UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 7 March, 2005





I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Burger, Carroll, Drake, Johnson, Neefus, Pescosolido, Powell, Robertson, Schlentrich, Sheriff and Vangundy.  Excused were Laue, Savage and Trubowitz.  Jenna Coulp-Yu was a guest observer.

II.  Communications from the chair – Motion two on study abroad has been sent for input to the university counsel and will be discussed at the next senate meeting.  A recommendation on diversity, minority recruitment and retention will be brought to the senate later in the semester.  The Thompson School renumbering issue will be sent as a charge to the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee.  The senate chair and the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee and others will meet with the provost regarding the scholarship guidelines issue.  A motion on the Honors Program is under review.  Changes are being considered for the commencement ceremony and the honors convocation; and Nancy Kinner, who is the faculty marshal, will discuss this at the next senate meeting.

The COLSA dean has indicated his intention to become the director of the Biology Program.  The senate chair will meet with the provost and will report to the Faculty Senate on a process that could be used in such a situation, so that leadership of departments and programs can come from the faculty.  Concern has been expressed about a rent increase in graduate housing for next year.  The senate chair has told the vice president for Finance and Administration that the senate’s Student Affairs Committee will review this issue.  The provost’s office will present a proposal to establish a blue-ribbon task force to consider whether American Sign Language should continue to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

 III.  Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting, as amended to remove Professor Sparr from the list of those absent.

IV.  Shared governance – The faculty senators have received two email letters from Paul McNamara and one from the senate chair discussing shared governance as it relates to attendance of the provost and vice provost at the senate’s Agenda Committee and Academic Affairs Committee meetings.  The senate chair said that enhanced communication with the provost and vice provost is important, in order to share information proactively, before problem decisions are made and thus avoid the need for the time-and-energy-consuming reactive responses of the past.  This is balanced by the concern that faculty might feel pressured in the presence of a senior administrator.  At no time has an administrator been present during the deliberations of the Agenda Committee.  An administrator may come to the beginning of Agenda Committee or Faculty Senate meetings, to discuss certain matters and then leave prior to the deliberation by that body.  An Agenda Committee member said that, during the communication period of the Agenda Committee meetings, the Agenda Committee gives clear statements to administrators on how faculty prerogatives of shared governance should be respected and implemented.  The senate constitution indicates that senate committees are expected to consult with the administrators dealing with the issues under discussion by the committee.  It has always been the practice to connect with the person in charge of the issue under review.

This year because of the nature of the agenda items of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee and the newness of the vice provost, the Academic Affairs Committee had decided to invite the vice provost to attend the whole meetings.  However, at their latest meeting, that committee decided that the vice provost should now attend only the beginning of each meeting and clarified that the invitation to the vice provost to attend a portion of each meeting covers this year only.

A senator said that, since the provost has announced to the faculty that he would attend the Agenda Committee meetings and that the vice provost would attend the Academic Affairs Committee meetings, there is a need for clarification to the faculty of the constraints of that attendance.  The senate should not let these matters slide into a different direction by accident.  Paul McNamara proposed and Frank Birch seconded a motion that:

(a) a clarification addressed to all faculty regarding the provost’s remarks be published indicating the constraints on the attendance of the provost and vice provost at the specified committee meetings, including a clarification that the announced arrangement is only for the remainder of the current term and that this arrangement is not deemed to have any precedent-setting force for future senates or Academic Affairs Committees.  This published clarification will go into the senate record.

(b) a charge be given to the next senate to review and develop more careful written guidelines about balancing faculty autonomy and freedom of deliberation with the need for communication and consultation with the administration, maximizing reasonable inclusion of faculty senators in decisions about attendance of administrators at the senate and at committee meetings pertaining to any motions under consideration.  Such guidelines are to be provided annually to all new senators, especially to new chairs of Faculty Senate committees.

Another senator said that, when he was on the Agenda Committee some years ago the same practice was followed then as now, i.e. inviting administrators to speak at the beginning of the meeting and to leave before the deliberations.  An Agenda Committee member said that, in contrast to some times in the past, we now have an activist senate and Agenda Committee and a president and provost who are prepared to be responsive to them.  A professor said that the senate should clarify to the faculty that the administrators are invited as guests for a specific portion of the meeting.  Some senators said that paragraph B of the motion is too regimented.  The provost has offered to clarify his letter.

