduate next May.  He has reviewed their records indicated on the Blackboard/ Webcat/Faculty Services/Advisor Menu/Degree Evaluation feature; and he found that 12 of the 34 students had errors in their records on Blackboard.  These errors were missing grades for courses which the students had completed.  The paper files for the students are complete with no missing grades.

David Richman proposed a friendly amendment which was accepted by Barbara White and Elizabeth Boulton, to add at the end of their motion the following.  “The Faculty Senate, through its Agenda Committee, will appoint faculty representatives to this committee.”  The Faculty Senate passed with thirty-two ayes, no nays, and one abstention the following motion.  “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.”

VII.  Motion on new standing committee on instructional technology – Ben Cariens said that the Agenda Committee voted to propose a motion to the Faculty Senate that a new senate standing committee on information technology be established by the beginning of the next fall semester.  The motion, which requires a two-thirds vote because it would change the senate constitution, is worded as follows.  “We move to establish a standing committee of the Faculty Senate dedicated to information technology matters.  The committee’s corresponding administrator will be UNH’s chief information officer; and the membership will be chosen in the same way as the other senate standing committees.”  A senator said that the senate's Library Committee has discussed this matter and wants the new committee to be created.  The senate chair said that Joanna Young will provide information on what university-wide committees there are on information technology matters.  Since the motion would require amendment of the senate constitution, the motion must lie over until the next senate meeting.  David Richman proposed, Marco Dorfsman seconded, and the senate passed unanimously a motion to table the original motion until the next senate meeting.

VIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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