UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 19 March, 2012

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2011-12 FACULTY SENATE

MARCH 19, 2012 - MINUTES SUMMARY

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Chavda, Shannon, Shore, Simos and Woods.  Guests were Kevin Charles, Paula Salvio, Christina Bellinger, Faye Richardson and Kristen Woytonik.

II.  Remarks by and questions to Kevin Charles, on the employee health clinic – Kevin Charles, who is the executive director of UNH Health Service, said that UNH Health Services has always provided some services to USNH employees and that the new Employee Clinic is an expansion of these services. He added that the clinic, which opened on 2/27/2012, presents a cost-effective alternative for employees seeking convenient services, for often same day care and certain services such as routine lab tests or x-rays (even when ordered by the primary health care provider or other outside provider) and low-cost generic prescription medications. Employees will soon be able to make appointments and check test results online.  The clinic is located in the Health Services Center (across Main Street from Holloway Commons) and there is reserved parking, available on a first-come, first-served basis for patients.  The Employee Clinic has its own space within Health Services Center, including its own waiting room. The clinic does not replace the primary health care provider.  The clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and employees may also use the pharmacy, laboratory and radiology during Health Services hours.  The Employee Clinic is not open during holidays or when the university is closed for curtailed operations.  Contact information is (603) 862-HLTH (4584) and unh.edu/health-services/employee-clinic.

For USNH employees who have Harvard Pilgrim Health Care coverage, co-pays are only $10 per visit.  Laboratory services are, in general, less expensive than getting a test at a hospital outpatient department; and our pharmacy carries many low cost generic prescriptions for $5 and a number of non-prescription medications at reduced cost.  Medical care is available for infections, injuries, acute health problems, and some other needs including immunizations, allergy injections, and biofeedback.  The Health Services pharmacy also has a number of non-prescription medications at reduced cost compared to local retailers.  The Health Services Laboratory provides most standard diagnostic lab tests, and results can be faxed back to the ordering health care provider's office.  The Health Services Radiology Department performs many standard diagnostic x-rays, and results can be faxed back to the ordering health care provider's office.  Employees do not have to get a referral from the primary health care provider if they have USNH HPHC coverage.  Employees with other health care coverage should check with the coverage provider.  Health Services is a participating (in-network) provider with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) and some Anthem plans.  Other insurance plans are able to be billed.  For services not covered by insurance, employees may pay with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, or Cat's Cache.  All services offered at the Employee Clinic are provided by board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners, including two physicians and four nurse practitioners, as well as support staff.  All of the visits and information contained in the electronic health records at the Employee Clinic are kept confidential, in compliance with federal and New Hampshire state laws.  With rare exceptions, no information about visits to the Employee Clinic will be shared with the employee’s supervisor, the university, or anyone else, without the employee’s written consent.

III.  Report from the Teaching Evaluation Committee – Paula Salvio thanked faculty for taking the survey and supporting this initiative.  The committee began to meet during the fall of 2011 to address the current method used to evaluate teaching at UNH.  This method, first used in 1987, has never been revised despite its ‘high stakes’ status.  Not only is it used to determine promotion and tenure cases but, in many instances, this evaluation is the only form of assessment used to determine the value of a faculty member’s teaching.  The recent faculty survey was administered after a careful study of the literature on evaluating teaching in higher education contexts, a review of how aspirant and comparator institutions evaluate teaching, and informal discussions with faculty and administrators.  Dan Reagan, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at UNH-Manchester, also attended a conference in Indianapolis on planning and institutional improvement.  One of the key insights after the conference was the consensus that teaching evaluation is distinct from measuring student learning. The committee’s charge is to assess the current teaching evaluation form, protocols for its administration, and its applicability to current classroom practices and to consider best practices at other universities.  The committee worked with Student Senate which is also doing a student survey on teacher evaluation.

