FACULTY SENATE MEETING
September 7, 2010
Minutes of the Faculty
Present: Chair Overton, Chair-elect Kellner, Secretary Hergeth, Provost Arden, Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Aspnes, Auerbach, Bernhard, Bourham, Carver, Croom, Edmisten, Funkhouser, Hammerberg, Hatcher, Havner, Headen, Khosla, Kidd, Kiwanuka- Tondo, Krim, Kotek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Moore, Paur, Robinson, Rucker, Sawyers, Tu, Washington, Williams
Excused: Senators Argyropoulos, Poling, Townsend, Tonelli
Guests: Randy Woodson, Chancellor; P.J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Jane Lubischer, Director, Undergraduate Programs in Biology; Kevin Howell, External Affairs; Rhonda Sutton, Director, Office of Post Doctoral Affairs; Marcia Gumpertz, Diversity & Inclusions; Debbie Yow, Director of Athletics; Marielle Pocan, Office of the Provost; Teri Lomax, VC Research; Ethan Harrelson, CALS Senator – Student Government
1. Call to Order
Chair Overton called the second meeting of the fifty seventh session to order at 3 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Overton welcomed Senators and Guests.
The General Faculty Meeting will be Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3 p.m. in the Walnut Room of the Talley Student Center. A meeting is scheduled next week to discuss the agenda, so if anyone has suggestions for the agenda send an email to Chair Overton.
The Chancellor’s installation is scheduled on Tuesday morning, October 26th. There will be a Town Hall meeting that afternoon at 4 p.m. with some discussions on the Strategic Planning process.
Chair Overton announced that a standing committee on grievances has been established. The chair of that committee is Duane Akroyd from the College of Education.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 1, August 24, 2010
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Comments from Chancellor Woodson
Welcome back and I hope the semester is off to a great start.
Throughout the summer I have been busy. I have been all over the state of North Carolina interacting with alumni and others that view NC State as a part of their future. We visited the seven economic development regions and had alumni events throughout the state. This has been a good introduction to see the importance of NC State throughout the state of North Carolina. I think it is important to continue to get the message out about what this institution is and what it can be in the future.
We have also launched a strategic planning process; in fact, we have nine task forces that are going to be populated probably before the end of the week.
The environment for higher education is among the most challenging that we have ever experienced. You saw that play out at the end of the legislative cycle where they said we can’t give you all that you need to keep NC State strong, but you have the authority to increase tuition to offset the budget cuts that we have experienced in the last couple of years. That was not the most popular decision a new Chancellor could make, but I think it is important that we not lose more ground and jeopardize the academic core more than we already have, and so we did exercise the right to raise tuition the $750 as was authorized by the General Assembly; and while that was a significant challenge for many students it did not alleviate the shortfall that we experienced. In fact, we and Chapel Hill were the only two campuses that raised the tuition the full amount and still had a budget cut to deal with, yet we remain the second most affordable university in our peer group. Only Florida has lower tuition than NC State, and their General Assembly approved them increasing tuition 15% every year until they reach the national medium. Next year we will likely be the lowest cost university in our peer group. It is evidence of the support North Carolina has provided to the university for many years, but it is also reflective of the challenges we face. If you compare us to most of our peers we are one of the most heavily funded by the state. That is a good thing. The challenge for us is, when the economy is bad it puts us at more risk.
We are worried about the next year. We have issues that we will have to work through, but I am confident that we will get through them. I think the administration did a good job of preparing us so I think we are in better shape than most universities.
I am starting a series of forums to try to enhance the communication across campus. The first will be next Monday at 3 p.m. in Thompson Theater and there will be three or four of those throughout the year. The first one is focused on early observations from the new Chancellor and some conversation about planning for the future.
We will also have a Town Hall Meeting particularly focused on the Strategic Plan in association with the installation.
I came from a university that did not do installations, so I am not used to installations; but I know it is a big part of the culture within the UNC System and something that I want to do to celebrate the success of NC State and talk about the future. We are trying to keep it as moderate and as affordable and as reasonable as possible. We are going to do an installation and it is going to be exciting.
We are making progress on the provost search in spite of the Technician suggesting that the Chancellor was more interested in athletics than academics because I hired an Athletics Director so quickly, I think its critical that the Provost be a figure that is empowered by the faculty, engaged with the students, and has the benefit of a full interview process that you will all have an opportunity to participate. I thought it is critical that we get the search going during the summer but really not have it reach a crescendo until the students and the faculty were back. We will hopefully be interviewing candidates in the early fall.
Chancellor Woodson introduced Debbie Yow as our new Athletics Director and he stated that he is very pleased to have her as our new athletics director, setting a really great tone for athletics in the conference and certainly at NC State.
