UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from  19 March, 2007

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2006/07 FACULTY SENATE

MARCH 19, 2007 - MINUTES SUMMARY    

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Afolayan, Bartos, Brown, Burger, Calculator, Griswold, Jacobs, Morgan, Naumes, Robertson, Schiller, and Walsh.  Excused were Senators Ament, Bailey, Chasteen, Graham, Haskins, Jolley, Miller, Reid, and Sharkey.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that, although he had noted that his February meeting with the interim president was cancelled and not rescheduled, a clarification has been made that the cancellation was due to illness.  The senate chair meant no offence and wishes the president fine health.

The RCM 101 summary on the university’s website has been reviewed, but that summary does not explain how the location of faculty members’ offices and laboratories affects overhead cost returns.  The senate chair has asked that faculty be given more information on that issue.

III.  Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting, with a modification to change the date in item VIII from 10/30/07 to 10/30/06.

IV.  Presidential search – The senate vice chair said that the search committee continues to make good progress on the search. 

V.  Potluck dinner for Student Senate – The Faculty Senate will hold a potluck supper for the sixty student senators on Monday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. in room 18, the MUB Entertainment Center.  The senate chair asked the faculty senators to sign up to bring food to that dinner and to state in advance what the dish will be, in order to avoid duplication. 

VI.  Motion on electronic grade submission – At the last senate meeting, David Feldman moved and Frank Birch seconded that the drop-down menu on the electronic grade submission form should show the description of what the letter grades mean, rather than the letter grades themselves.  The motion was tabled at that time and was brought forward for reconsideration today.  The motion means that, while the students would still receive the letter grade, the faculty members filling out the electronic grade submission form would see only the description of the meaning of the letter grades.  Since “C” is defined as an average grade but the actual average grade at UNH is considerably above a “C”, this motion is an effort to remind faculty of the meaning of each letter grade.  Some senators said that faculty are already aware of the grade definitions and that this change would be inappropriate.  Mark Wrighton moved and Larry Prelli seconded that the motion be referred to the senate’s Task Force on Grade Distributions, Course Evaluations, and Course Rankings.  The senate voted, unanimously except for one abstention, to refer the motion to the task force. 

VII.  Censure – Dale Barkey, as proxy for Senator Russ Carr of Chemical Engineering, said that he wished to place on the record a letter to the senate’s Agenda Committee from faculty from the Chemical Engineering Department, asking that the Faculty Senate go on record to repudiate behavior by the dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and to pass a motion of censure against the dean.  That letter, dated 2/22/07 and signed by all Chemical Engineering faculty except Dr. Fan, states: 

Dear Colleagues,

We, the Chemical Engineering faculty in the College of Engineering and Physical Science are writing to seek action by the Faculty Senate in a matter of grave concern to our department. As the Senate is aware, the Dean of CEPS, Joseph Klewicki, has sought to take from our department facilities previously assigned to us that we regard as essential to performance of our academic mission. While the principal spaces under contention are presently the subject of arbitration, the Dean more recently has attempted to eject the department from an office that he assigned to us in exchange for space elsewhere in the building.

With our full support, our Chair, Professor Stephen Fan, has sought to defend the interests of the department and explain to the Dean the reason this space was assigned to us. Despite the peremptory nature of the Dean’s replies, Professor Fan’s language has been well reasoned and temperate throughout the dispute. While the tone of the Dean’s correspondence has been distressing to us, we were shocked to see, in an email sent on February15, the Dean’s gratuitous and insulting remark that “Your argument is cause for me to question your competence, not only as a Chair, but as a rational human being.  In this matter, I have made my expectations clear. This discussion is now concluded.” This remark comes from an individual who is supposed to be a leader of the College, and it is in response to a Chair performing his duties in a capable and reasonable manner. Professor Fan has been on the Chemical Engineering faculty for over forty years, thirty of them as Chair. That he has held the support and trust of the entire department for such a length of time is testimony to our regard for his integrity and competence.

We believe that this behavior by the Dean cannot be allowed to stand. A simple withdrawal or apology is insufficient. When he is unable to respond to our Chair’s arguments with reason, he resorts to insult. No chair or member of the faculty should have to endure such treatment in retaliation for performance of his or her duties. We ask that the Senate go on record in repudiating this behavior and by passing a motion of censure against the Dean.

A senator asked (1) whether the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences is also contemplating meeting as a college and considering an action of no confidence against the dean and (2) if we have a sense whether the type of language at issue is an isolated incident or has been used against other faculty in the past.  The faculty members requesting the motion have not asked the faculty from their college to censure the dean.  A few senators mentioned other alleged cases of intemperate language to faculty by this dean, and the senate chair cautioned that senators should not make conclusions from reports which are hearsay.  Another senator said that the issue of pattern of behavior is irrelevant, since the letter specifies a single incident.  A professor said that consideration of this behavior is not part of a grievance procedure.

Last March and April, the Faculty Senate discussed the issue of whether there had been sufficient shared governance in CEPS, regarding a change in the allocation of space for the Chemical Engineering Department after the renovation of Kingsbury Hall.  The chair of an ad-hoc committee of CEPS senators recommended that the senate take no action at that time and said that the committee would continue to look for additional information on the matter.  The senate did not affirm that there had been sufficient shared governance but rather decided not to take action at that time.  The space issue was under arbitration then.  Today the matter before the senate is not governance or space but rather behavior. 

The pertinent portion of today’s minutes should be sent to the CEPS dean, and he could be given a chance to speak on these issues.  Senators asked what procedures were used in the past in similar circumstances.  A professor said that the use of intemperate language from a person of authority towards a supervisee is of more serious concern than such language among equals, because the supervisor’s language could imply a threat.  Moreover, written comments may be given more weight than oral ones and may become part of one’s professional record.  After extensive discussion, Dale Barkey made and Curt Givan seconded a motion that the senate repudiate the behavior and pass a motion of censure against the dean.  Mark Wrighton moved and Allen Drake seconded a motion to table the main motion until the Agenda Committee brings its recommendations to the senate.  The senate chair said that he assumes that the Agenda Committee will clarify procedures, invite the dean, and then bring the matter to the senate.

VIII.  Adjournment – Today’s meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            _______________________________________________________________________________________________

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