UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from  20 March, 2006

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2005/06 FACULTY SENATE

MARCH 20, 2006 - MINUTES SUMMARY 

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Afolayan, Burger, Deem, Ferber, Kallianpur, Lugalla, Macieski, Morgan, Onosko, Robertson, and Smith.  Brown, Jolley, Lyon and Tenczar were excused. 

II.  CEPS shared governance – An AAUP officer had asked the Faculty Senate to consider whether there is a possible problem of shared governance in CEPS, regarding a change in the allocation of space after the renovation of Kingsbury Hall.  This professor said that there was an agreement between the faculty and the CEPS dean and that this agreement, which was arrived at by shared governance, was abrogated by the new CEPS dean without shared governance.  Today the senate chair said that this shared governance question must be considered according to the principles confirmed in the Faculty Senate Constitution and in the motion on shared governance passed by the senate on 12/12/05.  The senate constitution states that:

The principle of shared governance in universities is long established by tradition and was formalized in the 1966 Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges). The Joint Statement affirms that the academic institution is a "joint effort," requiring communication and consultation among all constituencies, and addresses the distinctive responsibilities of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students in university governance.

The 12/12/05 senate motion says that:

The Faculty Senate reaffirms as well its commitment to the principle that the faculty has primary responsibility for curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, research, artistry, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.  On these matters, the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board, or delegated by it to the president, or delegated by the president to other administrative officers should be exercised adversely to the reasoned view of the faculty only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons communicated to the faculty.

The faculty senators from CEPS have discussed the matter with their departmental colleagues and others and met separately with the dean and the chair of the Chemical Engineering Department which lost the space.  There had been a decision by the new dean overturning the understanding or agreement with the previous dean.  The issue now before the senate is whether or not there was sufficient consultation and communication to constitute adequate shared governance, when the space allocation was changed.  Meetings on the change in allocation did take place, and there was email discussion as well.  Dan Bergeron was the chair of the Kingsbury Hall Renovation Committee and provided to the senate’s ad-hoc committee good information about the original document detailing the Kingsbury Hall renovation.  That document was an excellent example of shared governance at work; but was the document a plan or an agreement?  Deans have responsibility for space allocation, in consultation with faculty.  How much consultation is required for shared governance?  The original document did not give any department just what it wanted, and CEPS has a budgetary deficit.  The space in the Morse high bay laboratory, which was used partly for teaching and was recently taken away from the Chemical Engineering Department, is now occupied by EOS and used for research.  Since the space went outside the college, there is a savings to CEPS for relinquishing the space.  What decisions were made by administrators other than the CEPS dean?  The matter is not clear cut, and the Ad-hoc Committee of CEPS Senators recommends that the Faculty Senate take no action at this time.  The committee will continue to look for additional information on the matter.  In the AAUP grievance on the space allocation for the high bay laboratory, talks have broken down, and the matter is going to arbitration.

III.  Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting.

IV.  Scholarship Guidelines –  The chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee said that the senate had discussed the scholarship guidelines at the February 6 senate meeting.  The senate’s Finance and Administration Committee had been charged to review last year’s Faculty Senate motion IX-M8 on scholarship guidelines and to consider the facts and cascading consequences of the change that had been proposed by the administration.  Unless a department-controlled scholarship specifies that it is merit based, the university planned to consider the scholarship to be need based.  This would mean that, if a department makes such an award, the amount would be deducted from the student’s financial aid package and thus the student would not receive any extra funds.  Today the senate committee proposed the following motion:

Hereby formalizing a well-established and traditional practice, the University of New Hampshire henceforth shall officially deem as "merit-based" all those student academic prizes that include a monetary award, excepting solely instances where the donor explicitly expressed a contrary intent on the occasion of making the grant.

The university, moreover, shall administer all merit-based awards in such manner that the actual financial benefit enjoyed by any student who receives such an honor does not in any way depend on, reflect or affect the student's status with respect to any university financial aid program.  The possibility of earning an honor should thus constitute a fair and equal academic incentive to every eligible candidate.

Thus, if the original donation did not specifically state that it was need based, the student would receive the award over and above any financial aid.  The senate chair said that he would inform the senators of the approximate amount of money that is used for need-based, school-specific and college-specific funds for undergraduate students [$263,273].  Also, some departments have been told that they cannot make awards to seniors, but Vice President Rubinstein said recently that the awards to seniors can be made and that he will correct the matter.  The senate unanimously passed the motion proposed by the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee.

V.  Hiring freeze – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that, with the assistance of the Offices of Institutional Research and Assessment and of Human Resources, the committee reviewed data on faculty turnover, administrator turnover, and student enrollment, from academic years 00/01 to 04/05.  After three straight years of growth, the total number of faculty fell in 04/05, back to the approximate level of 00/01, although some hiring of faculty occurred in each year studied.  The count of undergraduate students shows a moderate increase in that period, resulting in an increase in student/faculty ratio.  Hiring for PATs mirrors that of the faculty, but the number of principal and academic administrators increased by seven during those four years.  There were thirty-four fewer faculty at UNH in 04/05 than in 03/04.  Within certain programs, the loss of faculty and the prohibition on replacing them has had a severe affect.

VI.  ITAR – The chair of the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee said that the committee talked with Taylor Eighmy, who is the director of strategic initiatives for the Office of Research and Public Service, to discuss the export control and embargo policy review.  The committee recommended that Dr. Eighmy should present these policies and their rationale to the Faculty Senate.  The Research and Public Service Committee will provide input to the Working Group, to formulate a letter announcing upcoming forums open to interested faculty to discuss the policies.  The policies will also be posted on a Blackboard site set up by the Office of Research and Public Service.  Following the forums, at the same Blackboard site, faculty will be invited to submit written comments on the policies.  The Working Group will consider the faculty comments, when revising the policies.  In the meantime, the Working Group should be reconstituted to include additional faculty who would be impacted by these policies.  The revised draft of the policies would then be presented to the Faculty Senate for a vote.

