UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 27 September, 2004

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2004/05 FACULTY SENATE

SEPTEMBER 27, 2004 - MINUTES SUMMARY

 I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Burger, Crepeau, and Herold.  Excused were Broussard, Deem and Laue.  Guests were President Hart, Petr Brym and Dave Townson.

II.  Communications with the president – President Hart said that the Board of Trustees has submitted to the legislature the biennial budget request, asking for an increase of 6.5 % for FY06 and a 7 % increase for FY07, in order to include responsible health care, salaries, utilities and other needs.  This package includes a 5 % tuition increase for each year.  She said that UNH has the most economical budget of the New England land-grant colleges and also that UNH has, at 71 %, the highest six-year graduation rate among those institutions.  Only 15 % of our budget is supported by the state.  In fact, we get 4 % more from grants and contracts than we do from the state.  The same priorities as in the past are listed for renovation under the capital budget and the KEEP New Hampshire campaign, with Demeritt, James and Parsons Halls at the top.  The president said that this is a prudent and appropriate model for urgently needed renovation and repair of buildings the state has supported in the past.  Initiatives regarding a cogeneration plant and natural gas buses would have other funding sources.

III.  Communications from the chair – The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee had expressed to the administration faculty concerns about the administrative appointment process.  The provost has cooperated with an ad-hoc committee that the Agenda Committee set up to draft new procedures, and he agreed to the procedures which will be presented to the senate today.  When the UNH-Manchester dean resigned just at the transition of the administrative year and the university needed a replacement quickly, the proposed administrative appointment procedures were tested.  The provost met with the Agenda Committee to discuss an appropriate process for a search for a UNH-Manchester dean.  Since the Faculty Senate was not in session and many faculty were away for the summer, the senate chair informed the UNH-Manchester senators and made sure that at least one would be present at the meeting at UNH-Manchester.  After consultation, a procedure for making an interim, one-year appointment was agreed on and seemed to work well.

The senate chair said that the charge for the ROTC Board of Governors is to observe and advise the ROTC programs, to insure their compliance with university policies.  The board takes part in negotiations between ROTC and other parts of the university and monitors university policy and practices, with the aim of maintaining a viable setting for the ROTC programs.  The board is normally the liaison for communication between ROTC and the senate.  On issues pertaining to routine appointments and administrative matters that affect educational programs, the board is normally the liaison between ROTC and the vice president for academic affairs.  On issues involving administrative matters that have little academic or programmatic impact, the ROTC units work directly with the vice president for academic affairs.  The board chooses its own chair and consists of two full-time faculty senators appointed by the Faculty Senate, three full-time faculty appointed by the president after consultation with the deans, one undergraduate full-time non-ROTC student appointed by student government, and as ex-officio non-voting members the professor of Military Science and the professor of Air Science.  If it is the senate’s will that the board continue, faculty are requested to nominate faculty members for the board.  Senators should also ask their colleagues to send input to Chris Shea on ideas for a fair process for the upcoming review of RCM. 

IV.  Software path updating, virus protection and computer registry – Petr Brym said that last fall this campus had a lot of difficulty with computer virus infections.  About half of the computers were infected or unprotected.  Computers need both current Microsoft security patches and active, updated virus protection systems, because when computers become infected, they infect other machines and generate huge amounts of traffic.  Therefore CIS must turn off the network connection of the infected computers.  CIS does not know who owns the computer whose connection is being turned off and therefore cannot notify the user.  Three initiatives have been prepared:  ECORA, EPO and NetReg.  ECORA is a free, campus-based automatic patch updating service to which faculty and staff will be able to subscribe.  CIS has been using this product for several years.  EPO is a free, automatic virus protection service which will be available on campus on a subscription basis. Although both ECORA and EPO are optional, if a person does not subscribe and the computer gets infected, CIS will charge to disinfect the computer.  Use of the automatic preventive measures provided by ECORA and EPO will result in reduced labor for both computer owners and support staff.

NetReg is a web-based network registration program for faculty and staff computers, to give CIS the contact information needed so that CIS can inform the user if a computer must be disconnected by CIS due to a virus.  While the UNH IT ID password is needed to register a computer on the network, CIS will not record the password.  Faculty and staff can access this service now at http://register.unh.edu.  If there are many computers in one laboratory, CIS will facilitate an easy registry.  Professor Dave Townson is the Faculty Senate representative to the Technology Policy and Planning Group.  He said that many of these initiatives have been implemented already for students and have been very effective in reducing infections and disruption of computer use.  MAC computers are less often targeted by viruses.  The Campus Journal will soon announce the web address which faculty and staff can use to subscribe to ECORA and EPO.  Any office computers or laptops that access the network from the campus, including Forest Park, should be registered; but computers that stay in a faculty member’s home do not need to be registered.  Guest speakers who do not have a UNH IT ID but want to connect to the web could access the registration URL and register there by filling out contact information. Campus clients are encouraged to pre-register their machines now by accessing the URL provided above. Once fully implemented, the registration process is also designed to come up automatically on the screen of an unregistered machine when the client starts up a web browser, such as Internet Explorer.

