UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 13 February, 2012

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2011-12 FACULTY SENATE

FEBRUARY 13, 2012 - MINUTES SUMMARY

  

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Shore, Simos, Sparrow and Townson.  Guests were John Aber, Wanda Mitchell, Paul McNamara, David Cross, Christina Bellinger, Patricia Donahoe and Kristen Woytonik.

II. Remarks by the provost – The provost remarked that he is glad that the senate is reviewing information on inclusive excellence and on the proposed new schools.  He added that more information will be available later on some of the proposed new schools.  The UNH enrollment figures look good for now, and more accurate information will be available as time goes on.  Two bills on education are currently in the state legislature but have not passed both houses.  One pending bill said that no one in the university system could be paid more than the state governor, and the other bill said that the university system office should be restricted to twelve employees not including a chancellor.

III.  Report on inclusive excellence – Paul McNamara, who is the representative appointed by the Faculty Senate to the Diversity Council which is being changed to the Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, and Wanda Mitchell, who is the vice provost for faculty development and inclusive excellence, reported on the proposed 2010-2020 Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan and handed out a two page overview, with the twenty-four page draft of the full plan available on line.  Some changes are expected, and suggestions are welcome.  In the past the Faculty Senate has passed four motions on diversity.  On 3/8/2004, the senate passed motion VIII-M8 to adopt a Statement on Diversity as a Compelling Interest, noting special challenges at UNH.  On 4/18/2005 in motion IX-M17, the senate unanimously endorsed the vision and seven strategies of the first Five Year Diversity Plan and appointed two senate representatives to the Diversity Council.  On 4/20/2009 in motion XIII-M18, the senate asked the UNH president to re-charge the UNH Strategic Planning Working Groups to address explicitly integrating the values endorsed in the Faculty Senate’s prior diversity motions into the UNH Strategic Plan for 2010-2020.  On 11/1/2010 in motion XV-M2, the senate affirmed the desirability and need to develop a new plan to continue the realization of diversity as a compelling interest endorsed in the first motion above.

To compare the new plan with the old one, the five strategic themes are basically unchanged, although the numbering has been adjusted.  The themes are (1) organizational structure, with oversight to monitor, assess, support and plan for inclusive excellence efforts, (2) curriculum, to enhance integration of inclusive excellence in curricular and co-curricular offerings, (3) campus climate, to enhance an environment of inclusion, diversity and equity, (4) recruitment and retention, of qualified individuals from underrepresented groups of faculty, students and staff, and (5) community engagement, to boost external collaborations and partnerships facilitating inclusive excellence.  The overview refers to five major strategic themes with actions; and by actions it means global aims, rather than the recommended actions in the full plan.  Wanda Mitchell said that changes envisioned are to add a category for administration and to clarify that the student category includes undergraduates and graduate students.      

Diversity is now referred to as inclusive excellence, in order to make explicit the meaning and to conform to national trends.   The aim is to achieve institutional excellence that is inclusive and done via inclusion, so that the diverse groups are at the table and interacting.  The 2005-2009 Diversity Plan was intended as a five-year plan but will act as a guide for two extra years until the 2010-2020 Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan is approved.  The latter plan is thus expected to be operational for only eight years, in order to be in sync with the UNH Strategic Plan.  There will be a fifth-year interim re-assessment in 2015.  Although the Diversity Council had twenty-six members, this seemed unwieldy; and so the Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity was proposed to have thirteen members and coordinate with the four President's Commissions on the Status of People of Color, of Women, of People with Disabilities, and of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender Issues.  In the present draft, the Faculty Senate would appoint one faculty member instead of two; and guaranteed faculty representation would become one out of thirteen, instead of six or seven out of twenty-six.

Is there a way to increase faculty representation and still keep the overall membership low?  Should there be a requirement that the representative to the council from at least two of the commissions be faculty or that the representative from UNH-Manchester be faculty?  A senator said that the proposed plan could have significant impact on the academic program, and so why was the percentage of faculty representation on the council reduced so radically?  The council has a number of administrators, deans and students; and the percentage of administrators would increase from thirty-seven to forty-six percent under the new plan.  The senate chair asked senators to discuss this matter with their colleagues and to send input, so that the senate can make a response on this.  Paul McNamara said that he will advocate that the faculty representation be increased from the current low figure.  The senate vice chair said that the senate should consider the proposed 2010-2020 Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan in committee and then make a recommendation on the plan.  The senate chair asked the senators to review the documents and give input to the Agenda Committee which could then bring to the Faculty Senate a motion on these issues.  He indicated that the plan has cost issues that might affect academic departments, especially in this time of reduced funding.

