FACULTY SENATE MEETING
February 7, 2012
Present: Chair Kellner, Immediate Past Chair Overton, Secretary Sawyers; Provost Arden; Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Bourham, Campbell, Carver, Freeman, Funkhouser, Hammerberg, Headen, Holden, Hooper (Design Rep), Jasper, Khosla, Kotek, Lubischer, Lunardi, Mitchell, Moore, Robinson, Rucker, Snyder, Sztajn, Tonelli, M. Williams, Zonderman
Excused: Senators Borden, Hatcher, Sztajn, L. Williams
Absent: Senators Edmisten, Fuentes, Nfah-Abbenyi, Tu
Visitors: Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Diversity; Joe Murphy, Chair of Academic Committee (SG); Emerson Barker, Student Government ProTempore; Adam Hughes, Concerned Undergraduate; Bob Beichner, Director; Betsy Brown, Provost Office; Dick Bernhard, Industrial and System Engineer
1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called meeting to order at 3 p.m.
2. Remarks and Announcements
Chair Kellner gave a brief summary of several meetings he attended over the last two weeks.
Chair Kellner attended the Chancellor’s liaison meeting where the discussion was on the QEP, Quality Enhancement Project. Their results were quite different from the Senate’s in that they were most interested in civic awareness.
Chair Kellner and Vernice Stevenson met with Nancy Whelchel in University Planning and Analysis to discuss the elections that will be held this spring. The Senior Senator from each college is charged with submitting nominations for the Senate, 604-607 Panel and the Hearings Panel. If anyone would like more information about what is required per college contact the Chair of the Faculty.
The Executive Committee attended a lunch meeting at the Chancellor’s new residence on January 31 where they discussed budget matters. Chair Kellner stated that it was interesting to him to hear the Chancellor’s comments on the discussion at the Board of Governors over tuition matters; the most controversial issue was financial aid. There seems to be a new debate over how much money should be devoted to financial aid from any potential increase in tuition.
Chair Kellner attended a meeting on the 125th anniversary. The 125th celebration will begin on Founders Day which will take place during spring break. There will be a birthday party the following week.
Chair Kellner attended a meeting in the Provost Office where the SACS leadership group discussed the ongoing process of planning for re-affirmation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He stated that Karen Helm laid out a lot of highly organized time tables and steps that we would go through , but she also is putting together committees, one of which will work on the QEP, which is going to focus on critical and creative thinking. The other committee was to deal with the faculty credentialing issue.
Chair Kellner reported that at the University Budget Advisory Committee Kevin Howell reported on the downtown politics. This morning it was reinforced in the newspaper how many legislators have decided not to run again which means there is a break in continuity.
Chair Kellner reported that he met with Marc Okner, Director of Employee Relations to discuss ComPsych, the new provider of NC State’s employee assistance program. He described this group as replacing the old one which was Deer Oaks, and he named all of the services that the new program will provide. Some of the services include counseling for employees and dependents, help with child and elder care, pet care, buying a car, selling a house among other things. There is also legal assistance.
Chair Kellner and Marck Okner also discussed the importance of mediation on campus, because it is usually the first step in the grievance process. The issue is that there are a very small number of trained mediators. Last year a training session was done on campus that was highly regarded. Chair Kellner encouraged the faculty to think about becoming a mediator.
Past Chair Overton commented that mediating before it gets to the point of a grievance is a better situation all around. Chair Kellner agreed.
Chair Kellner has received information about a department name change from the Provost office. The Senate will discuss this issue at the next meeting.
Chair Kellner announced that the call for nominees for Chair Elect has been sent and currently there are three nominees. They are Helmut Hergeth, Textiles; Gary Moore, Agriculture and Life Sciences; David Zonderman, Humanities and Social Sciences.
The next meeting will feature campaign speeches from the nominees for Chair Elect and the Senate will then select the two who will be running. The two candidates will then speak at the General Faculty meeting.
Chair Kellner announced that on February 15th the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Barbara Mulkey will give a talk in the library from 4-5 p.m. There will also be a book signing on her new book “Building Bridges”.
Chair Kellner announced that the timetable for nominations for the Faculty Senate elections will close Thursday, 23 February. Please send all nominees to Vernice Stevenson for her to format for Planning and Analysis to include on the ballot that will be sent out to all colleges. The results will be announced by 10 April.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, January 24, 2012
The minutes were approved as submitted.
4. Remarks from the Provost
Provost Arden and Past Chair Overton are working hard on trying to define metrics and timelines for the overarching goals associated with the strategic plan. They are also helping to assign responsibilities on the action items.
