FACULTY SENATE MEETING
December 3, 2013
Present: Chair Zonderman, Immediate Past- Chair Kellner, Secretary Daley, Provost Arden; Senators Aday, Aspnes, Bernhard, Bird, Borden, Bourham, Bradley, Fleisher, Funkhouser, Heitmann, Knopp, Krause, Lucia, Lunardi, J. Moore, Penrose, Spontak, Sztajn, P. Williams
Excused: Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Ade, Allaire, Bartlett, Devetsikiotis, Morgado, Rucker
Absent: Senators, Baumer, Edwards, Fuentes, Knowles, Laffitte, Marks, M. Moore, Nfah-Abbenyi, M. Moore, Tyler
Guests: Betsy Brown, Provost’s Office; Marcia Gumpertz, OIED; Fred Cubbage, Professor; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel; Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor, Information Technology
1. Call to Order
Chair Zonderman called the seventh meeting of the sixtieth session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.
2. Remarks and Announcements
Chair Zonderman thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
Chair Zonderman commented on the UNC System meeting on security initiatives where Chancellor Woodson and Chancellor Martin from NC A&T State University serve as co-chairs. He stated that the attendance was good with people attending from various universities. The discussions dealt with issues such as alcohol abuse, sexual violence, and a number of other issues. Additional information can be found on the UNC General Administration website under Campus Security Initiative.
Chair Zonderman noted that more initiatives will be moving to the campus from General Administration with one in particular being the new student success initiative.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 6, November 19, 2013
The minutes were approved as submitted.
4. Student Admissions/Diversity/Financial Aid
Vice Provost Louis Hunt addressed the following questions he received from the Faculty Senate.
How do the increasing admission standards and selectivity impact the diversity of the undergraduate student body?
How do the admissions process and standards differ from an entering high school graduate versus a community college student coming from the articulation agreement?
How good are SAT and ACT scores and high school GPA’s at predicting students’ retention in academic success?
How much of student aid is need-base and how much is merit base?
Vice Provost Hunt commented on what is done from an enrollment perspective, also from admissions, financial aid, and the registrar’s perspective.
Vice Provost Hunt stated that they work from the university strategic plan and in that plan they review things in the context of constrained resources that are available, and with things like the performance based funding starting to happen, they have to balance how they do business. The goal is for students to have a great chance at being successful, graduate in a timely manner, and with the least amount of student debt possible.
Vice Provost Hunt reported that their strongest classes have been in the last three years, with the last two being especially strong. The average SAT reported for the incoming class was 1242; the high school weighted GPA was 4.43, and un-weighted was 3.64. More than 50% of the incoming class was in the top 10% of their graduating class and included more than 200 salutatorian/valedictorians.
Vice Provost Hunt reported that the freshmen and sophomore retention rate for this cohort was 92.6%, which is the highest ever. The six year graduation rate for the 2007 cohort is 79%, which is the highest ever. The six year graduation rate for African American students has risen dramatically from 60% in 2005 to 68% in 2007.
This year the university has its highest out of state enrollment at 16 percent and highest international enrollment at 3.4 percent. The diversity is as great as it has ever been. Last year the number of students that declared themselves as white was at a ten year low, and so was the number declaring themselves as African American students.
Hunt stated that they have made a lot of changes and the evidence being seen in this applicant pool suggests that the university is getting a much stronger applicant pool across the board.
Hunt stated that transfer students are important to the university. Transfer is a great pathway for a lot of students that otherwise couldn’t come in as freshmen or a student that doesn’t have the same academic opportunities in high school or didn’t attend the same quality of high school.
Hunt stated that they are changing their processes fairly dramatically. Sometimes he hears where not everyone is as pleased with transfer students as they are with freshmen, which is surprising. There may be a number of factors with one being they come from a variety of backgrounds. They have reviewed their processes and think the way they are admitting the students put them at a disadvantage, that they get in too late so they don’t get all that up front advising. Enrollment Management has made some significant changes to improve that. Last year they started a transfer start. He stated that it is a moving target and it is where they have listened to faculty advice and have tried to implement it.
Vice Provost Hunt addressed the question on how well does SAT’s and GPA’s predict students’ success.
