UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 14 FEBRUARY, 2011

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2010-11 FACULTY SENATE

FEBRUARY 14, 2011 - MINUTES SUMMARY

  

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Chandran, Foxall, Pescosolido, Simos, Smith and Woodward.  Excused were Frierson and Salvio.  Guests were John Aber and Student Senate observers Christina Caiazza and Jeff Jett.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that UNH was listed in the US News and World Report as having good graduation rates.  He said that, due to a state budget deficit, there may be a budget rescission and that, if a rescission happens, the trustees may decide to adjust the UNH financial aid policy and tuition structure.  The state provides about twelve percent of the UNH operating budget.  The trustees have also indicated that there may be a cut in health benefits for newly-hired non-union employees.  The provost said that he will not stop faculty searches which are now in progress.  A senator expressed concern that the administration changed the selection process for eight university-wide professorships and that now the professorships are proposed by the dean and selected by the provost, without the input of a faculty committee.  The provost replied that he would look into this matter and get back to the Faculty Senate.  Another senator said that last week the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article on shared governance as a myth.  He added that there are reasons to be concerned about where shared governance is at UNH now.  For example some years ago there were decisions on institute policy which did not have proper shared governance.  He said that communication and trust between faculty and administration should be carefully guarded and nurtured and that faculty senators would like to see President Huddleston more often at the Faculty Senate.  The provost said that he would convey the concerns to the president.  Another senator said that shared governance has been agreed to in writing by both the faculty and the administration and that the administration should accept the effort by the faculty union to include that in the faculty contract.  The provost said that shared governance is not a legalistic notion but is a working agreement by the faculty and administration emphasizing an appropriate level of communication.  A former senate chair said that the university system did a benefits survey and, based on that, instituted a benefits cut without asking the campuses.  The provost replied that UNH did not have much say in that and that the UNH administration tried to push back.  A professor asked what that pushback amounted to and expressed concern that there will be efforts to extend this benefit cut to faculty.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the senators are invited to pick up a handout containing attachments which were not distributed at the last senate meeting, during the discussion on censure of a dean.  Also, the senate chair has emailed to the senators the link to the “electronic student folder” on Webcat, along with instructions.  This folder must be accessed via the VPN system, as described in the instructions.  The senate chair welcomed Sophie Sparrow who is replacing Dana Remus as the observer from the UNH School of Law.  He asked the senators to address their comments to the chair.  He said that the Central Budget Committee discussed the possible budget rescission and the potential benefit cuts.  When “self-funded insurance” was mentioned, it meant that the university might revert to insurance funded by the university, as done in the past, although some connection will be maintained with Harvard Pilgrim.  A twenty percent drop in research fund grants to UNH is expected, because of recent political events in Washington.  A former senate chair said that, regarding a potential rescission, the provost stated that the administration would try to keep academics as the top priority.  Faculty should be vigilant to see to it that this happens and should keep in mind that the soundness of the university’s finances is reflected in its bond ratings.

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meetings were approved.

V.  Motion on faculty activity reports – Kent Chamberlin, who is the chair of the Research and Public Service Committee, said that the committee’s charge was to consider what role the faculty will play in the design, implementation, use and general oversight of the faculty activity reports and related information and to bring a motion on these matters for consideration by the Faculty Senate.  On behalf of the committee, he proposed to the senate a motion on faculty representation on the Faculty Activity Report Working Group.  The rationale was that there is one faculty representative on the Faculty Activity Report (FAR) Working Group out of the 24 members serving on that group. Given the relevance of the FAR to academic issues, this level of faculty participation is deemed to be insufficient. The objective of this motion was to specify a faculty participation that better addresses faculty concerns regarding the FAR.  The motion was that membership on the Faculty Activity Report Working Group is to be expanded to include one faculty member from each of the colleges (including UNH-Manchester), in addition to the faculty member representing, and appointed by, the Faculty Senate.

