March 21, 2000
Senators present: Chair Corbin, Secretary Carter, Provost Hall, Parliamentarian Link, Chair Emeritus Wahl; Senators Ash, Banks, Bottcher, Brown, Elmaghraby, Funderlic, Gilbert, Grainger, Griffin, Havner, Hodge, Kelley, Kimler, Lytle, Malinowski, Peel, Robinson, Toplikar, Werner, Wilkerson, Willits, Wilson
Senators absent: Senators Brownie, El-Masry, Fisher, Fitzgerald, Grimes, Hamouda, Markham, Misra, Smoak, Suh
Excused: Senator Sawyers
Visitors: Terry Wittig, Assistant Head, Collection Management, DH Hill Library; Frank Abrams, Provost’s Office; John Borwick, Student Senate President Pro Tempore; Robert Sowell, Graduate School; Karin Wolfe, Director, Office of Academic Personnel Services
1. Call to Order
The thirteenth 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 Human Rights Week is being observed this week.
Chair Corbin announced that the General Faculty Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11, 2000 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Dr. Jay Baliga from the College of Engineering will be featured at the meeting. Dr. Ellis Cowling will also be reporting from the Committee on Reappointment Promotion and Tenure.
Chair Emeritus Wahl announced that Senator Brown was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi during its annual installation. The faculty commended Senator Brown for her induction with a round of applause.
Senator Brown announced that the Library had an award ceremony at which the libraries received the first Annual Award for Excellence which is a nationwide award, awarded by the Association of College and Research Libraries. She noted that at the ceremony, Provost Hall announced that the Library’s ranking in the Association of Research Libraries had gone from 101 to 37 and presently stands at 35.
Senator Brown emphasized that the progress of the library would not be possible without the Legislature, friends, board, faculty, students and administration.
Chair Emeritus Wahl announced that Sigma Xi will be presenting a workshop on "Transforming Undergraduate Education: Visions for NC State," Monday April 3, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Centennial Campus.
While there is no registration fee, pre-registration is required to allow for adequate planning. Participation will be limited to the first 200 registrants.
For more detailed information and to reserve seats, please refer to the workshop’s web site
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 12, March 7, 2000
The minutes were approved as amended.
A request was made to revise the report dated March 7, 2000, from the Personnel Policy Committee.
4. Serials Review
Terry Wittig, Assistant Head of Collection Management, DH Hill Library, reported that the libraries are conducting a serials review. They launched it at a meeting with library representatives from each department on February 29, 2000, by distributing a list of journals to each faculty representative that included titles that are related to their departments and subject areas. They are asking them to take it back to the departments, share it with their colleagues and to try to get graduate and undergraduate students’ input and then return some feedback on all the titles. They are asking that they be ranked according to their current values which will enable them to make sure that the collection is something that is serving the faculty’s needs.
Ms. Wittig noted that the inflation factor for journals has been very high for the past ten years. It continues at approximately 10%. Although this is not a cancellation project, they are trying to prepare for the unfortunate event that they might have to cancel some titles in the future. If they can get the faculty to review the collection now to provide some input, it would put them in a better position to look at some journals in the future for cancellations. Ms. Wittg stated that they are trying to bring on more electronic titles, which are increasingly costing more than when they were initially offered by vendors. She noted that they were frequently getting them free as long as they had their "Friends"subscription. Since everyone likes the electronics, bit by bit they are getting invoices requesting an additional charge for these titles. Ms. Wittig stated that they would like to refresh the data that they have about the value of these subscriptions and do so by talking to the faculty and to as many undergraduate and graduate students as possible to get some input. They are requesting input back by April 14, 2000 and are trying to publicize this as widely as possible. Every faculty member on campus has been sent a letter.
Ms. Wittig would like for the faculty to contact any of the librarians in the Collection Management Department with questions concerning the process.
Senator Gilbert wants to know if there is a space for recommendations for new journals in the questionnaire.
Ms. Wittig responded that they are accommodating that by sending a list of journals that have been requested in the past four years that they have not been able to purchase. They are asking people to look at the pending requests to see whether or not they would like those to still be in their data base as new requests. If there is something new requested they are going to ask the faculty to identify something of equal dollar value to cancel in order to receive something new.