The faculty survey received 301 responses from a pool of 1,295.  The committee’s analysis of the data and the qualitative material thus far is that faculty are not satisfied with the present form and feel it does not provide an accurate assessment of their teaching abilities.  Faculty are interested in feedback from students, but what they are not happy with is uninformed feedback.  They have serious concerns about students commenting on aspects of teaching which they are not capable of or knowledgeable about assessing.  This analysis suggests that a revised evaluation would move forward with the principle of asking students to comment only on what they are positioned to comment on, such as late assignment turn-around, respect for students, etc.  Items which call for more specialized knowledge, such as relevancy of materials to the subject of the course, would be removed.  Based on an initial reading of the results, the committee recommends that the following questions be seriously considered for a new evaluation form:  (1) rate the intellectual challenge of this course, (2) rate how much you learned in this course, and (3) did the instructor hold me to high standards of performance.  Based on research about other institutions and faculty response, the committee is also exploring and will most likely recommend the use of a flexible survey that includes a set of five core questions combined with an a la carte menu of questions that faculty would use, depending on class size, college, department, course, graduate/undergraduate, lab, seminar style and so forth.  The evaluation form, however, should be combined with at least two other sources of documentation of teaching, which may include peer review, self-assessments, teaching portfolios, etc.  In other words, the committee recommends that data on teaching be triangulated.

Please send input on these matters to Paula Salvio.  The full recommendation is expected to be ready on April 23.  The committee thought that faculty should choose the questions for their type of course from among the questions listed in the menu.  This committee is not addressing how on-line courses should be assessed.  The committee is trying to get more information on how the score of the teacher evaluation by students at UNH correlates with the grade received by the student and perhaps the student’s year in school.  A senator suggested getting rid of the current question fourteen, and the committee chair responded that the faculty survey did not bear that out.  There is a tension between the qualitative and the quantitative data.  A senator said that, many years ago, the university administration had promised that the teacher evaluation by students would never be used for promotion and tenure and teacher ratings.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the Faculty Senate has many important issues to consider between now and the end of the semester, including teacher evaluations, promotion and tenure standards, the proposal for new schools, the charges of the senate’s ad-hoc committees, and other matters.  The senate chair invited faculty senators to attend a dinner with student senators on April 2 at 5:30 pm in Philbrook Dining Hall, at a cost of $11.  The chair of the Student Affairs Committee said that the previous dinner was a great success and that she will let Student Senate know that financial help might be available if needed for student senators without dining hall passes.  The senate chair said that faculty senators should communicate with the students on a wide range of issues.

V.  Minutes – The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for two abstentions.

VI.  Motion from the Academic Affairs Committee, on e-meritus faculty coursesThe revised motion from the Academic Affairs Committee is as follows:  “Deans and chairs are reminded that all “e-meritus” courses must be approved by the same unit (usually department or program) that approves all other courses of every kind.”  The committee chair remarked that there has been an incident which impelled the committee to recommend this motion.  The senate passed the motion, with thirty-eight ayes and one abstention.

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

Whereas “scholarship” and “research” are terms that are 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 fine 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 adjudicate the quality of what constitutes “scholarship,” “research,” 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 artistry or research activities and practices, the faculty senate resolves that scholarship, research, and artistry are necessarily adjudicated according to standards adopted by academic departments based on activities and practices authorized by the specific, organized, professional disciplines they respectively represent.

The committee chair said that some valid research does not provide new knowledge but confirms previous results, as is needed in the sciences.  The original concern which led to this motion was about wording in documents by the administration or administration-selected committees.  Today’s motion is a statement from faculty on the variability of research.  After discussion and acceptance as a friendly amendment, a preamble was added as follows:  “The University of New Hampshire has articulated its goal of being a ‘research’ institution.  The Faculty Senate would like the administration to recognize the following understanding of ‘scholarship’ and ‘research’.”  The amended motion passed with all ayes except for one nay and one abstention.

