UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 7 April, 2003




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Andrew, Baldwin, Barcelona, Burger, Calculator, Churchill, Elmslie, Frankel, Kies, McCann, Nicovich, Niesse, Pollard, Schlentrich, Strait, Ward and Woodward. Carr and Trzaskoma were excused. President Hart, Victoria Banyard, Mike Middleton, and Sally Ward attended part of the meeting.

II. Minutes - The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously.

III. Communications with the President - The president said that the legislative finance committee is considering proposing level funding for the university system operating budget. The president asked that faculty support their legislators in this effort and also in the capital budget discussions. The university has a very lean budget already; and so a level-funded budget would, even with stringent control measures, cause a student tuition increase. The university is following the name change proposal for Plymouth State University, and an approval for any such name change should preclude the addition of any doctoral program outside of the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, the new dining hall is expected to open by August 15. The Murkland Hall renovation is ahead of schedule, and Congreve Hall is expected to be ready for occupancy by this fall. The ground breaking for the Kingsbury Hall renovations is scheduled for this fall. The university does not yet have the federal matching grant for the proposed new railroad underpass.

The president thanked faculty for participating in the provost search interview meetings on campus. Also, the search for the vice president for university communications has four finalists, and campus visits are now being scheduled. The Central Budget Committee has established a set of budget principles and plans and will submit final recommendations soon. These plans may be ready for communication to faculty during the summer. The UNH hockey and women's gymnastics teams are doing very well, and the president asks faculty to encourage students to celebrate safely and legally. The Student Affairs Office and the Academic Achievement and Support Services have formed a working group to review services to students available in their two offices. Recommendations will be prepared for the new provost's consideration.

IV. Women's Commission - Victoria Banyard said that the Women's Commission has organized groups of faculty to look at family leave practices and hopes that the faculty union will negotiate this matter. The AAUP asked the interested faculty to gather information about family leave practices at other institutions. The three main issues are: (1) extending the tenure clock by one year when a child is added to a family by birth or adoption, (2) a semester of paid leave for faculty who become biological or adoptive parents, and (3) pay equity study and adjustment. Please review the draft of the proposal, talk to your colleagues about these issues, and give input to Mary Taylor or Mary Banach.

V. Review of the Undergraduate Experience - Sally Ward, Chair of the NEASC Accreditation Subcommittee on the Undergraduate Experience, said that draft reports on the undergraduate experience, institutional effectiveness, and engagement through research and scholarship are available on the web and that open forums to discuss those issues are scheduled for March 26 and April 8, 16 and 24. Work on these areas is meant to advance the academic plan. She gave the senators an executive summary of the draft report on the undergraduate experience. The report includes recommendations on five focus areas: advising, undergraduate research, internships, international education, and student life. Although there are other important aspects of the undergraduate experience, the subcommittee chose these five issues because it believed that advances could realistically be made in those areas. The subcommittee did interviews and a survey and reviewed institutional data. Additional recommendations were made on general themes such as enhancing communication across campus, enhancing collaboration across programs and between academic and student affairs, building more deliberately on previous work, increasing coordination between expectations for faculty and the reward system, and formalizing the work of the assessment fellows group.

Sally Ward said that the work on the Discovery Program should be continued, and a senator replied that on May 5 the senate will look at what the plans are for that program's implementation. A professor said that responsibility center management and resource issues get in the way of collaborative programs across college lines and that this problem should be addressed. The Subcommittee on Institutional Effectiveness is setting in motion the evaluation of RCM which will occur in its fifth year. The Central Budget Committee is looking at how RCM has an impact on various programs. The Subcommittee on the Undergraduate Experience intends to review information from the Kubler Werka study on academic quality and the link between student affairs and academic affairs, and also the subcommittee intends to update its report when the Faculty Senate makes a recommendation on the Discovery Program. A professor said that, when faculty members team teach, they get half as much credit but that team teaching requires twice as much effort. This issue could be brought up in the provost search candidate interviews.