IV.  Report from David Cross, on students in crisisDavid Cross said that the Counseling Center is seeing more and more students who have mental illness and are  taking psychotropic medication.  Almost twice the number of students come for clinical help as the former norm.  David Cross said that referral and collaboration from faculty is important.  He offers a short program for departmental faculty meetings on how faculty may identify and deal with students at risk.  The Counseling Center, located in Smith Hall at 3 Garrison Avenu, has up to six emergency hours set aside each day (Monday-Friday from 8-5:00) for students who want to talk to a counselor.  After hour care, on weekends and holidays, can be accessed by calling the Counseling Center number at 862-2090; and the call will be forwarded to a mental health staff member at Portsmouth Hospital.  The Counseling Center offers up to forty-five intake appointments per week and has nine Ph.D. licensed psychologists plus three doctoral fellows and other staff.  A faculty member might choose to walk a student over to the Counseling Center.

In addition, there is a Behavioral Intervention Team which meets every two weeks.  Faculty may call Ann Lawing, Dean of Students, at 2-2498 to discuss concerns about a student.  The dean of students may then contact that student and ask that he or she go to the Counseling Center for assessment and/or counseling.  It is possible that a student who refuses to accommodate that request might be asked to leave the university.  Faculty may recommend help for a student, discuss matters of concern with the student, and then if necessary call Ann Lawing.  Faculty should try to be aware of what may require intervention.  Same day service at the Counseling Center is available when requested.  Students in crisis are divided about equally among each class, and a few are graduate students as well.  In order to meet the increasing mental health needs of international students, especially Asian students, the Counseling Center recently hired a psychologist who speaks fluent Mandarin and Taiwanese; and the center is meeting this week with the coordinator of NAVITAS.  Faculty may listen to student concerns and may need to tell the student that he or she really needs to go to the Counseling Center for help.  If self harm is at issue, a faculty member may say that he or she may need to discuss the matter with the dean of students.  In addition, faculty might discuss the situation with the department chair.

V.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – At the last senate meeting, there was a presentation on internationalization.  Today a senator said that, of ten new positions mentioned as proposed in that report, nine would be administrators and that this is worrisome as it might seem like building a bureaucratic empire.  Faculty may send concerns to the senate chair, using the subject line “internationalization”.  The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee may bring a motion to the senate on this matter.  A senator from the English Department said that four new lecturers and perhaps two more have been or will be hired to work on English as a second language.  He asked what about tenure-track faculty?

VI.  Minutes – The senate chair said that, after the last senate meeting, the senior vice provost for academic affairs said that she needed to correct a misstatement regarding the number of NAVITAS students from various countries now on campus.  These students are actually about seventy percent from China, with others from Vietnam, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Mongolia, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.  The senate chair said that this change was considered minor enough that the correction was made to the minutes before they were sent to the senators for approval but that he wanted to let the senators know about the modification.  Today the minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for two abstentions.

VII.  Motion from the Academic Affairs Committee, on evaluating on-line courses – At the last senate meeting, the Academic Affairs Committee proposed a motion and today brought it back to the senate floor as follows.  “The Faculty Senate mandates that all on-line courses and all January-term courses whether on-line or not include a student-evaluation questionnaire, as all other courses currently do.  This requirement shall take effect in the summer of 2012.”  The committee chair said that the committee has discovered that the university, not the faculty member, sends the regular course evaluation form also to the students in on-line courses; but the committee recommends that the senate still pass the motion to confirm the status quo.  The senate chair asked the senators to request that their colleagues reply to the recent survey on course evaluations, which was sent out via survey monkey by Paula Salvio, the chair of the senate’s ad-hoc Teaching Evaluation Committee.  A senator pointed out that students in face-to-face courses are given thirty minutes in class to fill out the evaluation.  There is no similar arrangement for on-line courses, and the return rate for evaluations is low in those courses.  Is there any way to respond to that concern?  The original motion passed, with forty-one ayes, no nays, and one abstention.

VIII.  Report from the Research and Public Service Committee, on research practices – Wayne Fagerberg, who is chair of the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee, responded to the committee’s charge to “monitor the push towards a vision of the research university as expressed in the Strategic Plan and in the Blue Ribbon Panel Report and how they relate to ongoing creative, scholarly and research practices, including those of the arts and humanities”.  The committee expressed concerns over the following:  (1) the potential conflict between the Strategic Plan, the Academic Plan, and the Blue Ribbon Panel’s report; (2) once that conflict is resolved, can the university support the resulting plan with current resources; (3) what is the definition of a research university based on peer universities; and (4) how does the designation/concept of a research university presented in our documents compare with that of peer universities and how should it change if it should.

