UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 18 November 2013

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

2013-14 FACULTY SENATE

 

The fundamental function of the approved minutes of the Faculty Senate is to accurately document

 actions taken by that body.  Additionally, the minutes traditionally seek to provide

 context by capturing some statements of Senators, faculty in attendance, and guests.  The

 minutes do not verify the veracity, authenticity, and/or accuracy of those statements.

Meeting called to order at 3:10 on November 18, 2013                                                                                                                                                          MINUTES SUMMARY

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent: Fagerberg, Kaen, Mellyn, Morgan, Shannon, and Tenczar.  Woodward served as proxy for Caron.  Kidwell was excused.  Bruce Mallory was a guest.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost was traveling, and unable to attend.  The chair dispensed with this portion of the meeting.

III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair reminded the senate about the upcoming nominations for the academic year 2013-2014 faculty awards.  He encouraged the faculty to participate in presenting these nominations, calling them an important way to “support our own.”

IV. Minutes – With one friendly correction, the minutes of the last senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for one abstention.

Action Items:

V.  Motion to update senate bylaws, Item 3.C – Deb Kinghorn, representing the agenda committee, re-opened the discussion of the motion, laid over from the last senate meeting, to add the following items to Item 3.C of the senate bylaws, as there has been no clear guideline on the topic to this point.  She reported that she has researched faculty senate policies at other institutions and found that a policy regarding attendance is standard for such bodies:

3.C.1  Departments that do not elect and seat a senator will be contacted by the chair of the senate to state that the department will not be able to bring motions forward on their own nor will the department have a vote on senate business until the department seats a senator.

3.C.2  If a senator misses three Senate and/or committee meetings in a semester without securing a proxy as per 3.C, the senator shall be contacted by the Senate Chair to discuss the situation.  Failing improved participation, the Agenda Committee, upon recommendation of the Chair, may declare the seat vacant and contact the department for a replacement.  It is the right of the department to respond to the vacancy.

A senator asked if this wording of 3.C.2 was lacking an additional step; what if a department is content to maintain a non-attending senator as their representative?  The chair stated that representation is the right of the department, and without representation the department has no vote on senate matters.  Another senator asked if such wording in our bylaws might not call negative attention to the senate, considering the difficulty of securing a proxy, especially in small departments.  To her, it is in everyone’s best interest to show up and participate in the work of the senate, and she has difficulty imagining senators who would not take this role seriously.  The past chair pointed out that the senate does not report to anyone else regarding attendance; these guidelines are for the purposes of self-governance, providing a written standard to promote awareness more than mandate behavior.

A senator asked if, based on these guidelines, the senate chair should contact all members of the department of a non-attending senator who does not respond to personal queries from the senate chair, rather than communicating only with the department chair, since all department members are impacted by their representation or lack of it.  The chair responded that such a broad communication might seem to be reaching too far into the workings of the department.

Needing no second, the motion was put to vote, passing with 27 ayes, 5 nays, and 2 abstentions. 

VI.  Motion on the holding over of substantive motions – Jim Connell, representing the agenda committee, re-opened for discussion the motion laid over from the last senate meeting.  Jim reminded the senators that the purpose of this motion is to make official a practice that has been common for the senate for some time.  Holding significant motions over until the next meeting allows senators to take information back to their respective departments for information and input.  He also reiterated that this rule may be suspended at any time in order to vote on an item within the same meeting in which it is introduced, should there be a need to do so.  This rule shall be placed on the senate website in the area of “Special Rules Adopted by Senate.” 

Motion: The Faculty Senate shall vote on main motions of a substantive nature, unless otherwise decided as below, at the regular meeting following the meeting when the motion was introduced.  On introduction, the main motion may be debated and all subsidiary and incidental motions are in order.  If a motion entailing further delay (tabling, postponement to a certain time, commitment, etc.) is adopted, that delay, provided it is no sooner than the next regular meeting, shall apply.  If the previous question is adopted during the initial consideration, only consideration at that meeting shall end, with no vote being taken; consideration, including debate, as below, shall resume at the appropriate future meeting. 

When consideration of a substantive main motion is resumed at a subsequent meeting, it is fully open to debate and amendment and may be voted upon at that meeting provided no amendment is adopted at that meeting that substantively alters the fundamental intent of the motion.  In that case, it shall be delayed as if it were a new main motion. 