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

VI.  Administrative search procedures – Ed Hinson said that the members of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Administrative Searches, including Provost Mallory and Pat Gormley, prepared a document recommending a process for improving shared governance in administrative searches.  The document defines emergency searches and a process for dealing with them.  Special consultation is described and would be mandated when all the following conditions concerning a proposed search exist:  (1) the provost or president states that the vacancy must be filled expediently, (2) the vacancy is at the deans’ level or higher, (3) there is no existing search committee with faculty representation, and (4) the vacancy is of an exceptional nature.  The Agenda Committee would consult, as thoroughly as circumstances of timeliness and availability permit, with the faculty through the Faculty Senate and/or heavily affected subsets of the faculty, via college executive committees for example.  If that consultation results in an affirmation of the exceptional designation, the same process would occur regarding whether the appointment should be interim or longer term.  If this process is carried out in the context of a failed search, the faculty representatives on the original search committee and affected department chairs would also be consulted.  The provost has indicated that he will operate according to these procedures.  A motion was made by Ed Hinson and seconded by Paul McNamara as follows:

whereas the faculty affirm the importance of their proper role in the selection of administration personnel, whose duties involve the academic mission of the university, and have recognized that in some recent selection processes this role was not fully realized and whereas both faculty and administration have sought to remedy this shortcoming through discussion of the search process and of ways of insuring proper faculty input into such processes, the Faculty Senate endorses the document outlining faculty input into extraordinary search procedures; the senate welcomes the willingness of the Provost and Administration to abide by such; and the senate calls upon the Administration to incorporate these or equivalent procedures within official UNH policy at the earliest opportunity.

Michael Kalinowski suggested a friendly amendment to change the second sentence of item IV of the document outlining faculty input as follows:

As the Agenda Committee is acting simply as a representative of and a conduit to the faculty, the Agenda Committee will consult, as thoroughly as circumstances of timeliness and availability (e.g., electronically during breaks and the summer vacation as a result of an adjourned Faculty Senate and reduced campus presence of faculty during summer months) permit, with the faculty as a whole (through the Faculty Senate) and/or heavily affected subsets of the faculty (e.g., college executive committees).

Ed Hinson replied that he would propose that change to the provost.  A senator suggested that the second paragraph in item IV be clarified to state who would affirm the exceptional designation, and he also asked for clarification of what would happen if the designation of exceptional were refused via this process.  Ed Hinson said that the administration has indicated that, in that case, the administration would abide by the faculty decision that the search was not an emergency.  The new UNH-Manchester dean has an interim, one-year appointment; and a search committee is currently being formed to mount a search for a new dean for a long-term appointment.

Program directors are not at the deans’ level or higher and thus would not be covered by these procedures.  A senator asked how the above process might be carried out when the senate’s functioning might be impaired due to work to rule.  A past senate chair responded that the Faculty Senate met even during work to rule, although no votes could be taken if a quorum were not present.  A professor suggested that the default for hiring via the emergency procedure should be an interim position of one year.  However, in the case of a failed search with an intact search committee, the faculty on the search committee would participate in the new search and thus the term of appointment could be longer.  The senate voted, with the understanding that Ed Hinson will discuss with the provost the suggestions for wording changes, in the document referred to in the motion, and will bring the results back to the Faculty Senate.  The original motion passed, with all ayes except for one abstention.

VII.  Item three of the senate constitution – Terry Savage moved and Anthony Tenczar seconded a motion proposing an amendment to the Faculty Senate Constitution to replace the current article 3, on referral of fundamental issues to the faculty, with the following:

Referral of fundamental issues to the faculty.  Decisions by the Faculty Senate that envision fundamental changes to current practice must be ratified by the tenure-track faculty as a whole.  If one third of the senators or the majority of the tenure-track faculty of any college or school votes that a decision is of such fundamental importance, a faculty meeting to discuss the decision will be called by the Faculty Senate chair. Within one week of this meeting the Faculty Senate chair will solicit a vote of the tenure-track faculty by electronic ballot to ratify the decision.

This motion would change the final sentence in article 3 of the constitution from “This meeting will be conducted by the procedural rules of the Faculty Senate” to a vote by electronic ballot.  However, those who vote would not have to participate in the discussion, and participation is important so that the voter will be well informed on the pros and cons of the issue.

If electronic balloting were used, should there be a minimum number of votes required for passage?  The senate constitution says that a “quorum must be present for the legal transaction of business, and a quorum will consist of a majority of the voting members.”  A senator said that the faculty-wide vote should be to defeat a senate motion and that, if not enough votes are cast, the senate motion should stand.  He added that, if the majority of the tenure-track faculty of a college or school asked for such a referendum, those faculty members should write a document expressing their point of view and come to a senate meeting to discuss that document with the senators.  Then, if the issue could not be resolved, a referendum could be considered.  Another senator pointed out that one-third of the senators could consist of only seventeen persons.  He suggested that some way should be found to insure that an issue is fundamental.  After extensive discussion, a motion to table the original motion until the next senate meeting passed unanimously.  Any constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate to pass.

VIII.  Adjournment – This Faculty Senate meeting was adjourned.
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