Academic Program Science Task Force – Past Chair Overton is working hard for that group to produce a final report in a couple of weeks.
Program Efficiency and Effectiveness Task Force under Dr. Duane Larick – The group is making very good progress. They have been working with the faculty and the department heads to find the metrics that will be employed to assess undergraduate, graduate, master and doctoral student programs and are currently compiling the data. They will have a draft of that data by the end of the month.
Provost Arden stated that the DUAP Student Affairs merger is going well, that it is due for a 7/01 implementation this year, but he thinks most of the pieces will be moved into place by sometime in April. He said all they would have to do then is end up merging those divisions to identify a new Vice Chancellor to replace Thomas Stafford and John Ambrose.
Provost Arden reported that there are three Dean searches underway; CALS, CNR, and the new Division of Student Affairs. The job announcement for Academic and Student Affairs has already gone out and he hopes to approve the other two job announcements by the end of the week so they can be sent out next week.
There are three Vice Provost reviews underway. Open sessions have already been conducted for Dr. Li and Dr. Miller and their surveys are still open for input and comments.
Provost Arden reported that there are two Director searches that are underway for the new Director of Student Health and the new Director of Student Counseling. He stated that those positions have been occupied by the same individuals for a long time, so they intend to attract some of the best candidates they can find.
Provost Arden reported that the Provost Office is about two thirds of the way through reappointment promotion and tenure evaluations. They have sent all of the cases that are questionable with respect to endorsement to the University Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Provost Arden stated that Monday of this week they sent letters to all of those who had proposed faculty excellence hires. They are going to be able to fund in this round 12 of those proposals for a total of approximately 39 positions. Those who are involved with sending the proposals were notified yesterday and by early next week he plans to send a general notification to the campus that will include a list of the proposals that were funded, who the colleges are, and how many positions, but it will also include another document talking about the search process and how we it will be conducted. There will be a third document which will ask of the successful applicants to provide a brief abstract of their proposal and that will go out early next week.
Provost Arden explained that what he has discussed with the deans in terms of matching is on recurring salary dollars for any position allocated to a college, 30% will come from the college and 70% will come from my office. On startup for individuals it’s very hard to say what the start up matching will be because you have to individually negotiate them once the candidates have been selected and we are in negotiation with the candidate.
Provost Arden noted that they have changed the way they are administering startup and retention. Rather than them being fragmented in different offices we have created one centrally administered pool where it will all go through the Provost Office.
Provost Arden reported that SACS reaffirmation is well underway and there are two critical parts of that.
Quality Enhancement Plan—I have written to the Chancellor and he has agreed that we will focus on critical and creative thinking. There are 87 or 89 compliance standards. This is a two year process led by Karen Helm and I think we are off to a very good start. We have a lot of work to do as a faculty community as we work through the SACS reaffirmation.
Lastly, our tuition as well as everyone else’s goes before the Board of Governors this week. We have a submission that would be for in-state undergraduates a $595 increase. If you look at it as tuition and fees combined that will be a 9.8% increase. If you look at it as just tuition it would be 11.5% increase. He thinks it will be a very lively discussion at the Board of Governors.
Senator Headen – Does the 30% co-pay by the Colleges reduce the College’s ability to make other disciplinary hires?
Provost Arden stated that he thinks that would be a reasonable assumption. What I have said is that will be the case if you assume that it’s a steady budget and I have told the department heads and the deans it is my intentions that this is the first of many rounds of faculty hiring and not all are going to be conducted in this manner. I guess if you said that in any given year that the 30% from lapsed salary at the college level would be applied toward faculty excellence hires, it would decrease the flexibility toward incoming hires in the current year, but there are two pieces of data to consider. One is that most of the faculty excellence hires will play out over the next two or three years. Secondly we hope to have additional resources to push out to the colleges which would more than offset that 30% of disciplinary hiring in the next couple of years.
Senator Robinson - Did the deans agree to the 30% match before the letters went out telling people they were successful?
Provost Arden responded yes.
Chair Kellner stated that he is curious about whether some of these proposals actually named names or do we need this or that type of person?
Provost Arden stated that it is both of those from the proposal perspective meaning that there are some proposals that did name individuals and it is one of the reasons we are uncomfortable about posting proposals on the web making them public access, because names are mentioned. At the moment unlike some other universities that I’ve been to that have done this through a faculty excellence hiring process. I am not doing this specifically as a target of opportunity hiring meaning that it is my intention that these 12 clusters and 39 positions are all run as open searches and even if we are targeting a given individual they will be asked to apply. There will be search committees and in fact, one of the documents that will go out next week as an attachment to this announcement will detail in about two pages the hiring process and how the search committee will be constructed.