Ted Howard has been appointed to the FAR Working Group but not by the Faculty Senate; and he represents other interests on the working group.  He said that he would like more faculty input on that group and that he supports this motion.  Other senators agreed and commented that the faculty activity reports will be used for promotion and tenure.  The Faculty Senate should be able to propose its own representative to the FAR group, and that representative does not have to be a senator.  How the faculty activity report will look can still be affected.  CEPS, COLSA and SHHS already are using some type of electronic faculty activity reports.  There will be more meetings, an open forum, and opportunities to try out the FAR system.  A past senate chair stated that the 11/29/2010 senate minutes said that the administration had signed a contract with the Digital Measures Company only for a one-year demonstration and that, if these FAR digital measures were to go into effect without approval by the Faculty Senate, this would be a violation of shared governance.  After discussion and amendments, today’s motion was that membership on the Faculty Activity Report Working Group is to be expanded to include one full-time faculty member representing each of the colleges (including UNH-Manchester and the UNH library), in addition to the faculty member representing, and appointed by, the Faculty Senate.  The amended motion passed with thirty-four ayes, no nays, and two abstentions.

VI.  Motion on EOS Institute policy – Kent Chamberlin, who is the chair of the Research and Public Service Committee, described the following chronology on institute policy.  Jan Nisbet informed him that the UNH Policy on Institutes had been approved in November of 2004; but she did not state who approved the policy and what faculty input was received during the approval.  On 5/1/2006, the Faculty Senate minutes stated that the “unanimous sense of the senate is that the senate chair should raise a formal question with the provost, on how the Policy on University Institutes was put into practice without the Faculty Senate getting the opportunity to make a recommendation on the final draft”.  On that same date, Faculty Senate Motion X-M9 was passed stating that the “Faculty Senate requests that the Provost's Office revise the university policy and EOS revise its proposal so that....an unambiguous statement of the approval process is included in both the university policy defining University Institutes and the University Institute Proposal from EOS.”   Jan Nisbet informed the RPSC chair that the EOS proposal had been approved on 9/6/2006; but she did not state who approved the policy and what faculty input was received during the approval.  On 11/27/2006, the Faculty Senate passed senate motion XI-M4 stating that it is “the sense of the Faculty Senate that the senate chair communicate to the provost that the Faculty Senate would like to peruse for approval the Policy on University Institutes in its entirety and its implementation and that the Faculty Senate will take those items up after the faculty contract is approved and that, until then, the policies will be considered pending.”  The Faculty Senate minutes of 12/11/2006 state that, regarding university institutes, “the senate chair will meet with the provost this week and ask him if other groups besides EOS are in the process of applying to become university institutes.  The senate office will work on constructing a time line showing actions, discussions and documents about university institutes.”  In January of 2007, a letter from Berrien Moore said that this “letter is in response to your request for a final update to our proposal to become a University Institute.... Thank you for your continued attention to our proposal.”  On 5/4/2009, Faculty Senate motion XIII-M23 stated that the “Faculty Senate passed by acclamation a motion that next year the senate should continue to review the policy on institutes.  This is a separate issue from the policy on schools, and the senate should consider both matters individually.”  In March of 2010, the Faculty Senate minutes stated that an “interim policy on university institutes was discussed in the senate in previous years and never approved by the Faculty Senate, but the policy was implemented anyway.”  In April of 2010, the senate minutes stated that, regarding “the committee’s charge to review the final draft of the university institute policy, the RPSC chair said that there were policy modifications that were implemented without a Faculty Senate voice and that now there is need for further details about the current policy and a review by the RPSC next year.”  A November of 2010 email from Jan Nisbet said that the policy for university-wide institutes was approved on November 23, 2004 (six years ago), that EOS was approved as a university institute in September of 2006, and that there is no reference to the need for senate consultation, in the policy as it is currently written.”

