UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 27 February, 2012

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2011-12 FACULTY SENATE

FEBRUARY 27, 2012 - MINUTES SUMMARY

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Chavda, Dinapoli, Klenotic, Marti-Olivella, Peshkova, Safford, Shore, Simos, Sparrow, Taylor, Townson, and Veal.  Guests were John Aber and Kristen Woytonik.

II. Remarks by the provost – The provost said that, in light of concern about reduction in state funding for the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, he wanted to clarify that even in the worst-case scenario (in which the lab might be forced to cut its hours or to close at the end of this academic year) our students’ academic experiences in the preveterinary program would remain substantially the same.  A letter from the COLSA dean states that the NH Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is a partnership between the state, the public and the university and is housed on the UNH campus. The lab's diagnostic services serve crucial animal and public health needs of the state, veterinary and livestock businesses and organizations, and others. Having the lab located at UNH allows us to integrate the lab’s veterinarians and staff members into our excellent pre-veterinary academic program, and UNH provides partial salary support to secure instructional and advising services.  In event of a temporary downsizing or the worst case of a closure, the dean said that we would work to retain or hire a qualified veterinarian as a full-time clinical faculty member, to cover the three existing courses and the advising currently provided on a part-time basis by the lab’s three clinicians.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee has worked with the provost to prepare a document clarifying and defining affiliated faculty status.  An affiliation appointment involves no salary contribution by the unit offering the affiliation.  There is an additional document on joint appointments which the provost will send along with the document on affiliation, after revision, to the UNH deans, directors and department chairs for feedback on the affiliation document.  The senate chair also said that Wanda Mitchell and Paul McNamara presented to the senate a proposal on inclusive excellence and that Ted Howard and Lisa MacFarlane presented a proposal on internationalization.  The senate chair has met with Wanda Mitchell and Paul McNamara to discuss some items of concern about review of reports and curriculum, and those items will be removed from the proposal.  On Monday the Agenda Committee will look at drafts, of motions on inclusive excellence and on internationalization, and then bring these motions to the Faculty Senate in the near future. 

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

V.  Report from the Academic Affairs Committee, on best practices for retirement – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee brought back to the senate floor the following motion 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 the provost had been consulted and did not object to the above resolution.  The motion passed unanimously.

VI.  Report from the Information Technology Committee, on IT initiatives – The third charge of this committee is to monitor IT initiatives at UNH.  The IT Committee met with Joanna Young, Associate Vice President and CIO of Information Technology, and learned the following.  (1) The IT department is currently replacing wireless switches to update the speed and connectivity of the UNH high-speed wireless system.  IT is seeking faculty input on academic buildings and locations where the wireless system is not working well.  Academic areas are the priority, and offices are secondary.  (2) The dark fiber initiative is moving forward.  Its purpose is to install our own high- speed fiber-optic lines to the Internet.  We currently use FairPoint.  Scott Valcourt is the person in charge of the project. See networknhnow.org for more information on the NH dark fiber grant.  (3) The UNH Computer Store will continue to support Dell and Mac. There are no plans to add other product lines.  (4) Centralized printing is still an objective for UNH. UNH Printing Services and specifically David May are in charge of that initiative.  (5) UNH continues to make site licenses available for both Mac and PC.  For the Mac, the currently available licenses are iWork, OSX and iLife.  The list of site licenses is available at the UNH Computer Store website.  IT is seeking advice from the faculty about additional site licenses that might be negotiated. (6) IT is hoping to move email away from cisunix to the Microsoft Exchange servers.  Security issues with the antiquated cisunix system make that a priority.  Exchange offers much better security and function.  (7) MacAffee virus protection is being phased out and replaced with Microsoft Forefront.  This should address the speed and conflict issues caused by MacAffee.  Contact Peter Brym (it.security@unh.edu) for information on usage and change issues.  (8) IT is testing hard drive and data encryption software for people who must keep sensitive information on their hard drives.  This is also in Peter Brym’s area.  (9) Blackboard service pack 7 is coming in March.  It addresses over 200 known issues including the grade center and file access.  Karen Tan is seeking comments and complaints about the current version and can supply information about what the upgrade will do.  (10) Michael McIntire is heading a Blackboard collaborative pilot study and the replacement of iLink.  Any interested parties should contact him directly.  (11) IT is considering a laptop loan service for faculty, with pickup and drop-off.  (12) IT will offer an Online Learning Certificate Program during spring break.  Participants will learn to use all of the software and support options available at UNH and will receive a certificate upon completion. Contact Stephanie.cheney@unh.edu for information.

