UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 8 September, 2003




I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Birch, Burger, Craycraft, Herold, Kraft, Lugalla, Neefus, Niesse, and Quigley. Annicchiarico and Rentschler were excused. President Hart and Bruce Mallory attended part of the meeting.

II. Minutes - The minutes of the 5/5/03 senate meeting were approved unanimously.

III. Communications from the chair - The senate chair said that the Faculty Senate is the legislative body that reviews and develops policy concerning the academic mission of the university. The senate considers curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, research, faculty status and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational experience. The senate may discuss but will not take official action on issues which are under negotiation by collective bargaining.

The new Faculty Senate standing committee chairs are Mike Kalinowski for Academic Affairs, Russ Carr for Finance and Administration, Udo Schlentrich for Campus Planning, and Elizabeth Slomba for the Research and Public Service Committee. Chairs are still needed for the Student Affairs Committee and the Library Committee. As soon as all the chairs have been confirmed, the committee membership list will be distributed to all senators. Mark Wrighton is the senate parliamentarian. The Associate of Arts Task Force will include Pete Haebler, Carolyn White, David Howell, Drew Conroy and Jane Borgerson. Members of the DCE Program strategic planning group will include Barbara Krysiak and John Pike. The Task Force for Academic Expectations and Student Conduct will include Michele Dillon as chair, Bob Blanchard, Chris Bauer, Nancy Kinner, Mark Wrighton and Ellen Cohn. This committee will explore the links between academic expectations and student conduct, assign priorities, and recommend what groups should follow up on those issues.

IV. Communications from the president - The president commended the skills and commitment of the UNH faculty and the good quality of the teaching and research at this institution. She emphasized the importance of the upcoming capital campaign and the work on the budget with the state legislature. The president looks forward to the five-year review of responsibility center management, in order to ensure that the core values and goals of the university are not undermined by financial need. The Academic Plan and its implementation with strong commitment to accountability are very important. University Day is planned for September 16, and the president will give a state-of-the-university address at noon. There will also be a picnic, social interaction, and booths on UNH student activities. The faculty contract negotiations are continuing. The legislature has approved flat funding for the university system as a whole.

V. Discussion on the Academic Plan - Provost Mallory met with the senate's Agenda Committee for five hours last month to discuss areas of mutual interest including the Academic Plan and the Discovery Program. One challenge is to knit together the planning process with the Academic Plan and the responsibility center management model and reporting mechanism. The Provost's Office is also working on preparation for the ten-year accreditation visit by NEASC. In the self study, the university documented and appraised its current efforts and made projections for the future. The accreditation process will include the eleven standards, the undergraduate experience, research and public engagement, and institutional effectiveness. The Academic Plan should be a reflection of the mission and goals of the university.

After talking with the Agenda Committee and representatives from the senate's Ad-hoc Committee on the Discovery Program, the provost prepared the memo dated 9/8/03, which states that important issues of the Academic Plan are institutional effectiveness and accountability, periodic review, and implementation. Since the plan calls for institutional effectiveness and accountability, the Central Budget Committee may be changed to an Institutional Effectiveness Committee, the charge of which would include the CBC responsibilities and also the relationships among the Academic Plan, assessment, and budget management. The Academic Plan will include both program assessment and student assessment. The provost wrote in his memo that he will include an addendum in the Academic Plan, saying that "a critical component of institutional effectiveness is the performance of the central administrative offices" and that "implementation of the Academic Plan will include a process for evaluating the effectiveness of school and college deans and principal administrators with respect to their support for achieving the goals of the Academic Plan."

Periodic review of the Academic plan will include a specific timeline and metrics for review of its success. The Academic plan extends from 2003 to 2008 and will include mid-course review by the administration, the Faculty Senate and others. The Provost's Office will work with the senate's Academic Affairs Committee on these issues. There will also be a comprehensive review of RCM after the academic year of 2004-05. Each vice president will develop an action plan for the implementation of sections of the Academic Plan and will include who is responsible, the resources needed and where they will come from, the time line and order of priority, how the actions will be accomplished, and the intended outcomes. In some cases, the administration will work with the Capital Campaign and also the next budget cycle, to obtain resources needed for the plan. During implementation of the plan, the various academic units will be able to refer to the original version of the plan which contained items specific to some schools and colleges.

VI. Discovery Program - The provost said that the 5/5/03 senate minutes were quite specific and well thought out and added that the sequence of phasing in the aspects of the Discovery Program is appropriately anticipated in that report. The provost endorses the concept of a six-year phase-in of the Discovery Program, in order to develop inquiry courses, to provide for a smooth transition of current general education offerings into the Discovery Program, to design capstone experiences, and to implement the town meeting and the mathematics and information technology assessments. Once the senate endorses the Discovery Program, the provost will appoint a faculty fellow for the Discovery Program by January 1, for a three-year appointment for at least half time. Thereafter, the provost will confer with the senate on how to proceed with leadership for the program. To provide guidance for the program, an advisory group will be appointed, which will include representatives from the senate's ad-hoc committee, the General Education Committee, the senate's Academic Affairs Committee, and administrators. The advisory group will focus on co-teaching and RCM formulas, the effect of Discovery Program distribution requirements on majors with few electives, the effect on faculty work assignments and department curricula, and measurable learning outcomes. The provost will seek a second year of funding for pilot inquiry courses and make a commitment to find funds for faculty leadership and new course development on a continuing, stable basis.