VIII.  Report from the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee, on general schools policy and on individual schools – Today’s UCAPC report to the Faculty Senate on the proposed University Policy on Interdisciplinary Schools at the University of New Hampshire will be essentially the same as the report of February 13.  UCAPC is still working with the provost’s office on the proposed Policy on Interdisciplinary Schools at the University of New Hampshire.  UCAPC has also met with Win Watson of the proposed Marine and Ocean Sciences School, to review the latest proposal.  The concerns from February have not all been resolved, and so UCAPC is still not ready to make a recommendation.  Since February 13, UCAPC has received a revised proposal and a set of budget principles, concerning the School for Marine and Ocean Sciences, and a set of frequently asked questions from the provost concerning the general proposal for a policy.  Some of the issues raised the COSE report have been discussed in the FAQs and the Marine School proposal.

 Some of the changes to the policy document that have come out of UCAPC’s discussions are as follows.   The proposal must have clear vision, mission, rationale, goals, organization and structure, including a plan for leadership, outline of responsibilities, membership and governance, a three-to-five-year budget proposal, timeline for establishment, and a plan for review and assessment of outcomes relative to goals.  This last may be interpreted as a sunset clause that defines school success and what will happen if the school does not meet its goals.  A straightforward statement to that effect would please UCAPC.  The revised proposal also delineates the essential characteristics of a school.  The latest draft of the proposed policy was sent to UCAPC on January 16.  As a result of discussion at the Provost’s Summit on the Marine and Ocean Sciences School, the provost removed the statement that some tenure-track faculty would reside in the schools.  In the latest version, all tenure-track faculty reside in the departments.  The UCAPC members feel that this is a very important point, because it preserves the traditional path for promotion and tenure for tenure-track faculty.  

A concern that has been expressed by both the COSE ad-hoc committee and UCAPC is the path for promotion for research faculty who are attached to the schools instead of the departments.  According to the proposed policy document, “Schools will participate in promotion and tenure recommendations for jointly appointed tenure-track, research, and clinical faculty consistent with the practices established for joint appointments”.  The policy document is silent on the procedure for promotion of research faculty.  However, the provost office’s document, Appointment of Research Faculty Policy and Procedures, states that research faculty appointments require the approval of the faculty in the department and the concurrence of the appropriate deans and the senior vice-provost for research.  According to the instructions entitled Preparing the Promotion Statement for Research Faculty, promotion of research faculty is through the home department; or in the case of joint appointments, the deans who made the original appointment form an ad hoc promotion committee.  In the case of schools, it appears that the home unit is the school and that the appropriate senior administrator is the director of the school. This gives research faculty in the schools a slightly different path than research faculty in the departments and colleges, but the requirements for promotion are the same.  The UCAPC chair said that UCAPC wants a clearer statement on who makes the promotion decisions and that UCAPC is expecting a response on that.

The policy document still allows schools to report to a central administrative unit or to the appropriate dean(s).  UCAPC was very clear that the schools should report to academic units, not to the office of the provost.  However, this change was not made, because the faculty groups that have proposals before UCAPC feel very strongly that it would be far too difficult and cumbersome to deal with multiple sets of administrative layers in different colleges, based upon the experience of the Carsey Institute.  Instead the schools would have the same status as the Honors Program, which reports to a senior vice provost.  In the Marine and Oceans School Proposal the deans and departments will sit on the Advisory Committee or alternatively the Marine School Board to review the activities and progress of the school and have input into the director’s annual review.  In the board scenario, the board will also review and approve the school budget.  This is very different from having the director report to the deans who have direct oversight over the schools.  Under the advisory committee scenario, the committee exists to “assure that Marine activities are included in strategic planning, hiring, and development”.  