He stated that high school GPA’s are the best predictor, but SAT’s do add information. They use a holistic approach in admitting students by using all the information available to balance and weigh it differently for different applicants. He stated that they also participate with College Board doing SAT validity studies to see how well their predictions work. They have had good results with that and it helps them to modify and understand their decision processes better.
Vice Provost Hunt explained that the financial aid piece (need versus merit) is obviously important. He stated that NC State has had a long term commitment to accessibility through keeping cost low and also by putting a lot of money into need based financial aid. There are also very good packages provided for students, which is important for their success. The university currently meets about 81.6% of need, which is actually quite high. Approximately 52% of the students demonstrate some need when they submit FAFSA and 24% are Pell eligible.
Hunt stated that there is obviously a very blurred line between what is need and what is merit. Some scholarships blend the two so it’s difficult to separate them out. All of the students that get admitted to NC State are meritorious, they are all really good students and 52% of them have need.
Hunted reported that there are some programs that people might not be familiar with like the Goodnights’ Scholars Program, which is a great program and has graduated two cohorts. The program funds 50 students per year for STEM affiliated educational majors. They pay full tuition and fees for those students but the students have to demonstrate excellent academics and they also have to have some need associated with them.
Vice Provost Hunt stated that they advocate for more merit aid because these are great students. Last year 168 fulltime, first time freshmen students received merit only, which was 4% of NC State’s incoming class. Georgia Tech had 224, which was 7.4% of their incoming class. A school like Auburn University had 640 students to get merit aid, which was 16.8% of their class and the University of South Carolina provided merit for 1,816 of their students, which was 39.67 percent, so from that perspective Hunt stated that he would feel good if NC State had more merit aid to work on top students.
Questions and Comments
How does the performance of transfer students compare to students that come in as freshmen?
Hunt responded that the problem is they are a very diverse group. They have different motivations and you don’t know what their goals are. Their goals are sometimes difficult, but for the most part they do quite well and their GPA’s are comparable and their graduation rates are favorable.
What are the criteria to receive aid for the Pack Promise Program? What is the size? What is the graduation rate?
Hunt responded that they are currently only admitting 200 students into the program and the students have to have a zero EFC (expected family contribution) on FAFSA. He would like to see the program change dramatically. He stated that he would like to see the resources balanced across all the kids equitably.
Hunt commented that the students have been quite successful and have outperformed their predictions.
Does the lack of AP courses at rural schools affect the diversity of our students?
Tommy Griffin, Director of Admissions, explained that AP courses are something that they look for and expect, but they try to look at students in the context of the high school. It is taken into account that a student from a Wake County high school should have some AP classes because they are readily available. A student from a rural high school would have a more limited access to AP classes. He noted that someone from a private school is going to have a different background from public schools, so they try to take into account that some students are going to have more AP classes than others based on where they are from.
Griffin stated that UNC Chapel Hill has done a study in their admissions office. They have done a study in looking at the classes that students bring in and the academic performance of their students in the form of their first year grade point average. They have found that up to five classes having an additional AP class makes a difference in the grade point average of their freshmen. At five and beyond there is no difference in the academic performance in terms of grade point average of their students.
How much influence do we have regarding transfer students under the Community College System?
Hunt responded that the College of Engineering works closely with the Community College System to make sure the pre-engineering curriculum matches the expectation that NC State would have here; there is a common catalog there and articulation agreement.
Griffin added that part of the idea is to have a core of thirty hours, basically one year’s worth of credit that will transfer to all UNC system schools to meet some of the general education requirements and then to have a pre-major track for those students beyond those thirty hours to make sure that they are taking courses that will work for that track.
Griffin stated that now is a good time to be engaged with your colleagues at the other UNC system campuses to get input to General Administration on which courses would track the best for majors. The other piece of that is we are looking at a diverse transfer agreement. NC State is part of a pilot program at four UNC System universities where students that come with less than thirty hours of credit would be able to come here after a year and then transfer to retroactively earn an Associate degree as well.Hunt stated that there is another piece, which is how do we bring these students to this campus. The reality is this is a much different institution and experience than a lot of places that they have been. It is mainly a lot of opportunity to examine our own practices.
