UNH Faculty Senate
Summary Minutes from 2 April, 2012
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2011-12 FACULTY SENATE
APRIL 2, 2012 - MINUTES SUMMARY
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Harrist, Simos, Veal and Woodward. Guests were John Aber, Jeff Diefendorf, Bob Swarthout, Michael Staley, Emily Klein, Kelly Whittier and Kristen Woytonik.
II. Remarks by and questions to the president and/or provost – The provost invited faculty to attend the state-of-the-art lecture by Professor Rochelle Lieber on April 5 at 4:30 p.m. in Holloway Commons. This lecture series is co-sponsored by the Faculty Senate and was very well attended last time. The provost also thanked faculty members for their input on the academic review. He said that the responses were very interesting and included innovative comments which were extremely useful. He announced the hiring of a new dean in UNH-Manchester, Ali Rafieymehr, who will start this summer. The provost said that, although one might think that, when the university does something new, the funds must come from the budget of some other entity in the university, this is not always true. He added that, with many new programs now, the goal of the programs is to increase revenues on the residential campus. In response to a question about the new method of faculty annual reporting (FAR), he said that there have been changes in response to feedback on the FAR and that the FAR makes it easier to do annual reports. A senator commented that the existence of fields which faculty cannot change seems strange.
III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair reminded faculty senators to attend the faculty/student dinner today at 5:30 p.m. in Philbrook Hall, at a cost of $11. The chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee asked faculty senators to volunteer to host for this dinner a student senator who does not have a dining pass.
IV. Minutes – The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved with all ayes.
V. Remarks by and questions from the Graduate Student Senate – Bob Swarthout said that the Graduate Student Senate has concerns about possible teaching assistant job cuts which might come from the academic review. The Graduate Student Senate believes that funding which has already been committed to teaching assistants should not be cut. Commitments must be honored, and rescinding them would be detrimental to both the graduate students and the university’s programs served by the teaching assistants. The Graduate Student Senate asked the Faculty Senate’s help in getting information about the plans and in supporting the commitments already made to teaching assistants. A number of faculty senators said that cuts in their departments would not affect commitments already made to current graduate assistants. A senator said that there are now more undergraduate students in many programs; and so the program faculty are concerned that there is a need for more rather than fewer teaching assistants, as proposed in the budget-cutting efforts. The Faculty Senate chair said that perhaps he could contact the deans in an effort to get confirmation that current commitments will be honored.
VI. Report from the Committee on Standards for Promotion and Tenure – The chair of the senate’s ad-hoc Committee on Standards for Promotion and Tenure (CSPT) said that the committee was appointed during the summer of 2011, with a charge to: "Review promotion and tenure criteria for colleges and schools and assess them for degree of transparency, consistency, and applicability to academic departments and other units.” Although most faculty members come from departments, departments do not exist in the library, UNH-Manchester, or institutes; and thus the term “units” is used in this report. The committee was asked to review standards, not procedures, across the university. This applies to tenure-track faculty but also to research and clinical faculty, since they are eligible for promotion if not tenure. Provost Aber has noted that: “We have clear guidelines for the promotion process for research and clinical faculty. One could question the standing of the faculty senate, which purposely chooses not to represent those groups, to comment on those practices.” The committee, however, is aware of ongoing discussions about increasing the role of research faculty at UNH, especially in the newly proposed “schools,” and because “guidelines for the promotion process” and standards are not the same thing, the committee members agreed that they should discuss standards for promotion of research faculty.
Faculty are asked to read and share with departmental colleagues the committee's full report which was distributed to the faculty senators electronically. Today's minutes include a summary of the methods and conclusions of the report. The first step was to gather information. Jim Varn in the provost’s office forwarded copies of all existing documents on hand in his office, that spelled out promotion standards. Committee members scrutinized those documents from their respective units and reported on any notable issues. The committee also asked each college dean and the library dean to comment on variations in standards within the college. The committee asked the graduate dean, the provost, and the previous provost the same questions asked of the deans and also inquired how these questions apply across the university as well as within a college or institute. In addition, questions were sent to the director of EOS, the predominant research institute on campus. Lastly, the committee conducted a survey of faculty who have been promoted recently and faculty who are currently under consideration for promotion or will soon be considered. A survey was also sent to faculty currently serving on college promotion and tenure committees and faculty who recently served on these committees. As the CSPT discussed the information collected, it quickly became clear that the committee should not just narrowly consider “transparency, consistency, and applicability” but also should point out any other significant issues that arose. It was not the task of the committee to define standards. Those naturally vary according to discipline.