Barbara Krysiak proposed and Guy Petty seconded that the motion be amended to drop paragraph B and to state that clarification should be made by both the provost and the senate, to explain the senate’s procedures and inform its constituents that the relationship between administrators and the Faculty Senate and its committees should be purely for communication purposes.  The motion passed as amended, by a vote of seventeen ayes and eleven nays.  The senate chair said that she will ask the provost to clarify his language and also that the Agenda Committee will bring to the senate a draft of its own statement of clarification.

V.  Recommendations to the RCM Review Committee – The Agenda Committee has collected a list of university-wide concerns which could be sent to the RCM Review Committee.  The Agenda Committee would like to know whether the senate would like to make a statement on this issue and what the senate thinks about the draft.  The chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee said that she would welcome this as a report from the Faculty Senate and thinks that such a report would be of great value to the task force.  A senator agreed but asked if other models at other universities are being considered.  Another professor asked if the university could have another RCM review in five more years.  Senators are asked to forward their comments within two weeks to the senate program coordinator, since the deadline for comments to the task force is the end of March.  The Agenda Committee will present a draft at the next senate meeting.

A senator said that he is concerned that the administration is trying to constrain the discussion of RCM to be only about small adjustments and not about RCM as a whole.  He said that the faculty should review whatever it thinks needs to be considered.  Another senator said that, when RCM was first considered, there was considerable visiting of other institutions to see their models and that UNH could look at how those institutions are doing now.  The senate chair suggested that the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee could do that.

VI.  Harassment Policy – The chair of the senate’s Professional Standards Committee said that some faculty had expressed concern that, under the Harassment Policy, faculty could only have a support person and not be represented by an attorney and that the procedures do not include the standard rules of evidence.  After communications with the Professional Standards Committee chair, Pat Gormley, Ron Rogers, and Jim Varn, Chris Balling stated on behalf of the AAUP that any discussion of the discriminatory harassment policy belongs in the collective bargaining process.  The Professional Standards Committee chair passed on to the AAUP the senators’ concerns, and the Professional Standards Committee will cease consideration of the matter.  These will become bargainable issues.

VII.  Promotion and tenure essays – The Professional Standards Committee has also considered the administration’s intention to have candidates for promotion and tenure submit only one integrated essay rather than three essays on the teaching, research/artistry and service components.  After concerns were expressed, the administration had stated that for this coming year candidates would have a choice of one or three essays.  The Professional Standards Committee moves that:

A candidate for tenure and/or promotion should retain a choice either to prepare separate, respective narratives on teaching, scholarship/artistry, and service, as has been heretofore done, or an integrated statement combining in a single essay teaching, scholarship/artistry, and service.  Should the candidate choose to prepare three separate narratives, the candidate may, if desired, prepare an additional essay on how these are integrated.

It is strongly requested of the provost that the Faculty Senate be consulted if and when any changes to promotion and tenure procedures and/or formats are contemplated.

It is further urgently requested that the memorandum of instructions for the preparation of promotion and tenure cases be issued in the spring of the year prior to the year in which promotion and tenure cases go forward.  In other words, what used to be the September memo becomes the April memo.  As a matter of practical fact, candidates and departmental committees begin their work in the late spring in order to meet college deadlines in the fall, and the work would be eased if all parties had the provost's memorandum as the work begins.

Paul McNamara said that he agreed with the motion and also proposed an amendment seconded by Chris Shea that the promotion and tenure guidelines should make clear that the three-essay option and the single-narrative option would in no way affect the requirements for standards of excellence in the three areas, in order to make explicit that this is just a format change and not a change in standards.

A senator said that the idea of having the essays be more integrated is not a good idea, because many faculty do research and/or service which is not related to their teaching.  Faculty should have a choice of one or several essays.  The amendment passed with one abstention and no nays.  The main motion passed unanimously.

VIII.  Violence against women – Lynette Ament said that the senate’s Student Affairs Committee has considered what activities are being done on campus to help reduce violence against women.  Professor Ament has joined the university-wide Violence against Women Committee of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.  This group is charged to (1) develop an implementation plan for the key recommendations of the 2000 report on unwanted sexual contact; (2) work with other groups to evaluate the strategies in place at UNH and make recommendations to strengthen those strategies; (3) develop strategies for involving students, faculty and staff in this effort; and (4) monitor progress and provide reports and recommendations.  The Student Affairs Committee will not duplicate the work of the university-wide committee but will be the liaison between it and the Faculty Senate.  Fora will be held for input on issues being dealt with by the university-wide committee.

IX.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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