Chancellor Woodson stated as a university we need to pay attention to where we are relatively to our peers. US News and World Report just came out with the National rankings of that National University for Undergraduate Programs and for the first time NC State has fallen out of the top one hundred, we were ranked 111th and we were 88 last year, so I think its important for us to step back and look at this. It’s not where I want this university to be and I’m sure it’s not where you want it to be in spite of the fact that we wish we weren’t part of a beauty contest like this. There are some real data that drives these rankings.
Handout (US News & World Report)
NC State should be among the most elite public universities in the country. We have the strength of our faculty, the strength of our students, we are in one of the most dynamic parts of the country in Raleigh NC and we have a lot of assets that this university should aspire to be and frankly should be among the top universities in the country. One would say at 111th or 59th among the public, we are, but we can be better. We can be seen as stronger.
Chancellor Woodson reviewed the first page of the document as follows.
We are a top tier university–good
We are ranked at number 111th in the country – not so good
Of our sixteen universities that we compare ourselves to we are now at the bottom
Why did we drop so much this year; partly it’s because they have changed the way the data is tabulated. But the area that we really are struggling right now is faculty resources. I know what you are thinking. We need more faculty and we need more resources around the faculty. Maybe that is true, but actually our student to faculty ratio is not so out of line with our peers. What is out of line is the number of large classes that we have and the number of small classes that we have. The US News and World Report ranks you on the percentage of the classes that you have with fewer than twenty and the percentage of the classes that you have over fifty. In one case it’s good to have a lot of small classes and it’s good to have few large classes; and we don’t have either. We have a lot of classes over twenty. If it only takes adding a few sections to go from a lot of 23 or 24 seat sections to a lot of 19 seat sections we may need to look at that because our ranking in this area is 177th in the country.
Chancellor Woodson stated that alumni giving fell dramatically this year to 11% of our alumni giving back to the university. Three years ago we were at 33 percent; however we were never really at 33%, we just didn’t know how to count it, but we are now following national standards for the way we count gifts for the university, the way we track alumni giving, so we are in a much better position to actually know what is happening and report it.
We have always fallen behind many of our peers in reputational rankings, largely because we don’t recruit heavily from out-of-state. In the past the reputation was built on three people; the Chancellor, Provost, and Dean of Admissions. Those three people filled out a survey and basically said are you a one or a five and on a one to five scale our ranking has been 3.1 for many years; but the new twist is US News and World Reports asked high school counselors across the United States to rank universities. High school counselors don’t know us. We don’t recruit nationally. I want to, and I want to put resources into Student Affairs to help us do this because when the News and Observer asked me how I felt about the 18% cap on out of state enrollment, I said I’d love to be there. The fact is we are at 7 or 8% going down. I think the North Carolina students who are here would benefit from the diversity of education experience they would have if we had 15 – 18% of our students in the classroom from Arkansas. So I’d like for us to work on this. NC State continues to be the fifth best value in public higher education based on US News and World Report rankings. We are number five in terms of the return on investment on any public university in the country. We are number twenty eight for any university, public or private, so this is a great educational buy.
There is one other survey that I think is critical for us to pay attention because there we are going in the wrong direction as well, and that is what used to be called the Lombardi Report. There is an organization called the Center for Measuring Performance of Research Universities, and it is completely objective and it measures our grants and contracts, federal and private. It measures the size of our endowments, the strength of our faculty based on faculty in the various academies, faculty awards that come to our faculty so it’s largely a research intensive report and in that report we have slipped from the lower 50’s to 66 in the country and we need to be attentive to the direction in which we are headed because my fear is these kinds of things can start to feed on each other. You don’t want to be heading in that direction. You want to be improving the university and moving in a more positive direction or you run the risk of students not wanting to come to NC State. You run the risk of not being able to recruit the best faculty, so it’s something that we all have to be a bit attentive to and work hard to correct.
The big issues in US News and World Report that hurt us, graduation rate and the big one that dropped this year was the predicted graduation rate, so US News and World Report, they are very anal within an organization and they look at the quality of our Freshmen class and they say based on this SAT score and this GPA and this class rank we would predict that you would have graduation rate of 75% based on the national norm, but our graduation rate is 69% and so we underperform relative to their prediction and that hits us pretty hard. When the quality of the students should be graduating at a higher rate based on the national norm than they are. That’s why I think some of these conversations in strategic planning are critical to us, to think through what we can do to enhance the success of our students. What can we do to enhance the representation to work hard and to recruit students from around the country and to turn this tide?
