SUMMARY REPORT ON THE FACULTY SENATE
Deborah Kinghorn, Chair, Faculty Senate XX
Associate Professor of Theatre & Dance
Submitted by the XXI Faculty Senate Agenda Committee
November 7, 2016
From a welcome from Chief Paul Dean congratulating us on a successful move-in to the resounding crack of the gavel at the final meeting of the session, Senate Session XX discussed many topics with 16 invited administrators and passed 34 motions. At the beginning of the year, Ham-Smith deconstruction began, the common exam time change went into effect, and we returned to a newly-approved lecturer’s contract. 3200 students began their college careers, testing the carrying capacity of our residence halls and classrooms. The Gallup Poll indicated that the public university experience was not appreciably different from the private one in a number of indicators. The new on-line add/drop system began successfully, and we embarked on the move from Blackboard to Canvas. We were deep into the search for a new Provost, as well as a new Dean for COLA and one for UNH-Manchester. The Curran Report on Professional Success and Career Planning was being considered in earnest, Navitas began its mandatory self-review, and Senate elections were conducted online via Qualtrics for the first time; elections included CCLEAR faculty for the first time.
Discussions that dominated throughout the year included: Title IX, the Central Budget Committee, the growth of top level administrative positions vs. faculty positions, and the salary disparities therein; changes to RCM and credit-hour weighting; the policy on Start-up Companies; teaching evaluation implementation, and the branding of the University, especially in the realm of website page access and control.
Senate elections were conducted online via Qualtrics for the first time; elections included CCLEAR faculty for the first time.
Standing Committee Work
Agenda Committee, Deborah Kinghorn, Chair
In addition to the preparation of the Senate’s agenda each week, The Agenda Committee undertook revision of the bylaws to accommodate the inclusion of CCLEAR faculty. Motions that grew out of this were: Standing committee operations would now reflect the introduction of sub-committees, especially for committees like the Academic Affairs Committee, which has a substantial workload each year; the members of the Agenda Committee must be tenured faculty; and the Agenda Committee is authorized to act on behalf of the Senate when it is between meetings (a power to be exercised only as a last resort). The Senate retains the power to reverse any decisions made by the Agenda Committee in such circumstances. The AC also presented the motion that the UCAPC become the default faculty committee to approve courses without a college level or department home. The Discovery Committee was added as a permanent committee of the Senate. Undergraduate Student Senate and the Graduate Student Senate are also to be invited annually to appoint one student from each body to the Academic Affairs Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, and the Campus Planning Committee. Although they will not have voting privileges, this motion attempts to close the communication gap between the Senate and the students. The AC also created a new ad hoc committee to be called the Teaching Evaluation Committee, whose purpose is to explore best practices in teaching evaluation and report to the Senate their recommendations for appropriate procedures for evaluation of teaching at UNH.
Academic Affairs Committee, Scott Smith, Chair
This committee reviewed the Discovery Review Committee’s Report to the Senate. Their overall response was that Discovery, after only 6 years, was still too new for substantive changes in its makeup to be considered; however, they did introduce eight motions for consideration. These included:
- Senate passes Motion XX-M28 for positive advocacy of Discovery 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M27 to encourage even distribution of Discovery seats 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M26 to end "decommissioning" of Discovery courses 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M25 on oversight authority of Discovery Committee 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M24 on double counting of Discovery courses 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M23 to leave Discovery Categories unchanged 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M22 to discontinue Discovery Dialogue 5-2-16
- Senate passes Motion XX-M21 to retain Discovery writing and quantitative reasoning requirements 5-2-16
In addition, the AAC presented motions on increasing transfer credit from two year schools up to 72 credits; revising language for the Honors Program to allow those who graduated in September and December terms to participate in Convocation; cancelling classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ending the October break (to be reviewed this year); and instituting a two week add/drop period (down from three), with the first week being online, and the second on paper, and keeping the drop period to five weeks; and encouraged the registrar’s office to consider an email alert to late-add students to contact their instructor, and the creation of instructor-controlled wait lists. The AAC recommended continued monitoring of on-line courses and development of a policy to reduce the dependence on online courses. Along with the Student Affairs Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee, the AAC recommended a feasibility study on the cost of renovations of Hubbard Hall before continuing discussion of the possibility of a residential Honors College.
Finance and Administration Committee, Erin Sharp and Dan Innis, co-chairs
This committee’s work was hampered by lack of timely information from administration, and the breakdown of communications through the loss of the Central Budget Committee (CBC). This resulted in the motion to the administration to restore the CBC or put in place something similar so that faculty could be fully informed about budgetary matters, especially those related to the academic mission. The first motion called for a response by the end of January 2016; when this had not occurred, the committee presented another motion, which again called for the reformation of the CBC, and in addition, called for temporary suspension of the implementation of the revised RCM weightings until such time as the faculty could be informed by someone with knowledge in that area as to why the changes were made without faculty input. (While the replacement CBC is now formed, the administration has not, to my knowledge, suspended implementation of the revised RCM weightings.) The FAC also moved that the administration meet with its committee no less than twice a semester regarding all budgetary matters. They presented reports on where graduate tuition money goes as well as hiring trends between tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and administrative positions, with the recommendation to follow-up when data from the 2014-15 and 2015-16 is available.
