UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 26 September, 2005




I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Afolayan, Burger, Chasteen, Kenefick, McCann, Morgan, Sheriff, and Tenczar.  Excused were Brown, Schlentrich, and Tagliaferro.  Guests were Bruce Mallory, Allen Ray, Julie Williams, Cameron Wade, and Lisa Townson.  Sean Kelly was a guest observer.  

II.  Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that the Academic Plan serves as the heart of the university’s goals and accountability and that all units have their own strategic plans or are in the process of developing such plans.  In academic year 2005/06, the three core goals of the provost’s office are financial stability and solvency, implementation of the Discovery Program’s “year minus one”, and implementation of the Diversity Strategic Plan.  There has been a steep increase in energy costs for the university; and the enrollment of first-year students has increased as well, although those students have less than the budgeted financial aid needs.  There is a structural deficit in the university’s budget, since the state appropriation increases at below the rate of inflation.  The provost said that his office will work to facilitate the provisional implementation of the Discovery Program, depending on decisions by the Faculty Senate on the components of the program after each component has been piloted and assessed.

The three primary tasks for the provost’s office this year are the RCM review, collective bargaining negotiations, and the articulation of academic priorities for the next capital campaign in collaboration with the academic units.  The provost suggested that the senate might like to invite Wendy Keeney, who is the new UNH Foundation president, to speak at a senate meeting.  The Diversity Strategic Plan includes the establishment of a Diversity Council, consultation and support for the units of the university, and increased emphasis on retention for faculty, staff and students.  Better retention of faculty is a special need.  The quality of this year’s first-year students is very good.

Regarding the recent appointment of the new interim associate dean for COLSA, a faculty senator said that (1) all the active members of the search committee had made clear that the person the administration appointed was not acceptable to the search committee; (2) the provost’s office was responsible for the choice made over the reasoned opposition of the faculty on the search committee; and (3) last year President Hart had promised the Faculty Senate that the administration would follow search procedures with faculty input.  Even an interim appointment is important, because it could be for eighteen months or longer.  The provost replied that he would be willing to talk about this matter with the COLSA Executive Committee if the committee members would like to do so.  He added that this search had been open for some time and that confidentiality concerns prevent him from discussing the details.  The senate chair said that this matter will be reviewed at the next Agenda Committee meeting.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that last year the Faculty Senate spent considerable time reviewing the Study Away Program conduct procedures and passed a motion after conferring with a number of interested parties.  The senate motion was carefully worded not to include minor infractions.  Now some requests have been made to revisit that policy.  One request came from Mark Rubinstein who expressed concern that the senate motion contains a loop hole by referring only to students sanctioned by the University Student Conduct System and not to students sanctioned by a town, state or other judicial body.  Last week, the Agenda Committee unanimously passed a motion that, “in view of the fact that this issue has been thoroughly discussed by the Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate and has been subject to extensive negotiations with pertinent constituent groups, the Agenda Committee respectfully declines to re-introduce this conduct policy to the Faculty Senate pending a one-year trial period and the implementation set forth in the original motion, after which the experiences with the policy will be reviewed.”  The 3/21/05 senate motion stated that:

Any student sanctioned by the University Student Conduct System for a serious violation of the University of New Hampshire Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities, including but not limited to academic dishonesty, repeated drunk and disorderly behavior, illegal drug activity, destruction or theft of property, or physical or sexual assault must satisfy the following conditions prior to consideration for participation in a UNH-managed or UNH-approved study away program:

1.  The student must have satisfied all conditions and/or sanctions imposed as a result of the infraction, including probation;

2.  the student must submit to the university’s Academic Standards and Advising Committee (ASAC) a statement explaining why the University can be confident that he/she will behave appropriately during the study away program and receive ASAC’s approval.

The senate motion also says that:

The Faculty Senate charges ASAC, the University Committee on Study Abroad, 2/3 of the faculty directors of UNH-managed Study Abroad programs, and three student representatives who have studied abroad (to be identified by CIE) with the task of developing those procedures.  This group…must submit the proposed procedures to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate by October, 2005, for review and submission to the Faculty Senate.

In addition, the Agenda Committee has received a request from a professor to look into better enforcement of the UNH smoking policy, because the professor has repeated asthmatic attacks caused by smoke coming into her office from smokers nearby at the building’s entrance.  However, the university smoking policy is a bargainable issue and therefore is not in the Faculty Senate’s purview.  The Agenda Committee takes the health issue seriously and has passed on the information and concerns to the administration and the faculty union.

The senate chair said that, because of Columbus Day, the next Faculty Senate meeting will be on October 17.  The senate chair will discuss this year’s committee charges with the senate committee chairs.  A senator asked if another venue for senate meetings might be available in a more central location such as the library.