The ad-hoc committee’s recommendations include the following. Work is needed on the definitions and relative weighting of teaching, research, service, outreach, engaged scholarship, and interdisciplinary and collaborative work in each discipline. (Is advising graduate students considered teaching or service? Into which category falls production of policy papers? Should various kinds of creative activity be a separate category?) Clearer discussion of the quantitative and qualitative metrics used in evaluating performance in these areas is needed. (Is winning external research funding as important as the results of that research? Is the long-term impact of teaching as or more important than the score on the last line of the standardized course evaluations?) The committee does not, however, suggest that definitions, weighting, and metrics should be identical across the university. Having whole departments regularly discuss and articulate standards can stimulate excellence. Some departments do have higher and more clearly-articulated standards. Perhaps other units could use these as models. Here both college panels and deans could take the lead as part of year-end discussions. The ad-hoc committee would encourage open discussion at the end of each year between college panels and department chairs regarding both procedures and standards, so that departments understand what the panels do.
There should be greater clarity based on written guidelines and regular discussions of standards at all levels and between levels, including senior administrators. The expectations of senior administrators might not match those of particular disciplines. There should be more regular dialog between departments (or units) and administrators, about current or changing expectations, rather than waiting for differences to emerge in individual cases. Too few departments have clear standards for promotion to the rank of full professor. Each discipline should address the issue of having clear standards while maintaining a reasonable measure of flexibility. Written standards, regular and open discussion, and regular mentoring of junior faculty should go far to clarify expectations and avoid unnecessary rigidity.
When a department does not do a good job in preparing a promotion case file for submission, college panels, deans, and the provost might have difficulty determining whether the candidate has met department standards in each area. When panels or deans note such a problem, they should engage the department in a discussion about this, so as to avoid similar problems with future cases. In the case of research and clinical faculty, there is inconsistency and a lack of clarity in the expectations for and evaluation of teaching, both on the graduate and undergraduate levels. Greater clarity is needed in terms of expectations for research and service. If research and clinical faculty engage in the same types of activities as tenure-track faculty, there should be open discussion about both the distinctions and the expectations for non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty, as well as the role of tenure-track faculty in the promotion process for research and clinical faculty.
In response to a question, the committee chair said that, although no research faculty were members of the committee, the director of EOS and a number of research faculty were consulted. The senate chair thanked the ad-hoc committee for its very thorough report, asked faculty to read it, and said that perhaps the senate might put together an oversight committee to facilitate these matters.
VII. Report from the Professional Standards Committee, on policy for changes in faculty status – The chair of the senate’s Professional Standards Committee proposed a motion as follows.
Whereas it is the tenured and tenure-track faculty that forms the essential core of the university, and whereas the system of colleges and departments forms the stable organizational structure of the tenured and tenure-track faculty within which the fundamental rights, duties, and assessments of the faculty are applied, and whereas other organizational structures of the faculty, both temporary and long-term, (e.g. programs, centers, institutes, schools, etc.) are formed against the background of the college/departmental structure in response to various particular needs and goals of the university, and whereas it has come to the attention of the Faculty Senate that upon occasion tenured faculty have come to be without a fixed assignment to a full-fledged department within a college of the university, and whereas such an extra-ordinary position engenders enduring and manifold difficulties for all concerned, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate endorses as a principle and recommends as university policy that every tenured or tenure-track member of the faculty have clear assignment to one (or, in the case of joint appointments, more) department(s) and college(s) in the university and that the fundamental rights and duties conferred by membership in a department cannot be curtailed or abridged. Where due-process grievance procedures result in special adjustments to the assignment of responsibilities of a tenure-track faculty member and his or her department, nothing in that agreement will abridge the basic rights and duties involved in participation in the department. The university should seek stringently to avoid entering into any agreements that violate this principle.
Consideration of this motion will be postponed to the next senate meeting.
VIII. Motion from the Campus Planning Committee, on the SARRC budget – At the last senate meeting, the chair of the Campus Planning Committee proposed a motion on the SARRC budget. The preamble was as follows.
The Space Allocation, Repairs and Renovation Committee, the website of which is at http://www.unh.edu/vpfa/sarrc.html, oversees the assignment, renovation, and extraordinary maintenance of all university buildings, grounds, roads, and related structures. SARRC is a standing advisory committee to the president of the University of New Hampshire. Committee membership includes the vice president for finance and administration (chair), the provost and vice president for academic affairs, the vice president for student and academic services, the UNH Foundation president and vice president for advancement, and the chief of staff for the president’s office. The SARRC budget is primarily funded from two sources: (1) the RCM square foot charge for facilities paid by colleges across the UNH campus and (2) the deferred maintenance student fee. SARRC’s current strategic improvements priority list reaches over $35 million in estimated project costs. Many academic buildings on the UNH campus are in critical need of repairs and renovations. These buildings have pressing safety concerns. Many of the buildings are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many are not able to meet the direct academic needs, instructional and research, of faculty and students.