VII.  Curtailment – Last semester, for the first time in thirteen years, an examination day was curtailed due to a snowstorm.  At the 2/20/06 Faculty Senate meeting, the Agenda Committee proposed a motion that, in the future, the provost should sequester the hours of 8:00 to 10:00 pm each day of exam week during fall semesters, to provide times during which exams cancelled during university curtailment could be re-scheduled.  Today the senate chair asked that the motion be left on the table and that the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee and Student Affairs Committee each designate members to form an ad-hoc committee to consider and make a recommendation to the senate on what the university should do if an examination day needs to be curtailed.

VIII.  Master Plan implementation – The chair of the senate’s Campus Planning Committee said that the committee was charged with tracking the Master Plan implementation.  The committee met with the university architect and head of the Office of Campus Planning, for a presentation on the university’s progress and planning regarding its physical plant.  The committee also reviewed the 2004 Campus Master Plan’s phasing of projects, as well as the fiscal year 07/08 listing of the university system’s two-year capital projects schedule.  The chair of the senate’s Campus Planning Committee recommends that the senate chair make sure that each year’s Campus Planning Committee be given the report from the prior committee.  This year’s committee recommends that any multi-story parking garages be located outside the core campus.  Secondly, the committee finds that buses, even those which are bio-diesel and propane powered, are objectionable due to their noise, odor, view-obstructing size, and traffic-clogging ability, as well as the unpredictability of their actual arrival.  The committee would prefer people movers, subways, cable cars or elevated monorails.  However, buses are subsidized by the federal government.

IX.  Task Force on Academic Expectations and Student Behavior – The chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee introduced a motion to the Faculty Senate with a rationale as follows:

In May of 2003, the UNH Faculty Senate approved a motion to constitute a task force to study the “links between student behavior and the university community’s expectations of student achievement.”  In April of 2004, the Executive Summary of the senate task force was released.  The task force identified four major high-priority links with associated recommendations critical to elevating and giving greater visibility to the academic mission of UNH:  1) faculty/student interaction, 2) the articulation of faculty expectations, 3) academic advising, and 4) student culture.  In September of 2004, the Faculty Senate asked the Student Affairs Committee to examine the Executive Summary and make recommendations for priority areas that are relevant to faculty. We have identified those priority areas where we believe Faculty Senate should place support.  

The motion presented to the senate is as follows:

In regards to Link II, The Articulation of Faculty Expectations, with the aim of acculturating a focus within the UNH community on the “life of the mind” and making it a coherent and consistent part of all major university activities from the admissions process through graduation, it is recommended that faculty initiate conversations with students both in and outside the classroom and communicate to students that faculty are interested in having more contact with them.  Faculty should clearly post and inform students of office hours and be present as scheduled.  Department chairs should ensure that courses are scheduled across all weekdays and class times.

In regards to Link III, Academic Advising, department chairs should ensure that one early fall faculty meeting is used specifically to discuss the academic vision and content of and advising procedures in the department’s major.

Faculty spoke for and against the motion, and some faculty expressed concern about what the motion would accomplish and how it might be used.  One faculty member asked for a motion requesting the administration to provide new resources to help faculty do their job better.  The committee chair said that David May of the University Hospitality Services would like to remind faculty that any student with a dining hall permit may invite a faculty member for a free meal in a university dining hall.  The Student Affairs Committee will review its motion in light of faculty comments at this senate meeting.

X.  RCM review issues – The chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee said that faculty including Mimi Becker and himself took part in the Responsibility Center Management review process.  He was a member of the State Appropriations Subcommittee and also attended many meetings of the Central Budget Committee, which reviewed recommendations from the RCM Steering Committee.  He said that these groups are all advisory to the UNH president; and until she announces her decisions on a number of points, it is difficult to evaluate the outcome of the entire exercise.  The process seems to have been quite thorough, and numerous issues have been subjected to review and analysis.  However, there has not been as much consideration of the underlying concept of RCM as there could have been.  There are significant aspects that are not necessarily self-evident to financial administrators, for example how deans and faculty react psychologically to RCM.  Although RCM has its positive points and the earlier central budgeting system had its shortcomings, the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee is thus far not persuaded that on balance RCM has been a benefit to UNH or to administrative and academic decision making.

Another faculty member said that some of the RCM review subcommittee recommendations have already been acted on by the Central Budget Committee via consensus statements.  The president may decide to revise the “hold harmless” policy over three or more years.  The administration may revise certain aspects of RCM but apparently intends to retain RCM as the university’s budget management tool.

XI.  Forestry – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that the Forestry Program, which is part of the Natural Resources Department, has lost a number of its faculty members and has not been allowed to replace them.  Mark Ducey, who is the program’s director, told the committee that the program was reaccredited in 2004 and that the accreditation report stated that the program needed to hire replacements for some of the faculty who had left the university.  The undergraduate enrollment in the program has declined; and although some of that decline may be due to a national trend, part may be due to concerns by high school guidance counselors about the university’s commitment to the program.  Several years ago the program was in good shape.  The university did not make a decision to cancel the program, but the decision to restrict hiring has had a strong negative affect on the program.  The university should make an informed decision to support or to phase out the program.  New Hampshire requires that foresters working in the state be licensed, and forestry is a very important industry in New Hampshire and provides twelve percent of the state’s gross product.  UNH has the only accreditation program in the state, although such programs exist in other New England states.  A professor suggested that the Faculty Senate should ask for appropriate strategic planning for programs affected by the hiring restriction.

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

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