Senator Gilbert noted that in view of Chancellor Fox’s optimism regarding Bio Engineering, etc., he thinks the journal from the American Chemical Society on Bio Micro Molecules would be a good journal to subscribe to.
Ms. Wittig said she would note that.
Senator Kimler wanted to know if there is any way new journals can be suggested to try to fill in the holes from what was lost from cancellations the last time. He stated that there are still some journals that got canceled and then got re-subscribed later. He feels that it is a terrible mark on a research library to have vacancies for certain journals.
Ms. Wittig stated that they would like to bring in new titles that are better suited for Collections than some of the things that they currently have. They have over 9,000 current subscriptions, and have distributed for review approximately 6600 subscriptions. She noted that not all 6600 are vital to this campus. However, they would like to reinstate some things that they should have and maybe let go of some things that are not appropriate anymore.
Senator Kimler stated that it is so typical that we treat so many things that are computerized as free when they actually have enormous hidden cost. Of course, there is a subscription rate for the online journals, but how about the cost for maintaining them. His vote would be to always have the print version and give up convenience if it costs too much. He worries about archiving and old collections.
Ms. Wittig stated that she thinks the archiving question is definitely on everyone’s mind. She thinks the vendors are getting a bit more cognizant of the fact that this is something that they have to take responsibility for. More and more they are getting responses from publishers saying that they will take the responsibility to archive them. There is also the product called "J" Store which is an archive. Their goal is to be an electronic archive for as many journal titles as they can afford to put into that data base. However, there are many other journal titles that really are not protected yet. She said that is always something to consider if you are thinking that you might give up the print. We do not know for sure that those things will be archived, but it is certainly on everyone’s agenda.
Chair Corbin asked for an update on the students’ computer use in the Library
Senator Brown responded that they have instituted a laptop lending program. There are a number of laptops available to be checked out from the reserve desk. She noted that the laptops are being used fairly heavily. Senator Brown will report some statistics at the next meeting.
Senator Elmaghraby, Chair of the Governance Committee, reported that he has received comments from three persons, on the mediation procedures. He asked that additional comments be forwarded to him by Monday so that the committee can discuss them at the meeting on Tuesday.
Senator Bottcher commented that the Personnel Policy Committee met with the University Counsel last week. It came up in the Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting that there was a concern that the draft of the mediation policy prepared by Sheri Plenert included some wording regarding confidentiality of records of mediation. There was concern brought up in the Executive Committee that the mediation program should minimize development of records for the purpose of affording intimidation or to try to keep this process as informal as possible. The committee asked the University Counsel about that and her comment was "by state law any records that are made during the course of university business have to be either public records or part of personnel files. It is stipulating that any record taken during a mediation procedure goes into a personnel file. You are then protecting them from being accessible as public records. There should be an ability to stipulate in the university policy that records started during the mediation process that become part of the personnel file will not be used in performance evaluations." Senator Bottcher stated that Sheri Plenert said that is something that she would like to look into. Senator Bottcher said the committee is working on this and noted that this is not something that is formal.
Senator Elmaghraby stated that the committee thought of the mediation procedure as being an amicable, absolutely non-legal process where no records are kept. Complete confidentially is maintained and the issues are resolved in a very friendly and amicable way. As you can see from the discussion as it develops, people are thinking more and more in terms of legalistic, and adversarial, record keeping, intimidation, threats, etc. He said that is not the objective of this process. He hopes that whatever is passed will be something in the spirit of a friendly resolution over conflict. He feels that putting things in personnel files or public records will be considered as legal documents which is not the intent of mediation.
Senator Kimler agreed with Senator Elmaghraby and wanted to know why records must be kept. He suggested that it is possible to evade by non-action.
Senator Elmaghraby responded that his plea is that whatever the Faculty Senate passes should be in the spirit of what Senator Kimler is saying.
Senior Associate Provost Abrams commented that he thinks it is in the context of evaluation that such notes become personnel records. He plans to discuss this issue with the University Counsel because he feels that mediation is definitely not an evaluation of the individual.
