UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 22 November 1999


                      
        			UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
               			      FACULTY SENATE
                      
          NOVEMBER 22, 1999               			MINUTES SUMMARY
                                           
                                           
          I.  Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: de la
          Torre, Finn, Hiller, Macieski, McConnell, and VonDamm.  Absent
          as work to rule were Barretto, Carr, Christie, Echt, Garland, Planalp,
          Reardon, Roh, Stine and Turner.  Excused were Draper, Givan,
          Lukens, Naumes and Reid.
                             
          II.  Minutes - The minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting were
          approved unanimously.
                                 
          III.  Responsibility-Centered Management - The Faculty Senate chair
          has emailed to the senators the main points of last Monday's
          discussion on RCM.  Today the president said that our current budget
          model has certain faults.  The budget is incremental, built on last
          year's budget plus or minus a small amount.  Decisions are made by
          a relatively small group of senior administrators, some of whom are
          at the system level.  We cannot use carry forwards as a standard
          budget tool.  The current budget model is relatively hard to
          understand; and the model encourages short-range planning, because
          monies unspent by the end of the year are usually lost by the unit.  As
          we consider the RCM model, we need to give careful thought to our
          institutional and academic values, mission and vision.  Also there are
          issues that must be addressed with the system administration.  We
          must get assurance in writing from the system office on such issues
          as carry forwards.  In addition, we still need to work on a system of
          measurements and criteria, so that we will be able to evaluate RCM
          and make mid-course corrections.  This year both the old and the new
          budget models are running concurrently, and the president is to make
          a decision in December on whether or not to use the RCM model for
          future budgets.  The president concluded by saying that it is
          important for us to understand that RCM would not give us more
          resources but rather would help us manage our resources more
          efficiently.
          
          The provost said that the university community has been engaged in
          widely participatory and non-ideological discussion on the RCM
          budget model and that many changes in the model have been made
          as a result of these discussions.  We are attempting to create
          safeguards, in order to avoid disadvantages of decentralization.  To
          this end we must agree on the goals of the university.  Ideally we
          would work on the academic mission statement first, but we will have
          to do that in the next year.  Each college's actions must further the
          agreed-upon mission plan.  For example, the College of Liberal Arts
          could not decide to eliminate the General Education Program.  The
          University Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee will provide
          faculty oversight for curricular changes. 
          
          The provost added that we need to identify the criteria for success or
          failure of RCM and that input from the faculty on these criteria is
          requested.  Examples of such criteria might include seeing more long-
          range planning and more flexibility in the use of salary monies.  If we
          decide to move forward on RCM, we would refocus RCM in three
          years and re-evaluate it in five years, taking a comprehensive look at
          the program and its criteria.  In addition at the current time, we must
          pay more attention to how RCM will be implemented at the unit
          level, and the VPFA and the provost are sending a letter to the deans
          asking them to clarify this step.  We also need to create a better
          system of evaluation and accountability on the basis of how each
          person's decisions enhance the mission of the university.
          
          The president was asked whether she will obtain a response in
          writing from the system office before she makes her decision in
          December, and she said that she would have the response by then.  A
          deal breaker would be constraints on carry forwards at the unit level,
          since we must let the units develop reserves.  Also, we want to be
          able to control faculty positions and their funding.  The president
          thinks that we will soon have a response in writing from the system
          but that the exact changes in the wording of the system policy manual
          will take longer to implement.  The president agreed that it might be
          suitable for the Faculty Senate to say that it does not consider the
          RCM proposal appropriate for this university without assurances on
          certain items.  A professor said that, just as we need assurances in
          writing from the chancellor, faculty also feel the need for statements
          in writing from the deans about faculty participation.  The president
          replied that we are asking the system office to change procedures that
          are now in writing but that the plans from the deans would not
          constitute a change in written policy.
          
