August 20, 2002
Present: Chair Carter, Chair-Elect Daley, Secretary Banks, Provost Cooper, Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators , Ash, Atkin, Beasley, Bernhard, Fahmy, Fikry, Garval, Griffin, Hammerberg, Havner, Honeycutt, Krotee, Lytle, Matthews, McRae, Peacock, Rice, Sawyers, Smoak, Stoddard, Tetro, Tyler, Weiner
Absent: Senators Brothers, Headen, Istook, Stein
Excused: Senators Allen, Misra
Visitors: Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor; Clare Kristofco, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor; Abraham Holtzman, Past Chair of the Faculty Senate; Bruce Mallette, Vice Provost for Academic Administration, Budget and Personnel; Sandy Connolly, Director of Fiscal Operations & OAPS; Erich Fabricius, President ProTempore, Student Senate; Frank Abrams, Sr. Vice Provost, Academic Affairs; Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Development; Daniel Bunce, Editor of the Bulletin, News Services
1. Call to Order
The first meeting of the forty-ninth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Philip B. Carter.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Carter announced that the Brown Bag Lunches will begin on Wednesday, September 4, 2002 at 12:00 noon.
The General Faculty Meeting will be held in the Stewart Theatre on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 at 3:30 p.m. Professor Nannerl O. Keohane, President of Duke University will be the guest speaker.
Chair Carter announced that support is needed for Honorary Degree nominations.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 14, April 30, 2002
The minutes were approved as amended.
4. Remarks from the Chancellor
Chancellor Fox thanked the Senators for returning this year and welcomed the new senators. She also welcomed Chair-Elect Dennis Daley.
AThis is, I remind you the short session of the Legislature which means they are supposed to be finished in June. They are not finished nor is there an end date in sight.
It has been a real challenge. The climate in North Carolina reflects the climate that we are experiencing everywhere in the country. The industries that provide the tax base for North Carolina have been particularly challenged, i.e. textiles, agriculture, tobacco, furniture and many of the manufacturing industries in which North Carolina has excelled so effectively. Recognizing that this is a down turn in the nation and especially in North Carolina, the question that needs to be posed is, how do we maintain our momentum as an academic community, as citizens of North Carolina and as citizens of this nation. I think whenever a challenge is posed in that sense that we have to return to our basic values and affirm them. I am very pleased that Phil is going to lead the Senate in a response to the reaction to the Quran assignment at Chapel Hill. One of the values that we hold most dear is academic freedom, the ability of our faculty to control what goes on in their classrooms. I taught for twenty-three years and to be able to interact with the students is something that is closest to my heart and I know it is to yours. Freedom of choice, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion are all bound up in this issue. We have to stand firmly for the importance of academic freedom. Coupled with that is another value that has been a challenge for the nation, which is corporate responsibility. Corporate responsibility reflects in the academic community as well. I am very proud that North Carolina State continues to be a site in the nation most revered for its activities in research ethics. I think increasingly that is going to be important as a part of our public portfolio. If we recognize that the best of honorable activities in our academic setting requires not only the freedom to explore new ideas, but also the ability to conduct our discovery activities under an environment which is positive and completely ethical, I think that will be a good part of our learning experiences for our students.
Coupled with these opportunities, I think one of the things that has been most time intensive for me in addition to the Legislature this summer has been that we have initiated the silent phase of our capital campaign. I am very pleased to say that our projection for fund raising actually exceeded the goal last year, which is not common for universities in this last year because of economic downturn. We have done so by emphasizing peer to peer solicitation, talking with people who have committed themselves to this institution, people who have recognized the importance of giving back to the institution in order to inform and provide a great education for those who follow them. In doing so I have heard, in traveling around the state, that it is the value they place on higher education as they talk about our students: that they are hard workers, completely ethical, and that they have a passion for what they are doing. They are ready to work in teams. I think North Carolina State is exceptional in being able to have this very close relationship with the business community without sacrificing any of our academic values. So those days when I have to run downtown and listen to things that seem to be off base a little bit, it is well, I think, for all of us to step back a pace and to remind ourselves that the reason we are here is for our students= achievements, for the ability to act as scholars, to conduct our research and to discover new things in a way that is unparalleled, and to recognize that, despite the challenges that we have, North Carolina has been a place where higher education has been respected. We expect that to continue. Having recognized that, there are a few things that are important for us to do as we think about preserving these values and going forward.
