FACULTY SENATE MEETING
October 7, 2008
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner; Senators Ambaras, Anson, Auerbach, Bernhard, Domingue, Edmisten, Fahmy, Fleisher, Franke, Genereux, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Hergeth, Honeycutt, Hudson, Khater, Kocurek, Kotek, Levy, Lindsay, Murty, Poling, Roberts, Ting, Williams
Excused: Parliamentarian Corbin, Chair Elect Overton, Provost Nielsen, Senators Lindbo, Ristaino, Scotford
Absent: Senators Boone, Carver, Poindexter, Tu
Visitors: Betsy Brown, Provost Office; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Marcia Gumpertz, AVP, Faculty & Staff Diversity; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Kevin Howell, Assistant to the Chancellor, External Affairs; Karen Helm, University Planning & Analysis; Kelli Rogers, Student Senate President Pro-Tempore; David Horning, Athletics; John Ambrose, DUAP; Marc Okner, Director Employee Relations; Ronald Grote, University Project Specialist; Louis Hunt EMA; Lisa Johnson, Associate University Architect; James Oblinger, Chancellor
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the fourth meeting of the fifty-fifth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Senators and Guests.
Comments from the Chair
Chair Martin announced that one of the senators has a schedule conflict so she will not be able to attend the Senate meetings, so the question was asked, should this person send a proxy? The Executive Committee does not think a proxy is a good idea. The rationale was that so much of what the Senate talks about requires some continuity in what the past discussions has been. In the event this should happen again, the Senate doesn’t formally have it in the bylaws, but if someone cannot for scheduling reasons attend a significant majority of the meetings, the recommendation is that there should be a replacement.
The background check regulation has come back to the Senate. Last year there was some concern with the language in the regulation. Much of the language has been improved. It has been submitted to the Resources and Environment Committee.
The policy on the appeal of grievances to the Board of Trustees was modified because of changes to the code. In the process of doing that, however there were some additional revisions to that policy which changed the standard of review from its “preponderance of evidence” at the grievance hearing level itself. It used to be also “preponderance of evidence” on appeal of any decision to the Board of Trustees. That language was changed to make it “clear and convincing,” so you have now a standard of “preponderance of evidence” at the grievance committee level, but “clear and convincing” evidence at higher levels of appeal. That kind of language change seems questionable, and the policy was changed without review. I have talked to the chair of the Academic Policy Committee of the Board of Trustees. We are in good conversation and we have agreed that we will get the policy to the Personnel Policy Committee and the Personnel Policy Committee will review it and it will probably come back to the Senate, and then we will make some recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
We talked about planning for the General Faculty meeting. The General Faculty meeting is next Wednesday. The topics for the General Faculty meeting come out of both discussions that we have had here. It very much parallels with many of the issues of concern from some of the break out sessions. We will have a report from Nevin Kessler on the Achieve Campaign. We will spend a bulk of the time looking at the Phase II of the UNC Tomorrow. One component of that is looking at the faculty and staff recruitment and retention; we decided it was important to add retirement because retirement relates to both these issues.
There is a working group that has been put together, chaired by Betsy Brown, and José Picart. They will initially provide some input on the data collected, hopefully telling us something about past trends and where we are going to be going. Then there will be tables set up with different topics and we will ask all tables to respond initially to the data presented by the workgroup; then each of the tables will have their different topics. The three table topics will include the more broad opportunities and challenges related to the recruitment, retention, and retirement. A second table topic will look at both demographic and diversity changes. There has been some conversation about what the millennium generation faculty are going to look like, compared to the current generation of faculty, so that is an issue as well as diversity for gender, racial, and otherwise. The third topic has to do with preparing the next generation of leaders. Who are going to be our next undergraduate coordinators, graduate programs, department heads, deans, associate deans, provost, chancellors? How will we generate new leadership? That is something that we really want to carefully think about in long-range planning. We need to not only be recruiting faculty for the immediate needs. We need to be thinking about developing our leadership for the future. Those will be the three topics that are related to the questions asked in the part of Phase II response of the UNC Tomorrow.
At each table we need someone to facilitate and coordinate discussion. There will be a laptop at each table. The goal is to enter the ideas right away into laptops to facilitate gathering the data at the end, which will help in writing up a report.
Monday, October 13 Myles Brand, President of the NCAA, will be giving the next Millennium Seminar at 6 p.m. in the Stewart Theatre.
The General Faculty Meeting will be October 15 in the Ballroom of the Talley Student Center.
The Budget 101 meeting will be October 22 and October 23.
Chair Martin asked for suggestions on how the Senate would like to proceed with the information collected from the Strategic Planning Session at the last meeting.
Senator Havner stated that a start might be in the Executive Committee.
Senator Hudson stated that there might be issues that people want to put energy into.
Senator Khater stated that it would be nice to have some time to digest the whole thing and then ask for reaction in the sense of having topics ranked, and as they are ranking, also note which ones they would be interested in working on. That way we would get a vote on the top three, in the minds of most people and also what they would be willing to work on in that regard.