Upon adoption, this rule supersedes any previous rules on the subject. 

Rationale: The above has been the custom in the Faculty Senate with the often cited advantage of Senators being able to consult with their departments before voting. Many assumed it was a procedural rule, but recent research by our new administrative assistant has failed to disclose any such a rule having been adopted.  This has left the Chair and the Agenda Committee in an ambiguous situation they wish to resolve. 

It may be noted that “substantive” is not defined.  The chair, when a motion is introduced, makes the determination.  The chair should, as in all such matters, rule conservatively.  As with any decision by the chair, a member can appeal the chair’s decision and, the appeal being seconded, a vote will be taken. 

Should the chair proceed to a vote on a main motion and a member feel the vote is in violation of this rule (or any other), they should raise a point of order and the chair will rule. 

Even should a main motion be substantive, the Senate may still suspend the rules in order to vote at the meeting when the main motion was introduced should it desire or need to do so. 

There was no discussion.  When put to a vote, the motion passed unanimously. 

Discussion Items:

VII. Discussion on the potential changes to the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Inclusive Excellence Position – The chair described to the senate the re-conceptualization of this recently vacated position.  The chair brought information about this change to the agenda committee, who felt that the senate should be informed of the process and progress.  The chair has been serving on the committee that is looking at what the new position should be.  President Huddleston will make the final decision on this position because it involves a reorganization, first of the reporting line, moving out of the provost’s office to a position which would report directly to the president.  The position would also be re-named.  Currently, Chief Diversity Officer is the name under consideration.  Faculty development, which is part of the current portfolio of the position, will stay within academic affairs.  The current timeline would have this position filled by July – September, 2014, which means that the position should be advertised by December 2013. 

There was discussion in the senate regarding the tasks of this position. The response was that the portfolio of this position includes coordinating issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, in regards to students, faculty, and staff across programs, as well as curriculum and processes for hiring are all parts of the portfolio of this position.  Several senators asked for a definition of “inclusive excellence,” expressing concerns that the term is poorly defined. 

Clarifications during the discussion included the relationship between this position and the Affirmative Action Officer, who reports to the provost’s office and deals with compliance with state and federal regulations. It was also clarified that this position is not the same as the Vice Provost for Internationalization.

Other faculty members emphasized the importance of this position both in terms of the work to be done and symbolically as a representation of the university’s determination to become a truly diverse community.

A senator asked if this position was a reflection of the growth of the administrative arm of the university, asking if there are not other administrators who might take on such responsibilities, recognizing the value of the position, but asking if there were more fiscally conservative ways to meet these needs.  In light of reductions in faculty positions across campus, she asked the chair to ask the administration to look at the balloon of administrative hiring.  A second senator reiterated this concern.  The chair indicated that he would discuss this with the provost.

A member of the agenda committee asked if the senate could be provided with a list of the past accomplishments of this office to give some sense of what has been done up until now.  Some senators shared specific stories of concerns they had regarding past experiences with the concept of inclusive excellence.

A senator commented that the actual accomplishments of this position up to this point might need to be separated from our feelings about this position going forward; perhaps the vision and effectiveness of the new hire will bring the position into a new place.  She suggested that scaling back support of diversity is a dangerous message to send, and that this is important work.

The senate vice-chair asserted that this position would also be responsible for engaging with communities of color outside of campus.

As senator asked why the position would need to be moved out of academic affairs to the level of the president’s office.  The past senate chair indicated that such a move would send a clear signal that diversity is something that we wish to promote not just in the academic area of the university, but to engage the entire university community.  He then asked the chair if there might be a multiplication of administration regarding faculty development; would there need to be an additional hire for faculty development, creating even more administrative positions?  The chair said that his impression from speaking with the provost was that it was a reconfiguration rather than an addition of yet another position.

A senator asked if the shift of position indicates an increase in the salary connected with the position, or if it would be a lateral move financially.  The chair indicated that there has been some concern that the position might actually be downgraded, and that he has the sense that it would be a level exchange, noting that whether the position is diminished or promoted would be a statement.

A senator asked if this position were not filled, would the university’s ADVANCE grant be impacted negatively.  The chair replied that it probably would not.