In the past, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and UNH/SARRC have received state funding to offset some of the major repair, renovation, and renovation by replacement costs of existing academic buildings. Given the current relationship among USNH, UNH, and the New Hampshire legislature, it is questionable whether this support will continue. Even with the significant number of critical repair and renovation needs of existing academic buildings, the UNH administration approved construction of the brand new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics building. UNH borrowed $12.5 million (at 5.25 percent interest) from USNH to cover building costs remaining after funding from the Peter T. Paul gift, private fund raising, and WSBE reserves. This loan is now a SARRC budget expense; and repayment will use approximately 12 percent of the SARRC budget annually, even though this project was not identified previously by SARRC as a critical repair and renovation need. To the Campus Planning Committee’s knowledge, SARRC does not have a policy in place that limits the amount of its annual budget that can go toward new building ventures and projects versus existing repairs, renovations (e.g. James Hall), and renovations by replacement (e.g. Demeritt Hall) of existing buildings (the purpose of SARRC). Given that the updated Campus Master Plan envisions new building projects (e.g. a new center for the arts), the Faculty Senate is concerned that additional SARRC monies will be diverted away from the critical existing repair and renovation needs of academic buildings to fund new ventures.
The motion was as follows.
The Faculty Senate of the University of New Hampshire advises the university administration to develop and communicate to the Faculty Senate a justifiable and viable policy guaranteeing that the SARRC budget, funded primarily by the student deferred maintenance fee and the RCM square foot charge for facilities paid by colleges, should fund the repair and renovation projects reflected in the annual strategic improvements priority list in keeping with SARRC’s primary role.
In response to a question, the CPC chair indicated that the time line for the loan from the SARRC budget regarding the new business and economics building may be about fifteen years. The rationale for owing interest on this loan is that, if the money had not been loaned by USNH, the money might have been invested at a profit. UNH cannot borrow money from external sources for building projects. Who will own the building, and also what would happen to that loan if USNH were dramatically cut by the state legislature? After discussion, the motion was amended to say in part: “…the RCM square foot charge for facilities paid by RCM units should only fund the repair and renovation projects….” Concern was expressed that handicapped access should be upgraded at UNH. The university website includes a description of the charter of the Space Allocation, Repairs and Renovation Committee (SARRC). The amended motion passed with a vote of thirty-four ayes and three nays.
IX. Motion on inclusive excellence – Following introduction of the motion at the last senate meeting, today Willem deVries, on behalf of the Agenda Committee, proposed the following motion as the senate’s response to the Inclusive Excellence Report:
1. The Faculty Senate endorses the principle of inclusive excellence.
2. The Faculty Senate resolves that future reports concerning the inclusive excellence initiative (1) provide data showing the extent to which the university climate and curriculum are conducive to inclusive excellence, (2) assess the level of sufficiency of both climate and curriculum in implementing the principle of inclusive excellence, (3) indicate in detail the budgetary resources needed to maintain the current climate and curriculum if sufficient, or (4) frame identifiable and measurable benchmarks for establishing sufficiency, should the status quo climate and curriculum be deemed insufficient, (5) detail specific budgetary resources needed to reach those benchmarks, and (6) assess the extent to which the benchmarks targeted and the methods used in the university’s efforts towards inclusive excellence are pursued in accordance with the principle of shared governance.
3. The Faculty Senate will appoint or reappoint two faculty members each year to serve as senate representatives on the newly organized University Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, with the charges (A) to provide the senate chair and Agenda Committee with annual progress reports, as well as a fifth-year comprehensive report in the 2014-2015 academic year, and (B) to be available to provide summary report presentations to the senate on invitation from the senate. It is understood that, while these two faculty appointees will be participants in advancing the inclusive excellence initiative, their primary charge is to serve as representatives of the Faculty Senate as a whole.
In response to a request for elaboration on what was meant by part one of the motion, Willem deVries said that the Agenda Committee thought that inclusive excellence is a worthwhile principle but that, when we would have to shift financial priorities, we must know what has been done, what successes have been made, what is proposed, and how that will be funded. The motion passed with a vote of thirty-four ayes and two abstentions.
X. Motion on internationalization – On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Deborah Kinghorn proposed the following motion, as the senate’s response to the Report of the President’s Panel on Internationalizing UNH.
1. The Faculty Senate endorses the principle of the internationalization of UNH and commends the President’s Panel for its thorough report.
