UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 10 March, 2003




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Barcelona, Burger, Elmslie, Frankel, Kraft, Lugalla, Marx, Nicovich, Niesse, Pollard, Schlentrich, Smith, Strait and Woodward. Laue was excused. President Hart, Chancellor Reno, Gregg Sanborn, and Mark Rubinstein attended part of the meeting.

II. Minutes - A professor suggested that, in the fourth sentence of the second paragraph of item IV of the 2/24/02 Faculty Senate minutes, the reference to possible future shuttle service from churches in Durham should not refer to Durham. The senate agreed that this sentence should be reconfirmed with the vice president for financial affairs and changed if needed. The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously with that potential change.

III. Communications with the President - The president asked faculty to help their students to understand that, as good citizens of the community, the students should choose recreational activities which are safe and legal. The president expressed her affirmation and support for the accreditation self-study, which has been very helpful. She asked that faculty read the full Transportation Policy Committee report and appendices, which give complex, multi-faceted recommendations and are available on the web. Also, faculty who would like to contact state legislators can find on the web a list of the legislators.

IV. Communications with the Chancellor - The chancellor said that the legislative session has begun and that the university system presented the budget proposal to both the outgoing and the incoming governors and indicated that the cost of benefits is increasing rapidly. Using this fiscal year as a base, Governor Benson has proposed a five percent budget reduction for the first year of the biennium and a two percent cut for the second year of the biennium. The university system is working also with the legislature regarding the budget and made a presentation to the house Finance Committee, asking for increases of 6.4 percent in the first year and 6.2 percent in the second year. Almost seventeen percent of our budget or about $83,100,000 comes from the state. The university system understands the governor's challenge and the state's problems, but we also know the needs for higher education and must continue to work with the legislature on these issues.

In 2001, the legislature appropriated $100,000,000 for capital improvements, although the university system had submitted needs of $185,000,000 for a six year period. So USNH is asking for the remaining $85,000,000 which, due to inflation, now amounts to $96,000,000. The governor did not include any funds for this purpose in his budget, and USNH gave a presentation on these matters to the house committee. The USNH proposal showed that the state could afford these capital improvements without jeopardizing its bond rating. The chancellor asks that faculty communicate with New Hampshire citizens and legislators regarding the value that the university and other system institutions bring to the state. The chancellor complimented the trustees' commitment and hard work on this effort and said that the trustees see their job as being to find the resources that will enable faculty to do their work.

The trustees have asked the university system to address certain questions. How can we better martial the resources of the university system to be sure that we are fully in tune with the needs of the state? Is the university system organized in the best possible way to serve that purpose? What improvements could we suggest? What should be the relationship between the community technical colleges and the university? Preliminary findings on these issues will be presented in April. Our goal is to find a way to work more effectively together to save resources. We are developing some good relationships with the other types of institutions in the state. For example, we have completed a transfer agreement with the community technical colleges that includes "two-plus-two" programs and dual admission programs. Consideration is being given to a community technical center in Berlin and more baccalaureate opportunities in the Berlin area.

Competency-based achievement is being reviewed to see how it can be used to meet university admission standards. The chancellor has met with the New Hampshire delegates to the United States legislature and wants to follow up on federal funding opportunities. There is a growing concern about accountability in higher education including faculty productivity, use of facilities, scheduling, and time to degree. It is our challenge to explain the value to New Hampshire, of educating the needed college graduates for the state, doing research, and collaborating with the state's needs in many other areas. The university is reaching out to form partnerships across the state. Those partnerships help to stabilize the university and the system institutions and make budget work in Concord much easier. Partnerships currently exist in such areas as economics, health care, the environment, and education.

A faculty member asked what the system is doing to ensure that the Governor's Council understands these matters. A faculty member got a grant in collaboration with the state Fish and Game Department, but the Governor's Council did not approve. The chancellor said that the university system tries to watch the agenda and speak to the councilors in advance. He will talk with Kathy Salisbury and Gregg Sanborn about this issue. Such partnerships are a benefit to the state, because they produce needed information and bring federal dollars to the state.

