Left Navigation

Faculty Senate Home Agenda Faculty Senate Bylaws Committees General Faculty Items of Interest Mediation, Grievances & Hearings Meetings & Minutes Resolutions Senators

September 28, 1999

Senators present: Chair Corbin, Secretary Carter, Chair Emeritus Wahl, Senators Ash, Banks, Bottcher, Brown, Brownie, Elmaghraby, El-Masry, Fisher, Funderlic, Gilbert, Grainger, Griffin, Grimes, Hamouda, Hodge, Kelly, Kimler, Knowles, Misra, Peel, Robinson, Sawyers, Toplikar, Werner, Wilkerson, Willits, Wilson

Senators absent: Provost Hall, Parliamentarian Link, Senators Fitzgerald, Havner, Markham, Smoak, Suh

Excused: Senators Lytle, Malinowski

Visitors: Sheri Plenert, Assistant Equal Opportunity Officer; Ruth L. Green, Director, Hewlett Initiative; Carol Schwab, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost; Greg Holden, Assistant Equal Opportunity Office; Robert Sowell, Associate Vice Chancellor & Associate Dean of the Graduate School; Frank Abrams, Senior Associate Provost; Ashley B. Perry, Senior Staff Writer, Technician; Daniel Bunce, Assistant Editor, The Bulletin; John Borwick, Student Senate Pro Tempore; Harriette Griffin, College of Management; Mark White, Engineering

1.   Call to Order
The fourth meeting of the forty sixth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Frederick Corbin.

2.    Welcome and Announcements
Chair Corbin welcomed Senators and Guests. Chair Corbin announced that there will be a meeting held on the Scholarship of Teaching, Thursday, September 30 in the Talley Student Center.

Chair Corbin announced that the students have been collecting funds on the brickyard for the victims of Hurricane Floyd. Anyone interested in donating should contact Student Government.

Dr. Carol Schwab from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences announced that the Cooperative Extension Service collected a truck full of supplies along with $1500 for the victims of Hurricane Floyd. They delivered the supplies to the dissemination points near Tarboro.

Dr. Schwab stated that a number of emails were published in the past two weeks from specialists in the Cooperative Extension Service. She consolidated all the information into one location with a number of links. The web location contains information about how to deal with your dead chicken to how to clean your pots and pans that have been submerged in the flood water. Dr. Schwab plans to add more information. She noted that it is a resource that contains a lot of centralized information on how to cope and deal with the disaster.

Senator Gilbert announced that the United Way is handling donations for the flood victims at no charge.

Harriette Griffin from the College of Management announced that the Accounting Society and Beta Alpha Si will be collecting items Wednesday, September 29, behind Nelson Hall.

Chair Corbin announced that the Executive Committee will meet on Thursday, September 30 at 4:00 p.m.

Chair Corbin announced that the Board of Trustees meeting will be held September 30 - October 1, 1999. He noted that Friday morning between 10:15 and 10:30 a.m. will be the ideal time for the faculty to attend the meeting. The meeting will be held in the Alumni Building.

Chair Corbin announced that the General Faculty meeting will be held on Monday, November 1, 1999. The agenda will be posted in the Bulletin and on the web.

3.    Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 14, 1999
The minutes of the third meeting of the forty-sixth session of the NC State Faculty Senate were approved as corrected.

4.    New Business
A.    Mediation Services
Sheri Plenert, Assistant Equal Opportunity Officer, identified the trained faculty mediators at NC State. She stated that mediation is something that has come out in current years as an alternative to formal grievance procedures. The Faculty Senate had started looking at their own mediation procedures which were a more formal grievance panel hearing with evidence and witnesses that would be called. There were some committees that came together and requested an alternative to those grievance procedures for some things that did not fit in and seemed to be more adversarial than what was needed.

Ms. Plenert pointed out that in 1995 there was a Faculty Senate ad hoc committee on faculty mediation that submitted a report with approximately five recommendations. Some of those were to change the title so there would be a grievance procedure and a mediation procedure. One of the recommendations was to have a true voluntary mediation process that was an alternative dispute resolution process to the formal grievance procedures.

