UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 10 February, 2003




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Barcelona, Black, Burger, Carr, Elmslie, Frankel, McCann, Niesse, Pollard, and Schlentrich. Excused were Daley, Dillon, Garcia-Rasilla, Marx, Stine, Trzaskoma and White. Douglas Bencks, David Clark, and Stephen Pesci attended part of the meeting.

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

III. Communications from the Chair - The Provost Search Committee is reviewing applications now, will interview until the end of March, and hopes to have a candidate by the end of April. The senate chair attended a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Plymouth on February 6, and President Hart gave a report there which complimented the UNH faculty. The Board of Trustees is working on advocacy for funding for UNH and USNH, and the board is utilizing a group of alumni and business people to help in this effort. Collective bargaining with the faculty union will begin on February 12, which is one month earlier than in the past. The bargaining team for the university will include Jim Varn, Candace Corvey and Bruce Mallory; and the AAUP team will be the same as last year.

IV. Discussion on Campus Master Planning - Douglas Bencks, University Architect and Director of Campus Planning, said that the current master plan will be updated this year and that Space Utilization Specialist David Clark and Special Project Director Stephen Pesci are the liaisons with the consulting firm on master planning. In December the consultants, from Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, met with the Campus Master Planning Committee, various focus groups on housing and land use, and other people. Faculty members were interviewed in order to better understand space needs and implications, as best they can be estimated for many years in the future. On January 28, the consultant firm submitted a summary of its findings, and from February through April there will be focus studies. For example, on February 17 and 18 the group will hold meetings on the academic core, and on March 3 and 4 the student life areas of campus, and finally on April 9 and 10 the open lands and outlying properties. Work will continue over the summer and into the fall.

The university has seen steady growth, with 891 students in 1920, 2,107 students in 1940, 3,767 students in 1960, 10,959 students in 1980, and 12,317 in 2003. The current master plan was finished in 1994. The new master plan must take into account space needs, renovation requirements, transportation, soil structure, site drainage, habitat infringement, hydrology, open space, landscape typology, esthetics, campus/town relationships, etc. Compared to other campuses, the UNH campus is relatively compact and was confined in the past by the town on one side and the railroad tracks on the other. Stephen Pesci said that the planning group is re-evaluating the loop road plan. Some parts, such as the southwest quadrant, may be done soon; but other parts may be held up by issues such as ownership and rights of way and environmental problems. Another consultant firm was hired to give input on transportation issues, including vehicular and pedestrian movement, parking, signage, esthetics, etc.

David Clark said that the group considered previous studies and interviewed a broad spectrum of people, in order to update the understanding of the university's space needs. New buildings are needed for research, and renovation/repair is necessary for a number of buildings. A new science and engineering library may also be needed, and student academic support offices should have a central location near each other. Police, fire and ambulance services might also be moved near each other. The university needs more student housing. The UNH image should be respected in the town, the core campus, and the outlying areas. The master plan goals are to express the vision of the university, support the daily life of the members of the university community, preserve the New England village character of the campus, define a compact academic core, establish a public transit zone along main street, create compact residential neighborhoods, and contribute to appropriate uses of the landscape perimeter.

A professor said that, if the university wants to increase the research output of its faculty, the university should build a central parking garage. Another professor suggested that the university construct underground parking under Main Street, but that would be even more expensive than a parking garage. A professor expressed concern that the walking-campus concept may be contrary to the research mission of the university. A faculty member suggested that, when the planners review the student housing area, they should invite representatives of the fraternities and sororities and also their housing corporation advisors, who could be contacted through Steve Pappajohn. The planners are considering whether or not new academic buildings should be built within the core campus. More information on the master plan can be accessed through a link from the main UNH web site.

V. Student Affairs Committee Report on Student Cheating, Plagiarism and the Student Honor Code - Mark Wrighton said that the senate's Student Affairs Committee met this fall and concluded that students should be aware of the UNH policy on plagiarism, which is clearly described on page 35 of the student handbook and is also available on the UNH web site. Plagiarism is defined in part as "the unattributed use of the ideas, evidence or words of another person". Relatively few cases of cheating and plagiarism are reported each year, although there are probably many more cases which are dealt with informally by professors. The official procedure is available on line at http://usnholpm.unh.edu/UNH/II.Acad/C.htm. A professor who fails a student in the course, due to cheating, must report the matter to the associate dean of the college.

When students use the internet as a source, easy cutting and pasting may tend to increase the incidence of plagiarism. Also, text messaging on cell phones is a new method of cheating in class; and advancing technology provides ever more ways of cheating. Software is available to help combat the problem, although the student's paper or exam would need to be submitted to the professor electronically. Since individual writing styles are unique, one type of plagiarism screening software replaces every fifth word with a blank, asks the student to supply the missing words, and assesses the result in order to formulate a plagiarism probability score. Other software compares student papers with material available on the web.

The senate's Student Affairs Committee recommended the following motion: "Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate urges the administration of the University of New Hampshire to explore the purchase of a site license for a software program to detect plagiaristic activity by students; and be it further resolved that Faculty Senate urges the administration and faculty of the University of New Hampshire to better educate students as to what constitutes plagiarism and the expectations regarding the originality of their work."

A professor said that she and her colleagues include in the syllabi what plagiarism is, what the penalty is, and how students must cite materials from books, the web and other sources. Some professors do not feel comfortable discussing cheating in the syllabus and suggest the use of oral or classroom work by the students. Mark Wrighton said that only ten cases of plagiarism were reported last year in the College of Liberal Arts but that many more cases were dealt with by the professors or department chairs. A professor from the library said that the library could help in the effort to inform students how and when they must cite other people's words and ideas. Another faculty member said that faculty need better back up and support from the administration, when a professor sees a need to fail a student for cheating or plagiarism.

A faculty member said that he does not want to open any electronic attachments from students and that he copies the relevant pages from the student handbook and gives them to his students. Information on plagiarism and cheating could be included in student orientation and reinforced in the library. Some professors currently use Google to search for identical wording on the web, but some software programs available through site licensing would probably be more effective and would cost around $300 to $400. A faculty member said that faculty should report plagiarism and cheating, in order to identify students with multiple offences. A friendly amendment was made and accepted to change "a software program" in the motion to read "software programs". The motion as amended was passed unanimously. [See revision in 3/10/03 Faculty Senate meeting.]

VI. Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.

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