On behalf of the senate's Research and Public Service Committee, Kent Chamberlin proposed to the senate a motion resulting from the review of these matters.  Relevant documents are as follows:  University Institute Policy, Berrien Moore letter to provost, item VI of 3/22/2010 FS minutes, item VIII of 4/19/2010 FS minutes, item IV of 5/1/06 FS minutes, item VI of 11/13/06 FS minutes, item V of 11/27/07 FS minutes, item II, para. 2 of 12/11/06 FS minutes, and Faculty Senate Motions:X-M9, XI-M4 and XIII-M23. Also, one may refer to the chronology of senate actions regarding the proposal and policy.  The rationale of today's motion is that neither the Faculty Senate nor members of the faculty were genuinely engaged in the approval process for the UNH Policy on Institutes or the EOS Institute Proposal, despite the major impact that the formation of institutes can have on academics as well as the overall functioning of a research university.  In addition, the approval process for the policy and the proposal were never clearly defined.  The objective of this motion was to ensure that there is direct faculty involvement in the development and approval of policy and proposals regarding the formation of Schools and Centers.   Today's motion is as follows.  “Because of the major impact that Schools and Centers can have on academic programs, the faculty must be a key player in the development of policy relating to Schools and Centers. The Faculty Senate must be an active participant in the approval process for any School or Center at UNH. That approval process must be transparent and unambiguous, and all groups involved in the approval process must be explicitly identified.”

The senate chair said that the chair of the senate's University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee supports today's motion and feels that it does not infringe on the UCAPC charge in the current schools matter.  In addition to the RPSC charge to review the final draft for the EOS Institute proposal, the UCAPC is charged to review a draft proposal (dated April, 2007) to form schools at UNH and is charged to get further information from the administration on significant issues that need further attention before the senate should take action on the proposal on schools.  UCAPC also has a second charge to consider the differences between the proposed definition of schools and the proposal from the marine group and to report first to the senate chair and then to the senate on this issue.  A former senate chair said that UCAPC is a senate committee and must make its recommendations to the Faculty Senate, whereupon the senate will consider these issues and then pass its own recommendations to the administration.  UCAPC will report to the senate on the two UCAPC charges regarding schools later this semester.  After discussion and amendments, today's motion was that, “because of the major impact that Schools and Centers can have on academic programs, the Faculty Senate must be a key player in the development of policy relating to Schools and Centers.  The Faculty Senate must be an active participant in the approval process for any Institute, School or Center at UNH. That approval process must be transparent and unambiguous, and all groups involved in the approval process must be explicitly identified.”  This motion passed unanimously with thirty-five ayes.

VII.  Report on January term – The chair of the senate's Academic Affairs Committee said that his committee was charged to consider the feasibility of adding a fourth week to the January term.  He reports that the AAC believes that it is premature to consider adding a fourth week to the January term, because the original pilot program has not been completed and has not reported the outcome and assessment of the pilot.  Therefore the AAC recommends continued monitoring of the January term and that next year's Academic Affairs Committee should make recommendations to the senate on these matters.

VIII.   Report on loophole for minors – The chair of the senate's Academic Affairs Committee said that his committee was also charged to review the issue about a loophole allowing students to earn two minors with the same five courses.  He said that currently there is no rule preventing the same five courses from being used to complete two minors and that students are becoming more aware of this fact.  However, the AAC does not think that it is the senate's role to dictate how academic departments and programs accredit degrees, because there might be unanticipated results.  The Academic Affairs Committee recommends that departments and programs be made aware of this loophole so that they can make their own decisions accordingly. The university does have a rule regarding the accreditation of majors. 