The RPSC provided the following conclusions.  (1) Although the wording in these reports is so poorly defined and lacks specifics, to the point that there are a variety of ways to interpret the statement regarding teaching and research, there does not seem to be any conflict in goals or emphasis between the various reports.  (2) There is clear emphasis on increasing the research component of the university.  (3) What is meant by “researchis not clearly defined.  Does it mean scholarship in the broader sense, or is it intended to mean externally funded research?  Certainly the term “research universityhas more buzz appeal to outside entities than calling UNH a scholarship university”, and so the use of the term may be justified if outside sources are going to be using this report.  (4) There is general consensus, among the committee members and faculty surveyed, that scholarship is an important part of a faculty member’s professional development and standing amongst peers and has a positive effect on the role as professor in the classroom.  (5) What specifically is meant by “scholarshipis properly defined by the faculty member’s college and department and hence will vary with those different factions.  At the university-wide level, only broad statements can be made.  (6) A heavy emphasis on research (however it is defined) by any college or department will likely have a negative impact on faculty time commitment to teaching and outreach.  It is likely that a continued overemphasis on this aspect of professorial endeavor will ultimately alter the environment of UNH and teaching.  Universities in which faculty are divided into research faculty (tenured faculty with low teaching effort) and teaching faculty (tenured faculty with low research effort) may result in a two tiered system where the different factions are rarely treated equally.  (7) We feel it is important and necessary for UNH to ask its faculty to pursue an active scholarship effort; but it is important, if the nature of UNH is not to change, to maintain these activities with an emphasis on what has always been a strong point for UNH, that is its role in undergraduate education.

Today a senator said that research and funding are not necessarily coupled, that some fields do not get much research funding, and that some good research does not get any funding.  A senator asked the committee to define how it views scholarship as different from research.  In 2005, Senate Chair David Richman often referred to “teaching, learning, research, artistry, and outreach”.  Do promotion and tenure guidelines define how research includes scholarship and artistry?  When a faculty member is hired, the research, scholarship and teaching to be expected are supposed to be defined by the dean and the department chair in writing.  Each department should have specific promotion and tenure procedures and definitions, but they will vary in different departments.  The senate chair said that the senate’s ad-hoc Committee on Standards for Promotion and Tenure, chaired by Jeff Diefendorf, has been looking into those issues.  Some senators from the sciences said that research could include writing a poem or other artistic endeavors, and that research means creative activity done in all fields, as long as external review is part of the process.  The senate chair said that, since research/scholarship has multiple meanings in various fields, the senate would be well advised to make clear what those terms mean to faculty.

IX.  Report from the Discovery Committee, on teaching innovations – The chair of the Discovery Committee reported on its charge to “identify a mechanism by which to share faculty teaching accomplishments and innovations within the Discovery Program (core curriculum teaching)”.  The Discovery Program has teamed up with the Campus Journal to share more widely the creative and intellectual work of faculty teaching in the Discovery Program.  These feature stories will serve as short, useful updates where you are at once acquainted with a great idea, informed about the work of a colleague, and inspired to try something new.  This feature generally will be accompanied by a related teaching resource provided by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  Recent features include the following:  (1) “Tough Talks by Bruce Mallory and Vilmarie Sanchez on managing difficult conversations in the classroom, from EDUC 444, Be the Change:  Citizenship in a Multicultural World, which can be seen at   http://unh.edu/news/campusjournal/2011/Oct/19discovery.cfm and (2) “Writing to the Topic by Krista Jackman on teaching ENGL 401, with strong ties to the University Dialogue, which can be  seen at  http://unh.edu/news/campusjournal/2011/Nov/23discovery.cfm.  In addition, there are upcoming stories on teaching large classes and Discovery Program laboratories.  These efforts are connected with the work Steve Tuttle is doing with “Good News from Faculty” stories.  The contact person for both efforts is Jody Record.  The Discovery Program has increased postings to the UNH Facebook page and will focus on highlighting faculty in this venue.  Previous postings are related to the University Dialogue and will now expand into other elements of the Discovery Program.  We met with Jason Boucher, who is the social media coordinator, to identify next steps and strategies.  Steve Tuttle asks that faculty send good news stories to him at good.news@unh.edu.