Addressing the question of shared governance, full proposals will be reviewed by the relevant faculty governance groups at the department, college and university level.  Proposals concerning curricula are required to go through the same protocols as curricula in existing programs.  At this point the document says, “… the Director or steering committee may establish by-laws or guidelines as well as shared governance mechanisms consistent with College and university standards and principles outlined here.  School policies, practices, and actions are subject to review, approval, and oversight by the relevant Dean(s)/Director(s).  Program development—including curriculum planning and development, research activities (funded and unfunded), engagement and outreach programs, advancement activities, external partnerships, joint or affiliate faculty appointments, and related matters—require consultation with and approval by the relevant  Dean(s)/Director(s), unless designated to the Director”.  The Marine and Ocean Sciences School proposal includes faculty councils to advise on major activities.  UCAPC would like to see a stronger statement concerning shared governance within the schools; and it would be preferable if the statement were that the director or steering committee will do these things.

All along, UCAPC has had concerns about the effect of the schools on existing faculty and new faculty hires.  Since tenure-track faculty will still reside in the departments and colleges and since, per Lisa MacFarlane, the hiring process rests with the departments and deans, not the provost, the provost has the same authority about how hires are configured, searched for, and finalized whether the search involves a school or not.  How will departments replace faculty who become affiliated with the schools and are no longer available to teach undergraduate courses?  In the event that a faculty member’s commitment to a school draws him or her away from regularly taught courses, that faculty member, the department chair and the dean will work out how the regular courses will be taught.  This is determined within the departments and is specified in the memoranda of understanding (MOUs).  The Marine School proposal has some intriguing suggestions for using research faculty to teach undergraduate courses, while tenure-track faculty teach the graduate courses; but the idea has not been fully developed.

The budgetary impact model that was proposed has not materialized; instead UCAPC has received a set of Proposed Principles for a Budget from the Marine School group.  The budget principles include an accounting of initial funds available to the school, through the Marine Program and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and an explanation that the funds to pay for the director will come from efficiencies in the existing budget and increases in new revenues from graduate and certificate programs.  There is also “seed money” from the senior vice provost for research, that will continue for three years.  After three years, the school will lose that funding source.  It is the intention of the general proposal and the Marine School proposal that the schools will not use undergraduate tuition to fund the schools.  As primarily research units, the schools will be required to fund themselves.  However, the central administrative unit is funded by the tuition from the colleges, and this means that the colleges will be carrying the school for three years, unless there is some other source of funds available to the SVPR.  This is not acceptable.  UCAPC had also asked for a statement about when the schools will return the investment of the colleges, and that is not in the proposal.  Regarding the COSE report question about why there should not be just one school within EOS, the reason given in the provost’s FAQ sheet is that the university is not ready to create one entity which studies the interactions of atmosphere, land and oceans but that this could be the natural path for the schools to take.  There are administrative questions concerning placing the schools in EOS that have not been answered.  At this time there are still many questions before UCAPC, and so UCAPC is not ready to make a recommendation on the interdisciplinary schools at this time.

A senator asked, when a tenure-track faculty member applies to a school and the school wants to hire that person, who else must agree?  The UCAPC chair replied that the college dean or an executive board which includes deans would have to agree.  If the college dean were outvoted, is there a financial plan to replace lost funds for the college or department?  That is up in the air.  Many faculty would be teaching the same courses in the school as formerly in the department.  Graduate courses do not have large tuition monies.  However, there is concern that college deans will be expected to support the schools with funds from undergraduate tuition.  How will schools support themselves, and how will money flow to the colleges?  The COSE chair urged faculty to read the COSE report, especially the conclusions.  He added that, although the provost wants the schools issue to be resolved by the end of this semester, many questions have not been answered, including to whom the schools will report and what the budget will be, with a three-to-five-year model.  The provost has said that the schools would not report to the provost’s office.  The COSE chair said that the stakes are high and that a detailed budgetary proposal is necessary.  He added that currently the research faculty report to CEPS, EOS or COLSA but that, under the schools proposals, facilities and administrative (F&A) funds will move to the schools.   The UCAPC chair agreed with these concerns but said that UCAPC and the administration are still negotiating and may be moving closer to a solution.  A senator said that professors working in the marine area see a need for more visibility and easier interdisciplinary cooperation.  The senate chair said that we are now in a holding pattern regarding approval of schools and that the budgetary concerns are significant.  The UCAPC chair said that UCAPC will continue to work on this matter and that the senate should consider the benefits which the schools may have to the university and the state.  The senate chair said that, if there is a breakthrough on the schools issue, the senate will consider it.  There is no report today on RCM III.