IX.  Report on graduate and family housing – The chair of the Campus Planning Committee reported that the Campus Planning Committee met with Doug Bencks on 2/7/2011, to get updates on graduate student and family housing at UNH.  A summary of this meeting is as follows.  Due to strong opposition by the Graduate Council and the Graduate Student Senate, plans for the Leawood Orchard development have been put on hold. The request for proposals will not go out.  These discussions influenced the administration to revisit the current Campus Master Plan and consider the idea that decisions about graduate student and family housing cannot be made in isolation from the Master Plan.  The goal is to use the market survey to guide discussions about the where and what of graduate student and family housing.  The market survey indicated:  (1) a demand of about 300 graduate students (particularly international students) wanting to live on campus and (2) a cost that is comparable to rental prices in Dover and Newmarket.  Until revisions are made to the Campus Master Plan, perhaps in 2012, no changes will be made to current housing for graduate students and families at UNH (in Forest Park and Babcock Hall).

On behalf of the Campus Planning Committee, Erin Sharp made a motion to the Faculty Senate, on graduate and family housing, as follows.  The Faculty Senate insists that the administration make provisions for adequate, affordable, on-campus graduate student and family housing a priority in the 2012 revision to the Campus Master Plan.  Revisions to the Campus Master Plan need to reflect UNH’s strategic vision of increasing research productivity and internationalization, which cannot be done without a commitment to graduate housing. The Faculty Senate urges that there be faculty and graduate student representation on the working groups involved in the revisions to the Campus Master Plan. The Faculty Senate would also like to remind the administration that an agreement was made to replace the demolished units at Forest Park by converting some of the Woodside Apartments from undergraduate to graduate/family housing in 2003. The Faculty Senate passed a motion on 4/6/09 because of concerns that this agreement had not been fulfilled.  That motion read in part:  “Consistent with the previous agreement, the Faculty Senate asks President Huddleston and Dick Cannon to convert the Woodside Apartments to family and graduate housing as soon as possible; the senate recommends that graduate housing be increased as part of the vision expressed by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Research at UNH, because the current level of housing is not adequate to support this vision; and there should be some faculty representation on the ad-hoc group on family and graduate housing conducted by Dick Cannon et al.” Today's motion passed unanimously with thirty-five ayes.

X.  Report on the Master Plan – The chair of the Campus Planning Committee reported on its charge to monitor the Campus Master Plan.  The Campus Planning Committee met with Doug Bencks on 2/7/2011 to get updates on the Campus Master Plan.  A summary of this meeting is as follows.  UNH’s Campus Planning Office and the administration have made the decision to begin the process of updating the Campus Master Plan that was adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2004.  The goal is to have a new Campus Master Plan by 2012.  The process of updating the Campus Master Plan will be guided, in part, by the University’s Strategic Plan and Vision for 2020.  Doug Bencks has outlined the need to define the scope and location of the following projects:  (1) Center for the Arts Master Plan, (2) New England Center Facility Plan, including consolidating the advancement units (alumni, foundation, and communication and marketing) to the New England Center, using the dining room for an event area, keeping the newer 1988 tower as undergraduate housing, and mothballing for now the older 1968 tower, which would be very expensive to renovate due to deferred maintenance and asbestos, (3) Campus Master Plan,  including campus-wide space and program accommodations, undergraduate housing and dining assessment plan, graduate and family housing assessment and plan, and comprehensive land use assessment and plan.  The above process will engage representatives from across all aspects of the campus and the town.  Doug Bencks acknowledged that the Campus Master Plan must be developed in tandem with resource allocations.  Some projects that are moving forward include the University Club, for which the design has been completed and the goal is for the club to be operational by fall of 2011.  The location will be level 2 of Dimond Library in the former microform space, which is one floor down from the main entryway.  People will be able to enter from the main front entrance and also directly through the door outside at level 2.  The University Club will include a bar, lounge and dining tables and will provide a limited menu.  Hours will probably include from lunch into early evening.  UNH is seeking federal funding to support the South Drive Transitway Corridor Development, which may cost around $5.3 million.  A senator added that Hamilton Smith Hall has major renovation needs which must be dealt with soon.

XI..  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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