UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 18 April, 2005





I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Burger, Deem, Drake, Leichtman, Nagy, Powell, Sheriff, Tenczar and VanDeever.  Excused were Kistler and Laue.  Guests were President Hart, Kate Hanson, Drew Conroy, Regina Smick-Attisano, Mark Rubinstein, Joanne Curran-Celentano and John Ernest.  Jenna Coulp-Yu was a guest observer.  

II.  Communications from the president – President Hart confirmed that the search for a new vice president for finance and administration will be done nationally with standard faculty input.  She asked that the senate nominate five faculty members from whom the president will choose two to serve on that search committee.  The president said that the capital budget has been forwarded to the legislature to fully fund the KEEP Program, for repair and renovation of Demeritt, James and Parsons Halls, with over nine million dollars more but spread over eight years instead of five.  The operating budget is a special concern.  The vice president for finance and administration will send to the entire university community a letter on the university’s financial challenges, and the president distributed a preview of that letter at the senate meeting.

III.  Scholarship guidelines – Mark Rubinstein said that a very significant part of the university’s budget problems relates to the fact that the funds required by Board of Trustee policy for in-state need-based scholarships have more than quadrupled in the last five years.  If a university department offers a merit-based scholarship to a student in that major, that student’s need-based financial aid will not be affected, except in the very rare case where the student also receives need-based federal aid and the total exceeds the cost of attendance.  A student who has not filled out the required financial aid forms can receive a merit-based award but not a need-based one.  How can departments identify whether a scholarship is need or merit based?  That is usually but not always explicit and stated in a memorandum of understanding.  In ambiguous cases, the scholarship defaults to need-based status.  If the scholarship is both need and merit based and the student has no need, the award cannot be made.  There is a database that gives a summary of scholarships and the references to their memoranda of understanding.

IV.  Communications from the chair – The senate chair said that the COLSA dean has agreed to honor the Biology Program bylaws in the election of the program director, although the appointment will be an interim one.  However, the COLSA faculty received a notification on April 14 that programmatic displacement is evolving differently than expected.  There is a $1,500,000 and growing deficit; and the college's faculty members have been informed that they must identify fifteen to twenty tenured or tenure-track faculty lines to be cut, via a plan to be prepared by June. Two departments identified by the Provost's office for special attention are Plant Biology and Resource Economics and Development.  COLSA has not elected the three members to serve on the COLSA Programmatic Review Committee.  Also, COLSA’s executive committee and dean have required that faculty use a spread sheet with data to evaluate teaching and research using a mathematical formula; but service is not accorded the same weight and rather is rated by the department chair.

A faculty member has expressed concern about the prospectus for EOS as a university institute and its fiscal and programmatic accountability.  This matter will be brought before the senate’s Agenda Committee.  Professors Karen Graham, Heather Barber and Susan Walsh have been elected to serve on the Professional Standards Committee for terms ending in May of 2007.  The Agenda Committee will soon submit to the senate a list of nominees for next year’s Agenda Committee members, and the vote will take place at the senate meeting on May 2.

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

VI.  Thompson School renumbering – On behalf of the Agenda Committee, David Richman presented the following motion to the Faculty Senate:  “Be it resolved that the Thompson School of Applied Science follow the UNH course numbering guidelines for courses taken for baccalaureate credit and renumber Thompson School courses with 400-499 numeric designation.”  Guy Petty spoke in favor of the motion, saying that the issue has been on the table for two years, that he has provided much documentation for it, and that Thompson School courses should not be numbered below the zero-credit courses which have numbers in the three hundreds.  The UCAPC chair said he is against the motion and that UCAPC narrowly voted to support this motion, on a vote of six in favor and five against, with the stipulation that there are no significant accreditation issues.  He said that the UNH admissions office currently employs a different standard for admission of Thompson School students and baccalaureate students and is concerned that, if the numbering system were to change, the distinction would blur.  A professor said that usually associate’s degree students take the first and second-year courses of a baccalaureate degree and so why should the numbering be different.  Many institutions use the same numbering system for AA degree and BA/BS degree courses.  A number of WSBE professors expressed concern about the effect such a numbering change might have on WSBE’s accreditation.

Thompson School courses may be transferred for major or minor requirements only if specifically approved on a course-by-course basis by the department granting the major or minor and when the student meets the usual minimal grade requirements of that program.  Generally, Thompson School courses do not satisfy general education, writing or foreign language requirements in baccalaureate degree programs.  However, the Thompson School writing course (COM 209) may be used to satisfy the group 2 (writing skills) requirement for general education. A Thompson School professor said that all transcripts are clearly labeled as to where the student was enrolled when taking the course.  Another faculty member said that, if we accept transfer students from other institutions, we should accept the Thompson School transfer students and should use the same numbering system as for BA/BS students.  A professor from the Plant Biology Department said that his department had looked at some Thompson School courses and found that they met the requirements for 400 level courses.  Other professors expressed different opinions about Thompson School courses.

