UNH Faculty Senate
Summary Minutes from 27 April, 2009
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2008/09 FACULTY SENATE
II. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the UNH Discovery Committee will start work very soon and will review a draft of the breadth requirement category descriptions. The senate chair has told the Deans’ Council that the senate intends that the categories will not be the exclusive domain of the departments and that courses could come from any quarter, as long as they undergo the unit’s normal course approval process and then are approved by the Discovery Committee. Also the senate chair has told the Deans’ Council that, although the 444 courses are no longer mandatory for every student, the 444 courses are still an important and central component of the program and should be supported; the deans were receptive to that. The senate chair asked the senators to share the above information with their departmental colleagues, because faculty need to know both the wording of the motions and the intention of the senate. He added that it is the senate practice to bring back to the senate floor motions which have been tabled to a future meeting. The senate chair asked senators to urge their colleagues to attend the provost search open fora. The senate chair said that, as a result of an article in the journal Academe a few years ago, the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee has prepared a report on the increase in administrative versus faculty positions. He suggested that faculty read an article in the 4/24/09 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education, which shows a ninety-seven percent increase of managers, support personnel and other non-teaching employees at UNH from 1997 to 2007. This increase is the third highest among public colleges. A senator asked why administrative units seem to be able to avoid the budget cuts and hiring freezes imposed on academic departments; and he suggested that the Faculty Senate should look into that situation.
III. Minutes – The minutes of the 4/20/09 senate meeting were approved unanimously except for one abstention, with a change in item II to say that the UNH Discovery Committee member Steve Pugh of UNH-Manchester will have Tom Birch as proxy for the first summer, rather than the first year.
IV. Remarks by and questions to the president – The president noted that Kevin Gardner will chair an internal search for a new senior vice provost for research and reaffirmed that he is committed to hiring a provost who will champion research as well as our other academic missions. The president said that administrative appointments should be term appointments. A senator said that his understanding is that the academic departments and colleges, which are central to the university’s core mission, have been asked to make budget cuts even though other non-academic, non-core-mission units such as athletics and housing have not. The president said that his main priority would be to protect the academic core. A senator said that he does not think that the academic units are being protected at this time, because the departments cannot replace faculty, add to the curriculum, or do normal professional travel. A senator expressed concern about how fast to move on calendar change. The president encouraged the senate to adopt a calendar revision allowing the creation of a winter session and noted the many benefits he had observed from such a winter term at the University of Delaware.
V. Calendar change – The senate took off the table and considered a motion previously presented by David Richman and seconded by Bill Stine, that a week should be excised from the spring semester’s calendar, so that the number of weeks in the spring calendar would equal those in the fall semester. A friendly amendment was accepted to change “spring calendar” to “spring semester”. Another friendly amendment was accepted to change the motion to: “We move to change the existing UNH academic year calendar, to shorten the second semester by one week so that both fall and spring semesters consist of 14 weeks each. The senate will review the outcomes of this change in 2013, to determine if additional adjustments in the academic year calendar would be beneficial in meeting UNH's academic goals.”
The chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee said that this motion does not mention a January term and that the committee has determined that the senate cannot consider a motion on a January term until the senate has received the answers to the questions it sent to the administration, about that issue. [Those questions are appended to these minutes.] Another senator expressed concern about making decisions on the calendar precipitously. The motion would equalize the semesters, starting in the 2009/2010 academic year, and does not specify whether the extra week in the spring semester would be removed from the beginning or the end of the semester. The senate chair said that the senate previously approved five years of academic calendars, of which four years remain. He added that most comparable institutions have fourteen-week semesters. A senator expressed concern about pressures to establish a January term, which may be brought to bear if the senate passes a motion to equalize the semesters.
The senior vice provost said that UNH-Manchester has already piloted a January term with three courses, which were offered partly on line. She thought that one might have been a repair course; generally, those would be courses for students who had had difficulty with a course and needed help in order to keep up with the course sequence leading to on-time graduation. Such an opportunity could help with student retention. She added that UNH-Manchester plans to continue its January program and that, if the Faculty Senate votes to equalize the semesters, it is likely that many departments will want to look into possibilities for a January term. She said that it would be up to the Faculty Senate to decide whether the week which may be excised from the spring semester would be taken from the beginning or the end of the semester. The chair of the Student Affairs Committee said that most of the questions the committee posed to the administration must be answered at the university level, not the department level, and that a four-credit course should have a specific number of contact hours. The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee said that the UNH summer school currently offers courses that are completed in five weeks and that housing and dining issues are the administration’s problem. He supported equalizing the semesters at fourteen weeks each and said that his department alone could bring thirty students to a January term. He added that such courses would help with both student retention and the university’s budget problems. Another professor spoke in favor of the motion, saying that, if the same faculty course load is spread across the fall, spring and January sessions with participation being voluntary or if faculty are paid extra for teaching a January course, such courses might not pose a problem for the contract. A senator supported passing the motion but said that it should be explicit that participation in a January term would be voluntary and that the faculty contract is only for the fall and spring semesters. The motion as amended passed, with twenty-nine ayes, two nays and no abstentions.
