UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 21 April, 2003




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Andrew, Baldwin, Barcelona, Birch, Black, Burger, Calculator, Elmslie, Frankel, Marx, Nicovich, Niesse, Pollard, Schlentrich, Townson, and Ward. Dorothy Rentschler was excused. President Hart attended part of the meeting.

II. Minutes - The minutes of the 4/7/03 senate meeting were approved unanimously. Also, the minutes of the 3/24/03 senate meeting were approved unanimously with a modification of the second paragraph of item III as follows:

A professor asked who determines the internal priorities of a department, and the president responded that the answer is complex. While the content area experts for curriculum and program characteristics and hiring recommendations come from the department, now under RCM we have a partnership among the department, the dean, the provost, the trustees' Programs and Services Committee, and the Board of Trustees who approve all decisions. When asked if a full-time administrator who is technically a member of an academic department has the right to participate in the decisions of the department, the president said that the collective bargaining agreement governs these circumstances.

III. Communications from the Chair - The senate chair said that she, Bill Stine, Betty Crepeau and Tom Newkirk will meet with the provost and Victor Benassi to try to resolve the issues around the hiring of a director of the Writing across the Curriculum Program. Also, the Task Force for the Associate of Arts Degree will meet soon to review the Associate of Arts degrees in UNH-Manchester and the Division of Continuing Education.

IV. Communications with the President - The president said that the House Finance Committee proposed to the New Hampshire House that the university system operating budget be level funded; but this proposal did not pass the House vote. The New Hampshire Senate will soon consider the matter as well. The university, its alumni and advocacy groups are working with legislators on this issue, and the president asked faculty to encourage legislators to support level funding for the higher education operating budget and also the needed funds for capital repairs.

The president said that, in the last five years, changes seem to have happened in the cultural definition of celebration both here and around the world. Prior to the April 12 championship hockey game, the university had asked the town to reroute traffic from Main Street temporarily after the game, but the town had declined to do so. The university had also tried to set up after-game events but was told by student leadership that students would not participate in planned events. Since the disruption on the evening of April 12, the university has had meetings with the town and the police. Some students may receive interim suspensions from the university, pending the completion of hearings. Scholarships for some students for next year may be reviewed in the light of those events. The university must act on each case while preserving due process. Since April 12, the student leaders have been helpful in working with students on this issue. More meetings will be held this summer, including a summit for first responders.

A professor suggested that the presidents of various universities could get together and craft wording for the student orientation package, stating what the expectations for student behavior and consequences for non-compliance will be. The president agreed with this suggestion and also encouraged faculty to express support for the sentiments in the deans' April 18 letter to The New Hampshire. Watching violence and refusing to disperse when told to by the police is both illegal and unacceptable, even if the student is not behaving violently. A professor complained about the attitudes of the town police and said that professors have been arrested for riding bicycles downtown. Other professors stated that the senate should send a clear message to the students that their behavior was wrong. The common use of cell phones contributed greatly to the size of the crowd, and about forty percent of the crowd were not UNH students. A faculty member said that West Virginia University had similar concerns and developed tactics to deal with such situations and that the president might discuss this with officials there. Another professor said that there is much research going on regarding crowd control and that perhaps leaders in the police departments could take courses in these techniques. The administration plans to talk with the town about such issues and about blocking off the street.

A professor suggested that faculty get involved by becoming advisors to fraternities and sororities and by joining the "weekend walkers", who are adults from the university community who wear identifying jackets and try to provide a calming presence on weekend evenings in Durham. Also, a faculty member suggested that faculty should be given tickets in the student sections of sporting events. A professor said that social expectations should be made clear in the beginning and that consequences of unacceptable behavior should be quick and sure.

V. Motions on the Events of April 12 - On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Tom Laue made a motion that the Faculty Senate endorses and fully supports the contents of the "Deans' letter - Unacceptable Behavior" published April 18 in The New Hampshire. Bill Stine suggested that the Faculty Senate should write a letter to The New Hampshire about this motion. He agreed to draft such a letter, at the request of the senate vice chair. After discussion and modification of the wording of the motion, the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a motion that the Faculty Senate endorses and fully supports the sentiments as reflected in the "Deans' letter - Unacceptable Behavior" published April 18 in The New Hampshire.

On behalf of the Agenda Committee, Tom Laue made a second motion which, after friendly amendments, was as follows:

The events of Saturday evening, April 12, 2003, are of deep concern to the faculty. Those students who participated in violent behavior that evening must recognize that their actions have brought a profound sense of disgrace to everyone associated with the University of New Hampshire. No member of this community should ever believe that conduct of this sort is excusable. These individuals owe everyone in this community an apology for their actions, although this alone is not sufficient.