A senator said that the plan to remove desktop printers and to use centralized printers in each department puts an unacceptably low value on faculty and staff time.  In addition, concerns were expressed about confidentiality (especially for documents such as tests and letters of recommendation) and loss or misdirection of documents.  Also when a networked printer is down for repair, there should be a designated backup printer nearby.  Another senator said that needed information, from NASA and other funding agencies, has been blocked as spam.  The IT Committee chair will express these concerns to the administration, and he requested that the senators consult their departmental colleagues and send him input in writing.  A senator commented that letterhead can be affixed to letters on the computer.  The university owns the email on UNH servers but normally does not read it.  Faculty and staff can access their email from anywhere in the world.  However, what happens when a person separates from the university?  A senator asked that the UNH classrooms be adjusted to facilitate the use of iPads.

VII.  Reports from the Finance and Administration Committee, on how SIP affects the ratio of tenure-track to non-tenure-track faculty – The charge was to monitor how SIP affects the ratio of tenure-track to non-tenure-track faculty and to consider whether having fewer tenure-track faculty adds to the work of the remaining tenure-track faculty.  Full-time faculty may leave due to the Separation Incentive Program (SIP), other retirement, better offers, tenure denial, a move to administration, or death.  The committee gathered data from department chairs and the central administration regarding historic budgets, credit hours and SIP.  Today Thomas Ballestero showed a number of slides and said that eighty-five tenure-track faculty accepted the Separation Incentive Program from 2001 to 2011 and that twenty-four faculty accepted SIP in 2012.  The majority were replaced with non-tenure-track faculty or were not replaced at all.  There are slightly under 600 tenure-track faculty and a bit under 300 non-tenure-track faculty at UNH.  The number of tenure-track faculty has fallen since 2005, and the number of non-tenure-track faculty has risen. Financial and credit-hour data are only available back to fiscal year 2005.  Since then, the cost per credit hour for tenure-track faculty has increased from 219 to 265, for non-tenure-track faculty from 135 to 146, and for academic administrators from 4.07 to 5.18.  A senator commented that it would be interesting to compare these figures with the rate of tuition increase during the same time period.  The above data was calculated using salaries and did not include benefits.  The committee’s full report was sent to the senators on email. 

VIII.  Reports from the Finance and Administration Committee, on ten-year trends of faculty, administration and staff positions – The charge was to review the ten-year trend of faculty versus administration and staff positions.  Data was provided by David Proulx in November on the number of full-time-equivalent faculty, the total nine-month compensation, the number of student credit hours delivered, and the percent time bought out by research grants, contracts and endowments.  This data was by rank, school, and year.  The committee had requested that the data cover 1990 to 2011 but only received data for 2005 to 2011.  Robert Woodward presented the following conclusions.  (1) There are minimal increases in overall costs per credit hour.  (2) CEPS costs are higher due to labs, but dropping.  (3) COLA is increasingly depending on non-tenure-track teachers.  (4) About 50% of credit hours at UNH now seem to be delivered by non-tenure-track faculty.

