UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 1 April, 2013

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2012-13 FACULTY SENATE

APRIL 1, 2013 - MINUTES SUMMARY

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Connelly, Fagerberg, Harrist, Hartter, Minocha, Scherr, Shore, Simos, Whistler, and Woods.  A guest was John Aber.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost thanked the senate for approving the proposal for the marine school.  He also said that the senate chair and vice chair will meet with the deans on April 16 to discuss the report of the Professional Standards Committee on the impact of non-tenure-track faculty on tenure-track faculty and governance activities.  The provost suggested that the Faculty Senate might discuss representation for non-tenure-track faculty.  A senator asked if non-tenure-track faculty should communicate their questions or concerns with their governance council which would communicate with the provost; and the provost agreed and added that the faculty senator could also share those concerns.  In response to a question, the provost said that the increase in the percentage of non-tenure-track faculty is driven by the budgetary situation.  Another senator said that, in some departments, non-tenure-track faculty are increasingly teaching core courses, due to the impact of hiring freezes and other policies which have prevented replacement of the departments’ tenure-track faculty.  The provost said that usually non-tenure-track faculty tend to teach the introductory courses.  The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that his committee will report on this matter soon.  A professor asked how the changing ratio of non-tenure-track faculty to tenure-track faculty will affect the university’s reputation and accreditation.  The provost said that the university’s accreditation is not at issue.  A senator agreed that there are financial constraints on the university but stated that it is important what the university’s priorities are within the budget, such as whether the number of administrators is increased rather than tenure-track faculty.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the provost’s office has sent email requests for faculty and others to review and comment on the NEASC self-study draft on Blackboard.  The senate chair asked that faculty do this work, as the document is important to faculty and to everyone at UNH.  Also, the senate chair announced that, due to budget constrictions, the Graduate School has cut the number of dissertation-year fellowships from fifteen to thirteen.  In addition, a senator pointed out that the senate approved the marine school proposal as amended by the UCAPC recommendations and contingent on the written agreement of the director of EOS that the reporting line of the marine school be to EOS.  The senate chair replied that it is his understanding that both the EOS director and the marine school faculty have agreed to having EOS be the reporting line and to the Marine School proposal as amended by the UCAPC recommendations.

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved with all ayes except for two abstentions.

V.  Report from the Campus Planning Committee, on tracking the Master Plan – Svetlana Peshkova reported that a major revision to the Campus Master Plan was announced last spring, with much push-back from a variety of constituents.  Bill Berndston has been the appointed representative from the Faculty Senate to the Campus Master Plan Steering Committee since September.  The CMP was revised over the summer and early fall, with the feedback from constituents in mind.  Then an update on the CMP revision was presented at several open forums this past November, and feedback from those forums was used to further revise the CMP.  It has now been approved by President Huddleston and is awaiting final approval by the Board of Trustees.  The final version of the CMP can be downloaded from the campus planning website at unh.edu/cmp.

Svetlana Peshkova said that the Campus Planning Committee reported on parking at the senate meeting on 3/18/2013; and she added that, although there is an increase in total parting spots including those distant from campus, there is a decrease in the parking spots in the core campus which are exclusively for faculty and staff.  A senator said that on 11/26/2012, the Faculty Senate passed a motion stating that the “…Faculty Senate calls on the university administration to create a set of guidelines for evaluating proposals for public/private partnerships.  These guidelines shall state criteria used to evaluate the fit of a partnership with a particular private organization, the minimum criteria under which such a partnership would be considered, and the goals and outcomes for which such a partnership shall aim. These guidelines shall be developed in a transparent manner and shall be communicated to faculty, students and the local communities before finalization.”  Today, the senator asked if the administration has responded to this motion and, if not, who will follow up on this situation.

VI.  Report from the Finance and Administration Committee, on the capital campaign – The chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee said that the committee has decided not to report on its charge # 3, as not in the committee’s purview.  That charge was to “consider and report on the potential faculty role in the capital campaign.  Relevant issues include:  (a) whether the senate should request faculty representation through senate appointments on the planning committee for the capital campaign, (b) how operating budgets will be funded for maintaining new structures funded by the capital campaign, (c) whether financial aid could be a good part of fund raising and will help the colleges, and (d) the replacement of the vice president for advancement and president of the UNH Foundation.”