I really don’t think that we are as resource challenged as people would suggest that we are. I continue to hear stories from faculty that I want to work with Vice Chancellor Leffler on about some of the challenges they have to get their job done, we are going to work through all of these and I hope you will get engaged in this planning process because when it’s all said and done it will be a road map for our future that I pay a lot of attention to and we will make investments based on that map.
What do you mean by return on investments?
The return on investment is calculated on the success of our students in the marketplace relative to the cost of their education, and because it’s so affordable and because our students are successful we are a great buy. The industries that hire our students absolutely love them because they have great work ethics and they are career ready. We produce a great product.
The return on investment says if you come here, you will get a job where it will not take you long to recover the cost of your investment in higher education.
In terms of large classes and small classes I thought we were moving toward larger classes. Are you rethinking larger classes?
The Provost and I have talked a lot about it and the last thing we can do is to not deliver on the quality of our education to our students. We are moving in a bad direction in terms of decrease in class size, decrease in class sections, a longer time to degree because of that, and so we have got to be attentive to that. I know that Provost Arden is working hard to get the sources out there to make sure that we have the class sections to keep students on paths.
There are challenges with the DELTA classes (online)—How do you balance those?
I honestly don’t know how they are going to afford it, because the challenge with distance education is not the size of the class, because it’s only one person; it’s the amount of people that are prepared to help the one person be successful, so I’m not sure how we report those.
It’s really important that we think deeply about these challenges. One example is for the last ten years the UNC System has largely been funded through enrollment growth, and we’ve benefitted tremendously from that., We did this year, but increasingly we are hearing from both General Administration and from the Legislature that the future will be based not on enrollment growth funding but based on retention and graduation rates; so that modifies your thinking. There is a part of me that feels like we are about as big as we ought to be, because we have a challenge with having sufficient classroom space. Enrollment growth isn’t our pass to Heaven. I think it’s going to start to look more like, what you do to ensure that your students graduate.
I can see your point of what to put resources into, but what do you take resources out of?
Chancellor Woodson responded, I don’t know, but we are going to find out over the course of the next few months in the planning process, because we can’t move in a direction that doesn’t keep NC State as one of the most effective universities in the country.
A revelation to me is that I asked Karen Helm to create a chart that looked at the amount of money we get per student from the state of North Carolina, and we are second only to Florida in terms of the total appropriation we receive at this university per student. Then I asked what we look like in terms of the total dollars generated per student in tuition and fees. Well, as you might imagine, we are at the bottom. We are actually in the top five of our peer group in terms of dollars we receive from the state per student. Where we are underfunded and it affects our rankings and it affects our ability to do our job is our endowment. A high priority for me is to grow the money in the bank that generates resources that we can use to keep moving this university forward.
What is the role of the colleges and departments with respect to recruiting out of state students—is it a university issue or is it at the college level?
Given the decentralized nature of NC State I don’t see how you can afford colleges not being involved. I think it’s a combination here. We recruit students at university level, but students apply directly to colleges and are admitted directly to colleges. We need to also be honest with ourselves and say that there are areas of the university that could be more successful in recruiting students.
I’m not trying to fill this university with out of state students; in fact, we don’t even receive money for them, which is kind of odd because of the way the budget is structured. If we grow tuition and fees beyond our budget, that actually just offset the state appropriation, so it’s not about money, it’s about creating an educational environment where the North Carolina students benefit and where the reputation of the institution benefits.
What is your feeling on balancing experienced faculty (senior faculty)?
My bias is to invest in really good junior faculty except where you can get the real benefit from bringing in a rainmaker, a really senior faculty member who can collect a group of junior faculty members around a scholarly focus that will, because of their presence here, elevate everyone. So, as people retire you can bring in a lot of junior faculty but you may lose the reputational statue that comes with having the rainmaker. There may be examples here where bringing one or two people in can really elevate the playing field. I’m not the one to decide that, it needs to come from the colleges and the faculty to tell us where those opportunities for investment are.
5. Remarks from Debbie Yow, Athletics Director
Director Yow stated that she is home and proud to be our Director of Athletics. The focus may be primarily on academics, and where we are and what we hope to achieve. I actually think we could be your brand, an intercollegiate athletics program run well. The philosophical question is whether or not intercollegiate athletics warrant the type of national attention that many programs get. I’m not here to debate that, I am here to suggest that it is true that that occurred, and a well placed article in USA Today over and over and these interviews that the chancellor and I did today. They are doing a special on NC State Athletics that will be coming out in a few weeks concerning the platform to talk about other things that are going on in the university. Although I know it is bad form to refer to the prior life, that is what happened at the University of Maryland where we were able to win twenty national championships during the last sixteen years. ESPN will be here for the Cincinnati game, they will be back again for Florida State. What happens is, on that afternoon in the production truck, the producers are there, we go to them with a sheet of facts that we say during the broadcast, these are things we suggest you talk about and ideally they are not all athletics. There are facts about the university, that the words that we want to spread as a university, we want other people to know because we have captured the entire nation for three hours. That’s what I hope we will be able to do.