Secretary Kellner suggested that it be done online to give the Executive Committee some sort of guidance.
Senator Ambaras stated that it seems that some of the items could automatically be sent to committee leaving aside the ones for the Executive Committee to appropriately send to committee.
Chair Martin said they would try to work with some combination of these ideas. He noted that this is another encouragement to read through the list.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 23, 2008
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
Contract Review Task Force
Chancellor Oblinger encouraged the faculty to review the thirty-eight recommendations that came from the task force. He noted that in many of those elements the Faculty Senate will be intimately involved. If you look into the areas of reappointment, promotion, and tenure, where certain things were flagged, I assure you that you will be involved in that.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that Peter McPherson, President of the National Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities presented the Borlaug Lecture yesterday afternoon in honor of Norman Borlaug.
Donn Ward, Head of the Department of Food Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences and the Faculty Athletics Representative, has announced that he plans to retire at the end of August of next year. In concert with the Executive Committee and Chair of the Faculty, Chancellor Oblinger appointed Dr. Sam Pardue, Head of the Poultry Science Department to replace Dr. Ward as Faculty Athletics Representative. Dr. Purdue has nine years of experience on the Athletics Council.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we have an outstanding Student Body President in Jay Dawkins who also sits as a member of the Board of Trustees. Chancellor Oblinger thanked the faculty for welcoming the students into their class to speak on the importance of voter registration.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that most recently, with Jay’s leadership, the students decided to develop a taskforce that would be a student response to hate speech on campus. We will be hearing more from that task force as they work through an initiative.
Chancellor Oblinger commended the Senate leadership for structuring the General Faculty Meeting on such important topics relative to an additional reflection on the UNC Tomorrow effort and how faculty can respond and get involved in that.
The CHASS Dean Search is well underway with sixty or seventy dossiers to review. The search for Thomas Conway’s replacement as Undergraduate Dean has also launched and it is progressing well. They are proposing either ten or twelve airport interviews for the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies. The second of three candidates will be on campus to interview for the Parks Scholarship Director position.
Tuition and Fees
Chancellor Oblinger reported that a tuition increase consistent with the higher education inflationary index of 3.6% came out of the tuition taskforce. That has been reported to the Chancellor but it has not gone through the conference committee where they talk about tuition and fees at the same time. Tuition and fees are discussed separately, but capped at 6.5 percent this year, so 3.6% is coming to us as it relates to tuition. If you look into those numbers, it is $140.00 for in-state undergraduate students, $140.00 for graduate students be they in state or out-of-state, and $280.00 for out-of-state graduate students.
Chancellor Oblinger stated as it relates to fees capped at 6.5%: if you look at our current fee structure with the exemptions that are provided for debt retirement that could have been a total of $73.78. There were eight to ten fees that were considered and the committee settled on $72.20. Those will now go to conference committee to make the recommendation to the Chancellor and he will have to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Then the trustees will evaluate the recommendation and forward it to the Board of Governors.
Chancellor Oblinger reported that approximately three weeks ago they received a note from the Office of State Management and Budget that we should be planning on receiving and not having to send back money, but not receiving in the first place, 2% of our budget on a nonrecurring basis which is $9M. Currently, Vice Chancellor Leffler, Provost Nielsen, and the Chancellor are talking with the deans and other groups and are soliciting input from across the campus particularly from faculty in the Budget 101 class as well as the budget advisory group.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that most of our money is tied up in salaries so we have to be very prudent, very judicious, and very deliberate. We evaluate where we will cut because of the following statement: it is being talked about downtown of taking that 2% withholding from the overall allocations and there is some discussion perhaps next year that 4% nonrecurring cut would develop into a continuing 4% reduction in an overall budget. That is extraordinarily serious, to the tune of 18 to 20 million dollars permanently taken out of this campus’ budget, particularly when you factor in the percentage of our budget that goes to salaries. I ask for your thoughtfulness, your deliberate approach, to how this campus will face that type of budget. Year in and year out, as long as I have been here I have always heard when budget cuts come that we must stop doing something, and with rare exceptions I can’t think of too many things that we have stopped doing. We have, I think, now started to reach steady state. We have taken on new things, but we have also had a very productive and innovative and entrepreneurial faculty that has enabled us to do this. When we had our discussions with Peter McPherson and University Council yesterday, Chair Martin was there for that. Peter talked about growth, just like this, but from a perspective of a President of an association that represents 218 different entities. He talked about (enrollment) growth and what ways you can address, particularly in North Carolina, the influx of students that are coming to us. We continue to have more applications from North Carolinians than anyone else in the system and I think that will continue. At what point do you start to require students perhaps to go to community colleges and pick up general education there? You then get into all kinds of quality reflections and the like but that is an issue that we need the faculty to weigh in on seriously, before it is too far down the road to do something about it.
I really need your involvement as it relates to the round table discussions next week and UNC Tomorrow because that is the future and everything that we do is going to be somehow related to UNC Tomorrow.