VIII. Discussion of the Carsey gift and the proposed School of Public Policy – Professor Bruce Mallory was invited by the senate chair to discuss the Carsey gift and its relationship to the School of Public Policy.  Bruce discussed the early planning stages to create a school of public policy, expanding on the work of the Carsey Institute.  The concept is that of an interdisciplinary graduate school.  Currently there is an ongoing search for the founding director of the proposed school.

1967 Alumnus Marcy Carsey gifted $7.5 million to the university in 2002 for the establishment of the Carsey Institute.  Ms. Carsey has been pleased with the work of the Carsey Institute, leading her to make this additional commitment to the University.  The new gift, totaling $20 million, will be paid out over multiple years and added to the previous gift, providing both endowment and some current use funds.  The new funds will help to establish a school of public policy.  Currently, there is a university wide planning commitee of 25 people from across the campus community charged with articulating the mission and early goals of the school.  The school will serve as a resource to existing research and teaching programs to help them translate their work into information that is useful to policy makers.  The plan is to have a draft proposal by mid to late January, 2014 for submission to the Provost and Senate. 

A senator asked what incentives will exist for schools to participate with the Carsey School, especially in regards to P&T standards.  Bruce replied that there may be joint or shared appointments, as the Carsey Institute currently employs.  This summer the Carsey Summer Faculty Fellowships will be reinstated, providing seed money for faculty to advance their own work and, in return, provide a policy brief for the school. The Carsey Institute will continue as the research capacity of the school, endowed by the initial gift.  The Institute will report to the Carsey School, which will be organizationally located within the Graduate School.

A senator asked if this gift is an indication of a donor dictating curriculum to the university, or if Ms. Carsey was solicited for this donation.  Bruce responded that the Institute was aware of her interests in a range of topics, including economic and social justice, and said that the school’s agenda will be to produce knowledge valuable to policy makers.  He said that Ms. Carsey has shown no interest in dictating academic activity or content.

Another senator asked what financial impact the new school will have on the university.  Bruce indicated that the current agreement with COLA and CHHS involves cost sharing related to space and the director’s salary, based partly on F&A allocations from grants and contracts.  He indicated that the school will be expected to raise additional funds to supplement the endowment. The chair thanked Bruce for this information.

IX. Report from Student Affairs Committee on the charge on Responsible Conduct of Research – Barbara White, representing the Student Affairs Committee, offered the following report:

November 18, 2013

From: Faculty Senate, Student Affairs Committee

Re: Charge sent in October, 2013 from the Agenda Committee:

Review the attached email request from Julie Simpson and the UNH Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarly Activity (RCR) Committee and formulate a response to the request for an update of the Academic Honesty section of the Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities policy.

Committee recommendation and response:

The Student Affairs Committee agrees that edits to the Academic Honesty section of the Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities policy to: a) include in the definition of plagiarism/academic dishonesty that plagiarism/academic dishonesty does not include “honest error” and b) that this definition of extends to undergraduate theses and research projects as well as graduate theses and dissertations, is appropriate. This action aligns both the UNH policy on Misconduct in Scholarly Activities (MISA) and the Students Rights, Rules and Responsibilities section on Academic Honesty (Section 9).

Barbara reported that the request from Julie Simpson and the UNH Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarly Activity Committee was to update the Academic Honesty section of the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities (SRRR) policy to bring it in line with the Misconduct in Scholarly Activity (MISA) policy.  The committee found no problem with this desire to align the language, leaving caveats for honest mistakes in both documents, noting that this grants latitude to faculty to determine individually way “honest error” means.

There was some discussion regarding what the definition of honest error might be, and whether students have a clear idea of what it means both to plagiarize, and to make an honest error.

A senator said that the MISA wording applies to federally funded activities, and that including this wording in a UNH setting stretches the intended definition.  He further stated that MISA obligates employees, not students.  There was a continued discussion about the conflation of standards of academic honesty, misconduct in scholarly research, and plagiarism and classroom activities.  A senator pointed to section 3.4 of the MISA standards, which states that student plagiarism is not covered by MISA but is to be covered separately by the SRRR. 

A senator asked if a response could be formulated to Julie Simpson that the MISA policy and the SRRR are explicitly separate, and thus the wording should not be changed.  The senate vice chair and chair will take that message back to the Responsible conduct of Research and Scholarly Research Activity Committee.

X. New business – A senator asked for follow up on a motion from last year in regards to criterion for grants.  The senate vice-chair will review last year’s motions and report back.

XI. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 4:51 p.m.

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