2. The Faculty Senate calls for periodic three-year assessments of the Navitas Program's royalty collection and distribution, starting during its third year of implementation (2014-2015).
Rationale: The first distribution of royalties is divided according to a formula that allocates approximately one-third to academic departments offering Navitas courses and two-thirds to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The departments are free to decide how best to make use of their Navitas funds. (For instance, the Department of Mathematics received approximately $14,000 that it could allocate to any number of activities, including travel fund supplements, classroom renovation and equipment, supplemental pay for a department Navitas coordinator, and student scholarships.) The Vice President for Academic Affairs will use its funds to meet operational costs associated with the Navitas program, as well as to pursue objectives to further develop the internationalization initiative, including a national search for a senior administrative position charged with overseeing and centralizing internationalization activities at UNH. Given that UNH finds itself continuously grappling with unstable financial circumstances, the Faculty Senate finds it imprudent to lock in any revenue stream for pursuing this strategic objective without periodic review of how royalties are distributed. For instance, should the principal units charged with implementing the institution’s core academic mission – the academic departments and the colleges that house them – come under serious budgetary duress, opportunities for diverting revenues where they are most needed should remain open. In sum, this part of the motion calls for flexibility over time in the distribution of royalties enjoyed from the Navitas Program that, presumably, will grow over time.
3. The Faculty Senate perceives a potential danger in implementing the recommendation to make “cluster hires” and “joint appointments” of as many as twelve new “interdisciplinary” faculty hires during the last three years of the report’s five year plan. At current and projected rates of hiring new faculty, these hires would constitute a substantial portion of all available opportunities to hire during those years. The deans and the provost will have to exercise a great deal of wisdom and sensitivity to the evolving conditions in the colleges, to ensure that devoting this many hires to internationalization does not simultaneously weaken other mission-critical needs in the university. On-going and effective consultation with academic departments will be crucial to proper implementation of this recommendation.
4. The Faculty Senate calls upon the interim internationalization facilitator and, possibly, a future internationalization administrative director to provide in the periodic three-year report to the Faculty Senate (1) data that show the current state of internationalization at UNH, including but not limited to the percentage of students participating in study abroad programs, numbers of Navitas students, and total revenues from Navitas and their distribution; (2) assessment of the level of internationalization those data show at UNH; (3) resources needed to maintain that level of internationalization, or (4) measurable benchmarks and the resources needed to bring internationalization to a higher level, and (5) the extent to which the benchmarks targeted and the methods used in the university’s efforts toward internationalization are pursued in accordance with the principle of shared governance.
Consideration of this motion will be postponed to the next senate meeting.
XI. Motion on shared governance – On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Louise Buckley proposed the following motion on shared governance.
Whereas the senate constitution states that “the principle of shared governance in universities is long established by tradition and was formalized in the 1966 Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges)”, and whereas the Joint Statement asserts that the distinctive responsibility of the faculty is the academic mission of the university, inclusive of “such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process,” and whereas the Faculty Senate Constitution “provides for the faculty to exercise this responsibility through an elected Faculty Senate,” therefore the Faculty Senate resolves that shared governance requires significant faculty representation through senate appointments to any university-level committee or commission dealing with charges that directly or indirectly pertain to the university’s academic mission (e.g. ad-hoc committees, presidential panels or commissions, strategic initiative committees); and the Faculty Senate further resolves that, although senate appointees will participate in advancing the respective charges put before those committees, panels, or commissions, the primary role of the senate appointees is to serve as representatives of the Faculty Senate and its responsibility for the overall academic mission.
The motion does not specify how many representatives of the Faculty Senate there should be, because the motion is meant to cover all university-wide groups dealing with academic matters; and some of the groups will be larger than others and need larger representation on a proportional basis. This motion clarifies that it is not sufficient shared governance for the administration to appoint a faculty member who is an advocate of the committee's charge. Consideration of this motion will be postponed to the next senate meeting.
XII. Report from the Research and Public Service Committee, on research faculty voting privileges – The RPSC chair said that the committee's charge was to develop “a uniform policy statement regarding formula-funded faculty voting privileges in academic departments and colleges. Formula-funded faculty receive a percentage of their salary from 'soft' or contract funds. In some academic departments, formula-funded faculty are given full voting privileges. For example, a 50 percent formula-funded member would receive one-half vote in the department. A campus-wide policy on formula-funded faculty voting privileges should be addressed.” Because of the variable nature of the relationships between individual non-tenure-track, research and formula-funded faculty and their respective departments, the committee feels that voting privileges and interactions with students and graduate programs should be defined by the respective departments and colleges. These interactions and matters such as promotion, etc. should be handled through published departmental/college procedures and guidelines currently in place. These procedures and guidelines should be clearly stated and in writing. Expectations for these faculty members should be clearly defined in writing at the time of appointment and subject to the approval of the faculty and academic unit to which they are associated.