IX.  Report from the Information Technology Committee, on public relations and on the public profile of faculty work – The first two charges of this committee are as follows:  (1) to disclose what messages or narratives about faculty work are conveyed through the UNH public relations office and news bureaus and (2) to consider what can be done to raise the public profile of ongoing faculty work through public communication. The tenure-track system is under attack and so is the value of education, from the administration, the legislators and the public. It is important to articulate the benefits of the tenure-track system. It is important for people to understand what this university does well. Promotion and tenure reviews and evaluations are often glowing, but people do not know that. Faculty members seem to have trouble getting out the message that we are hardworking and productive. Media relations staff put up on the university website only the president’s comments and not faculty concerns about those comments. How can that be addressed? What best practices have other universities established?  Establish a channel of communication with the university’s public relations and news groups.

The Information Technology Committee found that tenure is perceived negatively by most of the public and that mention of it seldom brings positive reaction.  In a Zogby poll, the question asked was:  “Do you agree or disagree that a professor who does not have tenure is more motivated to do a good job than one who does have tenure.”  In total, 65.3 percent agreed, 21.4 percent disagreed, and 13.3 percent were unsure.  Interestingly, only 55 percent had heard of tenure. The committee concludes that mentioning tenure does not appear to be a good way to create a positive image for tenured faculty.  Less than a quarter of college leaders who responded to a Pew research Center survey, done in association with The Chronicle of Higher Education, said that they would prefer full-time, tenured professors to make up most of the faculty at their institutions. Instead, 69 percent said that they would prefer that a majority of faculty work under long-term or annual contracts.  Leaders of private four-year institutions were less enamored of tenure than were their public peers.  Forty percent of leaders of four-year private colleges who responded to the survey, conducted this spring, expressed a preference for faculty with long-term contracts, while 30 percent favored tenure.  At four-year public institutions, half of the presidents surveyed said they preferred tenured faculty. Thirty-six percent preferred professors on long-term contracts. 

The committee report said that UNH media seek and publish positive information about faculty.  Positive messages about faculty are constantly presented in UNH web pages, the Campus Journal, UNH Today, UNH Press releases, UNH recruiting media of all kinds, Speaker’s Bureau, UNH Cooperative Extension, concerts, lecture series, performances and exhibits, and faculty outreach to business, community and charitable organizations.  Other universities appear to be doing exactly what UNH is doing.  The committee recommends that UNH web pages include short videos using the Boston Globe model, which starts as follows:

“We’d like you to get to know the extraordinary journalists who work in our organization on your behalf. Their talent and dedication are why you turn every day to The Boston Globe, Boston.com, and BostonGlobe.com for the news and information you need.  Here, they tell their own stories—what brought them into the profession, what inspires them as they do their work, how they see their mission in our community.”

The committee finds it unrealistic to expect UNH official publications to publish UNH faculty viewpoints that differ from the official UNH administration view when there is a political dispute like the current AAUP/UNH contract negotiation.  That function belongs to the AAUP.  The bottom line is that UNH faculty members are doing what they can to present a positive image to the public. Faculty must be encouraged to contact UNH Media Relations more frequently about the good work they do.  The IT Committee does not recommend references to tenure in media publications because of the negative connotations.  A senator suggested profiling one faculty member every week on the university’s home page, as some other universities do.

X.  Motion from the Campus Planning Committee, on the SARRC budget – The Campus Planning Committee proposed a motion on the SARRC budget.  The preamble was as follows.