Chair Emeritus Wahl thinks it is totally outside of the spirit of mediation to have records. He encouraged anyone with a grievable matter to strongly consider mediation and noted that there would not be any records kept indicating that a mediation was held.
Senator Wilkerson suggested that the write-up should state that any notes taken during the mediation should be destroyed upon resolution.
Chair Corbin stated that when a faculty member has come to him, he suggested working it out with the department head and no records were kept. He noted that the initial statement for mediation procedures instructs one to first try to resolve with the department head, and if that does not work, then go to the mediation panel.
Senator Wilson wanted to know what happens if one person seeks mediation and the other person chooses not to participate.
Chair Emeritus Wahl responded that there will not be a mediation because no one can be forced to mediate.
Senator Ash stated that item 4.5 talks about successful mediation results in a written settlement signed by all parties. She asked, "is this not a record?"
Chair Emeritus Wahl said that is a question for lawyers to decide. It is meant to be a friendly agreement reached between two people.
Senator Ash stated that presumably it is not the same as if it never happened because there is a document stating that something happened.
Senator Elmaghraby stated that the idea is that two parties have agreed upon having such a document, and then at the end, there would be a document stating what was agreed upon. The parties have the option at the beginning to say what we agree upon, we agree upon period. But, if the two parties agree, then such a document will be written.
Senator Lytle said it seems to him that the essential point is that by mutual agreement there is a permanent record of the agreement which basically says that the mediation was successful. If the mediation did not succeed for any reason, then there is no record.
Senator Elmaghraby responded, that such a view is correct. He stated that it should be made clear that if the two parties agree then a document will state that it has been successful and this is what they agreed upon.
Senator Funderlic was concerned that a SPA employee has a grievable complaint with a department head and decides to ask for a mediation and the department head says no. He stated that he is not so sure that it is not good that there is no record of the department head saying no.
Senator Elmaghraby said that if one of the parties says no, there is no mediation.
Senator Funderlic thinks there should be a record of the person requesting one.
Chair Emeritus Wahl commented that mediation is meant to have people act in a civil manner with each other. If they will, most of these issues will go away.
Senator Funderlic stated that he knows of an actual case where the SPA employee had a very reasonable concern and asked for mediation and the department head said no. The person then decided that they would not go to grievance, in fact, the person left the university.
Senator Elmaghraby stated that he knew of a case where a faculty member had a disagreement with the department head. Senator Elmaghraby went to the Faculty Chair and expressed the desire to resolve the issue amicably through the mediation process. He never asked the Faculty Chair what happened, and the Chair never told him what happened. Senator Elmaghraby feels that is the way it should be. The conflict was resolved and everyone is happy.
Senator Elmaghraby stated that it should be stated that it should be upon agreement by both parties that something in writing should be documented.
Senator Elmaghraby stated that the committee will meet on Tuesday to finalize the document and will present the final version at the next meeting.
Senator Elmaghraby presented the revised grievance procedure for the second reading.
Chair Corbin noted that the first item of record is a letter from a faulty member addressed to the Chair of the Faculty requesting a grievance procedure. The person against whom the grievance is filed must be identified (usually an administrator). Many times in that letter, which is kept very confidential, it states that things simply cannot be worked out with the department head, therefore, a grievance procedure is requested. I am filing a grievance. It begins at that point and that is the first item that is kept on record and is kept on file on a confidential basis.
Senator Funderlic stated that his guess is that there is really no reason that would prevent anyone from mentioning that a department head was unwilling to mediate. In fact, he had suggested mediation to the SPA employee and she requested it through the regular channels. He heard back from the regular channels that the department head refused to mediate.
Chair Emeritus Wahl stated that it is easier to add something to the record if you want to. He thinks it is in the best interest of everyone to not require that records be kept. If records are not required, he believes more people would think about using mediation.
Senator Elmaghraby requested that any changes be sent to the Governance Committee before Tuesday so they can be discussed in their meeting and the document can be finalized.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Bottcher, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee, reported that they are discussing the issue of whether or not the current policy should be amended to require that department heads provide written summaries of annual reviews of faculty as well as written summaries of comprehensive reviews of tenured faculty. Current policy is that department heads are only required to provide those written summaries if requested. That information is included in the report provided by the committee.