Senator Levy: Are we being hurt at the same rate as other state agencies?
Chancellor Oblinger responded NC State has fared better from the appropriation standpoint than most other state agencies. Right now everyone is receiving the same memos. Historically we have protected the library. We have protected the police force, the classroom to a certain extent. We are still taking that way, but right now the concern is the magnitude of what we are facing. It is the uncertainty of whether we will get any slack provided to us, as they usually have in the past. I think they are trying to come to grips with just how serious and protracted this rescission is going to be.
Secretary Kellner – Could you help me to understand the terms recurring and nonrecurring?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that recurring means that once you take that cut it is forever and nonrecurring is generally thought of as one year not necessarily going to recur. Those are the two major codes that they use in the budget.
Senator Anson – What is the relationship between projected growth and possibly recurring cuts? Are we mandated to grow?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we are not mandated to grow. However, the one element that is good about growth in that environment -- provided the appropriations are made for enrollment growth -- we will get money on a headcount basis. The exacerbation comes because the Provost has, for the first time in compact planning, forecasted three years instead of year to year. We are looking at whether or not we can live up to those forecasts based on what revenue won’t be coming or has to be taken out of the system.
Senator Ambaras – Do you feel that General Education is something that can or should possibly be funneled out to the Community College System.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that he thinks the jury is out on that. I know we have great relationships with many community colleges. You could be pretty sure that some community college transfers are going to do as well if not better than some of our homegrown students that start as freshmen. I think the quality varies from community college to community college. I think what many North Carolinians are looking at now is the cost of those first two years, and there is really no comparison in terms of cost if you are concerned about dollars expended for credits earned and those kinds of things. You probably are going to be at a top quality community college taking your general education requirements, taking maybe the introductory math, biology, chemistry, and those types of things. When you have a system of fifty-eight community colleges the variance across that portfolio in terms of quality varies considerably.
Senator Fleisher – The community colleges are getting their money from the same source as the universities, so they are going to be cut also. Will they be able to absorb the students that we can’t take in?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that he couldn’t answer that question. He doesn’t think anyone has looked at it from that standpoint. Of paramount importance to us is maintaining the quality of what we offer at NC State. Then funding dictates what is compromised and that is not something I’m interested in regardless of discipline and regardless of subjects. The quality factor has to be the driver.
Secretary Kellner: Do you and the other university Chancellors feel that there is a certain coercive aspect to the budget situation in which your basic operating and program budgets are being cut while the only source of new funds come from expansion. Wouldn’t that create coercive pressures to expand that are not necessarily related to the wisdom of the university per se?
Chancellor Oblinger said, when you have the combination of disciplines that we at NC State have, it is very difficult to tell your citizens that there is no room and if you figure that we had 18,000 applications and took 4,700 students and we are at 32,871 and those numbers just keep growing in terms of demand to get in here, that is why I think people are talking about various combinations of the community colleges and transferring.
Senator Khater: You are encouraging us to participate vigorously in the discussion and the vision about the budget process and what I’m curious about is exactly how you would like us to be doing that. What sense do you want us to be involved?
Chancellor Oblinger: Let’s start with Budget 101. Periodically there is a faculty interest expressed in knowing more about the budget and we offer multiple sessions of Budget 101, where just a core understanding of the different types of budgetary considerations that we have here, are made; but although it sounds like there is great interest, there is not a great deal of attendance at those. I understand that it is not necessarily your responsibility, but we have tried to respond to requests about knowing more about the budget and I can only assume that those that attend aren’t teaching or aren’t involved in writing a grant proposal or doing their research. They are there and they absorb what they can. I think the more informed you are on any subject, including the budget, and the more willing you are to participate in the discussions, the better off and more representative will be our overall decisions.
Senator Ambaras: Would it be possible to arrange web cast to some of these Budget 101 sessions?
Chair Martin stated that he doesn’t know who would do that or where it would go. That is why two sessions are scheduled this year to enable more people to attend.
Chair Martin stated: the last question is critical, how do we get involved? That, in many respects, is the question that we are asking in the Senate. One thing that I would like to offer is that we have cut the number of labs that we offer, so that is a directive I know of from my department. It strikes me that this is another one of those things that, as faculty, we should ask ourselves about. If we can compile a list of things that we know that have been stopped, this might not be known other places, and I think that could be very useful. These are the kinds of things that Kevin and others can carry to the Legislature and say we want high tech students, but they are taking fewer labs than they use to be taking; is this really what we want to be doing today? Sometimes those are the kinds of conversations that can be very useful.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we will in a stair step fashion, ask deans, department heads, who will be talking with their faculty because I think there is more chance for success if it bubbles up as opposed to trickles down. I think the response in chemistry of reduction of those labs was a local decision based on a local budgetary challenge. I think we do have examples of that type of thing happening. I think there is a best practice to mention some of this when somebody has been very creative (in cost-cutting) across the campus, and that is part of this discussion too, on what works in English, what works in Chemistry, what works in Engineering, those kinds of things. The deans, I think, are used to that.