We are not taking any state money as of this year, with the reversal of the $1.8M in out of state tuition waiver which happened on my first day at work. Maybe we will one day be better suited in this regard. I envision standing with Chancellor Woodson and the Provost somewhere saying here is a check for $1.0M to the library. We are not there yet, but I’m not going to put any artificial limitations on what we might be able to achieve over the next few years.
Academically we are 12 out of 12 in our rate in the Atlantic Coast Conference. We are at the bottom, so there is nowhere to go but up, and the question is how fast we can move up. There are three national academic methods used in athletics and all of them are reported widely across the nation so they have the potential to either reinforce positive or have a positive impact on the reputation of the university or the negative and that’s a federal graduation rate, the graduate success rate which is the same as the federal rate except you don’t have it counted against you; people who transfer out of the institution in good academic standing and something called the academic progress rate, which is suppose to be a real time view of the progress toward degree completion that our student athletes are making, so those are three I’m going to be concentrating on. Unlike Maryland, academics don’t report to the Director of Athletics. I’m used to that as well as fund raising reporting to me, everything reporting to me; I don’t mind the responsibility for it but appreciate the opportunity. It’s a little different here, academics is outside of athletics as well as fund raising.
We are the Council on Athletics which I think is a real plus for us here and we have just instituted an attendance policy for student athletes who are at risk. This is our first ever attendance policy and I’m watching it right now because the bottom line is, if a student athlete who is at risk academically doesn’t routinely go to class, then he or she will be sanctioned with a loss of either 5% of their competition schedule or the next competition, whichever is less, and I would like to avoid that.
We are ranked number 88 in the National Directors Cup and I would like to see us as a top 25 program.
Is the student’s contract just that they will be an athlete or their academic integrity?
The basic rules aren’t set by the Athletics Department per se; they are set by the university, the national governing body, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association. There is a rule for everything, so you have to abide by that standard as well as whatever the standard is on the campus for making progress toward degree completion. They are actually held to a higher standard by the NCAA at this point.
6. Comments by Terri Lomax, VC Research & Graduate Studies
Vice Chancellor Lomax presented a Power Point to update the faculty on where the university stands on research.
Vice Chancellor Lomax reported that faculty are working harder and asking for more money. We can see a response to that in the amount of dollars that are awarded.
Last year there was a 32% increase in dollars awarded—15% of that being stimulus dollars. I think we are really on the right track, so you can get a sense for the total expenditures by unit and how they are brought in by the university. This is also the first year that Engineering has caught up with Ag and Life Sciences.
Vice Chancellor Lomax reported that more than a year ago our friends over at UNC GA decided how we could improve innovation and text transfer, by coming up with a series of recommendations. One recommendation was that they asked the Chancellors at each of the sixteen campuses for implementation task forces to implement their recommendations. The recommendations that they asked the Chancellors for would make it easier for post docs and easier to recognize our faculty for the things that they do, so we had a task force working all last year and one service summary is that we are doing lots of great things in innovation at NC State, but they are not very well connected, they are pretty hard to find. So in the task force we are working on a portal to find all these different things to connect them together so they can find each other, which will enable the people on the outside to find out what they are doing. We can find the people outside and that that would hopefully turn into a fully integrated network. So the idea is a framework that would bring all the things together, which would be a place where you could find all of our workshops and services that we offer.
How do Humanities fit into your scheme?
Would you consider allocating money to hire post docs—expensive in my department?
Post docs here are extraordinarily cheap. I could not believe how little it cost to hire a post doc when I came here. Part of it is you don’t have to pay any retirement benefits on post docs here because of the way the North Carolina system works.
It’s much cheaper to hire graduate students than to hire a post doc here. I think we need a healthy mix of all of the above.
Can you give an update on Kannapolis?
Kannapolis is pretty much administered out of CALS. Our unit down there is doing great. We have four faculty members down there and we are in the midst of hiring three more. We have a lot of great facilities. I encourage anyone who hasn’t been there yet to go down and see it because it really is spectacular.
A Senator commented that he never sees direct dollars
Vice Chancellor Lomax explained that she is trying to get people to go ask the questions of their department heads and their deans, where are those dollars going. She stated that she would like to be as transparent as possible about what goes to the colleges.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45pm