VII.  Report from the senate’s Professional Standards Committee, on non-tenure-track faculty – The full report of the Professional Standards Committee on the impact of non-tenure-track faculty on tenure-track faculty and on governance activities was sent to the senators on email.  The committee’s charge was that “UNH relies increasingly on non-tenure-track faculty, slowly decreasing the proportion of tenure-track faculty present in the institution. Since non-tenure-track faculty carry no administrative responsibilities, the administrative duties of the remaining tenure-track faculty increase as their numbers diminish. What effect is this likely to have on the governance of the university and the workload of the tenure-track faculty?”

The report included the following conclusions.  There is a clear trend toward increasing the number of non-tenure-track faculty while simultaneously decreasing the number of tenure-track faculty. This trend is not evenly distributed across the university. For example, COLSA and COLA had no additional tenure-track faculty added to their departments/divisions, while CEPS and WSBE each had four of their departments/divisions add more faculty from FY 2009 to FY 2013.  Chairs find that the reductions of tenure-track faculty have a negative impact on important governance activities. The activities negatively impacted by the trend span the gamut of responsibilities that must be met in order for the department/division to function properly.  The concern is not about the quality of the non-tenure-track faculty, but rather the concern is that reductions of tenure-track faculty may reach the point where the special role that tenure-track faculty fulfill and their essential functions may not be met.

 

The substitution of non-tenure-track for tenure-track faculty is not a replacement of responsibilities. The fabric of responsibilities that defines the faculty and is essential to the university becomes frayed when it is stretched too far.  Therefore, the Professional Standards Committee recommends the following.  (1) The default for replacing all tenure-track faculty when a vacancy occurs will be the selection of another tenure-track faculty member. Deviations from this default position should be accompanied by an explanation to the impacted department/division and the chance for the department chair to respond.  This applies to single hires and cluster hires.  (2) When not replacing a tenure-track faculty member with another tenure-track replacement, deans, directors and the provost should consider the impact on the governance activities of the department/division. Will the governance responsibilities of the unit be negatively impacted if a non-tenure-track replacement is selected?  (3) All new faculty additions, non-tenure-track or tenure-track, should be considered according to the impact of the ability of the department/division to govern itself.  (4) The planning for expansion of centers, institutes, and interdisciplinary schools should also consider the impact of increased non-tenure-track faculty presence on departments/divisions.  (5) The PSC did not study the financial impact of the rise of non-tenure-track faculty members. For example, is the length of service of non-tenure-track faculty shorter than tenure-track faculty? How often is a non-tenure-track faculty member replaced as compared to a tenure-track faculty member? Turnover among faculty, just as turnover in administration, is a cost item. High turnover of critical personnel can be costly.

 

The department/division is the basic governing unit for the university. It is the home of the faculty. It is the place where faculty develop and deliver the academic programs of the university. That dominant role is best secured by a robust tenuretrack faculty presence. Nontenure track faculty are important to the research and teaching responsibilities of the department/division, and this report acknowledges their important role. The report, however, primarily underscores the concerns voiced by the chairs: that the reduction of tenuretrack faculty negatively impacts the governing ability of department/divisions.  Departments confront a number of challenges. While the move toward increasing the percentage of non-tenure-track faculty responds to the economic reality of continuing financial challenges and may support a strategic emphasis on increasing our research profile, we must be very careful to keep our tenure-track faculty at the core of our instruction as well as central to our research and creative endeavors.  For many departments, the ratio of tenure-track to non-tenure-track for instruction is important to their accreditation. The classroom is the intersection of research, creativity and teaching and requires a strong and visible tenuretrack presence.  This report calls for a continued and renewed commitment to properly balance the faculty roles within our university. Decisions to reduce the number of tenuretrack faculty in departments/divisions have consequences that must be carefully weighed.

 

Today a senator said that increasing the responsibilities of non-tenure-track faculty might be possible; but the PSC chair responded that the non-tenure-track faculty have heavier teaching loads and smaller salaries because the non-tenure-track faculty do not have the additional responsibilities.  A professor commented that many non-tenure-track faculty at UNH-Manchester do advising and serve on committees.  The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that, at UNH-Durham, some lecturers may have some administrative responsibilities but only with a reduction of the teaching load, whereas the tenure-track faculty must fulfill teaching, research, service, and administrative responsibilities.  A senator said that research faculty bring in most of their own salary from grants and do not generally have administrative responsibilities except for advising students.  However, another senator indicated that university guidelines say that research faculty are expected to provide some service.

