UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 14 April 2014

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

2013-14 FACULTY SENATE

 

The fundamental function of the approved minutes of the Faculty Senate is to accurately document

 actions taken by that body.  Additionally, the minutes traditionally seek to provide

 context by capturing some statements of Senators, faculty in attendance, and guests.  The

 minutes do not verify the veracity, authenticity, and/or accuracy of those statements.

 

Meeting called to order at 3:10 on April 14, 2014                                                                                                                                                                  MINUTES SUMMARY

 

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent: Fagerberg, Harkless, Kazura, Lauer, Pescosolido, and Shannon. Afolayan served as proxy for Mellyn. Denis, Freedman, Gingras, and Morgan were excused.  Mark Huddleston and Lisa MacFarlane were guests.

 

II. Remarks by and questions to the university president – President Huddleston said that the NEASC review went well and that he is confident in our re-accreditation.  He said that Dan Fogel and the review team had very complimentary things to say about UNH.  They made some suggestions regarding increasing diversity and the issue of centralization vs. decentralization.  Culturally speaking, UNH leans towards decentralization, which sometimes is a positive thing and other times can be problematic.  Overall, the team was pleased with our planning, encouraging even more systematic planning. 

 

The provost noted that great attention was paid to academic assessment, with requests that we keep that up-to-date, as well as the program review calendar.   She noted that there were several comments regarding governance structures, particularly in reference to non-tenure track faculty.  The team urged transparency and equity in these issues.  The president also said that non-faculty governance structures were brought up as well, with some confusion as to the multiplicity of governance structures existing on campus.

 

The president also mentioned the upcoming refresh of the strategic plan, noting that it is an opportunity to see the progress we have made, as well as to have a measure by which to ask again in 4-5 years if we are still on the right track.

 

The president noted that the Responsibility Center Management (RCM) review will be launching soon, which will seek to determine if the current RCM’s set of formulas is still the right set for us.

 

A senator asked about the two interim deans serving at UNH-Manchester and in the Paul College, wondering what is expected of these two.  The president said that each interim dean is filling a separate expectation.  Dean Hickey at UNH-M is helping to redefine the mission of that campus in a more non-traditional way, incorporating externships, internships and hands-on education with an impressive level of team effort.  Dean Garron in the Paul College, with strong managerial expertise, is continuing forward motion there in the short term after the sudden departure of Dean Innis. 

 

III. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost informed the senate of her desire to appoint interim Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs P.T. Vasudevan to that position permanently.  Her original intent had been to perform an external search for the position, but with time she has come to see that such a search would be costly in terms of time and financial resources.  The provost conducted an extensive six-month review of Vasu’s performance, consulting over fifty people from the president’s cabinet, dean’s council, the provost’s staff, all of Vasu’s direct reports, and ASAC.  On a scale of 1-4, the ratings fell around 3.87-3.9.  The report was sent to the chair of the senate, and the provost discussed the proposed appointment with the agenda committee, who supported the appointment.  She emphasized the complement of Vasu’s skill set and experience to her own, and noted the university president’s support of the appointment, as well.  The announcement will be made in the Campus Journal this week. 

 

A senator asked the provost about the changes in leadership in the joint panel on teaching and learning.  The provost noted that Mike Middleton, who has been co-chairing that panel, will be leaving UNH for a position as dean of the College of Education and Human Development at UMASS-Boston.  The provost, the senate chair, and Vasu, the other co-chair, will meet this week to determine a new co-chair. The provost noted that Manchester West High School, Manchester Community College, UNH and some of the other system schools have been putting together a program called STEAM Ahead (the A stands for the Arts).  She noted that our future students are going through these public school programs, and that this panel on teaching and learning is part of preparing the ground for these future students.

 

The senate chair commented that the panel will be looking for ways to leverage existing resources in teaching and learning to have greater synergy with our teaching and our research to create a more effective pathway of education bringing students from the public school system through the university system.  The provost added that achieving a balance of autonomy and collective use of resources is crucial.  She noted that a wide and exciting variety of research and instruction is going on across campus, but dispersed in such a way as to limit the capacity to impact incoming students and state-wide education systems as a whole.  A senator asked why this panel would have any greater ability to prepare children for a better education than we have already had, citing data which indicates simpler solutions to these problems.  She asked why new committees need to be formed to re-discuss what is already known.  The provost agreed that there has been some duplication in committees and suggested a cooperative effort to increase the effectiveness of such committees.

 

A senator from the Paul College asked about the ongoing search for a new dean of that college.  The provost indicated that the search is continuing with two candidates currently under review.  She suggested that an offer might be made in a week, once some questions have been answered and the position more fully clarified.  She indicated that the candidates for the director of the Carsey Institute will be on campus this next week, and stressed the importance of the cooperative relationship between deans and directors.