Chair Martin stated that faculty governance could collect some of this information. He is in conversation with Steve Keto about getting some real concrete examples to take to the Legislature about how budget cuts directly impact education. That is going to be something that is going to come back to the Senate.
Senator Headen – If I hear your story right, you want constant quality, you want increased enrollment, and we have decreasing resources. It seems like that is not all feasible and the question then becomes how do we reallocate.
Chair Martin: That is the discussion we really need to have because too often we get lots of information together and that is a perfect lead in to the remainder of what we want to do today.
5. Trends and Trajectories for Campus Growth
Enrollment Goals – Karen Helm, Director University Planning & Analysis
Karen Helm presented a PowerPoint presentation on enrollment goals.
Karen reported that we maintain two enrollment plans at two different levels. One is long term and the current enrollment plan goes out to 2017. The long-range plan is going to be revised every two years. It is used by the Board of Governors to determine whether the system as a whole is going to meet the needs of the state as a whole. It is also used on campus largely to plan the development of facilities. It is used in the facilities master plan. It is used to develop priorities for new buildings and renovations. It is also used in the space-needs analysis, so it is a ten-year lookout and that is how we use it.
The Biennial enrollment plan is revised annually and it is primarily used to establish budget and enrollment projections, which, once it is approved by the legislature, determines the appropriation for enrollment growth at NC State University. It is also used on campus in a variety of ways, such as establishing admissions targets for the next year, guidelines for the allocation of resources, compact planning, and GSSP. It is used as benchmarks by Housing and Registration and Records to plan for the next academic year.
Helm stated that they maintain both of these enrollment plans constantly and update them regularly and try to keep them in alignment.
The long-range involvement plan includes a number of guiding principles. Obviously the most important one is -- how big do we want to be? As a people’s university, is it our responsibility to respond to the demands of the people of North Carolina to provide access to North Carolinians who are graduating from high school, or should we grow more slowly, so that we can become more selective as an institution? Which value should guide our enrollment plan? Another question asked is, what size is best for NC State to achieve its aspiration for prominence? If we grow, we get more faculty members, we can develop more specialization, we can expand our research programs, we might maintain our flagship status, etc., but one thing is clear -- if we don’t grow, we will not get any resources. If we tell GA that we are not going to grow beyond where we are now and they are making their capital budget priorities, they are certainly not going to put us at the top of their list for new buildings. In a very direct way in the funding formula, if we don’t grow, we don’t get new operating funds or faculty positions.
How big do we want to be?
Generally speaking the major nationally prominent research universities are larger than NC State and if research rankings matter to you, growth is a good thing. The bigger we are the more research expenditures we will have, because the national rankings for research universities are not normalized for the size of faculty or the enrollment, so the bigger you are, the better your rankings.
The long-range enrollment plan that is currently on the table reaches 40,000 students by the year 2017. The overall enrollment growth with this plan would be a growth of 22%, but a much greater growth at the graduate level from this last fall would be a 35% increase at the graduate level and a 16% increase at the undergraduate level.
Not all students would be on campus. We can also assume that enrollment will continue to shift toward distance education. This is one of the mentions that I think bears watching, in my own opinion. The distinction between on-campus and distance education students will disappear by the time we reach 2017, so I’m not sure how meaningful this distinction is, but my point is that not all of the 40,000 students are likely to be on campus. Not all of our 32,000 students are on campus now. There are quite a few that are enrolled in online courses. There are many who are learning at off-campus sites. Who knows, we may have a branch campus by 2017? By the time 2017 rolls around, not all students will be taking courses face to face, but of course in this case history is no guide for the future. Who knows how many of our credit hours will be generated online in ten years? So we asked each of the deans, how fast do you think your online teaching will grow, and we took the information that they gave us and made this projection? This seems really high, but you need to understand that this percentage and this number of credit hours include all of the credit hours that are generated at off campus sites in online programs, so if we took out all the DE and took out the off campus teaching the result is that on average, by 2017, each undergraduate would take one online course per semester and each graduate student would take one online course per year, so when you sum that together you will see that there is a shift toward non-face-to-face on campus learning.
My point is that the future will be different than today. We have some flexibility in how we manage our enrollment and our resources to grow. Last January there was a retreat for the University Council and I made a similar presentation. All of those who were assembled went away and in break out groups came up with some strategies to change the way we manage our space. Then we came up with the top ten. They really come down to these four strategies. One is that we need to find better ways to manage our classrooms to improve efficiency in how we schedule classrooms and perhaps think about summer sessions. Another major strategy to explore is technology enhanced teaching and learning, whether it’s hybrid courses, online courses, or the large course redesign project that is under way. Another idea was to think about more integrated degree programs, such as combination bachelor and masters degrees, which could serve the same number of students, but increase the number of degrees awarded. Finally there was a lot of talk about new ways to manage our research space.