One is planning, being able to show that there is a relationship between our aspirations, and what we can do within the limits imposed by our resources.
This year is particularly important in that planning cycle, because this is the completion of the first three-year segment of compact planning. It will be time for each of the deans to come back to departments, and each department head to come back to the faculty to speak about the importance of the plans and the directions that each department and each unit wants to pursue. Of course this compact is not related only to academic parts of the university. Every one of the service units in the university is also undergoing the same kind of planning activity. I would like to fervently ask that you take back to your colleges the understanding which is inherent for any success in compact planning. This has to be driven from the faculty. The faculty have to be the ones that inform what the department head brings to the dean. The dean has to be informed by those department heads about what in turn is taken to the Provost. If there is any breakdown from what we have heard in the past it has been that the faculty=s views have not been expressed as clearly as some of the faculty would like. Please take the initiative in your own departments and colleges. You represent what is happening in the Faculty Senate, being quite clear that compact planning works only if the faculty are providing their input on how the future should be planned. We are at a time where resources are very tight, and we have to recognize that realistically it is going to temper some of the rate at which we approach our aspirations. If we do not aspire during these times of physical scrutiny and constriction then, of course, the result is predictable. So please take it as a personal challenge to participate actively and to encourage broad faculty participation in the compact planning cycle. Karen Helm will be visiting you to discuss a schedule and how compact planning would be suggested to take place. I hope you will welcome her, and will work closely with her to be sure that it is going forward.
We also made some great progress this summer on putting together studies that would help us to formulate policies to improve the general climate on campus. The first of these is the completion of the progress toward degree achievements which will require students to interact more strongly with their advisors and to get on track to improve our graduation rate. Provost Cooper has also commissioned a task force to study what factors are most important to improve our graduation rate. Anytime that I talk in a public audience, the subject of graduation rates come up. They wonder why, if we have such good students coming into NC State, after four years we are graduating only approximately one fourth of them. We know that there are many contributing factors. Anytime there is a high emphasis on Engineering and Technology, the curriculum is very full. Perhaps as faculty we need to look at the curriculum and ask tough questions. Are we requiring courses that are more than are absolutely necessary for accreditation? Are we encouraging students to pursue too many multiple degrees. You will recall last year that we had one terrific student who finished four undergraduate degrees in four years. Astonishing, but perhaps that time could have gotten him a Ph.D. in four years. The kinds of questions that we will look at in this task force, in addition to those mentioned, are how financial aid influences students= decisions about their academic programs. Do they slow down or go on a part time basis because of financial aid, or is there some other factor that drives that kind of decision? It is quite obvious that if a student is not a full time student and if our programs consistently require more than 120, and some cases more than 130 hours, they are not going to finish in four years. It is useful just to remind yourself about the math of that calculation. That is, you have to pass 15 hours each semester for eight semesters in order to finish a 120 hour curriculum. If you are asking more than that, you are either going to be asking students to take more than 15 hours or go to summer school or delay internships or coops or take other kinds of opportunities. There are many kinds of questions, and I think the faculty need to participate actively in this task force so that we can sort these out and assign priorities for this very important part of our education.
Also, we have had the opportunity, in the last several years, in view of strong contributions from the Vice Chancellor for Research to assemble interdisciplinary research and education teams. I would urge you as members of the Senate to continue participating in this activity, because this represents a great opportunity for external funding and for some means by which we can mitigate the restrictions that are going to be imposed on us with the budget.