 

Another senator from the business school mentioned the STEM initiative on campus, asking what the broader message is.  He asked if STEM could be extended to include philosophical and humanistic emphasis.  The provost pointed out that the commitment to increasing STEM graduates was made on behalf of the university by the chancellor, and agreed that we need to examine these very questions.  She noted that the goal at UNH is less to meet that standard of doubling the number of STEM graduates, but rather to be attentive to producing STEM literate students, regardless of field of study.  A senator from the Biological Sciences department noted that it is important to have spectators who can understand STEM; that science literacy is more important than the number of graduates.  He asked how we support STEM minors, and courses for non-STEM graduates.  He suggested that the purpose of general education is to help students see the complexities of the world.

 

IV. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair noted the following:

 

            • The Academic Affairs motion on accepting credit for writing-intensive courses was laid over from the last meeting and will not be brought back for final action until    

              the next senate meeting on April 28.

            • Clarification to minutes of 3.17.2014. The minutes (VII) stated that students are required to take two writing intensive courses within their major. In conversations with

              registrar’s office and the office of the provost, it was noted that this is inaccurate. Only one writing intensive course within the major is required (see                    

              http://www.unh.edu/writing/uwr/). The senate minutes must accurately state what was said during the senate meeting. There is a disclaimer in the minutes that states:

              “The fundamental function of the approved minutes of the Faculty Senate is to accurately document actions taken by that body. Additionally, the minutes traditionally    

              seek to provide context by capturing some statements of Senators, faculty in attendance, and guests. The minutes do not verify the veracity, authenticity, and/or accuracy

              of those statements.” Consequently, we cannot amend comments that were made that were inaccurate. These remarks however, will be entered into the minutes

              clarifying the statement made to the senate and placed in the minutes.

            • A report from the ad hoc Committee on Teaching Evaluation Form Implementation Committee was received (see Appendix III.A). Campus Labs is the recommended

              vendor. http://www.campuslabs.com/

 

V. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting, March 31, 2014, were unanimously approved with one abstention.

 

Action Items:

 

VI.  Presentation of motion with report on Confucius Institute from the Academic Affairs Committee – Michael Ferber, as chair of the AAC presented his committee’s report on the Confucius Institute (see senate agenda 4-14-14, Item V.A.).  In the report, concern was expressed regarding the potential for political propaganda, although it is noted that no problems have been reported on the Durham campus.  The committee noted that on some campuses where the Confucius Institute (CI) operates, there have been concerns raised about the source of the funding, the avowed purpose of the institute, and some issues of political demonstrations as a result of the presence of the CI.  The committee has no specific recommendations other than to request the forming of an ad hoc committee to more thoroughly review the CI.  One member of the committee noted that some of the documents for the CI are so poorly translated as to be unintelligible.

A senator asked if the preamble to the motion might be reworded, noting that the report sends a message to the campus community as a whole.  Michael asserted that there are no factual errors in the report other than an error in a footnote regarding a folklorist.  The senate chair noted that the motion will be laid over until the next meeting, at which time any changes can be recommended to the committee.

Another senator asked why this issue is being raised now, and not when the CI was first brought to campus.  Michael responded that he had recently read an article regarding controversies over the CI on other campuses and brought the issue to his committee for review.  Michael noted that the CI is not managed in the same manner as Fulbright Professorships or the Goethe Institute, which are approved by UNH.  The chair noted that the AAC’s standing charge allows leeway to review various matters on their own initiative.

 

A senator from UNH-Manchester noted that the Confucius Institute has been a valuable resource to the UNH-M campus.  He agreed that the concerns about disputes being settled only in Chinese courts does seem odd, but asked if there might be existing models to examine.  A senator from the business school pointed out that the university takes money from corporations, which sometimes raises concerns about ethics and social responsibilities.  A member of the AAC pointed out that an issue of concern for the committee is that the CI and their instructors are not vetted through UNH, nor are they evaluated or reviewed by UNH.  Michael asked what the cost might be to fund our own instructors in order to continue to teach Chinese using our own faculty.

The motion is as follows:

 

The Senate shall invite the Dean of COLA to jointly sponsor the creation of an ad hoc committee to review any and all aspects of the Confucius Institute and report to both well before the expiration of the contract with it.  The Senate and the Dean shall appoint equal numbers to the committee; none shall be members of the CI staff.

