UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 21 March, 2005





I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Broussard, Burger, Drake, Finkel, Herold, McCann, Nagy, Neefus, Powell, and Sheriff.  Excused were Ament, Pescosolido and Tenczar.  Jenna Coulp-Yu was a guest observer.

II.  Communications from the chair – Regarding the termination of the Associate of Arts degree formerly offered through the Division of Continuing Education and now offered through the Office of Outreach Education and Summer Studies, faculty were originally told that the degree would be closed in 2006; and that was corrected to 2008 on the supposition that such an advanced date was necessary to permit current students to finish the program.  The vice provost has said that he has received assurances from the USNH director of research and planning, that terminating the degree now will not adversely impact students currently in the AA program and that the students will be able to complete their AA degrees after the program termination date.  Therefore the program will be closed in the spring of 2005.

The Agenda Committee has sent to the senators for distribution to their departmental colleagues a clarification on shared governance as it pertains to administrators attending senate and senate committee meetings.  The senate chair has asked the provost to clarify his letter to faculty on that subject, and the provost replied that he would be glad to provide the kind of clarification that she requested.  A senator said that, since the provost’s original letter went to all faculty, his clarification should also be sent to all faculty; and the senate chair said she thought that the provost would agree to do that.

The senate had expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the student statement of commitment; and the Student Affairs Committee chair explained those concerns to the administration, which decided to withdraw the proposed changes and keep the statement of commitment as it has been in the past.

The provost is setting up a meeting for himself, the senate chair and vice chair, and the COLSA dean, to discuss how the director of the Biology Program should be chosen and to consider having the COLSA faculty elect an interim director for that program.

The proposed federal budget would provide no funding for the Agricultural Experiment Station Research Programs; and this would affect a great number of faculty positions here, in addition to graduate students.  The leaders of the land-grant universities have proposed substitute language for that bill, to reinstate this funding; and faculty would be welcome to write their United States senator in this regard.

It was pointed out at the university’s Central Budget Committee meeting that four of the six UNH colleges are exceeding their budgeted amounts and that COLSA, CEPS, LA and UNH-M have a joint deficit of three million dollars.  A tuition increase is likely.  New Hampshire is the lowest state in the nation per capita in its support of higher education.

Faculty and others had questioned the proposed twenty-two percent increase in rents for next year in the Forest Park housing.  The administration has now agreed to amortize the cost of the new housing over thirty years rather than the proposed five years, and thus the rental increase has been reduced.

The senate chair is a member of the Community Connections Council which will work to enhance communications between the university and the surrounding towns. 

The vice president for finance and administration has resigned effective December 31.  The president has asked the senate chair and vice chair about procedures for that search and whether it should be internal or external.  Many senators said that the search should be a standard external search with faculty representation on the search committee.  The administration wants the search to start soon in order to have a new person for cross-over transition in the fall.  Recently there have been a number of internal searches for senior administrators, and Paul McNamara moved and Barbara Krysiak seconded that the senate ask that there be a national search for the new vice president for finance and administration and that there be solid faculty representation on the search committee.  The motion passed unanimously.

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

IV.  RCM issues – Faculty input on the issues statement for the RCM Review Committee has been sent to the senators.  A senator suggested today that the document be sent to the RCM Review Committee along with a statement that the senate is not taking a position for or against RCM at this time but rather is participating in the discussion.  The senate chair had said at the last senate meeting that she would ask the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee to look into the budgetary models of some other institutions and how those institutions are doing now.  The chair of the Finance and Administration Committee said that it would be better to ask the RCM Review Committee to do that.  The senate chair said that this request could be added to the statement for the RCM Review Committee.  That committee will write a report in April and then analyze the information this summer.  The chair of the Finance and Administration Committee said that she will tell the RCM Review Committee that the Faculty Senate would like an opportunity later for faculty to be involved in the review of RCM. 

A senator said that the RCM Review Committee should not only look at peer institutions which use RCM but also should consider those institutions with successful non-RCM budgetary models.  He said that it should not be off the table to consider whether or not faculty want RCM and what the competing models are and that faculty want that included in the data-gathering stage of the RCM review.  Another senator said that faculty should think about the fact that RCM provides better transparency and is not the cause of the university’s budget problems, which are due to the government providing less state funding per capita for higher education than in any other state.  The chair of the Finance and Administration Committee agreed and added that she would like to talk with the vice president for finance and administration about the president’s comment that, at her previous university, there were some ways to mitigate the effects of RCM.  It is very costly to change an accounting system.  Barbara Krysiak moved and Paul McNamara seconded that the senate will send the statement, including the two additions from today’s meeting, to the RCM Review Committee.  The motion passed unanimously. 