 

VIII.  Discovery Committee report – The full report of the Discovery Committee was sent to the senators on email.  The report included the following.  So far this academic year, the Discovery Committee (DC) reviewed 24 courses for category and/or attributes. Of these, three were Inquiry courses which included two Inquiry attribute courses and one 444 course. The total number of courses reviewed to date and included in the Discovery Program is 643. Of these, 157 are currently-offered Inquiry courses, 89 of which are 444 courses. To date, the DC has also reviewed a total of 37 transferfor-Discovery-credit courses at the request of the registrar.  We continued to focus our program review on the Inquiry requirement in Discovery, in preparation for NEASC and the mandated five-year Discovery Program review.  The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) completed reports on the twoyear pilot Inquiry courses on campus. We currently have six pilots in COLSA and CEPS.  Data from four semesters were collected from the UNH Institutional Research and Assessment Office.  Based on CETL’s analyses and thorough committee discussion, pilot status was removed (with stipulations) from all but one of the Inquiry pilot courses that were due for review. One remaining Inquiry pilot will be reviewed next year. Stipulations for required training for teaching assistants remain in place for the larger Inquiry courses in CEPS and COLSA. All Inquiry courses will continue to be assessed each semester as part of the five-year review process.

 

For the five-year review, we continue to catalogue all syllabi for Discovery courses taught each semester. We ask all senators to ensure that their departments forward syllabi as requested. We continue to monitor and archive all capstones delivered within majors. Please forward any changes to the Discovery Office. We posted syllabi language suggestions for all categories, to enable faculty easily to include course attribute language in their syllabi as requested by both Faculty and Student Senates last springThe associate deans, as well as a committee dedicated to monitoring seat capacity in all courses at UNH, help us keep track of available seats in categories. We have collectively recognized an overabundance of seats offered in some categories. Across campus there is a fine balance that the associate deans monitor, so as not to advantage or disadvantage any one college over another as well as to balance departmental resources. A final concern that is monitored is the number of overall courses in Discovery, in order to avoid dilution of the core curriculum. Currently if a department wishes to offer any new courses, the department may need to de-commission some current courses offered in that category. Department chairs should speak to their associate dean before submitting new courses in any category. A small ad-hoc committee of faculty and administration will provide counsel for these decisions. Ongoing faculty development opportunities and resources on “teaching in Discovery and on Inquiry pedagogy will be offered for all instructors of Discovery Program courses.

 

The Discovery Committee sent forth a motion, which was passed by the Faculty Senate on 11/26/2012, to reduce the number of transfer credits required to waive the inquiry requirement.  Also, on 3/18/2013, the Faculty Senate passed a motion that a change in the mode of a course (from largely face-to-face to fully or substantially on-line) or in the time of a course (from thirteen weeks to five or fewer) is a sufficient change to warrant a review of a previously-approved course by the relevant committee. The Faculty Senate also endorsed the current moratorium on on-line courses for both Discovery Inquiry courses and Writing-Intensive courses.

 

The current theme for the University Dialogue is “Live Free or Die? A University Dialogue on Freedom and Responsibility.” Five students are currently registered in INCO 620, Discovery Fellows.  We have held two campus-wide conversations connected to this year’s dialogue topic.  During the fall semester, the conversation topic focused on “The Hunger Games” and, for the spring semester, on “Investing for a Sustainable Future:  A Campus Conversation on Investment and Divestment.” We also developed an Inquiry abroad opportunity, by linking a 444 course to the dialogue topic, to be offered during a month-long Semester at Sea Enrichment Voyage at the end of May, 2013. Due to low enrollment the opportunity was canceled for 2013.

 

IX.  Report from the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, on January term – The full report from the Academic Affairs Committee, on January-term on-line courses, was sent to the senators on email. The number of students who took a course during the January term in 2012/13 was 884, of which 815 were in entirely on-line courses and 69 were in “hybrids”.  That is a 21% increase over January of the previous year.  The great majority of the courses (616 students) were in COLA, but CHHS increased its number of students from 54 last year to 155 this year. The number of students has more than doubled since the first J-term, from 329 students in 2009/10 to 884 students in 2012/13. One constant through this four-year growth is the proportion of students taking these courses who are UNH students:  about 90%.  Thus the J-term courses may be largely a convenience for our own students.  The J-term courses do not draw many outside students (about 90 perhaps).  So the question arises:  Is J-term making much money?  It would seem not, but we lack solid statistics.  E-UNH has announced sizable profits, but that does not take account, for instance, of the students who use e-courses to accelerate their progress through UNH. The e-courses are also draining students from traditional courses, and some professors in COLA departments believe this shrinking of the student pool during the regular semesters is harming their curricula.  With 2130 UNH students (90% of the four-year total of 2367 students) not taking traditional courses, there might be enough of an impact to assess this matter next year.