Senator Bottcher said, during the committee meeting last week, Mary Beth Kurz, University Counsel, presented her views regarding legal aspects of written summaries of reviews of faculty. She pointed out that she represented the university system in Maryland and has extensive experience. Her opinion is that it would be very helpful if there were good evaluations to support university policy. If there is no record of evaluations, then litigation between university and faculty members depends heavily on memories of faculty colleagues and administrators. Faculty colleagues tend to leave department head’s change over time. Therefore, the best evidence is well written summaries. That is obviously from the university’s stand point. We ask whether or not written summaries of evaluations of faculty would be in the faculty’s best interest. She responded yes, she thought it would be in the best interest of the faculty. She commented that people are willing to say all kinds of things orally, but a written analysis provides an opportunity for the faculty member to see any problems developing and to take steps to remedy them. There was a question of whether the requirement that every department head prepare a written summary at the review of every faculty member may be a bit onerous and is more than is required. She indicated that she could not speak to policy matters. Based on her experience, the biggest problem involving the use of evaluations of faculty in personnel actions is a lack of documentation. She felt that there was a risk in not having something written. She commented that the truth will always set you free, and that she advises administrators to do the right thing and not necessarily worry about whether or not their actions will be used against them in a court.
The committee discussed the matter and decided that they should probably poll the entire faculty and asked them two questions:
Would you personally want a written summary of your annual review by your department head?
Do you think written summaries of your annual reviews should be mandatory? Please comment.
Senator Gilbert stated that from personal experience with the individual who used insulting remarks in his evaluation, he thinks it should be mandatory that there be written evaluations so that the faculty member involved can have the right to amend or point out errors in some of the unfortunate statements made by a department head.
Senator Funderlic said that is already being done and noted that the faculty member can request a written summary.
Senator Gilbert stated that he read the review, and it seems to him that most of the departments do not prepare written statements.
Senator Funderlic stated that they must if the faculty member request it.
Senator Bottcher stated that one of the major issues was that in the current policy, department heads are required to provide written summaries of annual reviews if requested by the faculty. At least in the administration’s view point, there may be situations in which particularly junior faculty may be reluctant to request a written summary if there is a perception that the department head will view that as a burden. Senator Bottcher pointed out that the committee asked the University Counsel whether or not the policy of requiring written summaries of annual reviews of faculty might be more helpful to junior faculty that are untenured, tenured track faculty or tenured faculty. She made the comment that she thought that it may be a greater need for tenured faculty. She said that faculty tend to cover for faculty and there may come a point in time when a faculty member feels taken advantage of and there is nothing in the file. She is an advocate of uniformity and consistency to treat everyone equally.
Senator Robinson stated that the University Counsel also said that there is less scrutiny on the tenured faculty; therefore, there would be less opportunity for information to be written up on that particular faculty member.
Senator Funderlic said that on behalf of the faculty, he thinks it would be in their best interest to ask for a written summary after the review has taken place.
Senator Robinson feels that faculty members sometime feel intimidated to ask the department head for something that is not required. She thinks that if it is mandatory, then non tenured faculty members are not vulnerable, and not concerned about the perceptions of that request and the implications of that request in their future.
Senator Kimler stated that one thing that strikes you when you read the comments from the department heads is just what the legalistic culture does. Mandatory statements mean they all become bland and almost meaningless. The idea that this would increase the use for grievances or law suits or university defense, etc., seems rather ridiculous when you realize you have people having to write sixty or seventy of these per year. They are already spending six or seven weeks in annual reviews, and now more weeks are going to be added to this. He is concerned about what they are going to write.
Senator Kimler stated that the other thing that the University Counselor said is very interesting. Do not write the procedures for the few problems. Notice how many department heads are saying, look you are talking about nineteen out of twenty people, there is nothing to write except good job. Why be writing nineteen statements that say good job? What we really need to do is something in the spirit of our mediation procedure and somehow write this up to identify where there are problems. We need to be letting people know those problems; that when you protect the department head faculty are looking down the road at non-reappointment, non-tenure, and non-promotion, and that is where a grievance is going to come from. No one that is promoted for doing a good job needs a written statement or any of these things. We are burdening ourselves with a huge amount of work when we should be aiming at how do we get a non threatening process within tenure that somehow identifies problems, gives people a chance to correct them, but also gives the department head and department some defense for denying reappointment and tenure. We should ask "what is the value added for these changes".