A faculty member commented, with all the good news about our students coming in, how much of that is dependent on the fact that our enrollment plan has reduced the number? If you had a full cohort three years ago, what would the class look like? How much has been gained by dropping the bottom bunch?
Hunt stated that this is how they came up with the plan. It is an important point because NC State is a selective university. They do not bring a kid here for two years, load them up with debt and have them go away with no degree.
How has the yield changed over the last few years?
Griffin stated that the yield has been going down by a percent or so for the last few years and that is to be expected. They are meeting a better group of students, but are not seeing a huge slide. In North Carolina, NC State is still a very strong school when it comes to a yield from North Carolina students.
Hunt added that this year they have seen a real shift in the distribution of the applicant pool, which has demonstrated higher academic preparation.
How is the student debt situation moving from year to year?
Hunt responded that the average debt for the students who graduated in May was about $23,000.
If we have the lowest number of students that define themselves as only white or only black who are the others?
Hunt stated that those students identifying themselves as Hispanic have increased and they expect that the number of people based on the population in North Carolina high schools of school aged children to continue to increase, then there will be fewer and fewer white students and more and more Hispanic and Latino students. The international population is separated out in separate categories.
What idea do you have for addressing the numbers that have declined?
Hunt responded that they need to look at the two or more population. First the Federal Government added a category of two or more and a category of people that didn’t report. The two or more is people identifying as more than one single race, which is 4% of NC State’s population.
Hunt stated that last year only 20% of the African American applicants were admitted and this year they have done a little bit of a disservice in some of the recruitment over the years since they have really emphasized diversity. They have grown the applicant pool, but haven’t grown the quality of that applicant pool. Unfortunately the numbers are such that the African American population in this state and around the country happens to have the lowest academic achievement demonstrated at high school graduation. They were able to expand that pool, but didn’t expand the quality of the pool. He stated that they were obviously just standing still in a lot of areas and they weren’t increasing the out of state.
Hunt stated that they weren’t increasing diversity for all these years, and everything had been stagnant. They have moved in a direction to improve quality and to improve diversity in terms of geographic and other things. The applicant pool has decreased. They are currently down by about 1400 applications, but if you look at the quality of those divided up by ethnicity, there has been a gain in African Americans from last year to this year. He thinks they have attracted some kids that were not considering this institution. He stated that they need to figure out some creative ways to get on people’s radars, getting them in here, and doing things to make them more admissible.
Regarding SAT scores, do you have target ranges that are specific to certain areas?
Hunt responded that they don’t have targets. Each applicant is reviewed carefully and also taken into account is the type of school they attended, such as rural schools where there were no AP courses. He stated that SAT’s seem to have more predictability in cost, engineering, and education.
Griffin added that SAT scores are just one more piece of information.
5. Old/New Business
Resolution on Public School Teachers and Advanced Degrees – Second Reading
Past Chair Kellner presented the resolution for a second reading.
After some discussion and wordsmithing, a motion passed with unanimous consent to adopt the resolution.
Recommended addition to Article VI of the Faculty Senate Bylaw as Section 8 Article VI: “Consistent with Section 5 Article VI of the General Faculty Bylaws, faculty with at least 0.75 FTE serving at the departmental level may run for the Senate”A motion was made and second to amend the addition to the Faculty Senate Bylaws to “faculty with at least 0.50 FTE serving at the departmental level may run for the Senate.”
A motion passed with unanimous support to table a vote on the addition to the bylaws. The item will be sent back to committee for further discussion.
Resolution of Appreciation to Carrie Leger
Chair Zonderman explained that the resolution was sent from the Athletics Council asking for an endorsement from the Faculty Senate.
After much discussion the motion passed to endorse the resolution with 15 for and 4 abstentions.
6. Issues of Concern
Senator Lucia stated that he would like the faculty to make a statement on the Hoffman Forest issue.
Chair Zonderman stated that the issue will be discussed in the Executive Committee meeting and they will decide whether or not to send it to a committee. He plans to report back to the Senate in the spring.
Senator Heitmann presented an issue of concern on how the library is regarded in terms of whether they are considered an academic unit or not.
Chair Zonderman stated that Susan Nutter is tentatively scheduled to attend a Senate meeting in the spring and based on her remarks, the Senate may want to pursue the issue further.