The senior vice provost said that many people are researching the answers to the questions posed by faculty about a January term and that it would be helpful to know if the week removed from the spring semester would be at the beginning or the end of the semester. Barbara White moved and Paula Salvio seconded a motion that the equal, fourteen week semesters would begin with the 2009/2010 spring semester in the last week of January. A friendly amendment was accepted to add that spring semester would start one week later than usual. The senators agreed that the spring semester should end no later than it currently does. The senior vice provost said that she will find out and email to the senate chair information about stimulus money which may be available for start-up costs for a January term. The amended motion passed with twenty-one ayes, six nays and three abstentions.
VI. Thanks to the provost – Paula Salvio made and Bill Stine seconded a motion that, as Bruce Mallory prepares to complete his term as provost and to rejoin the faculty, the Faculty Senate wishes to extend its gratitude for a generative, at times provocative, always engaging working relationship. Though we have had to weather periods of disagreement, Bruce's dedication to the faculty and to the university at large never wavered. His leadership, integrity and participation in the ongoing conversation that shapes our academic values have been constant. It is perhaps during the times of difficult differences that we, as a senate, were able to move toward more fully articulating the principles of shared governance that we all so highly value. Working with Bruce over the last six years, we have accomplished a number of things--the most important being the document on shared governance jointly crafted by the Faculty Senate chair and the provost in 2009. Our mutual understanding of shared governance is far better than it was when Bruce became provost, and the 2009 document will guide practices of shared governance by future generations of administrators and faculty. The Faculty Senate extends our thanks for his years of service, our congratulations on his achievements and our warmest wishes to Bruce as he ascends to our ranks. The motion passed with twenty-five ayes, no nays and five abstentions.
VII. Misconduct in scholarly activity – The chair of the senate’s Professional Standards Committee said that the committee has worked with the senior vice provost, the AAUP, and others in order to reach consensus on the MISA policy. The policy must be in compliance with federal standards. Scholarly misconduct is defined as (a) fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, conducting, or reporting results from scholarly activities; and (b) retaliation of any kind against a person who has brought forth an allegation of misconduct or who has provided information about a suspected case of misconduct. The central concern, which was raised by the AAUP and which was also shared by the Professional Standards Committee, pertained to restrictions placed on the subject’s right to communicate and to exercise free speech. The Administration agreed and removed from the policy the items underlined below.
The subject should also be directed to refrain from communicating about the allegation or any related circumstances directly or indirectly with any person, including a presumed complainant, who may subsequently be asked to participate in a formal investigation. ...
The inquiry team will then engage in preliminary fact-finding and preliminary information gathering, to ascertain if there is cause for formal investigation into the case. The inquiry team should strive to gather and consider available evidence in a manner that does not incriminate, or cast suspicion on the subject of the allegation. The subject should be encouraged to provide a written response to the allegation and submit his/her view on the alleged action(s) or deed(s). The inquiry team may also interview others in the community who have knowledge of aspects of the case, including the complainant. The subject should also be encouraged to suggest persons to interview, but should be instructed not to contact these individuals directly.
The Professional Standards Committee moved that the Faculty Senate pass a motion approving the revised Misconduct Policy on Scholarly Activity, in accordance with the recommendations set forth by the Professional Standards Committee and the AAUP. The revised wording of the MISA policy is shown in the document entitled “Proposed Changes to UNH Policy on Misconduct in Scholarly Activity” and dated 4/27/09.
A senator expressed concern about the identification of misconduct as including retaliation and said that retaliation occurs frequently. The chair of the Professional Standards Committee said that the new version of the policy would permit a faculty member to contact others if, for example, there were a poor relationship with the department chair. The senate voted to table the motion until the next senate meeting on May 4, so that the senators could read the MISA documents.
VIII. Conflict of interest – The chair of the Professional Standards Committee said that there are several faculty members on the Disclosure Review Committee, whose members are appointed by the president. One of the members is the Professional Standards Committee chair. Concerns exist that faculty are not sufficiently aware of the disclosure policy. This issue may be brought to the Faculty Senate next year.
IX. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.