Senator Snyder – What is the split of the $595 between tuition and fees?
Provost Arden stated that the $595 is all tuition. If you look at the total increase in tuition and fees as a proportion of tuition and fees it is about 9.8% which is how General Administration is looking at it, they wanted the total increase in tuition and fees by university to be less than ten percent.
5. Remarks from Louis Hunt
Louis Hunt, Vice Provost and University Registrar gave remarks and presented a PowerPoint on NC State’s trends in undergraduate admissions.
Vice Provost Hunt reported that over the last year in-state applications are up about 4.9%, out-of-state is up about 17% and international is up six percent. He also noted that 2005 was the first year that NC State topped 4000 freshmen and the freshmen enrollment peaked in 2007. He stated that we have deliberately been putting some downward press on class size and we are going to continue to do so. If you look at next year’s target we will be coming in on target at 4250 freshmen. If you overlay that with our SAT scores you will see a relationship.
Hunt stated that if you look at high school GPA you will see a really strong growth. Students are now taking a lot more advanced classes. This past year the average student came in with 7.7 hours of college credits compared to 2007 when they came in with 3.8 hours.
Senator Lunardi wanted to know how GPAs are adjusted for international students?
Hunt stated that they try to be very careful in growing international enrollment. Our purpose is to create a high quality diverse population where all of our students progress, so we really can’t use the SAT the same way we have for US students. The high school GPA has to be in context with their nationality. So, what we are really focusing on now is the relationship with high quality high schools that we know can form a one on one relationship. We want a representative student body that represents the world that our students work in.
Hunt stated that comparing February 2 of last year to this year the quality of the applications is about the same . We got about a 30 point increase in the SAT scores. My hope is that we will hit at least 1200 in the average SAT this year. If we don’t get it this year we certainly will next. The quality of the students’ GPA looks good and the one we are most excited about at this point is the number of kids in the top 10% of the class. We admitted more students in the top 10% of their class than we have in the past. Again we are making an effort to improve the quality of the students coming in.
Progress toward degree and Satisfactory Academic Progress
Vice Provost Hunt stated that we have a policy on undergraduate progress toward degree . We have one called satisfactory academic progress and that is more of a financial aid thing. We have heard the President talk about us having to tighten things up, well they have done it a lot already. Right now anything that can’t count toward a degree can’t be funded. We have to come to a balance. We really need to align what’s required for academic purposes and what’s required for financial aid purposes.
Hunt stated that NC State’s retention rate is fairly high compared to national averages. Graduation rate is 72% for 6 year graduation rate. When you look at our peers we are placed differently, but the good news is that a little improvement might make a big difference.
How do we improve?
•Align Academic Policies with Strategic Objectives
We need to look at our satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
Progress Toward Undergraduate Degree
Intracampus Transfers – We have worked with all the colleges looked at all the colleges and
Continuation of Undergraduate Enrollment
Course Load, Adding /Dropping Courses, Withdrawal
•Facilitate Improved Advising
•Consistent and Effective InterventionsChair Kellner - Speaking of progress toward degree, how would a faculty group like this go about getting us underway? Maybe I should be talking to the Provost.
Hunt stated that they know how to do it.
Chair Kellner asked why hasn’t it happened?
Hunt stated that they have made good progress in the last year. “ I really think we know how to move these forward.”
Senator Lubischer said she is curious how pushing the drop date so late in the semester have impacted that.
Hunt stated that he thinks we have had a bad habit of looking at these policies. The fact is they are umbrella policies that kind of promote. There is a lot of ways you can address these things. I think we just need to look at them in isolation.
Senator Robinson stated that he sees this as being a campus life issue—students he see partying and not going to class—how does this fit in with what you are saying?
Hunt stated that part of it is what the Provost has already done, to merge Undergraduate Academic Programs to acknowledge the interface between student life and academic life. You can’t separate the two. I think the other one is right here, for example our current progress toward degree policy. If we were going to enforce it entirely we would find out almost every single violation, even from the ones that are on the Dean’s list. We have a lot of students that are in violation. We have to have a way to have consistent intervention.
Hunt stated that they are working on what they call an advising task force. They are looking at critical paths for most curriculums He stated that they are looking at building something where we will have the first prototypes out there.
Assistant Provost Gumpertz stated that you are looking at a huge difference between 4 year and five year graduation rate—one thing that comes to mind is the number of students working and the number of hours that they are working.