Regarding net teaching wage-and-salary cost per credit hour for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty combined, UNH as a whole rose 10%, from $150 in 2005 to $165 in 2011, showing a 1.58% annual increase.  CEPS costs were higher due to labs but fell 14%, from $259 in 2005 to $223 in 2011.  Regarding the net teaching wage-and-salary cost per credit hour for tenure-track faculty, UNH rose 21%, from $219 in 2005 to $265 in 2011, showing a 3.21% annual increase.  CEPS fell 15%, from $369 in 2005 to $312 in 2011; and COLA rose 54%, from $197 in 2005 to $302 in 2011.  Regarding the net teaching wage-and-salary cost per credit hour for non-tenure-track faculty, UNH rose 5%, from $75 in 2005 to $79 in 2011; COLA rose 17%, from $45 in 2005 to $53 in 2011; and CHHS rose 26% from $122 in 2005 to $154 in 2011.  Regarding the percent of credit hours taught by non-tenure-track faculty, UNH rose 16%, from 43% in 2005 to 50% in 2011; COLSA rose 27% from 30% in 2005 to 38% in 2011; and COLA rose 32% from 48% in 2005 to 63% in 2011.  The conclusions are:  (1) that UNH experienced only minimal increases in overall costs per credit hour, (2) that CEPS costs are higher, due to labs, but are dropping, (3) that COLA is increasingly depending on non-tenure-track faculty, and (4) that about 50% of credit hours at UNH are delivered by non-tenure-track faculty.

A senator noted that, in 2010, COLA changed to a two-course-per-semester teaching load for tenure-track faculty, rather than the previous two/three load; and the college hired more non-tenure-track faculty at that time.  As to why the administration did not supply the 1990-2004 data, part of the reason may be that the Banner system changed; and so the earlier data is harder to retrieve, although it must be available in some manner.

IX.  Motion from the Academic Affairs Committee, on e-meritus faculty courses – The motion, from the Academic Affairs Committee, on authority over courses taught by professors emeriti or emeritae, is as follows:  “The Faculty Senate reminds all deans and chairs that only departments may approve courses and their instructors.  Retired professors are no longer members of their former department and may not teach courses of any kind without its approval.”  The committee chair expressed concern that a number of retired or soon-to-retire professors may have been offered the opportunity to teach an on-line course (an “e-meritus” course) by the dean of their college, thus by-passing the authority invested in departments or their chairs.  This motion expresses what should be the standard practice but may have been circumvented.  Senators said that some courses are taught not by departments but by programs.  Another professor said that, since the Thompson School is part of COLSA, the Thompson School director is sometimes considered like a department chair and has hired faculty rather than letting that be done at the program level as is normally done elsewhere.  The Thompson School has seven programs and no specific departments.  The senate chair asked the senators to send to the committee chair proposed modifications to the motion.  The motion might be revised to say that approval of courses to be taught by retired professors should follow the standing procedure for regular courses or perhaps that the approval should be done at the program level.  The committee will consider a revision.  The issue was postponed unanimously until the next senate meeting.

X.  Resolution from the Research and Public Service Committee, on the definition of research/scholarship – The committee proposed a motion as follows:

Whereas “scholarship” and “research” are terms subject to interpretations that denote different practices and activities depending on the contexts in which they are used, and whereas the creative practices and activities of the musical, visual, and performing arts are obscured when terms are confined to “research” and “scholarship,” however defined, and whereas activities and practices denoted by the terms “research,” “scholarship,” or “artistry” are informed primarily by the specific, organized, professional fields and disciplines of study and investigation that adjudicate them, and whereas academic departments define what constitutes research,” “scholarship,” or “artistry” in promotion and tenure processes based on standards informed by the specific, organized, professional disciplines and fields of study from which candidates earn their professional status and establish their expertise, and whereas professional disciplines and fields of study will vary regarding what activities and practices constitute scholarship, research, or artistic activities and practices, the faculty senate resolves that scholarship, research, and artistry are necessarily defined according to standards adopted by academic departments based on activities and practices of the professional disciplines they respectively represent.

The committee chair said that this definition should always be considered in the broadest sense, to include all departments and disciplines.  A senator asked that the second “whereas” refer to the “fine and performing arts”.  The matter was postponed until the next senate meeting.