X.  Report from the Academic Affairs Committee, on best practices for retirement – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee presented the following resolution on transitioning to retirement:

Whereas the contract between the faculty and the Board of Trustees states, “The faculty will receive counseling regarding various benefit programs associated with applicable retirement programs sponsored by the University to insure a smooth transition from active employment to retirement status during the one hundred twenty (120) days [of notice of intent to retire],” and whereas these benefits and the availability of a counselor seem not widely known, and whereas several other universities and colleges make known their benefits and the services of a counselor by announcing them on a convenient website or printing them in a leaflet, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate shall call on the administration (1) to gather in a single website or document the benefits that retirees enjoy (such as access to the library, the gym, parking, email, tuition waivers, and the possibility of teaching “e-meritus” courses), as well as the options and procedures for moving toward retirement, and (2) to make known periodically the availability of a counselor on these subjects, and (3) to sponsor a retired faculty advisory group, to be composed of both retired and current faculty, which would meet periodically with a representative of the administration.

The committee chair said that these are good practices which we see in other universities but not at UNH.  Other specific extra benefits may be negotiated with a retiring faculty member's department chair and dean.  The senate chair said that the AAUP faculty contract with the university deals with medical benefits but that the senate committee could deal with other matters which are not contractual.  The committee chair said that the provost was consulted and did not object to the above resolution.  The senate chair said that the resolution will carry over until the next senate meeting.

XI.  Report from UCAPC, on schools – The UCAPC chair said that the committee is making an interim report today.  She added that, when she asked the provost directly whether the schools are a foregone conclusion, he told her that they are not.  The UCAPC report on the proposal for interdisciplinary schools includes the following.  Since fall of 2010, UCAPC has been considering the general proposal for interdisciplinary schools presented by the provost in 2009 and revised subsequently in response to comments from UCAPC.  At this point UCAPC is still not ready to make a recommendation to the senate, because UCAPC is awaiting a single fully-developed proposal from either one of the proposed schools, that fully addresses the concerns raised within UCAPC and the colleges generally.  UCAPC cannot make a recommendation without such a document.  UCAPC has only last week received a re-worked proposal from the Marine School developers, but we do not have the budget yet.  We  want to see a fully developed proposal before making a recommendation, because a basic principle of the schools concept is that there will be no negative impact on existing programs.  If a negative impact is anticipated, the proposal must acknowledge it and balance it with a demonstrable and quantifiable benefit to the colleges and the university.  The costs, including those for people, time and space, should be known and clearly explained when the proposals are presented. The sources of funding must also be known.  In particular, if financial support for personnel positions in the schools is to be generated by “re-farming” existing college tenure-track faculty positions that are not permitted to be refilled upon retirements, this intention should be clearly stated and subject to debate by the university community.

As UCAPC has communicated its concerns to the provost, the response from the provost has been generally positive and cooperative.  The latest revision of the proposal was sent to UCAPC on 1/16/2012, based on comments from UCAPC and concerns expressed at two “summit” meetings hosted by the provost during the January term.  The summits were attended by the deans of COLSA, CEPS, and COLA, the director of EOS, the Faculty Senate chair, the chair of the Faculty Senate's ad-hoc Committee on Science Education, the faculty proposing the schools, the vice-president for research, the vice-provost for academic affairs, and the chair of UCAPC. The discussions were focused on the proposals for the Marine Sciences School and the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  The deans expressed concerns about the budgets for the schools and how they would impact the colleges.  The director of EOS had similar concerns.  As a result of those meetings, the Provost’s Office is preparing budget models for the Marine School, which will demonstrate the impact on the colleges.  UCAPC also has concerns about the general proposal and the two school proposals that have been presented.  UCAPC would like to be on the senate calendar at a later date this semester after we have reviewed a full proposal with the necessary detailed budget information. 

UCAPC has a number of main concerns as follows.  The first is the possible erosion of educational quality.  There is concern about the impact of faculty leaving regular courses to teach in the schools.  If tenure-track faculty members opt to teach in the schools, the courses that they regularly teach will likely be taught by part-time contingent faculty; and that could well lead to erosion in the quality of the programs.  There is also concern that heavy reliance on research faculty in the schools will create divided loyalties between the needs of academic degree programs and the perennial search for research faculty members’ external salary support.  The pedagogical content of graduate degree programs especially should not be subject to the trendiness of federal government research funding.

The second concern is the impact on the faculty.  When faculty members opt to teach in the schools, those faculty will have new letters of appointment defining their home departments, the length of their joint appointments in the schools, and their responsibilities to their home colleges and departments.  The home department will be responsible for the tenure procedures.  The policies for joint appointments are defined on the provost’s website at http://www.unh.edu/provost/sites/unh.edu.provost/files/docs/jointfacultyappointments1.pdf. The exact arrangements for workload assignments are not spelled out in that document, but it is clear that the arrangements must be settled before the appointment is made.  It is not clear from that document how departments are to be compensated for the loss of teaching time when a faculty member enters into a joint appointment.  UCAPC members are concerned that the schools will attract  senior faculty away from the undergraduate programs and that this will erode the quality of the programs, if the departments are not allowed to replace those faculty with new tenure-track faculty members.