V.  Study Abroad Policy – In December, the senate passed a motion on study away academic eligibility and discussed the wording of a motion on study away behavioral eligibility.  Michael Kalinowski said that the Academic Affairs Committee has considered the suggestions given by the senators and proposes a revised motion two on study away eligibility and student conduct, to address the need for consistency in how the Study Away Programs deal with student conduct and also the need for the possibility of redemption in certain cases, as well as a description of procedures for implementation and assessment.  The Study Abroad Program, the Center for International Education, and also the university attorney agree with the proposed motion.  The motion passed unanimously.                                                                                 

VI.  Barriers to research proposals – In August, the Office of  Sponsored Research underwent an external review by a consultant from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  This process identified areas for improvement in the training of personnel, communication between administration and office staff, organizational structure and function, and electronic research administration of grants.  The Research and Public Service Committee’s report lists a number of steps taken by the Office of Sponsored Research to improve those areas.  In addition, the committee recommended and the vice president for research and public service agreed to fund a faculty survey to identify ways of improving the capabilities of faculty to apply for and manage grants and awards.  Focus groups on the construction of the survey will be held on March 24 and 29.  The committee will work with faculty and the director of the University Survey Center to develop the questionnaire, send it to faculty in April, and analyze the data in early May.  The findings and recommendations will be reported to the vice president for research and public service and to the Agenda Committee in the summer and to the Faculty Senate in the fall.

A senator expressed concern about dealing with the Office of Intellectual Property Management.  Another professor said that the university needs a mechanism for on-going feedback about research support, to be sent to the vice president for research and public service.  The senate’s Research and Public Service Committee has recommended that the Office of Sponsored Research have an advisory committee with faculty representatives.  The senate chair said that the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee should be the advisory committee.  Also, when a professor finishes a grant application, a modified type of exit interview could be used in the feedback process.

VII.  Finance and Administration Committee report – This committee was charged with (1) participating in the RCM review planning process as a member of the task force created to establish the review criteria and process and (2) representing the senate on the Central Budget Committee and observing the meetings of the trustee’s finance committees.  The senate’s Finance and Administration Committee increased the number of faculty on the RCM task force to three and arranged for the open meetings to have unstructured input and be in a location convenient for faculty in each unit.  The committee chair said that she has taken notes on the Faculty Senate’s suggestions for RCM and that she will add them to the input the review committee will consider.  Although professors appreciate the transparency of RCM, they have expressed a number of important concerns which will be considered by the review committee.  The chair of the Finance and Administration Committee said that her committee feels strongly about the importance of the Faculty Senate’s continued participation in the review process.  Currently through the summer of 2005, the RCM review is in stage two for data gathering and analysis.  Stage three in the fall of 2005 is for data review and qualitative information gathering; and stage four in spring of 2006 is the discussion, analysis and development of conclusions and recommendations.

VIII.  Minority recruitment and retention – The twenty-four member Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force has prepared a university-wide diversity plan for presentation to the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee and, if that committee approves the plan, for presentation to the Faculty Senate at the next senate meeting.  A senator said that the university should analyze past performance on diversity and that minority undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty should be asked about the diversity climate at the university.  Paul McNamara said that the plan includes seven strategies with specific people responsible for each strategy, as well as outcome assessment and annual reports.  The proposal is currently in the planning stage, and implementation would be done in the following year.  Faculty are asked to send input to Paul McNamara or Chris Shea.

IX.  Administrative search procedures – On 9-27-04 and 10-25-04, the Faculty Senate discussed a process for insuring adequate shared governance in academically-related administrative hires, which would provide for faculty input in unusual hiring circumstances.  The senate had asked for some wording changes; and Ed Hinson discussed them with the provost, reported on his responses, and now recommends to the senate that two sentences be added to item IV of the Process for Improving Shared Governance in Administrative Searches, to say that the Agenda Committee “will collate results of these consultations and provide them to the provost (or president, as appropriate)” and that “this consultation process does not limit or prevent direct communications concerning the matter from any faculty member to the relevant administrative officer”.  Ed Hinson hopes that this process will be added to the university operating procedures.  The Faculty Senate had passed a motion on the administrative search process on September 27, 2004.  Today the senate unanimously passed a motion to forward to the provost the agreed-upon wording changes for inclusion.

X.  Condolence After discussion about how the university administrators have responded to the death of Professor Arambel in a traffic accident on an icy road and how university closures are decided, the Faculty Senate agreed that the Agenda Committee should send a letter of condolence and also ask for an explanation of curtailment policy.

XI.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                                                           

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