VI. Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues - Mike Middleton said that some faculty believe that it is important to include such topics in classes but that faculty may not have the resources to do so. The commission is preparing a survey on such resources and would like input to be sent to Mary.Taylor@unh.edu. A professor suggested that the commission should ask the professors and the university office that do surveys, for professional input on the structure and wording of this survey. Another professor said that additional information on what the relevant issues are should accompany this survey.

VII. Communications from the Chair - The senate chair said that the April 4 Campus Journal included letters submitted by Tom Newkirk and by Victor Benassi, on the Writing across the Curriculum Program. The senate's Agenda Committee has sent a letter to the provost asking that any decision on this issue be postponed until the new provost has a chance to review it. The current provost responded to the letter and is setting up a meeting with the interested people. The Agenda Committee believes that it is important for the Writing across the Curriculum Program to have a well-qualified director who has experience in writing program administration.

VIII. Grade Inflation - The chair of the senate's Student Affairs Committee said that his committee reviewed grade inflation data from the Registrar's Office. There does seem to be some grade inflation at UNH, and possible reasons are listed in the committee's report. A professor said that faculty are not failing as many students as in the past. Another senator said that her department requires students to take courses in several colleges but that, if the class is a core course in the major, the students cannot count any course with a grade of less than a C minus. Therefore students take some courses over again. Another professor said that high school teachers face intimidation by parents regarding grades which will facilitate the students' acceptance by a college. At universities, some students choose courses that will help their grade point average, so that the students can qualify for scholarships, research or travel funds.

IX. Academic Plan - The president has asked for faculty input on the academic plan. A member of the senate's Academic Affairs Committee said that the committee received a letter from Bruce Mallory quoting an institutional effectiveness goal from the Academic Plan, regarding a review of associate of arts degrees but that the version of the Academic Plan on the web site does not show that goal. After some discussion in the senate, a motion was made and seconded to approve the Academic Plan. A senator said that, at the end of last year, the Faculty Senate considered detailed proposals for the Academic Plan and asked to see the plan as a whole and the details of its implementation strategies. A proposal for the plan and its implementation was sent to the president who said it should be reworked. The new version of the plan just has broad goals and not much on implementation. Senators expressed concern that a positive vote on the Academic Plan would imply that the senate approves the plan without seeing the implementation portion of the plan. A senator asked that Bruce Mallory come to the senate to discuss this matter. The senate chair said that Bruce Mallory could be invited to the first senate meeting in September and also that during the summer the senate's Agenda Committee could talk with the new provost and Bruce Mallory about these concerns. Work is also needed regarding the Kubler Werka information and the Discovery Program implementation. The motion to approve the Academic Plan was withdrawn. Mark Wrighton moved to withhold the discussion of the Academic Plan until such time as the senate hears from the new provost and Bruce Mallory as to the issues of the plan's implementation. This motion was unanimously approved.

X. Faculty Dining Area - The faculty-staff dining area was planned to move to another location in Huddleston Hall, but recently David May told the senate's Campus Planning Committee that the plan now is to keep the Oak Room open in Huddleston Hall for the foreseeable future. If faculty believe that there is a need for improved meeting space, they should raise that issue soon. There will be a conference center elsewhere in Huddleston Hall, and so food service will be available. A professor said that faculty miss the ambiance of the former faculty/staff facility in Hood House.

XI. University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee - UCAPC Chair Pedro de Alba said that the committee's mission is to advise the provost on curricular matters that have inter-college effects or may affect the overall quality or integrity of the university's mission. The committee was set up to resolve issues which might arise under responsibility center management. The committee, which includes twelve tenured faculty, the VPAA, two students, and the Academic Standards and Advising Committee chair or designee, is available if it is needed. The senate's Agenda Committee prepares a slate for a number of new UCAPC faculty members each year, for the approval of the Faculty Senate. The UCAPC chair asked that faculty send him any concerns that are in UCAPC's purview. The senate meeting was adjourned.

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