Classroom space is really not a difficult issue with respect to growing to 40,000. The difficult challenge is that when we grow to 40,000 students, we will also be increasing the number of faculty and all of our faculty will have a research obligation. That is where our shortage will be.
We talked about maybe we should develop shared research facilities, rather than every PI or every small research group having their own. Maybe we could (find) research facilities off campus, etc. These were some the ideas that came out of the January retreat.
Senator Fahmy asked, what are hybrid courses?
Helm stated they are courses that are taught through combination of face-to-face and online teaching. When you have a face to face course you must schedule a classroom every week through the entire semester, but if we move to a system where we take fuller advantage of technology by a combination of online and face to face, we might be able to schedule our courses in a way that two courses that are hybrid can alternate in terms of which one gets to use the classroom.
Campus Facilities – Lisa Johnson, University Architect Office
Lisa Johnson presented a PowerPoint on Campus Facilities and reported on the space needed to grow NC State to 40,000 students. She discussed the buildings that would be needed and the rate of growth to grow to 40,000 students.
Johnson stated that we have seen tremendous growth over the last eight years. Can we see even more growth in the next eight to ten years? Then the funding that is needed, can we achieve and attain all the funding that is needed for this growth?
We took the enrollment projection of 40,000 students, and Planning and Analysis also translated those into credit hours, contact hours, and faculty and staff that are needed. We plugged those numbers into space standards. We have UNC space standards and we have NC State space standards. We didn’t agree with some of the system’s space standards, such as research, and we developed our own space standards for research and design studios. We looked at the numbers by college and by discipline and projected what we need to grow to 40,000 students and we projected it by type of space.
- 110 Classrooms – We grow to 40,000 students and don’t gain any more space. We are going to need around 24,000 square feet.
- Class Labs – We are going to need around 125,000 more square feet for teaching.
- Research Space – We are going to need 635,000 square feet in research space.
- Offices – 160,000 square feet
- Library Facilities (Study Facilities) – 322,000 feet and this does not include what we are gaining with the Hunt Library
- Other Space – 40,000 square feet
That comes out to be 1.3M assignable square feet which equates to 2.2 gross square feet and the gross square feet included in that is mechanical, circulation space, and toilet space.
The current square footage is 3.8M square feet and this is just looking at academic space. When you grow enrollment you need other types of space besides academic space. Our goal is to house 30% of our students on campus so to grow to 40,000 students we need 1500 beds. We need more dining. So you add almost 1.2M square feet of support space to the 2.2 and that is about 3.4M gross square feet.
We have looked at all our buildings on campus and just looking at our existing square footage we have around 13M gross square feet, with the largest concentration on north and central campus, about 8.6M.
Johnson stated that the big issue with Centennial campus is the housing. Due to our agreement with the City of Raleigh, one third of the space that we build on Centennial Campus has to be housing, and we are way behind right now.
Future Buildings – Things that are not designated yet.
Johnson stated, when you look at that, looking at the remaining gross square feet, that 5.9M square feet you deduct the housing from that (2.8M), and then you deduct the partnership and the amenity building, and you end up with, really, for academic and research space, about 2.0M square feet left to build on. You look at the other campuses and you end up, instead of that 10.9 I was talking about, with 5.2. So the number I said that we needed to grow to 40,000 was 3.4M. We do have the capacity and we have the capacity to hold more students.
Johnson stated that in November of 2000 NC State voters approved the higher education bond. Our portion of that was $472M, part with other projects and different kinds of funding. In that time frame we had capital funding of about $782M. We have gained 3500 students and we have added two million square feet of space and we have renovated almost one million. So looking at 40,000 students growth, we would be adding 7200 students in the same time frame, 22% growth, needing to gain that 3.4M gross square feet. We think we still need to renovate another million gross square feet that we think is going to cost $2.1 billion. Looking at our top tier projects -- gaining about 176,000 square feet, renovating about 500,000 square feet – total gain of 725,000 gross square feet. The funding needed is $515 million, which would accommodate the 2400 students. If we could get everything funded, it would be on line by 2015. We are on our way to doing that. We have the Hunt Library funded. We have planning money funded this summer for six projects.
Johnson stated that they think they have proved that we have the capacity on campus for land area to grow. We think the rate of growth is extremely aggressive and we think we need a great deal about funding; another bond or we maybe need to do things a little differently. How can we achieve growing to 40,000 students and meet our goal, but not need as much space, thus not as much funding. What are some creative strategies for better utilizing space. Those are things we started discussing at the University Council meeting and are things that we will continue to talk about, because I think our goal will still be 40,000 students. We may not reach it in 2017, but what are ways that we can do things better than we do today.
Senator Anson: When you talk about the estimates of the potential building in the existing part of campus, is it on all the landmass where buildings could be put, or is it on carefully selected parcels of land, where buildings can be put.
Johnson stated that there are few opportunities on North Campus left. On North Campus they project to build a parking deck with a building on top of it. They are projecting to tear down part of Broughton and build back a larger lab wing. There are not a lot of possibilities.