 

Today a senator said that the administration has indicated that UNH has made one or two million dollars on January-term courses.  The AAC chair responded that one should subtract from that figure the amounts paid by students who would have taken the face-to-face UNH courses if the J-term courses were not available.  Calculating the figures would be complicated.  Some UNH students may take an extra course during J-term.  Other UNH students might need to make up a course in which they did poorly, and some of those students might take an on-line course elsewhere if the UNH J-term courses were not available.  Also, some UNH undergraduate students who have been accepted into a graduate school may take an early graduate course during J-term but could not fit in the course during the spring or fall semesters.

X.  Report from the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, on roles in governance – The committee’s charge was to “consider whether the comparative roles of faculty and administration in governance and the tenure-track and promotion procedures and decisions have changed over time.  [See college by-laws and composition of decision-making committees.]  Examine the composition of different “initiative” committees according to administrative role (head of program, dean, etc.) and faculty role (research faculty member, tenured or tenure-track faculty member, faculty member in administrative role, senator).  Have the committees been composed in ways that foster disinterested faculty review rather than partisan advocacy?  For example, are faculty members present due to a “special interest” in the initiative or as a senator representing the senate as an institution, or both?  Of particular interest are the following groups:  (1) The Blue Ribbon Panel on Research, (2) the 7/22/2011 Retreat on the Merger of CEPS, COLSA and EOS, and (3) the 2020 Strategic Plan.  [See FS motion XVI-M15.]”  The chair  of the Academic Affairs Committee said that it looked into the matter and decided that there does not seem to be any current problem in this area and that there is no need for senate action at this time.

Today a senator said that no representative for the new Library Options Committee has been named by the senate.  The senate chair said that no request for a representative has been sent to him but that he will now look into the matter.  The senate often chooses a representative who is not a senator, for university-wide committees.

XI.  Report from the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, on UNH-M and UNH-D procedures on student petitions – The Academic Affairs Committee’s full report to the Faculty Senate about discrepancies in petition procedures between UNH-Durham and UNH-Manchester was sent to the senators on email. In the course of senate discussion on 1/28/2013, it emerged that the procedure for a student petition varies between the two campuses of UNH.  Therefore the Academic Affairs Committee talked with Associate Dean Dan Reagan of UNH-Manchester, who said that at UNH-M the normal procedure is to send an email asking the faculty member to confirm the last date of attendance, performance in the course, and any observations the faculty member may have.  The associate dean said that this serves as the sign-off and gives more thorough faculty input than is provided on most petitions on the Durham campus.  He said that, if faculty members request to see the petition, that is granted.  However, if the student requests that information accompanying the petition remain confidential, the information is not shared with the faculty member.  The associate dean said that, if there is no confidentiality request, all information is shared with the faculty.

At the Durham campus, petitions normally pass through the instructor at an early stage.  That is not always the case, however, because sometimes a student feels that he or she must bypass the instructor; and in such cases the procedure resembles the one at Manchester.  In a meeting on March 20 with Associate Dean Ted Kirkpatrick, Senate Chair deVries, Vice-Chair DeMitchell, and AAC Chair Ferber, the differences were discussed; and Associate Dean Kirkpatrick has undertaken to try to bring the procedures at Manchester into alignment with those at Durham.  Today, however, a senator said that he has never been able to get the information about student petitions for his UNH-M courses.  The AAC chair responded that he will discuss this with Associate Dean Kirkpatrick and that the AAC may pursue this matter further next year.

