UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 5 April, 2004




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Burger, Giraud, Gutman, Johnson, Kraft, Niesse, and Pescosolido. Excused were Hageman, Richman, Salloway, and Selwyn. Guests were President Hart, Provost Mallory, Mark Rubinstein, Kelly Clark, Sam Shore, Jennifer Francque, John Kirkpatrick, Cari Moorhead and Neil Vroman.

II. Communications with the president - President Hart said that she will soon send a letter to all members of the university community, to discuss upcoming budget difficulties and decisions. The university general fund revenue is expected to increase by four percent, if the university receives the three percent increase in state appropriations approved in the current biennium. However, the university's general expenses are expected to rise by about 5.5 percent, which will leave a deficit of 4.1 million dollars. The cost of health insurance and other benefits keeps rising, revenues from investments are down, salary contracts must be adhered to, and some buildings must be repaired. The president said that the university is committed to attaining and maintaining competitive faculty and staff salaries. The university will flat-fund general administration units, and some units will have to cut services. An equalization formula will be created to distribute more fairly the cost of faculty release time for academic program directors such as the Honors Program and the Writing across the Curriculum Program directors. The president said that restructuring is needed, with a focus on the academic mission. Every aspect of university life must be examined, and there will be a university-wide discussion of the role of Division I athletics. The university had to decline the $300,000 which was appropriated in the last biennium for a baseball program.

III. Discovery Program - Provost Bruce Mallory said that today he is reporting to the Faculty Senate the steps which have been taken according to the senate motion passed on October 20, 2003, on the Discovery Program. The first round of inquiry courses started this semester, with a cap of twenty-five students per course; and these courses were well received by students and faculty. More inquiry courses are in the approval process, and an effort will be made soon to distribute the courses more evenly between the fall and spring semesters. The provost's office has had extensive discussions with the Office of Student and Academic Services, on the integration of the Discovery Program curriculum and co-curricular activities for students, including orientation, first-year seminars, experiential and service learning, and civic engagement. Assessment and town meetings are also being planned. Requests for proposals have been submitted for second and third-year apprenticeship programs to support the undergraduate research experience and also the capstone experience. Each UNH school and college is now selecting a representative for the Discovery Program Advisory Committee. An early charge of this committee will be to consider how it will work with or meld with the General Education Advisory Committee and also how to develop the process for converting courses from the old to the new structure. The number of general education courses (currently 460) might be reduced.

The recruitment of a full-time director for the Discovery Program is nearly complete and will probably include an 80/20 split between two senior faculty on a three-year renewable appointment. Although the senate motion mentioned a faculty fellow, usually faculty fellows work for one year and do not have responsibility for academic programs. Therefore the position will be that of program director, consistent with other academic programs such as the Honors Program and the Teaching Excellence Program. Also, a one-half-time PAT staff member will work with the Discovery Program director and serve as a bridge between the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student and Academic Services. Continuing funds will be provided to faculty for new course development. In addition, funds for the capstone program development, the mathematics and technology assessment, and the town meeting concept will come from the small projects budget. Primary funding sources for the Discovery Program include the UNH Foundation, the Provost's Office strategic funds, and the President's Fund for Excellence.

The provost said that he is committed to following the six-year implementation guidelines described in the Faculty Senate in May and September of 2003. The provost confirmed that each component of the Discovery Program will have phased-in development, evaluation, and then a decision by the Faculty Senate on whether or not to give final approval to that component. He intends to follow the time lines and bench marks listed in the implementation proposal presented to the senate. The inquiry courses currently being taught are also approved as general education courses. Following recommendations from the Discovery Advisory Committee, a replacement plan will be developed; and multiple sections of courses may be used.

IV. Task Force on Academic Expectations and Student Behavior - Michele Dillon, the chair of the task force, said that the group decided to focus on issues of academic culture and norms. The task force conducted personal interviews with fifteen administrators, received presentations from two administrators, and met with the Academic Standards Committee. In addition, the task force conducted a survey of UNH faculty on email with a response rate of forty-one percent and a survey of UNH students in three large general education courses and in several upper-division classes. The task force also met with residence advisors and sent observers to the Student Summit in September of 2003. Michele Dillon summarized the findings from faculty, administrators and students. The task force identified four major links critical to creating greater integrity between academic expectations and student behavior. The links are faculty-student interactions, academic advising, student culture, and the articulation of faculty expectations. The task force recommended many specific actions for faculty, department chairs, the Office of Student and Academic Services, the Student Senate and student officers, the Athletic Department, the Provost's Office, the President's Office, the associate deans, and the Registrar's Office.

At the senate meeting, professors questioned the recommendation that the Office of Student and Academic Services "should ensure that the same standardized GPA is required for admission to all student clubs/groups". The task force intended that there could be separate standards for honors groups and ordinary groups. Even so, some faculty were still concerned that participation in certain student clubs should not be greatly restricted. Professors thanked the task force for their good work. The senate chair said that the president has read the task force's report and that the Agenda Committee will consider how to proceed with the report.

V. Communications from the chair - The senate chair announced that there will be a blood drive in the Memorial Union Building soon [on April 13, 14, and 15 from noon to 5:00 p.m. in the Granite State Room].

VI. Minutes - The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved unanimously.

VII. Academic Affairs Committee report - Michael Kalinowski, the committee chair, said that in February the senate's Academic Affairs Committee met with Kelly Clark, the new Director of Educational Services for New Hampshire Public Television, to facilitate potential collaborations between New Hampshire Public Television and academic programs. Kelly Clark described several methods of collaboration, including instructional programs, web streaming delivery, live or archived programming, and video conferencing.

Michael Kalinowski said that a motion on Thompson School renumbering had been tabled in the Faculty Senate, subsequently reviewed by the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee, and then forwarded by the senate to the senate's Academic Affairs Committee. In February, Thompson School colleagues who were members of the Academic Affairs Committee reported that there is a planned facilitated meeting within COLSA on this subject and that the Thompson School requests that the Academic Affairs Committee postpone deliberation on this issue until further notice. The Academic Affairs Committee will honor that request.

VIII. Other business - The chair of the Campus Planning Committee asked what the next step for the Campus Planning Committee's report should be. The Agenda Committee will look into this matter.

IX. Adjournment - The Faculty Senate meeting was adjourned.

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