Question: Is there a limit to the height of the building you are projecting?
Johnson responded that they are looking at limiting the buildings to four to five stories.
Senator Ambaras: You can have a neighborhood with ten and twelve story buildings and I strongly encourage you to think about that. NC State is an urban university in some ways and if you really think about the possibility of vertical then you can do a lot more.
Senator Auerbach: The converse of that is that this technical history on buildings doesn’t seem to have done the aesthetics of Centennial campus any good. It’s incredibly ugly, disjointed, and has horrible space.
Johnson stated that she thinks it is disjointed because the goal of the master plan is to have buildings across the street or across the courtyard from other buildings, where their entrances relate to each other. We do have a hodgepodge of buildings right now, and we are hoping to start filling those (gaps) in so it becomes more campus-like.
Classroom Scheduling, Louis Hunt, Vice Provost and University Registrar
Louis Hunt commented that classroom space really is important and that patterns of social and intellectual interactions occur in these spaces.
Hunt feels that we need to rethink what we will provide and how we will use those spaces. The hybrid courses is an example. NC State has to be a leader in this area.
How does scheduling work?
Scheduling is a fairly decentralized process. There are one hundred scheduling offices across campus. There are approximately 267 classrooms on campus. That includes some places like Reynolds Coliseum, Carmichael Gymnasium. We schedule approximately 3200 sections in those classrooms and about 78 of them are what we refer to as class text (? tech-equipped) . They have a full array of technology and have good centralized support. Another 157 classrooms have some level of technology, like a projector. Approximately 25 of the rooms are assigned to Registration and Records, and they are centrally controlled. The others are pretty much owned by departments or colleges. Class laboratories are controlled and scheduled by the departments.
Hunt stated that the goal is that we fill a classroom to 65% of the field ratio, and we are currently at 62.4%. In a newly renovated classroom typically we have assigned more square feet per student, on the order of 21 square feet per student. In older classrooms it can be very small.
UNC System Measures
Hours of Use Per Week
Vice Provost Hunt asked, how many hours per week is a classroom being used? The goal is thirty-five hours per week and we are at 31. That is from 5 a.m. until evening.
Vice Provost Hunt reported that the space factor is a calculation which actually pulls together, in a single measure that the space planners like to use, some of these things, how well are you using the seats in your classroom, how well are you utilizing the rooms themselves over the week. The goal is .79; a lower number is preferable to a higher number and we are at .77.
Hunt reported that NC State has about 267 classrooms. It seems that later starts are preferred to earlier starts and two days a week seem to be preferable to three days a week. I also find that Friday afternoon is not preferable. Between the hours of ten and two we put about 60 people in our classrooms. Two days a week is also a preference for seventy-five minute class periods.
Hunt stated that on main campus today classes at 8:30 a.m. We did that to take out some inefficiency in classes that met in odd meeting patterns. It also increases the number of courses that meet on Tuesday and Thursday prior to 9 a.m. There are more difficult patterns with class labs. Obviously we know that people have a need to teach labs in the afternoon, but that does leave a lot of facilities wide open in the morning.
Too Many Courses with Non-Standard Meeting Times and Patterns
Vice Provost Hunt stated that one of the big challenges is that we have a lot of courses with non-standard meeting times. It really causes a lot of inefficiencies in this classroom scheduling process. We need to review that and try to get more people onto the timetable. We need to get more seventy-five minute class meeting patterns. The fifty-minute classes are no longer applicable for many of our classes, so we need to examine that. I think it’s time to lose the differential between Centennial and Main Campus. There is a twenty-five minute offset that was meant to allow you to travel. I don’t think you can get from here to there in twenty five minutes any more, so we might as well put it back on the table, I think. Something to consider is to delay the start time until 8:30 a.m. It doesn’t mean that we couldn’t have an earlier time but make that new time available for large usage. Require the departments to offer at least 50% of courses outside of primetime. This helps not only classroom utilization, but it also helps class and course scheduling for students.
Hunt stated that they had a discussion with Duke University and they did some pretty dramatic things with their scheduling. They went to all seventy-five minute meeting periods. If you wanted fifty you could still have them but you had to nest them within the seventy-five minute blocks. They moved their start time to 8:30 a.m. They have seen quite a bit more teaching outside the primary 10 – 2 periods. They have seen a big increase in 8:30 class time and they have actually seen an increase in Friday teaching. We are hoping to examine some of that as a possibility for our campus.
Hunt noted that distributed ownership certainly causes some problems. You might own a classroom and your department might have put a lot of money into the technology and it is right across the hall from your office. That is the room you want to teach in whether or not it best fits your class size. There is a potential issue there.
Non-course use of classrooms
Hunt stated, perhaps your department has to a schedule a classroom, so we block it out several hours a day or many hours a week for use in faculty meetings, or PhD defenses or something of that nature.
The investment that your department makes in a classroom, in technology or otherwise, makes you reluctant to share that, but we need to get more centralized features in all of our classrooms, and we really need to make sure that there is limited non-teaching use of our classrooms. We need to either share conference rooms or build more conference rooms.