Update for Fall 2013
Chair Zonderman reported that all issues of concern from the fall semester have gone into committee and several have been resolved. The committees have decided not to pursue some of them further.
7. Remarks from Provost Arden
Provost Arden commended the Enrollment Management Team on the job that they do. He stated that Enrollment Management is critical to the overall management of the university, making sure that resources are accurately matched to the student body at multiple levels is something that is incredibly important with respect to achieving goals.
Provost Arden stated that the issue that came up about underrepresented minority admissions is an important issue, an issue that he and the administration talk about on a regular basis.
Provost Arden stated that he would like to see the attention go from a full discussion of access to one of attainment. Everyone gets obsessed with the percentage of a given ethnic group or a given geographic group that is being admitted. The important issue is how many graduate and of those that don’t graduate how much debt do they leave with. A phenomenal amount of debt is accrued by students who did not graduate from the university, so that is something to be very careful about. He stated that we can jack up the admitted rate and it looks great, but we also have to have a responsibility to have a discussion about attainment. This discussion is being led out of the White House and is the theme First Lady Michele Obama is going to address during the second term of the President, access and achievement of underrepresented minorities because some of the data are pretty scary if you look at the college going rate of the children in the lower 20% of the social economic status. That whole conversation about access, achievement, and attainment and even more about attainment of jobs that allow individuals to pay back debt is really a discussion that we need to get into.
Provost Arden noted that he just had a discussion with some external groups and funding agencies about NC State’s participation in a state wide program to increase access of underrepresented minorities to higher education. There are some opportunities for outside groups to help State and other universities in the state to mount a comprehensive program of achievement and attainment. They are not just focused on entering into college, but they are also focused on attainment and fulfilling jobs as well.
Provost Arden stated that one thing we have to develop an understanding of is that sometimes funding of given units is a complex issue where funding is derived from multiple sources, that it is not so much of whether a unit is categorized as an academic or non-academic unit for a budget cut. There have been times in the past where other academic units such as the credit bearing units within Student Affairs that were not categorized on the academic side and got behind a budget cut as well. The bigger issue is the end result being budgets from not just cuts, but from new allocations, so as a highlight into that discussion, the decision this year to treat the library a little different (I view the library as an academic unit and I am passionate about investing in the library) but the decision not to place them in that category for budget cuts was because of a counter balancing decision to fully fund the library through enrollment increase dollars. Many of the units were not funded at all.
Questions and Comments
Since you brought up the issue of minority admissions I find it very interesting that we have six minority institutions in the system and some are under enrolled and we and other schools in the system are competing for African American students who qualify. This brings up the whole question of internal transfers within the system. It would be paternalistic and troublesome to say we would like to get transfers from quality students from A&T, NC Central, etc., but some of the schools might wish to enroll students on the promise that if they qualify and do very well they would be guaranteed at a certain point to enroll into another school of their choice in the system.
The faculty member noted that it was done at another university where he was and it helped. He thinks it’s something that should be considered here.
Other questions asked were: What is done with intersystem transfers? Are there many of them? Are they looked down upon?
Provost Arden responded, “I wouldn’t say that we look down on them. Every transfer that we accept from any other university is qualified to be here and is treated equally with other students. “Griffin noted that NC State does have a lot of transfer students from other UNC system schools, whether that is UNC Charlotte or Appalachian State. There have also been 2+2 engineering with UNC Ashville and UNC Wilmington, but there isn’t any at Fayetteville State, UNC Pembroke, or most of the other UNC system universities.
Provost Arden stated that the other point is the whole national conversation about how we define student success. Sometime we get forced into this zone of thinking about student success by measuring the numbers of what happened to first time full time students and the reality is that first time full time students in the fall don’t include spring admits nor transfers. As the demographics of the student body shifts so that more and more of our student body is not a first time full time freshman straight out of high school, we have to have a broader definition of student success. That is a national conversation about how that is done.
What do we do for veteran students?
Hunt stated that they have a very good veteran’s program. The Enrollment Management office works with the Veteran Administration and has a pretty large population that uses their veteran benefits.
Griffin stated that in admissions they certainly work with the ROTC programs and some of the commission programs for enlisted students.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:51 p.m.