It is also of great concern that so many students believed that it was acceptable behavior to watch this spectacle. Their presence did nothing to prevent or remedy the situation and added considerably to the danger. The thousands who simply "came to watch" should consider what they might have done to help prevent the events or how they might have helped stop them from occurring.

Finally, the Faculty Senate wishes to express our deep frustration and concern that criminal and dangerous behavior is accepted by any member of our community. The university must enforce its policies and hold students accountable for their behavior.

Professors suggested that a third motion be drafted to say that means should be found to provide better crowd control and enhanced police training, to close Main Street to traffic at crucial times, and to encourage students to enjoy organized and legal ways of interacting after sports events. Such a motion may be drafted at the April 28 Agenda Committee meeting and presented at the May 5 senate meeting. Motion two passed almost unanimously with one abstention and no negative votes.

VI. Numbering System for Thompson School Courses - The faculty of the Thompson
School presented to the Faculty Senate's Academic Affairs Committee a motion on changing the numbering system for Thompson School courses. The Academic Affairs Committee felt that the motion had merit, but the dean of COLSA had put forth to the provost a similar but different proposal. At the April 21 Faculty Senate meeting, Don Quigley moved and Kelly Giraud seconded that "Thompson School of Applied Science courses follow the UNH course numbering guidelines for courses taken for baccalaureate credit, eliminating the 200-299 numeric designation." Don Quigley then moved that this motion be postponed until the motion and the dean's plan can be reviewed. Victor Benassi has sent to the chair of the senate's Academic Affairs Committee a letter proposing that this review be done by the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee. The UCAPC chair said that the COLSA Academic Affairs Committee is looking into this matter and that, if that body cannot resolve the matter, it will come to UCAPC. The UCAPC recommendations should then be brought to the Faculty Senate for input.

The rationale for the Thompson School renumbering motion presented to the senate today is that current course numbering for Thompson School courses is illogical and no longer reflects current policies. Under the present system, Thompson School courses (200-299) have numbers lower than courses which do not qualify for UNH baccalaureate credit and which are designated 300-399 for associate's degree or non-degree students; and yet Thompson School courses can be taken for credit by UNH baccalaureate students or transferred into baccalaureate programs at full credit by Thompson School students, as approved by previous Faculty Senate motions. Under this new plan, the course prefix would serve as the identifier for Thompson School courses. Tom Laue seconded that this motion be postponed until the above review is accomplished, and the motion to postpone passed unanimously.

VII. Pass/Fail Grading - The senate's Academic Affairs Committee chair said that Associate Dean Neil Vroman from the university-wide Academic Standards and Advising Committee presented information that students are opting for pass/fail grading for reasons counter to the original spirit of the policy, which was implemented to allow students to take courses in unrelated fields without having the grade impact the students' GPA. The Academic Affairs Committee asks that senators consult with their departmental colleagues and inform the committee whether problems with pass/fail exist, their frequency, and whether a policy change may be appropriate.

VIII. Recognition of Faculty Service - The senate's Research and Public Service Committee reviewed whether faculty service is adequately rewarded at UNH. The committee discussed related points and compared the number of awards given for teaching, research and service. Fourteen of the sixteen annual awards or professorships at the university level are primarily for research or teaching or both; while only two are in recognition of service. They are the Alumni Public Service Award and the Excellence in Public Service Award. All colleges have annual awards for excellence in teaching and/or research, but almost no colleges have service-related awards. Also, many departments have annual "Teacher of the Year" awards; but almost no departments have annual service awards. UNH-Manchester has one annual service award. Since university service is fundamentally important to the mission and goals of the university, the committee concludes that there should be increased recognition of exemplary service and recommends as follows:

(1) The current University Public Service Award should be redefined as the University "Engagement" Award and should recognize a faculty member primarily for off-campus service/engagement/outreach activities to the community, state and country.

(2) A new University Service Award should be established recognizing outstanding service directly to the University of New Hampshire. The new award should primarily recognize on-campus UNH service such as chairing the Faculty Senate, membership on active university-wide committees, membership on active college-wide committees such as promotion and tenure, membership on active department committees, and all other forms of uncompensated service. The award should be administered annually in the same way as other current university awards for teaching and research.

(3) Each college should establish its own service awards to be presented annually by the dean of the college to a faculty member and a staff member who have demonstrated exemplary service to that college during the previous year. The award numbers, criteria, and selection process should be determined by the individual colleges.

(4) Lastly, in much the same spirit as the Jean Brierley University Teaching Award is named after an exemplary teacher, the University Engagement Award should be named the Alden Winn University Engagement Award in recognition of his total service commitment to the university, the town of Durham, the state of New Hampshire, and the United States for over fifty years.

A senator suggested that faculty should be eligible for these rewards regardless of rank. Awards of cash, sabbatical time, reduced teaching loads and such could all be considered. The senate will continue this discussion at its next meeting.

IX. Adjournment - The senate meeting was adjourned.

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