Vice Provost Hunt stated that we need a central support for classroom technology. We need more flexible scheduling -- for example, to schedule a big lab with breakout sessions.
Hunt thinks facilities have done a very good job of turning a lot of classrooms into very nice space. He noted that the College of Management has very nice space. They control it and it is also how they utilize space.
Appropriately Size Classrooms
Vice Provost Hunt stated that we have to be sure that as we continue to renovate buildings that we are accommodating the needs of the residents of that neighborhood. We need more large classrooms. We only have two rooms that will accommodate more than three hundred people. We need to partner with other units on campus. He noted that they use the Witherspoon Cinema now to teach classes and that it is a great space.
Hunt stated that another location is the Erdahl Cloyd Theater in DH Hill that has been nicely renovated. They have worked out an arrangement where the library can have the theater for their staff meetings; otherwise it will be used as a classroom.
Hunt stated that there are classrooms on this campus that are being utilized for six hours a week. He feels that if six hours a week is all the rooms are being used, then, someone else could use them as conference rooms.
Hunt stated that some of the new engineering buildings have great spaces, a lot more appropriate to the type of institution we are.
Senator Levy asked, Is there any way to incentivise students and/or faculty to take classes during the off times? A lot of our students work, so is there a schedule where students don’t need to be here five days a week.
Hunt stated that it comes back to delivery mode. Sometimes it will be more hybrid courses, where perhaps Tuesday you are in the classroom and Thursday, you are supposed to do some sort of online type activity.
To answer your first question, if you teach at 8 a.m., you are going to be on that first Monday (exam schedule) and then you are done, so I think that might be something worth doing. We looked at the exam schedule to see if there is actually an optional exam schedule that will minimize students having three exams in a twenty-four hour period, but we have also considered whether we could incentivise teaching at part time to do that as well.
Senator Headen stated, from the Distance Education versus the normal -- have we built an evaluation tool so that we will know that we don’t lose quality over time?
Karen Helm responded that distance education courses and programs are evaluated the same way as on-campus courses and programs.
Senator Headen asked, is it evaluated as an experiment?
Helm stated that there are a number of experiments going on for particular cases. For example, Professor Bob Beekner is experimenting with hybrid courses now where he is using technology to deliver the contents and using face-to-face time. A number of distance education programs are doing their own evaluations, but in terms of university policy my understanding is courses and programs go through the same evaluation as their on campus counterparts.
Senator Headen stated we would like to maintain quality; we are looking at an innovation that may or may not do that. In the beginning of the design, we were doing sort of a science experiment. We would build in the design at the beginning so that in some point in time we would be able to look at the results and say we did this and we achieved that, but that is a different structure design, I think.
Helm stated that the only university promoted effort that she is aware of like that is LITRE (Learning in a Technology Rich Environment), where we have selected a number of projects and are assessing the effectiveness of a particular innovation.
Senator Khater stated that with regard to distance education he finds that you cannot evaluate distance education the same way you evaluate in class because of the kind of students that you have online. I have far more A’s than I do F’s because it is a whole different experience for the students in that regard. I spend a lot more time teaching distance education students than I do in class and I am up sometimes until 2 a.m. answering emails from students, so the notion that we can somehow ratchet up the numbers just simply because of distance education, I find to be very wrong in a sense. It’s not simply a delivery issue, it is also in terms of quality, but we can’t just simply do the same evaluation because students have a very different experience. They are not going to evaluate you the same way because they see you eye to eye and I think that has to be taken into consideration. We have to really study distance education more deeply before we can see how it can be incorporated to alleviate some of these problems.
Several people have said growth is the key to getting more money, but it seems to me that what has been said is that we are getting enrollment money to cater to our students, which it seems is going to be taken up with a lot of the building and infrastructure and everything else. So I’m not quite sure when we are being told to cut budgets, how raising the number of students that we teach is going to translate to more faculty lines, to more facilities, etc. I’m not seeing the correlation here, because what Al was saying is faculty was being asked to raise the number of students at the same time we are being asked to cut down on our expenses, which basically means we don’t hire people, and facilities are going to be limited. I guess I’m just seeing a disconnect and maybe it is because I don’t understand the process and that I’m very naïve about it.
Lisa Johnson stated that the funding is different in terms of students. The appropriated funding is a different source.
Senator Khater stated that the facilities are nice and noted that you have to hire faculty members to teach and this year we have experienced a serious reduction in that because of the cuts.
Johnson responded, you are absolutely right, the state budget has been divided into two pieces, capital and operating, to fund the faculty and they are approved by different committees of the legislature and move up and down in an unrelated fashion.
Senator Williams stated that it is conceivable that there will not be money even to fund enrollment growth.