XI.   Report from the Committee on Organization of Science and Engineering, on schools – Faculty are asked to read the full twenty-page COSE report which was circulated to the senators in writing.  To summarize, the ad-hoc committee was formed by the Agenda Committee of the Faculty Senate in May of 2011, in response to an initiative by Academic Affairs to investigate the feasibility of merging the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA), the Earth, Oceans and Space Institute (EOS), and Agricultural Cooperative Extension. The rationale for this merger was presented as offering significant budgetary savings as well as promoting interdisciplinary research.  This Academic Affairs initiative surfaced suddenly in April of 2011, with a plan for a final decision to be made in December of 2011.  Prior to this initiative, proposals for creation of three schools (School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, School of Earth System Science, and School of Public, Community and International Service) were advanced from Academic Affairs, with the first two being most immediate. The merger initiative appears to have been closely connected to the schools proposals and was explicitly suggested as an option in the School of Earth System Science proposal.  On July 22, 2011, a retreat was hosted by Academic Affairs to consider the merger plan as well as the schools initiatives. The merger plan received an overwhelmingly negative review by the participants, a reflection of the much broader rejection of this idea by members of the core units; and Academic Affairs publicly abandoned this initiative at the retreat. A substantial number of the participants chosen by Academic Affairs were tenured faculty and research faculty who were strong advocates of the schools proposals.  Supported by the positive response from this group, Academic Affairs accelerated its initiative for the two science schools. Recognizing that the original merger proposal and the schools initiative were strongly linked, COSE focused its efforts on the schools proposals and closely-related issues. On January 9, 2012, Provost Aber hosted the Summit on the Formation of a School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, devoted primarily to the Marine School proposal, the overall plan and design for schools, and briefly the Earth Systems Science School proposal.  On January 19, another meeting was held to consider further the School of Earth Systems Science proposal.

The purpose of the ad-hoc COSE report is to provide relevant background information. In contrast, the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee (UCAPC) is a standing committee of the UNH Faculty Senate. UCAPC's charge includes helping to resolve problems which arise between colleges, concerning academic programs, and taking a proactive role in anticipating and avoiding such problems.  In this context, UCAPC remains very much engaged in the schools issue and has participated in dialogue with the provost. UCAPC will issue recommendations pertaining to the schools proposals. COSE has communicated with the leadership of UCAPC and is providing this report to UCAPC as well as the Faculty Senate, as these bodies consider the proposals from Academic Affairs.  The COSE report expressed detailed concerns about a number of structural issues regarding schools outside of colleges, numerous financial issues, the importance of modeling, impacts on undergraduate and graduate education, shared governance, and research faculty members' roles, space requirements and promotion procedures.  At the January 19 meeting, the Director of EOS articulated three maxims for successful inauguration of the proposed schools:  start the schools healthy; plan the schools so that they are sustainable; and do no harm to others.  These are wise words, and all three conditions need to be met.

The following are conclusions reached in the COSE report.  (1) The development of schools has no precedent at UNH. While that is no reason to reject them, there needs to be much more detail provided and open discussion concerning organization and governance.  The potential proliferation of new interdisciplinary (“out-of-the-silo”) programs, administered by Academic Affairs, may reduce the influence of colleges and departments.  (2) Planning for a marine school started over four years ago, while the plan for an earth systems school is of much more recent vintage. One can sympathize with the long-standing efforts of the marine program faculty. However, it was incumbent upon Academic Affairs at the outset to provide guidance concerning the detailed information that would be required, and these details are still largely lacking.  (3) What are the consequences of having a large number of research faculty members reporting outside of colleges?  Will the promotion procedure be an extension of the one adopted unilaterally by the central administration for some CEPS research faculty members?  Promotion procedures must be defined.  (4) From a budgetary perspective, the schools proposals appear to work at cross purposes with efforts to control the university’s finances while maintaining high quality education. There is the potential for a “double whammy” for colleges and academic departments, by combining reduction of academic programs and non-replacement of faculty for stated budgetary reasons, while requiring additional reductions to accommodate the proposed schools.  (5) The financial impacts of the two science schools appear to be quite large and come at a time when the UNH leadership indicates that it is facing unusual financial challenges and is actively exploring “vertical cuts” in programs for mitigation purposes. The budgetary impacts of these proposed schools need to be openly and properly modeled.  One useful comparison might involve study of the financial impact of the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.  (6) Will undergraduate tuition be required, in effect, to replace some of the $20 million per year decrease in external funding of the marine program that occurred between FY 2007 and 2008?  (7) Why are two science schools, with considerable overlap, being proposed by Academic Affairs rather than only one school?  This question is timely and relevant in light of Academic Affairs’ recent unsuccessful initiative to merge two very complex colleges (CEPS and COLSA) and a university institute (EOS).  (8) If the two proposed schools are folded into EOS, that will fundamentally change the mission of EOS.  What will be the impacts upon CEPS and COLSA?  (9) The principles of shared governance need to be respected.  While shared governance can be inefficient at times, it acts as part of a system of checks and balances against short-term or idiosyncratic decision making.  At a university that seeks excellence, it is an effective management technique.  (10) Most of the issues raised here are critical, particularly for COLA faculty if a public policy/service school proposal is formally advanced.  Today the senate chair said that UCAPC will consider these matters and make a recommendation on schools to the Faculty Senate.