The Space Allocation, Repairs and Renovation Committee, the website of which is at http://www.unh.edu/vpfa/sarrc.html, oversees the assignment, renovation, and extraordinary maintenance of all university buildings, grounds, roads, and related structures.  SARRC is a standing advisory committee to the president of the University of New Hampshire.  Committee membership includes the vice president for finance and administration (chair), the provost and vice president for academic affairs, the vice president for student and academic services, the UNH Foundation president & vice president for advancement, and the chief of staff for the president’s office.  The SARRC budget is primarily funded from two sources:  (1) the RCM square foot charge for facilities paid by colleges across the UNH campus; and (2) the deferred maintenance student fee.  SARRC’s current strategic improvements priority list reaches over $35 million in estimated project costs.  Many academic buildings on the UNH campus are in critical need of repairs and renovations. These buildings have pressing safety concerns.  Many are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Many are not able to meet the direct academic needs, instructional and research, of faculty and students.

In the past, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and UNH/SARRC have received state funding to offset some of the major repair, renovation, and renovation by replacement costs of existing academic buildings.  Given the current relationship among USNH, UNH, and the New Hampshire legislature, it is questionable whether this support will continue.  Even with the significant number of critical repair and renovation needs of existing academic buildings, the UNH administration approved construction of the brand new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics building.  UNH borrowed $12.5 million (at 5.25 percent interest) from USNH to cover building costs remaining after the Peter T. Paul gift, private fundraising, and WSBE reserves.  This loan is now a SARRC budget expense and its payment will use approximately 12 percent of the SARRC budget annually, even though this project was not identified previously as a critical repair and renovation need by SARRC.  To the committee’s knowledge, SARRC does not have a policy in place that limits the amount of its annual budget that can go toward new building ventures and projects versus existing repairs, renovations (e.g., James Hall), and renovations by replacement (e.g., Demeritt Hall) to existing buildings (the purpose of SARRC). Given that the updated Campus Master Plan envisions new building projects (e.g., a new center for the arts), the Faculty Senate is concerned that additional SARRC monies will be diverted away from the critical existing repair and renovation needs of academic buildings to fund new ventures.

The motion was as follows.

The Faculty Senate of the University of New Hampshire advises the university administration to develop and communicate to the Faculty Senate a justifiable and viable policy guaranteeing that the SARRC budget, funded primarily by the student deferred maintenance fee and the RCM square foot charge for facilities paid by colleges, should fund the repair and renovation projects reflected in the annual strategic improvements priority list in keeping with SARRC’s primary role. 

Consideration of the motion was postponed until the next senate meeting.

XI.  Motion on inclusive excellence – The Agenda Committee proposed the following motion, as the senate’s response to the Inclusive Excellence Report.

1.  The Faculty Senate endorses the principle of inclusive excellence.

2.  The Faculty Senate resolves that future reports concerning the Inclusive Excellence initiative (1) provide data showing the extent to which the university climate and curriculum are conducive to inclusive excellence, (2) assess the level of sufficiency of both climate and curriculum in implementing the principle of inclusive excellence, (3) indicate in detail the budgetary resources needed to maintain the current climate and curriculum if sufficient, or (4) frame identifiable and measurable benchmarks for establishing sufficiency should the status-quo climate and curriculum be deemed insufficient, (5) detail specific budgetary resources needed to reach those benchmarks, and (6) assess the extent to which the benchmarks targeted and the methods used in the university’s efforts towards inclusive excellence are pursued in accordance with the principle of shared governance.

3.  The Faculty Senate will appoint or reappoint two faculty members each year to serve as senate representatives on the newly organized University Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, with the charges (A) to provide the senate chair and Agenda Committee with annual progress reports, as well as a fifth year comprehensive report in the 2014-2015 academic year, and (B) to be available to provide summary report presentations to the senate on invitation from the senate.  It is understood that, while these two faculty appointees will be participants in advancing the inclusive excellence initiative, their primary charge is to serve as representatives of the Faculty Senate as a whole.

The senate vice chair said that the Agenda Committee wants more contextualization and additional information in future reports.  They should be less abstract and more concrete.  The senate cannot approve the current report, since the senate has not received the latest draft of that report.  Consideration of the motion was postponed until the next senate meeting.

 XII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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