UNH Faculty Senate
Summary Minutes from 20 April, 2009
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2008/09 FACULTY SENATE
II. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that Faculty Senate meetings will be held the next two Mondays, on April 27 and May 4. Since there are many agenda items, he suggested that senators call the question when appropriate. The UNH Discovery Committee members have been elected, and the committee will start working right away. The members are Ed Larkin and David Richman of COLA, Patty Bedker of COLSA, Art Greenberg of CEPS, Heather Barber of CHHS, Honggeng Zhou of WSBE, Bill Ross from the Library, Steve Pugh of UNH-M (with Tom Birch as proxy for the first summer), and Larry Prelli as the Faculty Senate’s representative. All will have three-year terms except Larry Prelli who asked for a one-year term after which the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee will designate a representative to the committee. The committee will design a method to stagger the terms, after the first term. The ex-officio, non-voting members will be Lisa MacFarlane from the provost’s office, Registrar Kathy Forbes, Monica Chiu from the Honors Program, and Barbara White as the Discovery Program Faculty Director. A working group has prepared a draft of the category descriptions and will submit it to the UNH Discovery Committee for review. The Discovery Committee should work closely with the Discovery Program directors, the associate deans and the Faculty Senate on implementation of the Discovery Program.
III. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously.
IV. Shared governance document – On 7/22/08, members of the Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate’s standing committee chairs met with the President’s Cabinet for a day-long working session to develop a statement expressing the group’s consensus on guiding principles and working guidelines for effective shared governance at UNH. Regarding spheres of responsibility and authority, the group agreed that the faculty has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains: teaching and learning, curriculum, research, academic standards, terms of faculty appointment and promotion, student life in areas related to the educational process, and policy review. In each of these areas, the faculty exercises its responsibility and authority, understanding that its actions are subject to review by the president and Board of Trustees. The president and board, in turn, recognize that they will concur with faculty judgment in these domains “except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail”, as indicated in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities. The group agreed that the administration has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains: accreditation of the university, strategic planning, budgeting, repair and renovation of the physical assets, advancement (fund raising), risk management, and policy development and compliance. In each of these areas, the administration has a positive duty to consult with faculty before taking action and to take into account faculty objections or concerns before, during, and after effecting decisions. The shared governance document also lists five source documents and twelve guiding principles that should inform interactions between the administration and faculty, in order to assure effective decision making.
The senate chair said that the joint document on shared governance will help in the future when personnel changes or misunderstandings may occur. David Richman moved and Bill Stine seconded a motion that the Faculty Senate accept the shared governance document and the principles therein. Many senators spoke in favor of the document. The 12/12/05 senate motion on shared governance has served faculty well; and this new document enhances that effort, by putting in writing explicit agreement by the university administration. One senator expressed concern that, while the document states that research is in the purview of the faculty, there are many researchers who are not tenure-track faculty and that this should be clarified in this and other documents. The senate chair replied that a charge for next year’s Research and Public Service Committee is to figure out how research faculty and the research mission of the university could be better integrated. The senate chair said that, if the senate passes today’s motion, he would ask that the president make a formal statement to confirm the document as a guide to university policy. The senate chair suggested that, perhaps in the future if all parties agree, a clause might be added to the document to reflect the concern about research faculty. Another senator said that the document refers to faculty rather than to tenure-track faculty and thus does not necessarily exclude the research faculty. The original motion passed with thirty-three ayes, no nays, and five abstentions.
V. Motion on Thompson School and the Discovery Program – The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee has accepted a friendly amendment to change the last phrase in the motion on Thompson School proposed in the last senate meeting. The motion is a follow-up to senate motion XIII-M11 on Discovery Program implementation and clarifies that faculty in the Thompson School are eligible to submit Inquiry and Breadth courses for review and approval by the Discovery Committee and advises the school to work with its dean, the provost and the Discovery Committee, in accordance with the bylaws of COLSA and the course approval procedures of the Discovery Program. The final phrase was reworded at the request of the COLSA dean’s office and refers to the requirement that any COLSA course be approved by the COLSA Academic Affairs Committee and the COLSA dean before approval by the UNH Discovery Committee. The phrase does not set a precedent for other colleges. Some senators expressed support of the motion, saying that a significant number of students start in the Thompson School and then transfer to the UNH baccalaureate program and that UNH needs to treat the Thompson School students similarly to other students who enter UNH via the two-plus-two programs from community colleges. The senate chair said that, if this motion is passed, any course approved by the UNH Discovery Program, whether from the Thompson School or the UNH baccalaureate program, could be taken by any baccalaureate program or Thompson School student and would apply to graduation requirements. The motion passed with thirty-seven ayes, no nays, and one abstention.
VI. Motion on two statistics courses – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that this committee recommends unanimously that the Faculty Senate pass a motion that students may receive eight credits for two introductory statistics courses, if and only if the students take the second course as a requirement of a program they have moved into after taking the first statistics course. In the past, some students who change programs have been caught in a bind, because the second program may require a different statistics course from the first program but the student could not receive credit for the second course. A senator asked if this is an RCM issue, and the senate chair said that the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee may look into that issue and the proliferation of statistics courses. Another senator said that requiring a statistics course specific to the discipline predates RCM. The senate’s AAC chair said that today’s motion does not speak to that issue but would protect the student, because either the two statistics courses are different enough for both to be required and thus the student should receive credit for both or the two courses are similar enough that the student should not be required to take the second statistics course when entering a new program. This motion would apply if the student changed majors and also if the student took the first statistics course when undeclared and then chose a major requiring the second statistics course. A senator said that the possible RCM problem can be dealt with later and is not in conflict with today’s motion. The motion passed with thirty-four ayes, no nays, and four abstentions.