Student Affairs Committee, Jo Laird, Chair
This committee studied and reported on the increased enrollment and its effect on residential halls. Many rooms were “built-up”, meaning more doubles and triples, and even residence lounges being used for dorm space. The administration said plans were in place for the reduction of student lounges being used for residence, and SAC encouraged the Senate to continue to monitor this situation. The committee also investigated background checks, focusing on the different checks required, who bears the burden of the cost, and the impact on programming. With the AAC, the SAC presented the motion to raise the Honors GPA from 3.4 to 3.5 for consistency. The committee reported that while the Professional Success and Career Planning initiative was good in intent, it questioned how 18 new career directors would be “found”, and particularly where the money would come from to support this initiative. Administration answered this by saying that staff positions were being re-shuffled to accommodate this plan.
Information Technology Committee, Siobhan Senier, Chair
This committee had good relations with administrator Terri Winters, and oversaw the migration from Blackboard to Canvas. It alerted IT/AT about the loss of “SafeAssign”, the plagiarism detection software on BB; deemed “HostChecker”, a program which checks for anti-virus software, as a reasonable addition, since it primarily affects staff and not faculty; called for IT/AT to investigate the potential loss of the BB portal for areas outside of course delivery; advised continued follow-up on the possible expansion of TEAL classrooms; and reported that the small pilot of the Open Educational Resources (OER) program would commence last year. It recommended that this year’s ITC make web governance a top priority.
Library Committee, Todd DeMitchell, Chair
The Library Committee worked closely with the new Dean of the Library, Tara Fulton. It presented reports on paper vs. on-line journals, demonstrating the complex educational and financial decisions faced by the library when choosing what to subscribe to and what to let go. This led to further investigation of funding for the library, which resulted in a report from the committee on the negative impact of level funding for the library acquisitions budget on the academic mission, advising the provost to take a strong look at this.
Research and Public Service Committee, David Finkelhor, Chair
This committee thoroughly investigated the proposed changes to the policy on Start-Up Companies. Many objections to the policy were raised in the Senate over the course of the year, but the predominant objections were to punitive measures directed at faculty who continue in a CEO role with their start-up company, including dismissal, and the lack of a grandfather clause to protect start-up companies already in operation. The administration was unable to make its case to the Senate, even after several visits to both the committee and to the full Senate, and the motion to endorse it was defeated. The committee advised that this matter should be taken up again by the current Senate.
Campus Planning Committee, John Carroll, Chair
In addition to updating the Senate on construction projects and general campus planning issues, the CPC brought three motions to the floor. First, it called on the administration to protect in perpetuity University lands as valuable academic assets. Second, it called for more lactation facilities on every campus. Finally, it called for administrative support and funding for high quality, affordable childcare for the UNH community. All three motions should be followed up this year to determine if implementation is occurring.
The Professional Standards Committee and the University Curriculum and Policies Committee had no business before them last year.
Teaching Evaluation Implementation Committee, Alberto Manalo
This committee put forth motions to revise questions 4, 6, and 10 on the evaluation form. It also, after much discussion on the Senate floor, moved that all evaluation of faculty be performed online beginning in the Fall of 2016. The Senate agreed that it would provide to deans and department chairs and the Provost appropriate adjustments for the weighting of student evaluations, should there be a difference between online and paper. This is to protect faculty in the process of advancement. It also called on the faculty to follow-up with a commitment to analyze evaluations for faculty from under-represented groups and women to determine implicit bias.
Committee on Calendar Options, Christine Shea, Chair
This committee presented a report to the Senate which reviewed current calendars and examined quantitative and qualitative evaluations of each proposed calendar option. As well, it included hundreds of comments gathered from faculty and students on the topic. On average, although some departments could see benefits, the overall results indicated that both faculty and students prefer the current calendar, and do not view any of the other options as a helpful change.
In addition to standing invitations to the President and the Provost:
Paul Dean, Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President for Public Safety and Risk Management
Sheila Curran (Curran Consulting Group, regarding Professional Success initiative)
Victoria Dutcher, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Terri Winters, Director of UNH IT Academic Technology
Tara Fulton, Dean of Library
David Richman, Chair, Discovery Review Committee
Barbara White, Chair, Discovery Committee
Joel Seligmann, Chief Communications Officer
Mica Stark, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs
Jaime Nolan, Associate Vice President for Community, Equity, and Diversity
Donna Marie Sorrentino, Title IX Coordinator
Jan Nisbet, Senior Vice Provost for Research
Kathy Cataneo, Office of Research Development
Mark Milutinovich, Office for Large Center Development
Debbie Dutton, Vice President for Advancement
Mark Sedam, Associate Vice President for Innovation and New Ventures
Bill Hersman, Professor, Physics