UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 6 December 1999


          
          
        			 UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
               				FACULTY SENATE
          
          DECEMBER 6, 1999                            		MINUTES SUMMARY

          I.  Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: de la
          Torre, Macieski, and VonDamm.  Absent as work to rule were
          Barretto, Carr, Christie, Echt, Garland, Kaye, Planalp, Reardon, Roh,
          Stine and Turner.  Excused were Lamb and Williams.
                             
          II.  Communications with the President - The president said that the
          Board of Trustees has approved domestic partner benefits.  Regarding
          land acquisition and disposal, the president said that she does not
          believe there is a problem with the policy but rather with its
          implementation.  The policy requires that a number of issues be
          considered including current uses, the environment, appraised value
          and donor wishes.  Properties can be sold under certain conditions,
          and the municipalities concerned must be informed.  The university
          is working on improving documentation of its external properties,
          which include approximately 3400 acres in fifty parcels; and some
          were originally donated with conditions which curtail any disposal. 
          The Board of Trustees has given approval to start the steps required
          by the policy before any possible disposal of twelve parcels of  land
          totaling about 286 acres.
          
          Continuing ownership of those twelve parcels costs the university
          money.  The dean of COLSA was asked to document the academic
          uses of these lands.  However, there is no list of that use; and it has
          been hard to discover who all the users are.  The president said that
          we need to put in place a structure which can answer these questions
          and that perhaps we should expand the charge of the Woodlands
          Commission to include lands which are not wooded.  We now have
          a university committee to assess whether land gifts will be more
          costly than they are worth, and another possibility is to expand the
          charge of this committee to include keeping track of the academic use
          of land.  A professor said that there has been no assurance that the
          proceeds of property sale would go to the university, and the
          president replied that this issue is no longer a worry and that the
          money from any such sale would belong to the university.
          
          A faculty member said that, during the recent contract mediation, the
          mediator offered to bring a possible solution forward but the Board
          of Trustees refused to hear the proposal.  The president replied that
          the trustees had asked if there was a chance that the faculty would
          accept the proposal, and the mediator responded that he was not
          optimistic.  A professor said that, regarding retroactive pay, the
          system negotiators had said that a three percent pay increase was the
          limit because that was all that had been budgeted.  If those monies
          were budgeted, why withhold them from the faculty, except to be
          punitive?  The president responded that those issues have to be
          bargained and that she hopes the sides will come together soon.
                                 
          III.  Minutes - The minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting were
          approved unanimously.
          
          IV.  Disposal of Property - The Campus Planning Committee,
          through its chair, presented a motion on property disposal as follows:
          
              Many UNH properties, both in the vicinity of the UNH
              campus and across the state, are classrooms of the university. 
              They are used as teaching tools and as sites for both graduate
              and undergraduate research (and sometimes in collaborative
              usage with UNH Cooperative Extension).  This often
              involved long-term research which cannot be readily carried
              out on other lands not controlled by the university.  As such,
              these properties should not be considered for disposal or
              change of status in any way without faculty assessment of the
              affected properties.  The senate acknowledges that a policy to
              assess the impact of a sale of property exists; however, the
              implementation of that policy is deficient.  The senate calls
              for a revision of the policy's implementation structure,
              ensuring consultation with affected departments and faculty
              and continuing to require an academic impact statement prior
              to any action being taken to dispose or change the status of
              any university property.
          
          The committee chair said that there is a current policy on land
          disposal but that there have been problems with the implementation
          of the policy.  Also, closer collaboration among the Resources
          Committee, the Woodlands Commission, and the Land Acquisitions
          Policy Committee is needed.  A professor said that the chairs and the
          faculty of the Natural Resources Department and the Animal Science
          Department were not aware of the plans to sell the lands and that
          these are lands which are used for teaching and research especially
          by those departments and also by the Plant Biology Department and
          the Thompson School.  Faculty want to be consulted early in the
          process.  The Campus Planning Committee has discussed the
          possibility of having a member of their committee also be a member
          of the committee which will be modified to deal with better
          implementation of the land disposal policy.  The chair of the Campus
          Planning Committee said that the president has confirmed that no
          land sales are imminent.
          
          Suggestions were made to change the last sentence of the motion to
          say "The senate calls for a clear, written statement of the policy's
          implementation structure, ensuring consultation with affected
          departments and faculty and continuing to require an academic
          impact statement prior to any action being taken to dispose or change
          the status of any university property."  This change was accepted as
          a friendly amendment.
          
          Jim Farrell moved and Bob Connors seconded alternate wording for
          the motion as follows:
          
              The university shall conduct an academic impact study prior
              to the disposal or sale of any university property.  An
              academic impact report shall be submitted to the Faculty
              Senate Campus Planning Committee, with copies to the
              Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee.  Such study
              shall evaluate the importance of the property for current or
              future teaching or research.  Academic departments and
              individual faculty, whose work would be affected by the sale
              or disposal of university property, shall be given the
              opportunity to respond to the academic impact report.  The
              Faculty Senate shall offer a recommendation to the president
              on the sale or disposal of the property within 30 days of
              receiving the academic impact study (or, if the university is
              not in session, at the first full meeting of the senate
              subsequent to the issuance of the report).
                        