A professor said that his college has had inquiry and capstone courses for years, under other names. The Discovery Program recommends that students take a course that would introduce them to various cross-discipline concepts which are not limited to their major program. Last spring faculty were invited to submit proposals for first-year inquiry courses, and many proposals were funded. The provost intends to teach, with other faculty, one of the first-year courses and will take a faculty development course first. The faculty development courses will be taught in the second semester of this year. A professor said that the inquiry courses and capstone courses would be small classes which might be difficult or impossible for some departments to offer, without resources to hire new faculty to teach the smaller courses intended to replace some of the current, much larger courses. The provost replied that there is no requirement for every department to offer inquiry courses. Also, the capstone experience can be quite different among the various disciplines. Resources are key, but there is the ability and the desire in many departments to implement the Discovery Program courses. During the six-year phase-in process, the university can consider if the model is correct or should be adjusted. Greater curricular efficiencies may be possible in some programs. The resources are quite different across disciplines, and the faculty fellow and the advisory group can work on this issue. During the phase in, each component of the program would be evaluated separately. Requirements for students would be changed only if and when sufficient courses are established. Development, testing and approval would have to happen first. The implementation process would also work to develop courses which would allow students in disciplines with few electives to take courses which would fulfill more than one requirement. At the September 22 meeting, the senate will consider a motion on implementation of the Discovery Program.

VII. Academic Convocation - The Provost's Office would like the Faculty Senate and the Office of Academic Affairs to co-sponsor an academic convocation on October 7, to celebrate the work of the faculty. Four or five faculty would share information about their works in progress. The senate unanimously approved a motion that the Faculty Senate, recognizing the many significant teaching, service and research accomplishments of the faculty, will co-sponsor, along with the Office of Academic Affairs, an academic convocation on October 7, 2003, which will feature several outstanding faculty members nominated by their peers.

VIII. Motions on the Academic Plan - The senate unanimously approved a resolution that the Faculty Senate supports the goals and ideals put forth in the proposed Academic Plan of the University of New Hampshire.

The senate discussed a motion made by Mimi Becker and seconded by Grant Cioffi, saying that:

The Faculty Senate appreciates that the goals and ideas, as stated in the Academic Plan of the University of New Hampshire, are most likely to be achieved as this strategic plan is implemented. Accordingly, the senate endorses the provost's proposals for the specific actions needed to implement the plan, including those for criteria and measures for monitoring and evaluating progress toward the plan's stated goals and objectives as forwarded to its membership on September 8, 2003. However, in the spirit of shared governance, the Faculty Senate looks forward to successful resolution of specific issues regarding the plan's implementation. These include, but may not be limited to, the following implementation concerns:

(1) The Academic Plan, as written, does not include any goals or strategies for effective administration or overall "institutional" effectiveness. Some language regarding the necessity to have administrators who are accountable for the effective administration of the institution may be needed to reflect the reality that the faculty cannot, by themselves, effectively implement the components of the plan for which they are held accountable by administrators under the current framing of the plan.

(2) A commitment to develop specific additional criteria and measures that will be used to determine whether plan goals have been met. This initiative should be triggered as a first order Academic Plan implementation action.

(3) The plan should be amended to include provisions and a process for a specified periodic review, as well as a process for adapting the plan, if necessary, during the interim period.

(4) Any key remaining unresolved implementation issues related to the initiation of the proposed new Discovery/General Education programs once they have been submitted for Senate approval.

A professor said that the faculty should not approve a plan with so many unresolved issues; but another professor responded that, unless we start implementation, we will not know what these unresolved issues are and that we can work on solving them then. Grant Cioffi suggested adding at the end of the motion's item three: "In the spirit of shared governance, the Faculty Senate should be consulted and participate in the decision making." The July 17 version of the Academic Plan is now on the provost's web site. A motion was made by Mark Wrighton and seconded by Raymond Cook to delete the last paragraph and to amend the second sentence of the motion so that sentence would begin "Accordingly, the senate endorses the provost's proposals for the specific actions needed to implement the plan exclusive of the proposed Discovery Program (without prejudice)." A professor said that the Academic Plan and the Discovery Program are woven together and cannot realistically be separated. The provost replied that the university could proceed to implement the other parts of the Academic Plan if this amendment were to pass. It is possible to defer implementation of the Discovery Program and still move ahead on other parts of the Academic Plan. This amendment was approved with one nay. The main motion was tabled by a vote of sixteen ayes, eleven nays, and two abstentions. The Faculty Senate will consider a motion on the Academic Plan on September 22.

IX. Other business - Mark Wrighton as representative to the Athletic Advisory Committee announced that the volley ball coach is implementing a new program of having an honorary coach. Also, the director of intercollegiate athletics has offered two tickets to each faculty senator for one game. The senate meeting was adjourned.

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