Regarding the upcoming faculty contract negotiations, the Board of Trustees has decided that its approach will be different in Durham and in Keene this year. The trustees will work with the chancellor to establish general parameters and then give the negotiating responsibility to the senior administrators. There is a tight budget situation this year. Under our current budget proposal, tuition for the 2004/05 academic year is expected to include 4.5 percent increases in both in-state and out-of-state tuition. The marketplace for higher education is very competitive now, and tuition increases could have an immediate impact on enrollment. At the present time, UNH is perceived as good value for the money.

V. Academic Calendar - Gregg Sanborn said that the initial academic calendar guidelines were set up in March of 1997 and that the Faculty Senate added guideline eleven in February of 2002. He asked for approval of the proposed 2004/05 academic calendar, which has the fall break on Friday, October 15, rather than on Monday, the traditional Columbus Day, recommended in guideline eleven and the 2/25/02 Faculty Senate motion. He said that, although many faculty would like the university break to occur when their children are out of school for Columbus Day, the change to Friday was suggested due to low class attendance last Thanksgiving when the Monday classes were scheduled on the Wednesday prior to the holiday. This problem would occur only in certain years, depending on the date on which university classes begin. Gregg Sanborn explained that there are many more university classes after 4:00 p.m. on Mondays than on Fridays and also that many more courses meet on Mondays than on Fridays; and so using Friday as the replacement day minimizes the impact. The mid-semester holiday could be eliminated, but it was instituted in order to relieve the stress of having a long period with no break.

Mark Rubinstein suggested that, if required courses were scheduled on Friday afternoons, this would create better use of classroom space. A professor said that, for laboratory courses, the practice of saying that a certain-day-of-the-week class will fall on another day of the week wreaks havoc on the laboratory and the teaching schedule. He suggested that, since fewer laboratory classes meet on Fridays, the break should be moved to Friday permanently. Another professor said that a number of part-time faculty who have other jobs cannot change the day of the week. A professor suggested holding Saturday classes. A faculty member said that students claim that a class is their only one on Friday and that they must get home. Mark Rubinstein said that a roster could be made available of how many classes a professor's students have on Friday.

Mark Wrighton moved and Drew Conroy seconded that the Faculty Senate reaffirm its 2/25/02 motion establishing guideline eleven regarding the standard Columbus Day. The motion was defeated. Kelly Giraud moved and Mimi Becker seconded a motion that the fall break be on Friday, October 15, 2004, and that the 2004/2005 academic calendar proposed in Gregg Sanborn's letter be approved, as a one-time exception to the guideline. This motion passed with twelve ayes, nine nays, and five abstentions.

VI. Communications from the Chair - The senate chair said that, if a faculty member uses a copying company which does not comply with the copyright laws regarding the material to be copied, the faculty member could be personally liable. The university has asked such a company to cease using the university seal on those materials. The senate chair said that she will provide a handout on this issue and that faculty should be careful where they have copying done.

Candidates for provost will come to campus for interviews after spring break. There will be meetings with the Agenda Committee and times for other faculty to meet the candidates as well, and faculty are asked to participate in those meetings.

VII. Reconsideration of the Motion on Software to Detect Plagiarism - On behalf of the senate's Student Affairs Committee, Mark Wrighton moved that the senate reconsider its 2/10/03 motion on software to detect plagiarism. The senate unanimously approved reconsidering the motion. A friendly amendment was made that the first sentence of this motion be changed to: "The Faculty Senate urges the provost's office to purchase site licenses for software to be used to detect plagiarism and to work with the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate to establish guidelines for its use." The senate's Student Affairs Committee works closely with the president of the student body. The senate committee working on the plagiarism issue would bring any proposal about guidelines to the Faculty Senate for approval.

The senate chair said that Terri Winters of CIS Academic Technology emailed her that the Office of Academic Technology has investigated programs to detect plagiarism and would be happy to provide information on this issue. A professor said that the Student Handbook lays out the process to be followed if a student is accused of cheating. Concern was expressed that the software should identify plagiarism correctly and without fishing expeditions. Another friendly amendment was made and accepted to change the first sentence of the original motion to say: "The Faculty Senate with the vice president of academic affairs will explore technologies available for detecting plagiarism and will consider the ramifications of the use of these technologies." This final amendment was passed unanimously; and the approved motion is: "The Faculty Senate with the vice president of academic affairs will explore technologies available for detecting plagiarism and will consider the ramifications of the use of these technologies. The 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."

VIII. Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned.

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