          A professor said that she would like an opportunity to read the
          current policy.  A faculty member added that we should emphasize
          that the Faculty Senate's roll is critical regardless of what is in the
          policy.  Also there should be a provision in the policy to deal with
          conflicting desires for land use among faculty.  Tim Ashwell moved
          and John Pokoski seconded that the motion should be tabled
          until the January 24 meeting of the Faculty Senate.  The motion
          to table passed with 24 ayes, 2 nays and 2 abstentions.  A senator
          asked the Campus Planning Committee chair to stay in touch with the
          provost on this issue, and she agreed to do that and also to see if there
          is a policy on change of land use in addition to the policy on land
          sales.  She repeated that she has been assured that there will be no
          land sales in the near future.  A professor expressed concern about
          damage done to university fields when a jeep was driven over them
          for a survey.  A faculty member suggested that any motion should
          explicitly include leasing and not just sale of lands.
          
          V.  Responsibility-Center Management - The chair of the Finance and
          Administration Committee said that his committee wrote part one of
          the first motion on the RCM handout and that the Agenda Committee
          wrote parts two and three of that motion.  Then both committees
          agreed on the entire motion one.  In addition, his committee provided
          a second motion to be voted on if the first motion does not pass.  The
          Finance and Administration Committee, through its chair, moved
          motion one, including parts two and three as friendly amendments
          which have been accepted.  A professor said that motion one has been
          worded so that the provost would see to it that the deans
          communicate with the faculty on how the deans will implement RCM
          and also so that there will be continued consultation with and
          participation of faculty at the department level under RCM.  Concern
          was expressed that all revenues generated by faculty will flow
          through the dean's office and that we should ensure that faculty and
          departments which take extra steps of grant seeking and
          entrepreneurial efforts will receive some or all of the resulting funds.
          
          The Academic Affairs Committee chair presented a different RCM
          motion which included requests for reassurance on the basic
          principles of maintaining academic quality, preserving the faculty's
          role, and showing administrative support.  This motion concluded by
          urging that academic reviews be conducted each year by the provost
          and representatives of the senate for the first three years and every
          three years thereafter.  These reviews should consider both
          quantitative benchmarks and qualitative considerations which were
          named in the motion, and the review results should be reported to the
          senate.  A professor said that the motion should address checks and
          balances and recourses.  After much debate and considering the
          president's intention to make her decision on RCM in December, a
          proposal was made to take the Academic Affairs Committee motion,
          up until the sentence before the word "therefore" near the bottom of
          page two, and attach those paragraphs to the beginning of the Finance
          and Administration Committee's motion as adjusted by a number of
          wording changes which had been proposed from the floor.
                      
          The combined motion read as follows:
          
               In its consideration of the proposed budgeting system
               change to the more decentralized budgeting system,
               known as RCM, the University of New Hampshire
               Faculty Senate requests reassurance on the following
               basic principles.
               
               Principle 1:  Academic quality must be maintained.
               
               We seek reassurance that, if the new budgeting system
               harms academic quality, this will be discovered and
               changes will be made to ameliorate immediate problems
               and prevent them from recurring.  We recognize that
               oversight mechanisms are in place:  the University
               Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee and the
               Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost will act to
               support the academic integrity and quality.  But we
               need to know on an ongoing basis that the oversight is
               effective.
               
               Principle 2:  The Faculty's role must be preserved.
               
               Decentralized budgeting is intended to be a "daylight
               process," with all concerned having full access to "user
               friendly" and meaningful budget information.  Deans
               have been given the power to determine how they will
               implement the new budget system within their colleges. 
               Because it is ultimately the faculty who are responsible
               for academic policy, we ask that deans include faculty
               in these planning and priority-setting activities. 
               Furthermore, if the pressure is going to be on faculty to
               act in ways that increase college revenues, faculty
               should also benefit directly from those increases in their
               own teaching, programs, departments, and scholarship;
               unless they have agreed to forego those benefits so that
               common goals, on which they have agreed, can be
               achieved. 
               
               Principle 3: Administrative commitment.
               
               Most faculty do not want to become accountants nor
               should they have to; they have neither the time nor the
               interest.  But the new system requires timely and
               accurate information about and awareness of budgets
               on a regular basis.  We seek assurance that the support
               structures will be in place and that, if the current
               Business Service Centers are not able to provide the
               information and record keeping needed for this system
               to work as intended, the VPFA office will fill in while
               upgrading the BSCs as required.  Ideally, the system
               should be transparent, at work without our awareness.
               
               Consequently, in response to the administration's
               request for consultation with the Faculty Senate on the
               proposed Responsibility-Center Management plan, the
               Faculty Senate strongly advises that RCM should not be
               implemented unless and until:
               
               (1) the President reaches agreement with the Chancellor
               and the Trustees, as required, to permit units to carry
               forward funds, maintain Educational and General fund
               balances, and transfer funds between salary and non-
               salary categories.
               
               (2) The Provost requests and receives from the Deans
               their plans for implementing Responsibility-Center
               Management in their units, and these plans are
               communicated to the faculty for comment and college-
               wide approval.
               
               (3) The Provost ensures that in the future the following
               concerns continue to be addressed:
               
               (a) the compatibility of RCM with the overall mission of
               the university,
               (b) the involvement of the departments in RCM
               decisions and implementation,
               (c) the comprehensive evaluation of administrators
               including their handling of RCM issues in their units.
                             
          A motion to table the motion failed, with four ayes.  The original
          motion first moved by the chair of the Finance and Administration
          Committee failed, with seven favorable votes.  The combined
          motion passed with fourteen ayes, three nays and eight
          abstentions.
          
          VI.  Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.
                                                       
          

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