Ms. Plenert stated that the Board of Trustees has policy number 24.01 which outlines the grievance procedures for faculty and EPA professionals. She explained that policy number 24.01 is the policy as you know it under the title mediation process. Then we have a new policy from the Board of Trustees referred to as policy number 24.02 which outlines the mediation policy and procedures. It was adopted on April 19, 1996. She noted that SPA employees are specifically described in it.

Ms. Plenert stated that mediation is a great process to handle issues that do not fit in neatly to issues that may be handled through formal grievance procedures. There are cases when someone wants the formality of the grievance process. However, there are some situations when they want to handle situations before it gets to a grievance panel or maybe it does not fit into those categories or policies that need to be grieved.

Ms. Plenert stated that the mediation process can be a valuable tool in retaining talented faculty and resolving problems among the faculty. She encouraged the faculty to go to the Chair of the Faculty if they are interested in mediation.

Ms. Plenert stated that mediation is voluntary for all parties. The mediator is the facilitator of the process and the parties have the responsibility to work the issues out and do the communicating, and the mediator helps that communication in defining of issues.

Ms. Plenert noted that topics that are not opened for mediation are dismissals or satisfaction of the general application of university or college policy or how that is applied, formal performance evaluations, pay or merit increases based on performance evaluations, suspensions, promotion or demotion in rank or tenure, non reappointments and policy violations and/or disciplinary action taken as part of policy violation for investigation.

Senator Gilbert said he is disappointed over the topics that are not open for mediation. He stated that dismissals, suspensions, promotions/demotion rank and tenure are the ones that cause the most controversy and have cost the university thousands of dollars and never reached a satisfactory resolution. He wants to know why these issues cannot be mediated.

Ms. Plenert responded that she would propose that mediation is not necessarily the solution for that issue. The issue may be that instead, a follow-up is done through the formal grievance, and what the resolution of the formal grievance is to tighten up that process if people are not getting the satisfaction that they would like to leave the mediation issues for things where people may be able to have control of the process, to have both parties have a vested interest in fixing the problem, to have a vested interest in seeing that the relationship continues successfully, and to make sure that people would be willing to come to the table and mediate that based on their issues and interest.

Senator Kimler wanted to know what areas do the faculty most often misunderstand their heads and heads misunderstand their faculty in individual performance reviews.

Ms. Plenert responded that some of the issues can be separated out. She said they would not be able to mediate that someone’s performance evaluation got changed. The mediator would have no influence. The issues could be separated the issues of communication of understanding of the culture within your college or department. You could separate them out from the actual performance it varies from.

Senator Bottcher referred to a statement in which Ms. Plenert indicated that she is preparing to request the Board of Trustees to modify the policy to expand provisions for mediation process for faculty. He wants to know if the Faculty Senate needs to come to a resolution expressing support for the program to assist in the process.

Ms. Plenert stated that there have been some mediations requested, and they have been handled.

Chair Corbin thanked Ms. Plenert for her remarks.

B.    Resolution of Appreciation for Chair of the Faculty
Chair Corbin read the resolution for its first reading.

Senator Bottcher moved adoption of the resolution. The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

5.    Reports
A.    Hewlett Initiative
Ruth Green, Director of Undergraduate Studies, reported that in the spring of 1997 the Hewlett Initiative was awarded a two-year planning grant from the Hewlett Foundation. It involved 59 faculty and staff and 20 graduate students from the spring of 1997 through the spring of 1999. During the 1998-99 academic year, the Hewlett Fellows taught sixty-three courses, thirty-seven of which were taught in the spring.

Ms. Green thinks the Hewlett Initiative is important because over that two-year period, the faculty discussed how to achieve the outcomes that they wanted to achieve in general education. They attended retreats with four different national leaders to help them think through what they were trying to do. The information was summarized and a report was sent. Ms. Green stated that they are now beginning to disseminate.

Ms. Green stated that there are a lot of issues in terms of what the data are saying in the need for more complicated analysis. For example, they need to look at the effective class size on some of the issues they worked out. She noted that there are different issues and different types of courses and different disciplines.

Ms. Green stated that Hewlett will have its first meeting of a faculty research team on Friday morning. The team is being chaired by Dr. Sarah Ash. They are going to be reviewing the data closely to give them an understanding of what has happened over the past two years.

