UNH Faculty Senate
Summary Minutes from 5 November, 2007
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2007/08 FACULTY SENATE
NOVEMBER 5, 2007 - MINUTES SUMMARY
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Afolayan, Barcelona, Calculator, Dowd, Hamlin, Kaen, Park, Tenczar, Walsh, and White. Excused were Barrows, Graham, and Nimmo. The Student Senate observer was a guest.
II. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair welcomed the Student Senate observer to the Faculty Senate, in accordance with the Faculty Senate motion of 9/13/04. Tentatively the Faculty Senate will host a potluck supper for the Student Senate on December 3, just after the Faculty Senate meeting. The graduation rate for student athletes was five percent greater than for all undergraduates at UNH, and that ranks among the best in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Mimi Becker and the senate chair will meet soon with Alan Ray and Leigh Anne Melanson to discuss the field trip guidelines. Regarding concerns that the Liberal Arts Dean Search Committee should have a chair or co-chair who is a Liberal Arts faculty member not serving in a major administrative role, the provost has told the senate chair that the provost has heard the faculty concerns and will take them into serious consideration, when he finalizes the structure of the search committee later this week. Also the search for a new dean of the UNH Library is having an on-campus visit by the fourth candidate and an open forum on 11/8/07 at 2:00 p.m. in the library.
III. Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting.
IV. Motion one from the Academic Affairs Committee – The senate’s Academic Affairs Committee investigated and arrived at two findings concerning the process involved in the selection and implementation of the tuition-based model for financing managed study abroad programs. The first finding is that the tuition-based model became the de-facto policy without prior consultation with the directors of the managed study abroad programs. The second finding is that interactions between program directors and administrators focused on how the new policy could be implemented rather than on whether the model should be implemented. Therefore, the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee made a motion that “a minimum guideline for shared governance concerning new policies is that the process should begin with collaborative discussion of the problem, initiative, and/or issue that needs addressing and/or a remedy. Affected and appropriate faculty should be involved at this initial stage. The senate leadership can assist administrators with identification of affected and appropriate faculty to implement this guideline.” This motion and also its rationale were originally presented at the previous senate meeting and held over so that senators could have time to consider the motion and consult with their colleagues. Today the motion passed with thirty-two ayes, no nays and one abstention.
V. Motion two from the Academic Affairs Committee – The senate’s Academic Affairs Committee made a motion that the Office of the Provost provide a proposal explaining how procedures for shared governance will be incorporated in the process of analysis, review, and implementation of the tuition and fees policy for study abroad programs. Earlier, after many faculty expressed concern about the tuition-based model for financing managed study abroad programs, there was an administrative decision to view the now current policy as an experiment that will be reassessed after a three-year trial period, which is now in its second year. An integral part of this experiment is the identification and evaluation of procedures for effective shared governance.
A senator expressed concern that the financial policy change made by the administration might cause some of the academic programs to fail before the three years are up. The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee said that the administration has indicated that it will mitigate the financial impact on the programs which are negatively affected by the policy change. The head of the study abroad program to London said that his program is now running a deficit of $36,650 per semester and that it is his understanding that, although the College of Liberal Arts would cover that debt, the London Program would later have to pay back the college. Some senators said that it is unconscionable that either the college or the program should have to be strapped with a big debt incurred because of a decision made in the provost’s office and that the decision was made with a lack of shared governance. Even if the money were to be refunded to the program, student decisions to join or not join a program will be affected by the higher or lower costs instituted by the new policy; and therefore the new policy could steer students away from certain study abroad programs and also away from certain majors which require those study abroad programs. Many faculty want better communication with the financial staff so that they will understand the academic priorities better. Some professors said that, because there is good reason to be concerned about those academic programs, the senate should consider a third motion to accelerate the policy review before students apply for next year. Are there legal issues involved in this matter? Motion two passed with thirty-seven ayes, no nays, and two abstentions.
VI. Liberal Arts deans search – David Richman said that last week the Agenda Committee became aware that the provost was making a decision about the composition and chairs of the search committee for a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and that the intention was apparently to have as co-chairs a college dean and an institute director. The Agenda Committee believes that the committee should be chaired or co-chaired by a senior Liberal Arts faculty member who does not have a major administrative role. David Richman has requested input from many members of the college, including all of the faculty senators from Liberal Arts. He received forty responses, and all agreed with the Agenda Committee. The senate chair then communicated with the provost who indicated that he had heard and would be cognizant of this concern. Today David Richman moved and Mimi Becker seconded that the Faculty Senate chair, on behalf of the Faculty Senate, send the following letter to the provost with a copy to the president. This motion gives the Faculty Senate chair and the Faculty Senate coordinator full authority to edit the letter and to make any stylistic modifications they deem necessary.