IV.  Collaborative partnership with the Elizabeth City State University – Julie Williams, who is the associate vice president for research and outreach scholarship, said that Elizabeth City State University is a historically black university with strengths in remote sensing education and research.  Remote sensing focuses on using satellites to look at the earth in various ways, such as to study urbanization or ocean surface temperatures.  The partnership with Elizabeth City State University is consistent with the UNH Academic Plan, the Leitzel Center Strategic Plan, the UNH outreach scholarship goals, federal agency plans, and changing demographics.  The US Census Bureau predicts that within fifty years the United States population will be about evenly divided between whites and non-whites.  UNH wants to develop partnerships and to build a national model of collaboration between minority and majority universities.  A number of UNH faculty are participating in this effort and the grant proposals in this collaboration.

Professor Cameron Wake described the timeline of this collaboration.  In the fall of 2002, two research collaborators’ meetings were held with five historically black universities.  In the winter of 2003 there was a joint NASA MUSPIN cyberconference and ongoing meetings with NASA personnel.  The next winter there was a visit to Elizabeth City State University and submission of a NSF STEP(1) proposal, as well as ongoing conversations with ECSU.  Subsequently seven grants were submitted, and a memorandum of understanding was developed and signed at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  Three grants were funded:  a NSF STEP grant for one million dollars, a NSF AGEP grant for $650,000, and a NASA next generation grant for $583,000.  This fall joint implementation will proceed on those grants.

The national model of collaboration articulates how two demographically and geographically diverse institutions with specific disciplinary strengths (earth system science and remote sensing) effectively collaborate to submit research and education grants designed to expand scientific knowledge, enhance educational opportunities, and help create a more diverse workforce.  Components of that model include research, faculty development, student development, mentoring, curriculum development, rigorous evaluation, and national, regional and local dissemination.  The “next generation” proposal builds on a UNH course, and the STEP proposal will include summer institutes at UNH with about twenty students and also at ECSU with other students.  The AGEP proposal is focused on recruiting students at the doctoral level.  Faculty who are interested in this collaborative effort should contact Julie Williams at Julie.Williams@unh.edu or Cameron Wake at Cameron.Wake@unh.edu.

V.  Minutes – The senate unanimously approved the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting.

VI.  Associate dean appointment procedures – The senator who brought up this issue said that, while search committee deliberations are confidential, the committee’s recommendation is not.  He added that faculty have a role in this area of shared governance and that faculty should defend that role.  The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee will review this matter, and he asked that faculty send him their input on this issue.

VII.  Appointments – The faculty nominee to the Alumni Association Board of Directors is Robert McGrath.  John Carroll has agreed to serve on the Committee on Recognition of Philanthropy and Service, and four other faculty representatives including one or two emeriti faculty are needed for this committee.

VIII.  Responsibility center management review – Last year, the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee helped to spearhead the planning for the RCM review.  Now there are seven RCM review subcommittees which meet weekly; and the faculty representatives are Chris Shea on the RCM Assessments Subcommittee, Palligarnai Vasudevan on the RCM Graduate Tuition and Financial Aid Subcommittee, Allen Drake on the RCM Facilities Subcommittee, Curt Givan on the RCM State Appropriations Subcommittee, Mimi Becker on the RCM Quality and Governance Subcommittee, and Bill McDowell on the RCM Research Subcommittee.  The faculty nominee to the RCM Undergraduate Tuition and Financial Aid Subcommittee has not yet been announced.  There were a series of open meetings and a web site at which faculty could bring up issues and concerns.  This year is stage three, for information gathering and data review.  The subcommittees are expected to make recommendations by November, but more time may be given if needed.  Chris Shea said that she has worked for adequate faculty representation at every stage and an open process with adequate consideration of the academic mission of the university.  The RCM steering committee is chaired by Bruce Mallory and Candace Corvey, and David Proulx will provide continuity when a new vice president for financial affairs joins the university.  Faculty should send their concerns about RCM to Chris Shea or Mimi Becker and include specific examples and details.

A professor said that, without control groups, how can the data be analyzed.  Data is gathered from other universities and from UNH by the institutional research office.  A computer model will be prepared.  Another faculty member said that there will be additional funding needs associated with the Discovery Program and with American sign language and that the RCM review discussion will not have much data about those two programs by November.  Faculty should look at the charges of the RCM review subcommittees and send concerns to the chairs of the appropriate subcommittees.  Some faculty say that RCM is bad for the academic mission, and other professors say that RCM is more transparent and therefore better than the previous budgetary system.  Now is the time to send input, examples and data on these matters.  A professor said that, since RCM provides full responsibility to the deans, the experience of faculty regarding RCM will vary depending on how good a manager the dean is.  A faculty member said that academic integrity and standards are not given enough consideration when decisions are made and that those academic issues do not seem an integral part of the review.  Since departments are not RCM units, a department does not get more funds when the department brings in additional income.  A professor said that an important question is where should the power be, since previously it was in the hands of the central administration and now it is in the deans’ offices.  A senator expressed concern about the consistency with which RCM matters are handled across the various units.  A professor asked for data on how the size of the faculty is changing versus the change in the size of the administration.  Chris Shea said that she would look in the binder and ask if that information will be posted.

XI.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.                                                          _______________________________________________________________________________________________

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