Ms. Green stated that data were collected from the Hewlett Fellows who had participated over the two-year period of time. It was collected in the fall of 1997 and again at the end of the spring 1999 semester. Ms. Green stated that data were collected from all students who were taught in the thirty-seven classes in the spring. Graham Span, a graduate student from the Department of Sociology, worked with his doctoral committee to develop a plan for a comparison group. Classes were matched that were taught by non-Hewlett faculty on a number of different variables. She stated that they ended up with seventeen faculty members who agreed to serve as their comparison group and collected data from those students. She noted that in fifty classes, they had more than two thousand students.

Ms. Green stated that data were collected from students in Hewlett and non Hewlett courses and a number of different areas on the student survey were reviewed.

1)    Students were asked to indicate the extent to which they felt that they were socially and academically engaged in their classes.

2)     Hewlett Fellows spent a lot of time discussing what they were trying to accomplish in their own classes. One thing they were in strong agreement about was the fact that in all classes, whenever possible, they wanted students working and thinking at the highest levels.

3)    Students were asked how often they had been given opportunities to practice learning skills.

4)    Finally, students were asked to indicate the extent to which the professor in their courses did certain things.

Ms. Green thinks it is interesting that on all the items, the Hewlett and non Hewlett faculty are struggling with the same issues. She said it suggests that those who have been reviewing the data are struggling with this same issue and it is more of a matter of what we need to do to keep moving in the direction that we are working toward.

Senator Fisher wanted to know if it is clear that the quality of the faculty is the same. In some sense, are the Hewlett people self selected.

Ms. Green replied that the Hewlett faculty were not totally self selected. They were identified in two ways and one third was self selected. The other two thirds were identified to represent their college in this effort.

Senator Elmaghraby questioned the productivity of the Hewlett Initiative.

Ms. Green responded that Hewlett Fellows would say that they have experienced changes in their students.

Senator Ash commented that Hewlett was a very positive experience for her. She feels that the pre- test and post-test suggested that there were changes in her attitude that were reflected in her teaching.

Senator Wilson wanted to know if Hewlett plans to administer the same test a year from now in the same classes.

Ms. Green responded that she thinks that is a good idea. She stated that Hewlett faculty got through one round of revising their courses. She noted that it could take three or four years to get a course the way you want it. She stated that they expect to see even stronger effects later.

Ms. Green stated that she thinks it is clear from the order of the highest and lowest ratings of the student teaching effectiveness that both Hewlett and non Hewlett faculty struggle with the same issues.

B.    Comments from Chair Emeritus Wahl
Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that he enjoyed the collegiality of the Hewlett Initiative. He asked the faculty, how many times have they attended a faculty meeting and talked with the person next to them and discussed in great details the excitement of their teaching experience? He stated that in this group of people from all over campus, they were all focused on different ideas and by listening to other successes, they were all given a little bit more confidence to try some things. He asked, what are we about? We are about trying to improve teaching and learning at NC State. He stated that he is certain that they accomplished that. Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that just the idea of actually recognizing people because they are interested in effective teaching and giving them some time away to get together and share was really a great experience.

Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that Provost Hall has recognized that this is an important activity and the likelihood of significant support coming our way is significant. The chance that more than sixteen of these courses will be available is a significant probability. Therefore, we are looking for people who might be interested in becoming what we refer to as a Hewlett.

Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that Dr. Pat Hutchings and her colleague Dr. Barbara Cainbridge will be coming to campus on Thursday to discuss the scholarship of teaching. The scholarship of teaching was evaluated on research and teaching and extension. He feels that it is very encouraging to have people come and tell us about national trends and what is happening in education.

Chair Emeritus Wahl thinks it is time for the faculty to consider what they do in the classroom and what they do in preparation for the classroom. He feels that learning is the most important reason for the university existing. He stated that the faculty can apply a fraction of their scholarship, that is normally spent on research to their teaching. He predicted with great confidence that the learning at the university will go up so our product would be much better.

In closing, Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that the university is more than what it is doing already. We would like to further students’ learning through better teaching.

C.    Academic Policy Committee
Senator Kimler, Co-chair of the Academic Policy Committee reported that the Academic Policy and Personnel Policy Committees met jointly last week to discuss the promotion and tenure procedures. The discussions are ongoing.