Dear Provost Mallory:
The Faculty Senate has recently learned of your apparent choice of co-chairs for the Dean of Liberal Arts search. We understand your decision to balance the chair responsibilities with a dean and a Center director. Yet we note with great discomfort that no one from the faculty of Liberal Arts appears to be co-chairing this search. It seems to us that a senior faculty member in the Liberal Arts, possessed of considerable institutional memory and a profound nuanced understanding of the liberal arts and their associations with teaching and learning, would best meet the responsibilities of co-chair. A Liberal Arts faculty member who serves as co-chair carries the tacit imprimatur of the faculty as one who can speak for that faculty as well as the university.
Our concern is not with the individuals you chose as co-chairs. We are concerned with our reduced voice in the search committee and with the apparent lack of shared governance in the process. The Liberal Arts Faculty, best represented by their chairs and coordinators, should, we think, play a decisive role in determining the leadership and composition of the search committee for dean of the college.
In many ways, the selection of a dean as a co-chair is predicated on the central administration's need on the search committee for perspective of administrative practices at UNH and is similar to the faculty's need to have someone with knowledge of how liberal arts are conceptualized and taught at UNH. While a co-chairing dean or director looks to the fit within the administration of the candidate, a faculty member looks for fit with the college, its departments and programs. In the current case, the situation is further complicated by the relative newness to UNH of the deans.
The college faculty is closest to the action in the college and, therefore, should be closest to the action of selecting the new dean.
The Faculty Senate leadership is most willing to discuss this matter with you and to work with you in finding a solution in which the concerns of the parties are effectively addressed. We look forward to such a discussion before the membership of the Liberal Arts Dean's Search Committee achieves its final form.
A senator said that this matter is a shared governance issue and is not related to the individuals involved. Another senator noted that the search committee for the current Liberal Arts dean was chaired only by a senior teaching faculty member from Liberal Arts, and the senator asked why there should be a dean as co-chair now. The institute director who was intended as the co-chair of the current search committee has a joint appointment in Liberal Arts and in Health and Human Services. Professors said that the letter should state both that this search committee should be chaired or co-chaired by a senior faculty member who does not have a major administrative role and also that this criterion should be used not only in the current search but also when selecting future chairs for search committees for deans of any college. A senator said that for many years he has been concerned about the composition of search committees, because the administration chooses the members; and he believes that faculty would be better off with a more representative method of choosing the search committee members. The provost had asked the department chairs in Liberal Arts for suggestions for the current search committee members. However, many of those department chairs also said that the search committee should be chaired by a senior teaching faculty member of the college, with no major administrative role. Therefore, this is a matter of shared governance.
Some senators suggested removing the last sentence in the third paragraph of the letter, in order to avoid discussion about the relative newness of the dean chosen as co-chair, since that is an extraneous issue. Professors also suggested removing the second sentence in the first paragraph, since many faculty believe that the committee should be chaired solely by a senior teaching faculty member from the college. However, some other senators could see reasons for having a dean as co-chair. Since the announcement of the committee chair or co-chairs may be made soon, it is important to pass the motion and send a letter to the provost within a short period of time. The motion gives freedom for the senate chair and senate coordinator to modify the language of the letter. The mover of the motion suggested that the senators should trust the senate chair to consider the senate’s concerns and then edit the letter appropriately and send it promptly to the provost, with a copy to the senators. After a discussion of criteria for a motion of no confidence, the senate passed the original motion with thirty-five ayes, no nays, and two abstentions.
VII. McNair Graduate Opportunity Program – Cesar Rebellon said that he serves as the Senior Faculty Advisor for the McNair Graduate Opportunity Program on campus. The program seeks to provide eligible students from disadvantaged backgrounds with assistance in getting research experience and applying to graduate programs. The director of the program, Antonio Henley, asked him to disseminate information about the program to the faculty senate, to assist in recruiting undergraduate students. A new McNair student orientation is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 17th. Students who have not yet applied but who are interested in knowing more about the program should contact Antonio Henley at 862-0087 or at firstname.lastname@example.org about attending this meeting as a way of learning more about the program and how to apply. Faculty may pass on the McNair website address, http://www.unh.edu/mcnair/index.html, to any students that they feel might be eligible for and interested in the McNair experience, as a way of strengthening their prospects for getting into the graduate program of their choice. It is preferable for students to be in their sophomore or junior year to apply. Also, faculty members are asked to add their contact information to the McNair faculty contact database. That takes about thirty seconds to do and in no way commits a faculty member to be a mentor at any point in time. Rather, this simply gives the McNair Program a sense of who might be interested, to facilitate contacting faculty members about their availability in the future. Faculty interested in the McNair Program can access the database and provide their contact information at the following website: http://www.unh.edu/mcnair/faculty-info.html. If faculty have questions or suggestions about the McNair Program, they are welcome to contact Cesar Rebellon directly. Please share the information about the McNair Program with your departmental colleagues.
VIII. Adjournment – Today’s meeting was adjourned. _______________________________________________________________________________________________
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