Student Affairs Committee’s 4/27/09 Academic Calendar Questions
A. The over-riding question, of course, is:
Why are we considering changing the academic calendar at all?
B. The most important “sub-questions” would be:
What pedagogical advantages can be realized with a 4-1-4 calendar?
What would the overall financial impact be of implementing a 4-1-4 calendar from the perspective of: students, faculty, UNH? Would it, for example, generate revenue in excess of expenses overall?
What would be the overall administrative impact of implementing a 4-1-4 calendar?
Is there demonstrable demand among students/faculty for a 4-1-4 calendar?
What specific factors make the 4-1-4 model more attractive from a pedagogical, financial, political perspective than other calendar models?
What is the financial breakeven point for a 4-1-4 program; i.e., how many credit hours or students need to be generated to at least cover fixed (including allocated) costs?
C. Many other, more detailed questions also beg answers, namely:
From a curriculum perspective:
- How would 4-1-4 courses affect program curricula, particularly sequencing of courses and internships?
- Would the addition of 4-1-4 courses enable students to take courses in this period in lieu of the regular semester or summer, thereby completing curricula sooner? If this were to occur would students graduate early, creating advantages for students but a reduction in tuition revenue for UNH?
From a faculty perspective:
- How would 4-1-4 courses be handled in terms of faculty workload?
- If a faculty member gets “full credit” for teaching a 4-1-4 course, what’s to keep faculty from choosing to teach in this model rather than during the full semester?
- How would faculty be compensated for 4-1-4 courses – supplemental, in regular workload, etc?
- Would faculty be required to teach a specified number of 4-1-4 courses or would participation be voluntary/elective?
- What factors in the AAUP contract would be affected by implementing a 4-1-4 model?
- What would the policy be on course cancellation?
- Realistically, what courses would be developed for a 4-1-4 program – required, elective, off-campus, etc?
- If many of the courses represent enriched, off-campus experiences, without changes to current financial aid policies, would we, de facto, be setting up a series of “elite” courses, not accessible to many UNH students?
From a student perspective:
- Would a 4-1-4 program permit students to graduate earlier?
- Would students be required to take a specified number of 4-1-4 courses, or would the program be strictly “voluntary”?
- About how many students would actually participate on the January term? Would the target be mainly matriculated students, or would options offered be targeted to non-matriculated and/or non-traditional students?
- If students take courses during the 4-1-4 period, would they be charged incremental tuition, room and board, fees, etc, and if so would financial aid cover these expenses?
- For graduate students, does 4-1-4 present enhanced opportunities for teaching and/or research experience/funding?
- Do 4-1-4 courses present learning opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them during the traditional calendar?
- Would students be permitted to stay on campus during the 4-1-4 short semester without registering for classes? What would be the financial impact of that choice on them? What would be the impact of an increased population of idle students in residence halls?
- Where would students reside if taking a 4-1-4 course? Would they be forced to move to alternate housing or might the courses only be available to non-residential students?
- How much would the implementation of a 4-1-4 program delay completion of the spring semester? What would be the impact of that change on summer courses, internships, ability to compete for summer jobs, etc?
- What would be the impact of a 4-1-4 program on utilization and support of UNH facilities (housing, dining, classroom, maintenance, housekeeping, security, energy, snow removal, etc.)?
- What would be the impact of 4-1-4 on student administrative and student support services (business office, registrar, health services, recreation, CIS, etc)?
- How will 4-1-4 affect RCM (or its successors)?
Based on what we have been told to this point, it would be irresponsible to recommend either for or against the 4-1-4. There are simply too many unknowns, many of which have potentially large ramifications. Thus, we recommend deferring a decision on recommending this calendar modification until answers to these questions can be obtained.
Practical realities and underlying assumptions re a 4-1-4 Calendar:
The 4-1-4 Calendar would require that Spring Term be 14 weeks instead of 15 and that the 4 week term (beginning immediately after New Years) would delay the beginning of Spring term from the 3rd week in January (the day after MLK birthday) to early February (in 2010, for example). IF the assumption is that students would be “in class” a minimum of 8 hours per day to meet the 100 hour minimum for a 4 credit course, we could consider a three week term, instead of a 4 week term.
IF the three week term is acceptable, the only change needed would be to equalize the semesters and begin a week later; and so the 3 week term could begin right after New Years Day and the semester begin on January 25.
Alternatively, there may be compelling reasons for cutting the 15th week off the end of the term to finish a week earlier in the spring. This could advantage our students with respect to competitive internship placements and/or jobs. It would potentially affect the scheduling of summer sessions and would be less likely to foster a stand-alone “short term.”
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