Hunt stated that he agreeds. We need to try to develop more financial aid counseling. Anything we can do to diminish the cost for students and family are important.
Campbell commented that students need to attend class.
Hunt stated that the Federal government wants them to start taking attendance to make sure students are coming to class.
Senator Funkhouser commented that the number one issue with our students is working too much.
Hunt agreed and stated that we need to get the students to live within their means.
Vice Provost Hunt’s presentation can be accessed online at
6. Remarks from David DeFoor, Staff Senate Chair
Chair DeFoor brought greetings from the Staff Senate.
The Staff Senate is a representative body elected by about 5,000 staffers, all SPA and non faculty EPA across all of the colleges and departments even extending to extension and research stations across the state.
Chair DeFoor explained that the SS is an advisory body to the Chancellor and the Provost and they are charged mostly with keeping lines of communication open which is not always an easy thing to do. He stated that they are the avenue of communication between the staff and the administration and increasingly the faculty and student body as well. We are not SEANC, we are not a collective bargaining group, we are not the group who would be marching on Holladay Hall up in the Chancellor’s face. We will resist that temptation when we can.
Issues being addressed by the Staff Senate.
Chair DeFoor stated that the 125th Anniversary is a time of celebration, aspiration, looking ahead, and looking back. One of the difficulties is that this is a very difficult time for the university and especially a difficult time for the staff. Staff and instructors have been laid off, fewer sections and more of a constraint to finish in four or five years and there will be financial punishment if you don’t do that so it is becoming a stressful environment in so many ways.
The Staff Senate is necessary and we need to be involved especially during this day, a little bit of appreciation. It has been four years since we have had a raise and in that time our health premiums have increased 36% so we have taken a cut. One of the things we are trying to do and not just to drum up morale but because we want the Staff Senate to be a useful group is we are trying to make it more of a service oriented group. You may have seen the “Have a Heart Food Drive” where we are collecting food for the food bank. Please feel free to contribute. If you would like to have a box to collect food in your area email email@example.com.
Another project the Staff Senate is working on is Habitat for Humanity in Wake County. Build a block was a drive in Chapel Hill to build 10 houses for ten staff members’ families in ten months and they successfully did that and it became a unifying force on their campus. Faculty, students and staff united to complete this project. The Staff Senate here is trying to put together a team to plan and get a similar project off the ground and if all goes well we will break ground in fall of 2013.
Chair DeFoor stated that BORST has a lot of staff nervous because they are not sure what’s going to happen with their jobs. Scott Inkley stated at their meeting that there will be training opportunities and he did not expect any round of RIFs as a result of the BORST process, so that has helped with some of the anxiety.
Another issue being watched closely is Senate Bill 575 (Higher Education and Flexibility Act) that started last fall. One part of it included the personnel flexibility proposal that would take SPA employees from under the State Personnel and put them under the Board of Governors in General Administration. There has been a lot of anxiety on the part of many staff who just don’t trust the General Administration to administer SPA’s in a fair manner. Many employees are concerned that it will make the SPAs “at will” employees. The GA has said that they are not going to be changing the rules that dramatically, that SPA will still have the same protection that they have now and more. Since the GA cannot have the document on the table before the legislature votes on it a lot of staff members are very anxious. We are trying to educate the staff on the proposal, what pit falls might be there and we are also advising the administration as they begin to try to build trust before May, when this comes up for a vote.
Past Chair Overton wanted to know what percentage of the Staff votes in the elections.
Defoor responded that he doesn’t know, but believes it is a lot less than they would like.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Aspnes presented an issue of concern about grade inflation. One solution that has been proposed, and which has been adopted by some other institutions, is to show on the student's transcript the class-average grade along with the student’s earned grade. This provides additional data by which a student’s performance can be calibrated. While not perfect, it serves to identify courses where grades have been inflated, and provides a better assessment of a student’s relative performance. We should consider doing the same at NCSU.
Vice Provost Hunt stated that there are some schools that have adopted that approach and reporting the average grade next to the student’s grade makes some sense. Hunt stated that there are a lot of faculty talking about it on campus. He thinks it is a faculty decision and he stated that he doesn’t know if we want to be on the leading edge of that—it might put our students at a disadvantage.
Senator Tonelli noted that there are some institutional policies that contribute to grade inflation - C wall classes and GPA requirements to keep financial aid for example.
Vice Provost Hunt stated that he would like to see something such as the A,B, C range.
Senator Robinson commented that grade inflation is a problem only if it is continuing to increase over time and that data would reveal that.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:40 p.m.