VII. Policy on schools – The chair of the senate’s University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee presented for discussion the 4/20/09 draft document prepared by the provost’s office and entitled “Interdisciplinary/Professional Schools at UNH”. Currently both the nursing program and marine studies would like to become schools. UCAPC has not yet reviewed the 4/20/09 draft which came out this morning. The committee has some mixed feelings about the document and wonders where the money would come from for new schools and how such a schools policy would impact the existing programs. There are also concerns about majors and about the memoranda of understanding which would be necessary to establish such schools. Senators asked what would be the definition of a program and of a school. If some faculty members wanted an interdisciplinary major, where would that fall? The administration and some faculty would like the schools policy to pass soon, so that the nursing program and marine studies could become schools; but a number of faculty would like better definitions and clarity before approving the policy change. How would the creation of new schools affect the programs that are now served by the faculty who would want to have their primary work load in the new schools; and what would happen to the existing programs? A senator said that there could be potentially huge cascading consequences from such a change. The administration has indicated that these issues could be covered in the memoranda of understanding, but concerns exist that departments might be gutted in the process.
The draft policy says that schools would be subunits of one or more colleges and that schools would not be separate RC units. For example, a school of nursing would be within the college of Health and Human Services, and interdisciplinary schools might be within more than one college. Faculty expressed concern that professional schools would be quite different from interdisciplinary schools and also that any new school might require more money for its administration and staffing. A senator said that there are also issues of hiring lines and of departments having the resources to teach the courses. However, having new schools might help bring in additional students and new support. There is a shortage of nurses in the state, and Keene and Plymouth are interested in joining with a UNH School of Nursing. A senator said that the marine program was started in 1972 and has tremendous expertise but has not been able to harness that optimally without recognition as a school. He is in favor of the proposed policy but believes that forming a new school should not be easy and should have a coherent size requirement. Another professor said that he is also in favor of the policy but that it should have reviews every five years or so. A senator said that he is neutral or positive to the idea of schools but is against the rush to approve the policy, because there are resource issues. Other senators emphasized that professional schools should be dealt with differently from interdisciplinary schools. The senate chair asked that senators send any further concerns to the UCAPC chair. She will bring all the concerns to the provost and to UCAPC.
VIII. Motion on diversity – The senate chair said that, in the strategic plan open forum, the attention to diversity in the plan was questioned. The Agenda Committee proposes that the senate pass a motion on this matter. The rationale is that the Faculty Senate has passed at least two motions on diversity: the first was a 3/08/04 motion endorsing diversity as a compelling interest (Motion VIII-M8) and the second was a 4/18/05 motion endorsing the strategies and vision of the Diversity Strategic Task Force Five Year Plan (Motion IX-M17). The Diversity Council voted on 12/8/09 to have the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer write to the President on its behalf and express "...our support for keeping diversity as a core commitment of the University of New Hampshire" and attending to it during the strategic planning process. The issue was raised at the Strategic Planning forum on 3/31/09, 12:30-2:00, the video of which can be seen at http://www.unh.edu/strategicplanning/workinggroups.html. At that time the panel, consisting of various co-chairs of the working groups, admitted that, while perhaps diversity had not been explicitly addressed in most of the groups, it is a value that should be addressed. The panel agreed that more attention was called for. In the preamble to the Strategic Plan Working Group charges, in the section entitled “General Charge to all Working Groups”, President Huddleston articulates the following criteria: “They should foster and advance the University’s commitment to achieving excellence in all we do through diversity and inclusion.” Today’s motion is to request that President Huddleston re-charge each group, to address explicitly the issue of diversity in the context of their proposals and for the members collectively to spend some time conversing about ways we can implement the values endorsed in the Faculty Senate diversity motions, in the overall Strategic Plan; and we further ask that the Steering Committee explore ways the groups can enrich diversity in the process of pursuing the other worthwhile values involved in the specific charges.
Paul McNamara, faculty representative on the Diversity Council, said that the two senate motions passed previously were to endorse the vision of diversity as a compelling interest. He added that, while some of the strategic plan working groups may have addressed diversity, the co-chairs acknowledged in the forum that a number of the working groups should have and did not. A professor said that diversity means that many different voices should be heard, including opposing political viewpoints. A senator said that the strategic plan working group process has been completed and that going back now would delay it too much. Also, the topics of some of the working groups, such as technology, may not pertain to diversity. However, other groups apparently did not complete the stated charge. A senator suggested that the senate could ask the president to decide which groups are relevant. Another senator said that he is a member of one of the working groups and that, after hearing the comments on diversity at the open forum, his group rewrote its concluding statement in response and has gone as far as possible in that regard. The motion passed with twenty-seven ayes, two nays, and three abstentions.
IX. Nominees for the senate’s 2009/2010 Agenda Committee – An election for next year’s Faculty Senate chair, vice chair and other Agenda Committee members will be held at the senate meeting on May 4. The slate of nominees is as follows: Paula Salvio as Faculty Senate chair, Ed Hinson as vice chair, Marco Dorfsman as past chair, and Gail Carey, Ben Cariens, Joanne Curran-Celentano, Michael Fraas and Larry Prelli as at-large Agenda Committee members. Their biographical information will be sent to the senators soon.
X. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.
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