Senator Wilson said one thing that concerns her is that it is assumed that the only time we need to inform someone is if they are not living up to or doing the kind of things for meeting expectations. Suppose a faculty member is doing all of that, not only doing that, but doing more than that and there is no written report for them, then suddenly the faculty member is an untenured faculty member and it is suddenly reported that they are not doing anything, and that they are not doing what is expected. When reappointment or tenure is considered, there is nothing recorded on paper.
Senator Kimler stated that the first defense for faculty that are denied tenure is that there is no record of their failure to do anything. Assuming that there is some procedure in place that says problems must be identified, then you would have a case.
Senator Wilson feels that when there is no documentation, the grievance procedure actually comes back to haunt the university.
Senator Kimler stated that an enormous amount of work is being put on people who are already working sixty, seventy or eighty hours a week. There is more than a summary statement in your file already. You have the evaluation materials there every year, and other people will be looking at that. In cases like those that are being described, evaluations are not going to be changed by a paragraph that has been read.
Senator Griffin stated that even if there is some reluctance or if there is no written record at the end of each annual review, there is the mechanism where every three years the candidate comes up for a review and some signals are sent to the candidate as to whether he or she is on track.
Chair Corbin asked the faculty to forward all concerns to the Personnel Policy committee.
Provost Hall noted that the issue of annual review is important in the context of what colleagues understand especially with regard to merit pay and assignment of work load responsibilities.
Provost Hall stated that there has been a steady stream of faculty in his office complaining about not knowing where they stand with their department heads. We can debate the equities of this or debate who philosophically is right or wrong and we can poll the faculty and the faculty can respond, but I am here to tell you there are colleagues on the campus who feel that they simply do not and have not been put in a position to understand their level of performance on an annual basis because they receive nothing concrete that they can then take if they want to file a grievance or if they want to complain about their salary. He thinks it is an important matter. He also believes it is important to follow-up on an annual basis especially with those colleagues who are junior, the courses of their progress. He believes that anyone who is in an administrative position and who is asked to pass on issues of promotion and tenure or questions of merit salaries or course or workload assignment has a moral obligation to explain what they are doing in writing for the person who is on the receiving end so that they can understand where they are. The failure to do that, he thinks is a failure of administrative accountability, a failure of an evaluative process, especially with junior colleagues where we owe them the opportunity to grow and develop, and we owe to them a record that measures their progress. Provost Hall said he would be happy to meet with the Personnel Policy Committee to explain where he is on this issue.
6. New Business
Michele Tam, Student Chief Justice stated that her role is to oversee the student judicial board for both academic and non academic violations which includes cheating and plagiarism. One of her goals this year was to address Academic Integrity awareness around the campus. She wanted to raise the awareness both among students and faculty. She said hopefully if awareness is raised as to what the issue is and as to what some of the possible violations and sanctions can be as a result of a violation, our numbers will go down.
Michel stated that the numbers indicate that 75% of all students have cheated at some point in their academic career and she thinks that is a high number. The research indicates that NC State is within the National average. She reminded the faculty, that this represents three fourths of all of the students who come before them. She feels that 75% is a pretty large number and would hope is a reason to raise some concern. She noted that her first six hearings this semester were academic hearings.
Michele feels that technology makes it easier for students to cheat these days. With the very advanced network that the university has, students are able to send codes back and fourth and buy papers off the Internet and plagiarize from reviews and sources available on the Internet.
Michele stated that students are really confused with inconsistent messages that they receive from faculty i.e., inconsistent messages within their department, among departments, and within their courses. Michele feels that there is a great deal of value to be had in working together in groups with other students; however, sometimes it is okay and sometimes it is not. She thinks a lot of students are unclear as to when it is and when it is not.