XII.  Report from the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee, on research faculty funding – The Finance and Administration Committee’s charge was to “develop policy indicating when it is appropriate for research faculty to be funded by the UNH budget. A general assumption is that, aside from proposal writing, research faculty are funded exclusively through external grants or contracts. In reality, this is not the case, since some research faculty receive significant portions of their compensation through the UNH budget.  Policy which includes oversight provisions needs to be established.”  The committee’s report was a list of credit hours taught by research faculty since the summer of 2010.  In COLSA, 9 research faculty have taught at least one credit hour.  The range is 1 to 475.  (Summer 2010 = 4, Fall 2010 = 666, J-term 2011 = 0, Spring 2011 = 412, Summer 2011 = 0, Fall 2011 = 663, J-term 2012 = 24, Spring 2012 = 529.)  In COLA, of 10 research faculty, 6 have taught; and the range of credit hours is 1 to 392.  (Summer 2010 = 66, Fall 2010 = 428, J-term 2011 = 0, Spring 2011 = 128, Summer 2011 = 144, Fall 2011 = 36, J-term 2012 = 0, Spring 2012 = 158.)  In CEPS, 12 research faculty have taught; and the range of credit hours is 2 to 604.  (Summer 2010 = 104, Fall 2010 = 723, J-term 2011 = 8, Spring 2011 = 181, Summer 2011 = 180, Fall 2011 = 418, J-term 2012 = 6, Spring 2012 = 203.)  In CHHS, 4 research faculty have taught; and the range of credit hours is 4 to 86.  (Summer 2010 = 0, Fall 2010 = 134, J-term 2011 = 0, Spring 2011 = 23, Summer 2011 = 15, Fall 2011 = 61, J-term 2012 = 0, Spring 2012 = 0.)  In EOS, 11 research faculty have taught; and the credit hours range from 2 to 312. (Summer 2010 = 14, Fall 2010 = 406, J-term 2011 = 0, Spring 2011 = 83, Summer 2011 = 0, Fall 2011 = 510, J-term 2012 = 11, Spring 2012 = 311.)  The grand totals are:  Summer 2010 = 187, Fall 2010 = 2,357, J-term 2011 = 8, Spring 2011 = 827, Summer 2011 = 339, Fall 2011 = 1,688, J-term 2012 = 41, Spring 2012 = 1,200.

Today the chair of the FAC said that some research faculty do some teaching and also that five percent of the salary of research faculty is provided by UNH, so that the faculty member’s current research grant will not be paying for the faculty member to write the next grant application (unless that is a specific exception stated in the previous grant).  This five percent may also cover some administrative work or advising.  UNH may pay for some teaching.

XIII.  Report from the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee, on cost effectiveness – Fred Kaen presented the Finance and Administration Committee’s report on the financial implications of January on-line courses, which was sent to the senators on email.  The senate had asked the Finance and Administration Committee to examine the cost effectiveness of January on-line courses.  The committee interpreted “cost effectiveness” to mean whether the courses resulted in incremental net cash flows (positive or negative) for the university.  UNH began offering January on-line courses in 2010.  The full report contains a schedule listing on-line course enrollments by college from 2010 through 2013.  Total enrollment in January on-line courses rose from 292 in 2010 to 815 in 2013; and total enrollment in January hybrid courses rose from 37 in 2010 to 69 in 2013.  In 2013, COLA accounted for 71 percent of the enrollment followed by CHHS with 18 percent.  The data are for enrollments and not courses because each course may have multiple sections (majors, non-majors, honors) making it difficult for the Provost’s Office to determine the actual number of courses.  Undergraduate courses of one to four credits cost $415 per credit for New Hampshire residents and $457 for nonresidents.  Graduate courses of one to four credits cost $483 per credit for NH residents and $532 per credit for nonresidents.

To determine the cost effectiveness of the courses, we need information about whether they attracted additional students or merely became substitutes for courses students would otherwise have taken during other semesters or elsewhere.  We do not have the data to answer this question.  Not only would we need to know whether UNH attracted additional students because of the January offerings but also whether we would have lost enrollments had we not offered the courses.  As for the costs, all courses were taught by UNH faculty or lecturers, who were paid on an overload basis according to the AAUP contract.  The other instructional costs would be the additional information technology (IT) costs associated with the offerings.  The university’s IT office says that these courses did not require any additional IT staff or incremental equipment costs.  However, we note that a technology fee of $22.13 was charged students enrolled in the courses.  So this fee might be considered incremental revenue.  Whether IT costs will increase in the future as UNH adds additional e-courses remains to be seen.  Most likely, the IT function will need additional resources as UNH begins to offer on-line professional degree programs, and it will be very difficult to separate the costs associated with the on-line January courses from those of the degree programs.

XIV.  Adjournment – Today’s meeting was adjourned.

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