Helms stated that there is a continuing budget and we get that. The problem is that every budget cut we get reduces that base, so they are taking away with one hand and at the same time, with more enrollment growth, they are putting more money in so, if you look at the last twelve or fifteen years we have had a reduction in our base budget every year and at the same time they are (sending) more money to continue to grow, so the total operating budget has increased every year on a per student basis.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that much of the money comes earmarked, and within the enrollment budget you also have differential rates at which you get remunerated, based on the kind of courses you are offering.
Senator Fahmy stated that there has been a tendency to do away with the three classes a week, and go into two periods of seventy-five minutes instead of fifty. Has there been any (difference) in effectiveness between the fifty, the seventy-five, and the ninety minutes in the summer (model)?
Hunt stated that it is at the discretion of the faculty member in the scheduling department. There is nothing that has been done that says if I teach Math 141 two days a week versus three days a week what the outcome is to that student.
Senator Fahmy: So it’s easier for the faculty member to give two seventy-five minute lectures than three fifty-minute lectures.
Hunt response was, you could state it that way, the convenience of the faculty member (matters), but also the faculty member’s judgment that this is a better format for my course.
Senator Ambaras asked would there be the possibility of doing morning classes for 150 minutes?
Hunt stated that there is, but then we want to be careful that we would need a department to match those courses.
Sentator Ambaras: My other point was about the notion of expanding the number of students and expanding resources. If we look at what has happened in some of the other large institutions that were on the slides, there is a temptation to do a lot more teaching by non-tenure track faculty. That is a way to pay for teaching without having to pay (equivalent) benefits, without having to secure research space, and I think while it may be cost effective, it is also a very dangerous step to take in terms of first of all insuring that students graduate in a timely fashion. Studies show that students who are exposed in their first year to tenure track faculty tend to stay in school and graduate in a timely fashion. I think it is also part of a broader trend of exploiting non-tenure track faculty that we should do as much as we can to avoid. We have to hire non-tenure track faculty and we do need to. We have to be sure that we do it with (adequate) benefits and proper treatment.
Hunt stated that there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of students completing courses the first time through, which might benefit from interaction of tenure track faculty. But four year graduation rates, five year graduation rates, six years -- we have done a lot in the last five years or so, and students are graduating in a much higher rate than a decade or two ago, so that has the potential to affect our capacity.
Senator Anson stated that it seems to him one of the dangers of increasing enrollment and decreasing resources is the educational massification, which starts to transform delivery mode. The cheapest and most efficient way to do this is also the worst education, and if we have rising enrollments, and if we start packing more students so that we have increased class sizes, I think we are going to move toward that mode which we know is the least effective education model. Then we are going to lose quality, so I think we really need to figure this out. We need faculty development to figure out what to do with larger numbers, and if there are ways to work with large numbers of students in lecture halls that are not lecture-test. I was really heartened to see that model (in the Power Point presentation) of the twentieth century classrooms which is not the Harrelson Hall, twenty students in tiered lecture hall classes, bizarre, with the seats locked to the floor. That is not the best education.
Senator Auerbach stated, the cost to the professor when teaching (distance ed) are significant and the upfront preparation costs are surprising if you haven’t done it. It’s almost like writing a textbook. I get an extreme distribution of grades. I’m sure some of that is due to students who take distance education courses and not the same population (as on campus), so I would appreciate good studies of what goes on with this. Although distance education can be pretty generous, I think a more concerted effort in the preparing of courses with really dedicated people to help prepare really good distance education courses that would have a budget.
Senator Edmisten stated that he was under the impression that with the Centennial Campus we had enough room to last as far in the future as he could see. He wonders what is being done to look at future land acquisition, growth on Centennial Campus versus what can we afford to allocate as a public/private cooperative venture, compared to academic need for future growth.
Johnson responded that she thinks they have showed that we have a lot of capacity. She noted that even just the academic research building total on campus is 5.2M square feet left to build out and to grow to 40,000 students we need 3.4M square feet so we could grow to over 40,000 students. I haven’t heard of us wanting to grow more than 40,000, but you still have that capacity. The question was asked to us, so we thought that we needed to look at that. Will we be limited at some point? Can we grow to 40,000 with the land that we have? That one was answered -- yes we can.
Chair Martin stated that a lot of information was presented. What are the areas of concern? What do we do? What action should we take? How should we get engaged? These are the hard next steps. We need to roll up our sleeves and ask the hard questions and figure out some of the hard work. How do we deal with those kinds of things? Think about the question posed by the Chancellor -- can we think about things that we have stopped doing because of the budgets? Can we think of things that we have to stop doing because of budgets, because I think that impacts part of this discussion and those are some real specifics that we could potentially get down on paper. That could be useful as we face budget negotiations this coming year.
Senator Levy commented that he had heard about these partnerships that we have had. Another thing is what we do with the really good private schools in this state. Can we do (partnerships) in such a way that NC State gets the credit? There are students who prefer to go to smaller schools. They provide a different kind of education. They are lacking in some things that we can provide and is there a way for us to get credit because they will be taking some of the pressure off of us.
Chair Martin adjourned the meeting at 5:05 p.m.