 

Discussion/Report Items:

 

VII. Report by Student Affairs Committee on Student Resolution XXXV - 08 on supporting student access and affordability of textbooks – Joe Onosko, chair of the SAC, presented the committee’s report and recommendations:

 

“Supporting Student Access and Affordability: Recommendations to UNH Instructional Faculty”

 

“The following recommendations have been developed by the Student Affairs Committee in response to Student Senate Resolution XXXV--08 (see attached) that was passed in November (11/24/13), as well as faculty concerns about escalating costs (and debt) for UNH students. 

 

“Resolution XXXV--08 states that the Higher Education Opportunity Act mandates that institutions of higher education promote “access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials.”  The resolution (a) requires “that the Academic Technology Office of UNH include on the online UNH Booklist whether or not a course requires the use of an online program alternative to Blackboard and its cost, if applicable, by the time of enrollment each semester” and (b) requests that the Faculty Senate “continue to encourage the use of the UNH Booklist.”

 

“Given the above, the Student Affairs Committee offers the following recommendations for Senate passage:

1.     Prior to the time of student course enrollment, post on the UNH Booklist your required books and other course materials (e.g., on-line materials, clickers) by logging on to Blackboard and scrolling down the middle column to the link, “UNH - Booklist Creation / FACULTY BOOKLIST FORM.”                                                                                                                   

2.     At your earliest convenience submit your list of required books and other course materials to the bookstore(s), as this gives students more time to shop around before purchasing or renting books and other materials. 

3.     Request that the bookstore promptly send you an itemized list of the cost of the book(s) and other materials so you can revise your list if the total cost is more than anticipated.

4.     Request paperbacks when available.

5.     If at all possible, assign texts that do not contain consumable components (e.g., access codes, tear-out pages, one-time use software) as they cannot be rented or resold.

6.     Consider using an open source website to locate text material;

(e.g., http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/ or http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/).

7.     Consider including in your syllabus the following UNH Office of Multicultural Student Affairs website that lists alternative, low cost on-line booksellers and renters: http://www.unh.edu/omsa/books.html, as well as the following UNH Bookstore link that posts the cost of textbooks that are new, used and for rent: http://unh.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/TBWizardView?catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=29555

8.     If a relatively small portion of a text is assigned, consider alternative instructional materials.

9.     Use an earlier edition of the text(s) if there appear to be minimal substantive changes and if sufficient copies are available given your course enrollment.

10.  If a text might not be used, designate it as “recommended” rather than “required.”

11.  Place one or more copies of your assigned text(s) in the library reserves and/or in your department for student use, and note this option in your syllabus.

12.  Inform students that their local library may be able to secure required texts through inter-library loan.

13.  At the department level discuss the possibility of establishing a price range for course material expenses when multiple sections are offered.

14.  If you use clickers, please consider having a few loaners available for students to borrow and mention this possibility in your syllabus. 

15.  Please consider giving students options regarding technology used in and out of the classroom. For example, if all readings are online, state on your syllabus that UNH computer labs are available to complete assignments and projects.

16.  Like disabilities accommodations, in your syllabus give students the opportunity to speak to you privately about procuring texts and other course materials and, as an alternative and also stated on the syllabus, invite them to discuss their issues with a third-party, preferably a member of the Financial Aid Office, the University Advising and Career Center, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), or the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR).

17.  Please do not use third party vendors to create and grade your quizzes and/or exams, as students should not bear the financial burden of assessment that is the responsibility of each instructor.  

 

“Possible Institutional Responses to Issues of Student Affordability & Access regarding Texts and other Course Materials

 

1.     At parent and student orientation sessions provide information on how students can purchase textbooks and other course materials (including the links in #7 above), and emphasize that savings can be significant and that it is the student’s responsibility to secure these savings.  Also have this information posted on University and department websites and included in department and university literature.

2.     Review the UNH Book list system to (a) increase the rate of faculty participation, (b) enhance communication between faculty and book vendors during the ordering process, and (c) maximize transparency for students regarding course costs.

3.     Apply UNH STEM monies to procure STEM-related course materials for students in financial need.

4.     Lobby the New Hampshire legislature about the issue of college affordability given the large percentage of UNH students in financial need.

5.     Develop a procedure that enables UNH students to purchase course materials from on-line vendors w/o the need of a credit or debit card.

6.     Purchase “clickers” (e.g., 200) and create a system of loaners for students based on need.”

 

A senator asked what action by the senate is being requested.  Joe responded that clear wording of the senate’s support of these recommendations would be sufficient.  The committee is not seeking any firmer language.  Another senator questioned the recommendation to post all booklists before student registration.  It was noted that this is in accordance with federal law, which presumes “good faith compliance.”  The senate chair pointed out that endorsement of these measures implies the right of individual professors to comply as is reasonable.  The recommendation was laid over to the next senate meeting.