Thirdly, it has often been said by those proposing the schools that the courses which are going to be offered are already available at UNH and will simply be taught under the aegis of the schools instead of the departments.   This is borne out in the Marine School proposal, which says, “The School and associated faculty may offer graduate courses and seminars that are interdisciplinary in nature, but most classes taken by students in the graduate programs will be drawn from existing or modified offerings available in the Departments”.  It seems to the members of UCAPC that the schools will have to offer new courses, in order to achieve their goals and attract new students, and that the departments will have to absorb the costs associated with this.  The colleges will have to negotiate how they will absorb the costs in teaching time and the budgetary considerations of replacing faculty in their regular courses.  This will have an impact on teaching loads in departments, on budgets, and on the quality of undergraduate education.

Fourth are additional concerns about the schools' budgets.  The proposals submitted for approval must have budgets that project out to three to five years; and the proposals must include impact statements on teaching and administrative costs to the colleges, including teaching time, teaching space, laboratory space and office space.  Since there will be some start-up costs, the budget statement also has to include a statement setting a deadline for how long the school will take to repay the colleges’ investment in the school.  The Provost’s Office is preparing budget models for the Marine Science School that should include all of these points.

Since the interdisciplinary schools are meant to be engaged primarily in research and graduate education, UCAPC presumes that much of their funding will be soft money.  We will have a better idea when we have seen the Marine School's budget proposal.  If the schools are funded with soft money, what will happen to the schools when government and industry interests change and research money is directed elsewhere?  Will research faculty and Ph.D. students who are funded by grants be in jeopardy if they are not affiliated with colleges?  The schools will not have the cushion of tuition dollars unless they pull money from the tuition paid to the colleges or from endowment income attributed to the UNH Foundation.  What impact will that have on the college budgets and college programs?   We also wonder if money from faculty retirements is being held to fund positions for the schools.  There is also a great deal of concern that revenue generated from the schools will not be distributed equally but will go primarily to the science programs. 

Next is concern about a sunset clause.  Each proposal must include a set of quantifiable and demonstrable criteria for measuring success.  These criteria cannot be framed solely in terms of the success of the individual faculty members within the schools (e.g. numbers of publications, total external grant funding) but must also assess honestly the impact on students, using longitudinal metrics of student success.  There must also be a clear plan for terminating schools that do not succeed. 

Last are concerns about governance.  It is not clear to UCAPC when the faculty in the departments and colleges are involved in the discussions about the schools.  It seems that many of the concerns that we have about the schools could be addressed among the faculty concerned, in their departments and colleges.  The route at this time is that the proposals are presented to the provost who presents them to the university community, including the Faculty Senate.  The senate's Agenda Committee puts the proposals on UCAPC’s agenda, and UCAPC reviews the proposals and makes recommendations to the senate, where the faculty discussion takes place.

During today's senate discussion, a senator said that the provost has indicated that there is to be a limited expansion of administrative structure, because a director and staff will be needed for each school.  Faculty members have proposed the new schools.  Who would get the FTE dollars from tuition for courses taught in the schools?  The UCAPC chair replied that those courses would be primarily for graduate students, and so the FTE issue would not be so great.  A senator said that many departments teach both graduate students and undergraduates.  A professor said that many research faculty were lost when earmark funds disappeared, and he asked where the funds needed for schools would come from.  Some monies may come from the Office of Research, from increased sponsored research, and from on-line certificate programs; but this may not be enough to support the schools.  The senate chair said that the senate will look forward to UCAPC's final report later on these matters.

XII.  Report from the Information Technology Committee, on IT initiatives and on paperless advising – The ITC chair said that the committee will report on IT initiatives at the next senate meeting.  Today he reported on paperless advising.  In January, the committee contacted the UNH Registrar’s Office and learned that Barry Emmert had been hired as the project manager for paperless advising.  The ITC met with Barry Emmert and Susan Siggelakis, who is the faculty representative on the project team, and found the following:  (1) that the paperless advising project is back at square one and Mr. Emmert is currently in the information gathering stage, (2) that the time frame for completion of the project can be measured in years rather than months, and (3) that the Paperless Advising Committee will seek input from faculty and that the senate's IT Committee will meet with Mr. Emmert and his committee again as the process continues.

 XIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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