On February 8, 2005, Milton Blood, Managing Director of Accreditation, wrote “Simply changing the numbers on the courses would have no implications for the Whittemore School accreditation.  The changes that would have an impact on accreditation would be (1) if your degree is changed from an associate degree to baccalaureate status, or (2) if the renumbering change makes a difference in the transfer status of the courses.  For example, if the courses were then to be considered equivalent, the next maintenance review of the Whittemore School would include those courses and associated faculty.”  After much discussion, the motion failed, on a written ballot of 14 ayes, 20 nays and 4 abstentions.

VII.  Article 3 – Terry Savage, on behalf of the Ad-hoc Committee on Article 3, moved to delete the current Article 3 of the Constitution of the University of New Hampshire Faculty Senate (“Referral of fundamental issues to the faculty”) and to replace said section with the following:

3. Faculty referendum on senate actions.  Any motion or resolution acted upon by the Faculty Senate is subject to a referendum by the faculty of the University of New Hampshire.  Any issue may go to referendum upon petition of at least twenty percent of the tenure-track faculty, provided that such petition is made within 45 days of the senate action in question (excluding vacations).  The petition shall be delivered to the chair of the senate.  The senate chair shall cause transcripts of all relevant senate discussion of the issue to be distributed to all faculty.  The chair will arrange for a vote of the faculty by ballot.  Faculty members will have not less than two weeks and not more than four weeks to consider the issue and complete ballots.  The majority vote shall be binding provided that at least fifty percent of the faculty submit ballots.  In the event of a participation rate of less than fifty percent or a tie vote, the original senate action shall stand. 

A two-thirds majority is required for passage of the motion submitted today to change the constitution.  The motion passed unanimously

VIII.  Discovery Program – Robert Smith of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee summarized that committee’s report on the Discovery Program.  The implementation plan passed by the Faculty Senate in October of 2003 requires approval by the Faculty Senate of each major component when it is developed and assessed.  The Discovery Program is now in the stage called “year minus two”, during which a program director and the Discovery Program Advisory Committee were appointed, the current general education courses were reviewed to determine how they would fit into the Discovery Program content categories, the first year inquiry courses were piloted, and external supplementary funding was explored.  Providing the small first-year courses taught according to Inquiry pedagogy is a budgetary challenge.  The RCM implications of the Discovery Program cannot be fully considered until the RCM review is completed.  The Academic Affairs Committee report states: 

While the administration at all levels has stated categorically their support for the Program, there has been no detailed proposal put forward addressing the financial implications of implementing Discovery in full. While it is understandable that nothing definite can be ascertained given the current RCM review, it seems prudent to develop a clear understanding of the principal RCM challenges that the program currently faces in order to be reasonably certain that it is fiscally sustainable.  It is strongly recommended, therefore, that DPAC prepare a statement of RCM challenges and an assessment of how these challenges can be met under the current RCM model.  AAC believes that this assessment should be completed by the end of AY 05–06 and monitored by the [AAC] next year as a charge.

The RCM review should take into detailed consideration the needs of the Discovery Program.  Also, many more Inquiry course proposals are needed.  The Academic Affairs Committee recommends that the Discovery Program Advisory Committee and the administration make a concerted effort to (1) educate faculty members about the nature and needs of the program, (2) provide incentives enough to motivate faculty to devote time and energy to developing Inquiry courses, and (3) explore ways that would allow small programs constrained by size to be able to offer these courses.  Joanne Curran-Celentano said that the Discovery Program Advisory Committee is made up of faculty and will only propose continuation of Discovery Program components that are approved by the Faculty Senate.

IX.  Diversity, minority recruitment and retention – The Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force had prepared a university-wide diversity plan for presentation to the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee.  Paul McNamara said that the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee approved the plan and unanimously recommends that the Faculty Senate adopt the motion as follows:

Whereas on March 8, 2004, the Faculty Senate passed the “Statement on Diversity as a Compelling Interest” (http://unhinfo.unh.edu/fac-senate/pub/Diversity-VIII-M8.htm) and has thus gone on record as committed to the improvement of diversity at UNH, and

Whereas the senate in that document not only recognized the need to promote diversity and the rationale for doing so, but further noted the special challenges our university faces in achieving a diverse community, and

Whereas we now have before us, for the first time, a comprehensive plan with systemic reinforcers, for the promotion of diversity at UNH, and

Whereas the senate desires not only to see diversity efforts promoted but to be engaged in and contributing to those efforts,

Be it resolved that:

The Faculty Senate endorses the seven strategies of the Diversity Strategic Task Force Plan, as well as the vision expressed in the introduction to that plan; and that

The Faculty Senate will appoint two senators each year to serve as the senate representatives on the Diversity Council for that year and will charge that pair of senators to report back to the senate on diversity plans, efforts, and progress that year; moreover

The Faculty Senate hereby gratefully acknowledges the leadership demonstrated by Provost Bruce Mallory and by the new Vice Provost for Diversity, Wanda Mitchell, in promoting and enhancing UNH’s efforts to build a more diverse community; and the senate also gratefully acknowledges the considerable efforts and dedication of the diverse group of colleagues (student, faculty, and staff) that constituted the Diversity Strategic Planning Task Force, as well as the many guests who appeared to consult and aid them in their endeavors over the past year.

The motion passed unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned.


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