          The provost said that a broadly participatory group with three
          representatives from the Faculty Senate as well as additional
          representatives from the faculty will work on a strategic action plan
          next semester.  Implementing RCM at the college level will be a
          work in progress, because the colleges are so variable, as are the
          departments within each college.  Since some departments are much
          bigger than others, there is no one way that will work for all. 
          However, the provost added that we can soon have a general answer
          from the deans.  The president said that we will need to work with all
          levels including the department chairs, so that they will feel
          comfortable working with the new budget model.  A professor said
          that, although the RCM model comes from the business world, the
          university is not a business and we must not forget that.  Concern was
          expressed that the new budget model will take a lot of faculty time
          and new infrastructure.  The president pointed out that the budget
          decisions are being made now and that the question is who should be
          making those decisions and how we can have the most budget
          flexibility.  RCM would call for a different level of skill in decision
          making, especially on the part of the department chairs.
          
          A faculty member asked for assurance that the decentralized model
          would continue in good budget  times as well as bad ones; and he
          asked that research be supported.  Another professor said that, over
          the last few years, his department has made some special initiatives
          and that enrollment is now at a high.  He asked how this fact will
          affect the department under RCM.  He also expressed concern that
          under RCM people will be judged by the bottom line and not by
          academic quality.  The VPFA agreed that a unit which starts RCM at
          the height of an enrollment cycle could have a problem.  She added
          that we will start each unit off with a share of the campus reserves as
          a buffer.  The president said that we must be sure that the model
          provides for enrollment fluctuations and that the fund balances would
          help with this.  She stated that we cannot expect that all programs
          will be revenue positive, and she added that a dean could apply to the
          university central fund for money to start a program which would
          benefit the state and forward the mission and goals of the university
          but which might not be revenue positive.  She said that new programs
          must have a safety net so that they do not damage other programs. 
          The provost added that he and the University Curriculum and
          Academic Policy Committee will work to see that academic quality
          is maintained.  Faculty at other institutions have said that such a
          committee is essential to the success of RCM.  The provost
          confirmed that we must keep constant check on the quality of the
          curriculum and of the students.
          
          A professor suggested that, under RCM, we may need more staff in
          the colleges and less in the central administrative offices.  However,
          the VPFA replied that we have already created business service
          centers which are central to each unit.  Now that those centers have
          completed their start-up work, they will be available to serve as
          regional support structures for RCM in each unit; and therefore we
          will not need any additional staff in the units.  The provost added that
          some programs may experience change and that we must make our
          curricula more efficient, since many programs have grown by
          addition rather than according to a plan.  For example, we should
          consider how many laboratory hours are needed for a course and
          whether a similar course is taught in another department.  The
          provost said that we need to create a balance between fiscal and
          curricular needs; and we think that, when people in charge of
          programs are given the opportunity to make decisions about the
          program, the program will benefit.
          
          A professor said that many faculty have concerns about how RCM
          will impact academics.  For example, many department chairs have
          all they can handle now, and under RCM there will be much more
          work for the chairs.  The VPFA said that her office will provide the
          business service centers and the chairs with additional training and
          support, so that the same number of people can accomplish the tasks
          needed under RCM.  Fears were expressed that this learning of new
          processes and bureaucratic work will take away faculty time for
          research.  A professor pointed out how bad our current contract
          situation is for faculty morale.  One faculty member said that
          anything is better than our current budget process.  The president
          commented that, in the year following the institution of RCM, every
          bad thing which occurs will be blamed on RCM.  Concern was
          expressed that most other institutions with RCM are much larger than
          UNH or much better endowed.  A faculty member said that we
          should ask if RCM will be good for the state as a whole.  
          
          A professor said that he wants to attend a conference in August and
          order the tickets months in advance in order to get a good price. 
          With our lack of carry forward capability, he can only do this if he
          can get special permission from the dean.  The professor added that
          he is in favor of RCM but wants to know what the administration will
          do if that budget plan is implemented and appears to be causing big
          problems in six months.  The VPFA replied that we will keep the
          steering committee active in the first two years or so, in order to deal
          with any problems and make any necessary changes.  Under RCM,
          carry forward capability would be at the unit level; and so the college
          could sweep up money that departments might want to carry forward
          to the next year.  The provost said that we can mandate a process by
          which the deans would interact with their department chairs.  The
          president added that her expectation is that departments could not
          accumulate monies without an agreement with the dean on the
          purpose for which the funds would be held.  The provost said that a
          dean that misused this capability would be accountable to the faculty
          and to the provost.  This issue is being discussed in the search process
          for two new deans at the present time.  The president agreed that
          there will be a new relationship between the chairs and deans.
                        
          IV.  Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.
          
          

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