XIII. Motion from the Academic Affairs Committee, on e-courses – The AAC chair presented the committee's statement and motions about the future of “e-UNH”. The number of on-line courses (e-courses) at the university has been growing exponentially during the last three years, and e-courses now represent a significant proportion of all courses taught. About twenty e-courses were offered in the January term of 2011, and forty-six were offered in 2012. About thirty such courses were offered during the summers of 2010 and 2011, while at least sixty-five are planned for this summer. There are new initiatives from the administration to promote e-courses, such as “e-meritus” courses to be taught by professors emeriti or emeritae and the offering of “e-lecturers,” who will teach only e-courses, to departments willing to expand the number of such courses. Indeed the overall expansion of on-line courses is due mainly to decisions by the administration. This expansion has not come from any duly-constituted body of professors, except insofar as some departments have chosen to promote e-courses or at least allow them. It is true that many students want to take such courses; and quite a few professors, lecturers, and adjuncts have asked to teach them. However, the prime motive behind the administration’s promotion of these courses seems to be financial: they make money. The administration has not even argued, as far as the committee is aware, that on-line courses are superior to traditional courses or even their equal, in educational benefit.
The committee is not prejudging the quality of on-line courses here. Some of them may well be excellent; and we are aware that several experienced professors have been teaching them, at least to try them out. We recognize that all UNH colleges have offered training sessions for faculty interested in teaching e-courses. Every year brings new developments in technology, and we can only guess at what new programs and devices might enhance the pedagogical possibilities of e-courses just a few years from now. However, there has been a good deal of controversy about the e-courses' quality and about their long-term impact on the nature and structure of university education. There has been much debate as well about their effect on the position of professors. These questions, as far as we can tell, have not been thoroughly discussed by any university-wide body of professors, other instructors, and administrators; and many departments have yet to hold a meeting about them. Little is said about e-courses in the Strategic Plan. We therefore make a motion with three parts:
(1) We call on the administration to make known what it foresees as the role and scope of e-courses. Is there a plan? Does the administration foresee expanding e-courses to a certain point and then pausing? What is that point? (2) We call on the administration to sponsor jointly with the Faculty Senate a series of open forums next fall in which the pros and cons of on-line teaching are debated. (3) We ask all departments that have not yet done so to hold discussions in which the value of e-courses and their role in department curricula are thoroughly considered.
Consideration of these matters will be postponed to the next senate meeting. Please share the above with your departmental colleagues.
XIV. E-UNH vendors – Ihab Farag presented an overview of an initiative to choose an on-line partnership (OLP). The presentation included discussion of the UNH vision, bidding, time line and current status, other OLP schools, enrollment projection, and future steps. UNH is a research-intensive, doctoral institution dedicated to undergraduate education and research. E-UNH courses had been used especially in January term and summer school. In the current initiative, the OSP vision is to establish excellent on-line programs, starting with graduate professional programs, and to seek an OLP company with experience in student recruitment and retention, marketing research and analysis, online programs and course development. OLP vendor benefits could include market research, recruiting, student services support, instructional design support, and revenue sharing. The bidding process should be formal, fair and confidential.
The time line would include the following: solicitation release on 2/17, submission due date of 2/24, evaluations and questions by 3/5, finalist interviews between 3/20 and 3/23, more questions up to 3/27, reference checks by 4/12, recommendation of an eUNH company by 5/2, and an award decision by 5/7, with a contract to be signed and effective by 8/1/2012. The final four vendors, as of the week of 3/19, were Academic Partnerships, Blackboard, Deltak, and Pearson. The final two vendors, as of 3/27, were Academic Partnerships and Deltak. Schools currently using this type of on-line partnership include Arizona State University, Boston University, the University of Arkansas, Florida Institute of Technology for its Masters of Business Administration, Purdue University for its Master of Education, the University of Texas at Tyler, Lamar University, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for its Nursing Program. Two models may be considered: one in which a course is offered individually and thus only one instructor is needed and a second model in which a prerequisite course is offered initially and then a follow up course is offered. In the latter model, one instructor is used during the first semester and two thereafter. Professor Farag said that the interview process for vendors at UNH included administration, faculty and instructional technology staff and was thoughtful and focused on choosing the right moves forward with proper shared governance. The remaining steps are ratings, more questions, checking references, and making a recommendation.
XV. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.
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