UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 3 December, 2001




I. Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: Andrew, Barcelona, Burger, Carr, Denis, Draper, Frankel, Halstead, Miriam, Pollard, Seidel, Simpson, and VonDamm. Excused were Afolayan, Becker, Conroy, Niesse, Salloway, Trowbridge, and Wrighton.

II. Minutes - The minutes of the last senate meeting were unanimously approved.

III. Communications with the President - The president said that the implementation of the new budget model has gone well and also that enrollments have been successfully built to a good level. The university will continue to enroll about 2,600 freshmen, in order to regain the enrollment level of 1995 over the long term. Private fund raising is also proceeding well, with $85,500,000 expected by next week; and a large portion of the funds are in cash. Academic planning is moving into the implementation phase. The president added that the university is now preparing to address the parking and transportation issue.

A professor asked if there is an unexpected drop in the number of freshmen registering for second semester, and the president said that she was not aware of any drop but would ask for additional information. The president confirmed that she will retire before the proposed general education changes could be implemented, since any approved changes in requirements must be published in advance and instituted only for incoming students.

IV. Communications from the Chair - The senate chair announced that an open forum will be held this week on national security needs versus personal liberty. This forum will be on Thursday, December 6, in the library. Faculty are also invited to attend an open forum on the General Education Study Committee report and to give input to the committee. All faculty and staff and their families are invited to the university holiday party on Wednesday, December 5, from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Whittemore Center. There will also be a ceremony to inaugurate the passenger train service on December 14.

V. Grade Change - Regarding the grade change allegation made at the October 22 Faculty Senate meeting, the senate chair said that he and another professor met with Provost David Hiley and Victor Benassi to review the student's folder in detail. All agreed that no improper grade change occurred in this case. In the future, specific allegations of other cases should be brought to the attention of the Office of Academic Affairs and only brought to the senate if that avenue has been exhausted.

The faculty member should be informed of any grade change and should have a chance to respond. Last spring the Academic Standards and Advising Committee agreed to notify the pertinent faculty member about any change in a student's grade or registration status and also agreed to put its policies and procedures in writing, including that the Academic Standards and Advising Committee will meet twice a year with the senate's Academic Affairs Committee to review ASAC's activities for that semester. The senate's Academic Affairs Committee is charged this semester to work with ASAC and make sure that this agreement from last year is going forward in writing and in practice. A professor said that there are procedures for a faculty member to follow if not satisfied with a grade change. There used to be a faculty member on ASAC; but the committee must do most of its work at times when faculty are not easily available; and so an agreement was made last year to have the senate committee review ASAC's work regularly.

A professor expressed concern about changes made by a dean rather than by ASAC. Any faculty member who is not satisfied with a specific case should discuss the details with the provost's office. A professor said that sometimes a registration change is made because of a serious upheaval outside of the student's control.

VI. Presidential Search - The senate discussed what the faculty are looking for in a new president. Many faculty would like a new president to have come through the faculty ranks and understand and stand up for the academic needs of the university. Some professors said that funding is a major issue, that the president would need to be skilled in both fund raising and politics, and that a person without faculty background might be acceptable. The president will need to demonstrate education to those who will fund it. The president should have a holistic understanding of how to administer and distribute resources while acting in a collegial way and should lead, not manage. The president must have integrity and courage and needs to be collaborative, listen well and build consensus, rather than acting from the top down. The president's background should be checked and should demonstrate these qualities.

The president should respect tradition but have vision and goals. One professor suggested that an external candidate might be preferable, in order to avoid a bias for a certain part of the university. The president needs to be able to take the heat and make the hard decisions. The president should have high academic standards, should be able to defend the tenure system and academic principles, and should be equipped to deal with collective bargaining in a constructive way. The president should have a commitment to the traditional teacher/scholar activities on campus and not support a two-tiered system with lots of part-time faculty. The president should build from the current base and be able to maximize the university's strengths in teaching and research. The president's agenda should include tenure, funding, collective bargaining, parking, marketing, high academic standards, and a review of responsibility center management.

The presidential search utilizes two consultants, in order to draw on their expertise, their ability to enhance the candidate pool, and their experience at confidential background checks. A professor said that the consultants' work with UNH on past searches has been valuable and that she will send information to the senators on how to access the presidential search home page and send input to the presidential search committee via email. The committee intends to do off-campus interviews at the end of February, bring candidates to campus in March, and give a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in April.

VII. Academic Action Plan Task Force - Bill Stine, the chair of the senate's Academic Action Plan Task Force, said that the president sent a letter to the senate and other campus groups, asking them to work to make specific goals and strategies in the Academic Plan measurable, to create concrete actions to implement the strategies, and to devise ways to assess progress on a regular basis. So the senate has a task force to work with Jim Varn to create a rough draft of an action plan for seven or eight of the goals. The task force will then present the draft to the Faculty Senate for input, make modifications, and bring the results back to the senate. The Academic Planning Steering Committee will also gather input. Professors expressed concern that not enough time has been allowed for this review, and the task force chair said that he also had discussed that matter with Jim Varn. Faculty are requested to review the proposed plan on the web and provide input. Standing committees might hold special meetings with other faculty members regarding the action plan.

VIII. Faculty Lunch Meetings - At the faculty lunch meeting on November 30, concerns were expressed about how responsibility center management is being implemented. Some departments feel that they have brought funds to the unit but are not getting enough of those funds back. Also, how will the university pay for the new teaching mandated by the proposed general education plan? A suggestion was made that the faculty lunch meetings not be held on Fridays.

Participants in the faculty lunch meeting on November 16 discussed the implementation of the strategic plan document. Some concern was expressed that the language of the document is difficult and that equitable standards for assessing implementation should be devised. Also, a professor said that guidelines should be written for the activities and conduct of students who do volunteer work or other university-sponsored activities outside the university.

IX. Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.


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