Speaking of the budget, we are not done. We have a budget passed from the Senate and we have one passed from the House. They are going to go together to resolve differences in a Conference Committee that will start this week and will probably continue next week. If we are lucky we will finish next week. The Conference Committee has to deal with things such as the fact that 10% of our overhead is going to be collected off the top and put into a pool and redistributed to historically black schools. It is going to have to deal with the fact that there is a different cut in the Senate and House, and that in the House version, in addition to that across-the-board cut, there is a 2% cut in salary reductions. This means that, even without the other hits on our budget, overhead graduate student tuition remission, which has been virtually eliminated in the House version, would have to be funded out of the university=s budget. Even without those, we would be looking at a five plus percent cut. If the House version were to prevail, the university would have a very difficult situation. You perhaps saw that this summer we did one experiment. That is, we closed the libraries on Saturdays for one month to see if there would be a sufficient outcry and if there would be a sufficient response from our students to see what the parameters are under which we can bring about efficiencies. The answer to that one was clear. They wanted their Saturday hours. Provost Cooper has worked with his budget to restore those hours for the Fall. There was never any intent to do that long term. This was always an experiment. We probably are going to have to do experiments like that in finding other efficiencies in our budgets as we go forward. It means that sometimes vacant positions are going to have to be left open for periods. It means, as a consequence, the faculty are going to have to take up tasks that they would not perhaps ordinarily do. I regret all of that, because in a great university you have a community that works together to build the institution. All I can do is assure you that, as we go forward, we are working as hard as we can to explain the consequences of actions that are taken. North Carolinians love their universities. They love the fact that their students have access and can afford a higher education and that they emerge from this institution in particular as very highly valued citizens of their communities. It is expressed in income, tax rate, and innovation. If they truly understood the consequence of some of the more draconian of these cuts, I believe we would have a very much different result. I can assure you that I am doing my very best to make it clear that some of these things are really counterproductive, especially during a time of economic growth. With overhead as an example, removing or reducing the incentive for faculty to look outside for support is exactly the wrong thing to do. In a time when we need innovation in specialties as well as a broadly educated clientele, the worst thing we could possibly do is to discourage out-of-state students, particularly Native American born citizens from coming to North Carolina State. Perhaps the worst thing we could possibly do to cause friction within the family is to, in any way, have one part of our faculty opposed to another part of the faculty. We are working very hard to make sure that some of these things are reversed. I hope that you will be able to follow them precisely in the newspaper, and I will be happy to report as often as I can about any progress that we have made.
Finally I wanted to mention to you about the Conference Center, because it has been a target of the Legislature for some time. The amount of misinformation that has been promulgated around the Triangle and in the newspapers about the Conference Center is absolutely phenomenal to me. It is one of the most mind blowing things I have ever witnessed. Basically what we are talking about is putting in a golf course. That golf course is required by a program that was approved by the Board of Governors. It would provide practice time and space for our intercollegiate athletics, and it would provide a revenue stream that allows both of those to take place. At the same time it provides a place for a Turf Grass Management Program. It also provides a means by which our environmental sustainability will have a living laboratory. We also know that the Executive Education Programs from the College of Engineering and the College of Management are absolutely turning away business right now. By business I mean people who are seeking certifications, people who are seeking advanced degrees, people who need additional job skills in order to stay in the economy and to stay in North Carolina. It is those kinds of activities that are being targeted in the Conference Center. When we are accused of having a spa, when spa is the little hot tub beside the pool, I just do not know what to say. We are continuing with activities that will provide a rational means using the best experts in field to allow this to be completely financed by money that does not come at all from the state, and does not come at all from tuition. Therefore it is a user fee in the same way that any other building is constructed. Right now there is a regulation which has passed through the House that would require that the construction of any building having any housing or a Conference Center or a golf course would require approval of the full House and the full Senate of North Carolina. Now if you think about micro management, that is probably the level that one might get to. Nor can you imagine the time delay and therefore the increased cost that would result as a function of sustaining that initiative. So we are doing our best to once again show that we think there is a better way, and that we hope that our Legislature responds to their constituents who value higher education. In particular the importance of Lifelong Education and Continuing Education for some of our former students will emphasize how important this Conference Center is in that context.
I hope that I have given you a little of the positives and negatives of being at NC State through the summer. I welcome you back, and I ask for your support as we think about playing out these activities through the year.@
Chair-Elect Daley stated that part of the budget cuts is to withdraw the police security from the CHASS buildings, which has been a concern of some of the faculty. He noted that the last time security was withdrawn there was an assault.
Chancellor Fox stated that this is one of the experiments that she mentioned earlier. She hopes that it does not reach the point where an actual assault takes place. There are efforts to monitor whether traffic patterns change as a function of that announcement. President Broad has suggested to all of the Chancellors that they are going to have to be creative in what additional revenue sources they can address to have all of the infrastructure working. AWe have transferred that responsibility from the entire security forces through campus police to individual colleges, feeling as I do that such decisions should be made at as lower level as possible. We also are going to help in monitoring to try to avoid any difficulties that result.@
Senator McRae stated that many on campus are dependent upon the North Carolina Supercomputing Center for computing resources. "Apparently the budget seems to have a continued zero funding of this and we do not see the support from General Administration that we need to get that turned around. Can you shed any light on this?"