Michele stated that she is not in favor of stricter definitions of academic integrity. She recognizes that each course is a little different and the discretion needs to be left up to the faculty member to decide what is okay and what is not. Michele encouraged the faculty to be much more vigilant when they are proctering exams, and when they are giving out work assignments. She encouraged the faculty to address that with their students.
Michele encouraged the faculty to remind students frequently that the honor code does apply in their courses, that they are looking out for cheating, and that it is an issue that is important to the faculty. She thinks the impression that a lot of students get is inconsistent, because some faculty members never mention academic integrity in their classes even if it is on the syllabus. Michele stated that her biggest concern is that faculty members see cheating happening and choose not to do anything about it either because it would be too difficult to pursue, or because they are afraid of hurting the student in the long run. She thinks it is very discouraging that faculty members are seeing this and choosing not to pursue it.
Michele stated that most academic integrity violations are not isolated. They have seen a lot of students come before them with multiple violations who have received sanctions that are appropriate for that. She stated that if violations are isolated, then they are happening and they are happening regularly, so it is all the more important for the faculty to do something about it regularly.
Michele reminded the faculty that filing an academic integrity violation to the Office of Student Conduct allows them to put it in the student’s record, and it also allows them to search the student’s record. A lot of faculty members would just assume to try to resolve that between faculty and the student. She said she does not think there is any way of telling if a student has ever done it before, without checking the student’s file. Filing the violation with the Office of Student Conduct allows them to keep that record.
Michele stated that the Board is trained extensively to ask the right questions to be able to help the student. If there is a larger problem they are able to find out. If there is a problem with a family and a personal situation, they have the ability to recommend counseling. They have the ability to sanction whatever types of assessments that the student might need. The students are required to fulfil those before they are allowed to get access to their transcript, or register the next semester. Michele stated that their goal is to educate and help students. That is why one of the required sanctions when a student is found guilty of an academic violation are the academic integrity seminars. They are led by the Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct. They are educational seminars to help the students understand what academic integrity is and how to better manage their time and manage their academic load so that they are not in a situation where they will cheat again in the future.
Michele stated that she finds it hard to have an argument against submitting a violation to the Office of Student Conduct. She encouraged the faculty to do so.
Michele reported that faculty members submitted 122 forms reporting violations to the Office of Student Conduct in 1998-99. The Judicial Board resolved 24 of them. Only six were appealed, four were upheld, one was changed and one is still in appeal. She noted that none of them were overturned. In fall 1999, the faculty submitted 23, and six of these have been seen by the Board. One has been upheld and one is still in appeal. None of them were overturned. Michele stated that if the faculty do not do something about academic integrity, she thinks the students will continue to do what they have done whether that is perceived honestly or not. She feels that if the faculty do not do something about it, it is hard for the student to operate in this environment.
Michele noted that she will be graduating in May with two degrees, Chemistry and Business Management. She would argue that her degree would mean very little if it was not earned with integrity. She feels that the university must emphasize scholarship and integrity both in research and in learning because it is the fundamental concept for any university. She said students want faculty members to at least give them a consistent message as to what is expected of them. That message hopefully will be that the faculty is more vigilant about academic integrity and they will hold in more importance.
Senator Lytle wanted to know how the Board disposed of the remainder of the twenty three violations received in the fall of 1999.
Michele responded that students have the opportunity to sign off on the form and accept only the sanctions that the faculty member chooses to give. More often than not that is a little less harsh than what the Board would give.
Senator Kimler stated that an ad hoc committee has been meeting, looking at a number of issues, from how to enhance in some of the ways that Michele mentioned to even deeper consideration. They are planning to do a survey of students’ attitudes. There is a national research effort about attitudes for students. He noted that there is a survey already in place that will give them some comparative information about other campuses. They are planning to pursue that with a Post Doc student doing it for research.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Gilbert stated that a number of faculty in the College of Forest Resources are concerned about the traffic fee increase without input from the faculty. He requested that the Faculty Senate analyze the situation.
Chair Corbin assigned the concern to the Resources and Environment Committee.
Secretary Carter is concerned about the way the University Bulletin is being published. Chair Corbin assigned the concern to the Academic Policy Committee.
Chair Corbin adjourned the meeting at 5:10 p.m.