Senator Kimler reported that the committees want the department to be the level at which verification of scholarship is done and responsibility for judging what is scholarship, and what is adequate performance, and what is suitable work for one’s discipline. He feels that it is a departmental issue and there does not seem to be a problem with that. He stated that it seems that some of the faculty will want to continue to strongly insist upon discussing it as this goes forward.

D.    Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Bottcher, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee reported that they plan to continue the discussion on promotion and tenure procedures at the next joint meeting of the Academic/Personnel Policy Committee meeting. He pointed out that Senior Associate Provost Abrams distributed a report on "Background on Process Refinements for Tenure, Promotion, and Reappointment for 1999-2000."

Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that in response to issues that were raised in the Senate, there were seven general areas of concern that were being addressed this year as the Provost put together the promotion and tenure reappointment process. He stated that it is part of the Provost’s responsibility to provide facilitation and management of the promotion and tenure process. He said it is not a policy change or change in criteria, it is a continued requirement of the way information is gathered for promotion and tenure. Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that the report was his attempt to describe the background that led to this year’s procedure.

Senator Bottcher stated that one thing that was realized at the meeting is that they should move on with the discussion of the scholarship because it bears upon a lot of the concerns that were raised. A lot of the discussion was getting into criteria for tenure and promotion. They are looking forward to continuing that discussion and hope to have a report that will allow them to express how the committee feels they should gather faculty input.

Senator Grainger wanted to know why the introduction of the new promotion and tenure procedures was treated the way it was.

Senator Bottcher stated that there is a feeling that this is not that substantial a change and that although substantial changes in the procedure should come from the faculty, this is being considered a refinement.

Senator Grainger wanted to know who regards the introduction of the new promotion and tenure procedures as not being a serious change.

Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that this is not a change in criteria. It is a reflection of concerns that people throughout the system have expressed over a number of years. When the Provost came in, he was intending to bring them to a focus immediately. This was done with consultation with the Deans and the Chair of the Faculty. Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that he and Provost Hall agreed that they needed to move ahead with these kinds of process adjustments this year to put them in a position to have the kind of discussion that they had for example, at Oregon State when they were already at the point that we would be at should we make it through this year.

Senator Funderlic stated that on September 7, 1999 there were meetings here of the Personnel Policy Committee and the Deans had a meeting with the Provost. The guidelines that you will see on the web were given to them essentially two hours apart and these guidelines were not discussed with the Faculty Senate at all. It was strictly a topped down situation and there is a lot of faculty who would consider the change in procedures a substantial change.

Senator Grainger pointed out that as a liaison to the College of Engineering he attended the Executive Committee meeting this morning. Again there was considerable treatment of the topic. He observed that people are really very hot to trot on this topic. He noted that many people want to have this considered in the Faculty Senate and have asked that the College of Engineering Senators bring it here. Three Department Heads indicated that this is a very serious consideration and it should be within the full Faculty Senate.

Senator Bottcher stated that the Academic Policy and Personnel Policy Committees have been trying to reach a point where they can accurately engage the consent of the faculty, and as you can see, there is a diversity of points of view, and it sounds like it may be important to take into consideration that strong feelings are being expressed.

Senator Grainger stated that the university has had two new leaders over the last twelve months, and there was enthusiasm to get behind them and make this a great effort because it is in the interest of everyone on the campus to support the administration because we are about the same thing. Given that, each of the Provost candidates for office, when interviewed last year, indicated that they would be very open in communications with the faculty. Here is the first opportunity to be open with the faculty and look what happens.

Senator Sawyers wanted to know if Chair Corbin and Chair Emeritus Wahl felt that they were consulted in this process.

Chair Corbin responded, yes. He stated that the procedures that are used in the Senate are to address the issues at the committee level, and then a report is presented for discussion by the entire body. In gathering information we feel free to seek concerns from the entire faculty.

Chair Emeritus Wahl thinks it was an unfortunate mistake that there was not an open discussion of it. He stated that the question now is how much to chew over that mistake, and where can we go from here?

Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that he would like to draw the faculty’s attention to one of the stipulations in the Oregon State procedures which calls for the maintenance of a Faculty Senate committee on promotion and tenure. The duty is to have one of its members at any one of the meetings of any of the promotion and tenure committees that might happen through our campus. Possibly a compromise in a way to get on with our business would be to say well we think you made a mistake, let us negotiate now what it is that these new procedures should be. One thing that would definitely renew some confidence in the Senate would be that the Faculty Senate would maintain a promotion and tenure committee which would help to oversee these promotion and tenure committees that are put here. He stated that he definitely was not asked about this, and he is not sure that he would like to spend the next semester revisiting it. He would like to call it a bad mistake and try to build on it.

Senator Wilkerson stated that one thing that struck her is that once a vote has been taken, that all cases proceed to the college regardless of the faculty vote and that is a clear and quite substantial change from the previous policy.

Senator Grainger stated that the Provost indicated at the last meeting that he was our friend and acting on our behalf as a faculty. He stated that this was good for the faculty because they would share in judgement. Senator Grainger said it seems to him that if it is so good for the faculty, why was it not brought to the faculty’s attention.

Senator Robinson asked Senator Grainger what does he suggests that the Provost should have done.

Senator Grainger stated that he would suggest that the Provost should have brought his proposals to the faculty and say this is what he would like to have because it does not impact the criteria, so therefore, these are simply procedures. Therefore, will you help us put these procedures in place such that the faculty would then support them.

Senator Funderlic stated that the Provost should have brought the issue to the committees.

Chair Corbin stated that there will be ample opportunities to discuss this issue at lengths on the Senate floor. He would like to focus it through the committee structure. He thinks it is a very important issue for the faculty to concentrate on. Chair Corbin urged the faculty to send comments to members of the committees.

Dr. Mark White from Engineering, stated that he was a Senator from 1993-94 and was a member of the Personnel Policy Committee. They had a group of Deans ask them to consider the possibility of having Associate and Full Professors make the decision about Assistant Professors given tenure. He noted that this is what we are talking about in this process. They came to us and then went on and it was approved.

Dr. White stated that another group, the endowed professors, came to them and suggested a separate university committee for promotion and tenure with a combination of departments and their separate committees. That was rejected by the Faculty Senate and that was the process. He feels that this should be obvious that it is the process, not the detail. He stated that, who makes the decision of whether it is important or not should be the faculty.

Chair Corbin stated that University Governance has made progress. We have a chance to make progress on this very important issue. He challenged the faculty to do that and to work through the committees.

E.    Resources and Environment Committee
Senator Brown handed out a report (attached) of the committee’s work, and asked that anyone with questions or issues, to contact members of the committee so they can be put on upcoming agendas.

6.    Remarks from Senior Associate Provost Abrams
Senior Associate Provost Abrams commented on the Departmental Teaching Award that was mentioned by Provost Hall at the last meeting. He handed out a draft of the letter that is being given to the Evaluation of Teaching Committee, the Executive Committee of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers, and others in refining this first year of the Departmental Teaching Award. He said it will be a significant award funded by the Provost and awarded to two departments each year with a competitive process that involves a faculty committee making the selections at the university level. Each department will receive a $15,000 award as a continuing allocation and a $5,000 one time award. It is for outstanding accomplishments in teaching. This award will be refined as we move through it and as we get a committee established to review this year’s candidates and to review the process for future years. Senior Associate Provost Abrams would appreciate input on that individually or as a Senate as soon as possible.

Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that the Copyright Ownership Task Force which was of much interest to the Senate last year finished their report during the summer. The report is available for input and they would very much appreciate input from the Senate.

Senior Associate Provost Abrams stated that the university has had a diversity initiative for two years. One of the more active groups was a group of faculty that served as a curriculum team to look at the issue of diversity in the curriculum and that group’s report provided the Executive Summary. The Diversity Curriculum Team Report stresses the importance of curriculum change being something that takes place on the firing line at the department level where curriculum is really designed for development. He stated that there is a lot of good thought that the faculty on that group put into that very sometimes testy issue of who is responsible for curriculum. He thinks the bottom line is that we are responsible for it at the department level. Then we have to deal with the issue of what do we mean by diversity and what is its value. He feels that there is a lot in the report worthy of consideration.

Chair Corbin thanked Senior Associate Provost Abrams for his comments.

Chair Corbin announced that there will be a meeting of the Senate Committees on October 12.

7.    Adjournment
Chair Corbin adjourned the meeting at 5:10 p.m.

Footer Nav