 

VIII.  Report from the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee on the proposal for the Carsey School of Public Policy – This report was postponed to the next senate meeting.

 

IX. Report by Academic Affairs Committee on recent drop in enrollments in study-abroad programs. (Appendix VIII.A.- Senate agenda 4/14/14) – Michael Ferber, as chair of the AAC, reported that he met with Lisa Mulvey and Beth Kilinc from CIE.  He reported that there was some concern in the drop in enrollments in study abroad programs from 2011-12 to 2012-13.  However, in looking back over the past five years, it appears that the anomaly may have been the rise in enrollments from 2010-11 to 2011-12:

 

“Looking back five years, we see that 2011-12 may be an anomaly upwards:

 

2008-09: 716  managed 349  approved 314

2009-10: 714                 422                  251

2010-11: 733                 423                  285

2011-12: 809                 535                  291

2012-13: 715                 492                  206

 

(Note that there are other smaller categories, such as “co-managed.”)”

 

It was noted that, nationally, there is a trend of rising enrollments, and the committee felt that waiting another year to gather more data might give a more meaningful set of numbers.  It was also noted that if the university is serious about the internationalization of our university community, there should be money to support students who want to study abroad.  A senator commented that the number of students who actually study abroad is too small.

 

X. Report from the Finance and Administration Committee on the Effects of Changes in Credit Hour Weighting Factors Under FY14 Amended RCM Policy – Michael Carter, chair of the FAC, presented the committee’s report regarding the credit hour weighting system, which was changed in Spring 2013 in a way that shifted undergraduate net tuition revenues between colleges.

 

Michael thanked the committee members for their help, as well as Leigh Anne Melanson for her help in providing financial information.  The report did not look at overall budgets for colleges and how they were impacted by the change in credit hour weighting factors.  The changes in the weighting factors only impact the allocation of undergraduate net tuition, and only for the spring and fall semesters.  J-term and summer are handled differently.  The committee also made no assessment of the fairness of the weighting factors.  These factors are intended to reflect relative ratios of instructional costs within the different colleges.  UNH-Manchester and UNH-Law are also factored separately.  Graduate tuition flows to the college of matriculation.

 

Undergraduate tuition is allocated on the basis of a weighted credit hour system, and that weighting is done on the credit hours taught in the prior two calendar years.  The numbers are summed for each calendar year.  The average of the two calendar years is then calculated, reflecting the average of total hours taught rather than actual student enrollments.    Financial aid is handled in the same way, so that net tuition revenues are those that result from gross tuition less the financial aid.  Not all the financial aid given out ends up being allocated back to the colleges.

The committee compared the new weighting system to the previous weighting system, which indicates a relatively small numerical difference in the weighting factors, but the actual funding becomes more significant.  Three colleges had a decrease of roughly about .5% in their undergraduate net tuition revenue.  Two colleges had a slight increase.  What is the value, then, of 1%?  After subtracting the central administration “tithe” of 26.5% off the top, in the previous fiscal year it amounts to about $1.5 million dollars.

The committee felt it was important to get the deans’ perspectives as to their response to the difference in their undergraduate tuition revenues.  In the colleges where there were decreases, the deans responded by tapping into other resources and efficiency measures, meaning no changes in section sizes or reductions in course offerings.

 

The committee’s recommendations to the senate relate to those colleges that might experience future decreases.  It is important for the senate to monitor whether contingent and part-time faculty lecturers are being hired to offset those decreases, noting that the trading of tenure track faculty for lecturers and part-time faculty is an ongoing concern for the senate.  The committee did not make any effort to understand how money is spent behind central administration, but it does recommend that the senate monitor the external comparator institutions to see if those comparisons are fair and valid.

 

The cost of procuring every additional undergraduate, referred to as the “discount rate,”  has risen from 24-25% to about 28% in the current academic year.  This means that the cost of every undergraduate has increased, while the gross tuition revenues have stayed about the same. 


A senator suggested that the addition of a single course with very high enrollment might impact these numbers, pointing out that the numbers themselves could be deceiving, and should be carefully monitored.  Another senator expressed concern about the financial health of the university, asking if we have sufficient resources to continue providing the kind of education UNH has been used to providing.

Another senator asked why J-Term and Summer terms are not included in these numbers. It was suggested that it might be related to no financial aid being made available for those terms.  The committee found no reasoning spelled out.  The senate chair thanked Michael and the FAC for their work.

 

XI. Discovery Committee Report on the 2013-2014 academic year – In the interest of time, the senate chair asked Barbara White to postpone her committee’s report until the next senate meeting.

 

XII. New business – none

 

XIII. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 4:59 p.m.

 

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