Chancellor Fox stated that it is a real challenge. "You will recall that last year the super computing budget was cut by five million dollars. The Senate version cuts it by another million this year. It is not true that it has gone to zero. The saving grace with MCNC is that a spin-off of one of the companies provided a significant endowment. It was $130M about two weeks ago. Like all of us I think its endowment is partially in stock and therefore it has decreased. We have been working at MCNC over the summer for a means by which resources would be partitioned to assure that supercomputing would be sustained so that slightly more than one half of the money would go to supercomputing and slightly less than half would go to economic development; that is, spinoff activities where supercomputing would then own half of the potential for profit making from those economic spinoffs. The question would be, is it enough for us to run the supercomputing center on what the Legislature has given us. The answer is clearly no. So what we have to do is either align ourselves with another supercomputing source and/or find additional federal funding. We are pursuing both of those. The additional source for supercomputing would likely be connectivity through NC Wren with Oak Ridge National Lab. As you know, we have had an agreement for approximately two and one half years to be co-managers as one of seven universities with Oak Ridge National Lab. They do have the computational power that, if we can make the connectivity, we can come up with a financial model that would provide the same services but not through having a physical supercomputer out in the park but rather using the computer in Oak Ridge. We also expect that the networking and the biogrid applications would put us in a position to be competitive for national federal money. We are working on that. The effort in that regard has been slow in part because the current director of supercomputing, Tom Dunning, has chosen to move to Oak Ridge. It was part of this activity that showed the possibility for that collaboration. I can assure you in the sense that I am not only chairman of the MCNC Board but I am also chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee at Oak Ridge National Lab, so I will be in a position to make sure that, as much as physically possible, we can bridge that gap. Right now there is a bit of uncertainty. I would ask for some patience and some support for making it clear to the Legislature about how important supercomputing is as we continue with that effort through this interim arrangement. There is no intention to close down supercomputing.
Senator McRae wanted to know if the resources from Oak Ridge will be discipline specific.
Chancellor Fox stated, "Oak Ridge is a mission agency so it will have priorities assigned on things that are mission specific. I would not say discipline specific so much except insofar as the disciplines are related to the missions. It is part of our challenge to make sure that the broader range of supercomputing needs are also provided access."
Senator Honeycutt stated that both budgets have proposed an 8% increase in tuition. He wants to know if that is a new 8% or if it has already been built into the student=s tuition.
Chancellor Fox stated that they asked for a campus initiated tuition increase last spring. The Board of Trustees approved a request for a $400 across the board increase instead of what the Board of Governors did, which was give us $300 as campus initiated tuition increase and a small percentage increase for in-state students and a large percentage increase across the board for all UNC systems schools for out-of-state students. The out-of-state students tuition has now reached a level where, for example, the dean of the business school at Chapel Hill says that they are no longer competitive, and they were starting to lose out-of-state students. They asked that the tuition increase be rolled back, which the Board of Governors has done but the Legislature has not yet done.
A senator stated that the budget downtown currently proposes 8% increase in tuition. He wants to know what that means to the students today.
Chancellor Fox stated, "We have billed them as if that has happened. The $300 campus initiated tuition increase so far has not been taken away. Nor has control been taken away. This means that we would have at least a very small pool to address the issues for which we justified that tuition request in the spring. Namely competitive faculty salaries, equity, promotions, student financial aid and some small investments in academic programs."
Chancellor Fox encouraged the faculty to remember compact planning. She noted that the deadlines are going to come up pretty quickly at the department level in the Fall. "Please energize your colleagues to participate actively."
5. Resolution on Academic Freedom
Senator Ash, Chair of the Academic Policy Committee, moved for a recess of the meeting for the committee to proceed with composing a resolution on academic freedom.
The motion was seconded and passed to recess the meeting for twenty minutes.
Chair Carter called the meeting back in session.
Senator Ash read the resolution for its first reading.
After a lengthy discussion and wordsmithing, a motion was made to suspend the normal procedures that would require a second reading of the resolution at a second meeting.
The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
Senator Ash read the resolution for its second reading.
A motion was made to adopt the resolution. The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 4:55 p.m.