XII.  E-UNH update – Terri Winters, who is the director of academic technology, said that on-line courses at UNH include the following:  215 hybrid, asynchronous, and synchronous courses from summer of 2009 through January term of 2012, with 4173 students enrolled; 160 e-courses with asynchronous delivery such as Discovery Program courses, with 3219 students enrolled; one graduate certificate available on line, on industrial statistics, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics; and current work with MBA, MPA, MSW, and a Masters in Education.  The E-UNH vision includes flexibility, options, choices for current UNH undergraduate students, selected graduate and professional programs (MBA, MSW, MPA, and a Masters in Education), and programs for nearly-completed university students, non-degree students, and high school seniors.  E-UNH governance will include an E-UNH advisory board, a working group, and collaboration with the associate deans.  Current work includes teaching on-line sessions for schools and colleges.  Over 120 faculty have attended those sessions in COLA, WSBE and COLSA; and sessions are scheduled in UNH-M, CEPS and CHHS. The group is working with programs for the MBA, MSW, MPA and a Masters in Education, the on-line learning partnership, a Business Analysis and Business Model  Working Group looking at professional development and training and Continuing Education operations and how best to align them with E-UNH, the virtual learning academic charter school, and the 2012 summer session which has 65 e-courses.

Assessment will be done via the Sloan-C quality scorecard categories, and the group will also look at support services which faculty need in order to develop on-line courses.  This effort is building on the “bricks and mortar” report by Ted Kirkpatrick and will offer e-courses every term.  The group plans to select a company to help UNH with structures such as marketing analysis, enrollment management, and recruiting.  UNH currently has provided a request for proposals, to seek a partner to assist with developing on-line programs.  Six vendors responded, and a group of faculty and staff will review the proposals and recommend which vendors to bring to campus.  Ihab Farag is the faculty member appointed by the Faculty Senate to participate in this effort.  About 90% of the students taking the e-courses are from UNH but usually do not take the course while on campus.  There is feedback from both faculty and students, and there are many adult learners.  A senator asked if a student's transcript would show whether the course was face to face or on line.  A new version of Blackboard is planned for August.

XIII.  Motion on credit hours – On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Art Greenberg presented a motion on credit hours, to the Faculty Senate.  He said that we do not intend to interfere with academic freedom and confirmed that the wording of the motion is consistent with federal regulations and has been accepted by USNH counsel, NEASC, the senate’s Agenda Committee, and the chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee.  A friendly amendment was accepted, to add “each week” at the end of the second sentence.  The policy will be included in the UNH catalog, and there will be a normal review of the curriculum in 2015.  After a brief discussion, the motion was approved unanimously as follows:

UNH Credit Hour Policy:  The University of New Hampshire is in compliance with the federal definition of credit hour.  For each credit hour, the university requires, at a minimum, the equivalent of three hours of student academic work each week.  Academic work includes, but is not limited to, direct faculty instruction, e-learning, recitation, laboratory work, studio work, field work, performance, internships, and practica.  Additional academic activities include, but are not limited to, readings, reflections, essays, reports, inquiry, problem solving, rehearsal, collaborations, theses, and electronic interactions.  Student work reflects intended learning outcomes and is verified through evidence of student achievement.

 XIV.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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