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January 10, 2012

Present:  Chair Kellner, Immediate Past Chair Overton, Secretary Sawyers;  Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Borden, Bourham, Campbell, Carver, Edmisten, Freeman, Fuentes, Funkhouser, Hammerberg, Hatcher, Headen, Holden, Jasper, Khosla, Kotek, Lubischer, Lunardi, Moore, Nfah-Abbenyi, Rucker, Snyder, Tonelli, Tu, M. Williams, Zonderman

Excused:  Provost Arden; Senators Mitchell, Robinson

Absent:  Senators Sztajn, L. Williams

Visitors:  Tom Miller, Senior VP for Academic Outreach & Entrepreneurship; Karen Helm, Director, University Planning and Analysis; Greg Neyhart, Chemistry; Brandy Grabow, Undergraduate Tutorial Center; Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor, Information Technology; Emerson Barker, Student Government; Ellis Cowling, Natural Resources

1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the 8th meeting of the 58th session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m. 

2. Announcements and Remarks
Chair Kellner welcomed Senators and Guests.

Chair Kellner announced that the Chancellor will be unable to attend the General Faculty meeting scheduled for March 20th.  The rescheduled Faculty Senate meeting on March 13th is now the date of the General Faculty meeting and March 20th will be a Senate meeting. 

Chair Kellner reported that three Dean searches are currently in progress; two are academic (CALS and Natural Resources) and the regulations require that a number of faculty members be elected in elections overseen by Faculty Senators.  

The third search is for the Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs.  This division does not have its own academic constituency so the Provost has asked the Chair to name four faculty members.  They are Senators Moore, CALS; Sztajn, Education; Helmuth Hergeth, Textiles; Dennis Daley, CHASS.

Chair Kellner announced that there will be three Vice Provost reviews in the next few weeks. There was no place for faculty responses aside from those who are on the relevant committee that reported to the individuals, so Chair Kellner requested an electronic form where faculty who are interested can submit their opinions and comments.  It will be released after each of the public meetings.

Chair Kellner received a save the date message for March 1 when there will be a Celebrating Faculty Research and Scholarship Event here in the library at 4 p.m.  It will be sent to the entire faculty tomorrow.

Chair Kellner reported that the Chancellor talked about the tuition situation at the University Council and the Academic Leadership meetings.  Later this week, the Board of Governors will be voting on whether or not to approve the campus recommendation for catch up money as well as tuition increase for the university.  The Chancellor commented on the following seven on which the money would be spent should it be approved.

Chancellor Woodson said although NC State is a bargain for undergraduates our students graduate with an average amount of debt.  He said that the reason for this is our low endowment. 

Chair Kellner stated that they heard a great deal yesterday about the Hunt Library.  Currently the university has the study space for 5% of the student body with UNC benchmark at 20% so we are way behind.  With the Hunt Library and DH Hill we will reach 13%, which will be much better.

We learned a lot about strategic plan metrics.  A lot of it had to do with establishing trend marks against peers and figuring out where in the future you want to hang that spot that we are aiming for.  Finally we heard from Karen Helm on the QEP.

This morning at the Academic Leadership Meeting there were comments regarding the faculty excellence fund.  There have been seventy proposals overseen by Terri Lomax and Duane Larick.  The Chancellor said that over vacation he had a chance to do a Chancellor’s job of reviewing them and he was very interested and impressed.  The results will be made public soon and the question arose about the ambiguity of the criteria.   The Chancellor first said that was on purpose and he also commented that the major problem with some of the proposals that they didn’t seem big enough, they were too small in terms of numbers of faculty requested.  The comment was also made that yes, there will be feedback for those who have the fourth one of these seventy proposals, but Terri Lomax commented for example, there were four different coastal proposals and people were working apparently separately from one another, but that they should be working together in a more coordinated way.   

3. Approval of the Minutes, meeting number 7, November 29, 2011
The minutes were approved as submitted.

4. Distance Education Changes and Financing
Vice Provost Tom Miller reported that the DE Strategic Task force met last spring.  He presented a PowerPoint on the outcome of the strategic planning process.  The membership consisted of one dean, five associate deans, two department heads, one Vice Provost and one DE Program Director.  They were given a charge to review three items:

Miller stated that when you look at the magnitude of distance education, it started very small and now it represents more than 10% of the total credit hours delivered by the university. 

In 1998-99 the Legislature changed entirely the way the university was funded for enrollment.  It went from FTE based model to student credit hour based model.

Miller stated that if you look at our population of the students that are taking online or DE courses, about two thirds of the population are on-campus degree seeking students and they are taking a combination of on-campus and DE courses. Most are undergraduate at about 89%, 10% graduate and about 1% agriculture institute. 

Charge #3:  Examine faculty compensation for DE instruction, with respect to in-load responsibilities. 

Miller reported that this was one where there was a lot of debate.  There was no consensus among the colleges and departments that were represented on the task force.  There were some who felt strongly that the online instruction should be done entirely in-load and there were others who felt that if it was done in-load it would kill our entire program.

NC State has a policy that is at odds with the UNC policy.  The policy should be consistent with the intent of the UNC policy which limits overloading teaching to course per term.  The committee made a generalized recommendation that total overload, whether it is teaching, other responsibilities, etc., should be limited to 25% of effort, not necessarily salary, and subject to the discretion of the department head.

Another item that came up in the discussion was we don’t really know when faculty are teaching DE, so we are working on providing reports to the faculty and to the administrators.

Charge #2:  Examine the flow of DE generated resources to colleges and departments with the goal of treating the distribution of both on-campus and DE generated funds similarly.

The task force recommends that the university adopt a formulaic model for enrollment increase resource allocation that moves more towards the model for DE resource allocation.

Senator Hatch asked whether department heads would decide how DE money that comes through the departments would be spent.

Miller responded, we haven’t worked out the details of how that might happen yet.  When we are talking about DE programs we have worked that out.  We worked it out in 2007 and basically that is money that comes into the college and it’s really up to the deans to determine what to do with it.

Senator Lunardi asked how the changes would impact international students.

Miller responded that with the change in the way tuition is going to be charged there is going to be a very fundamental change. For the most part the formula funding from the legislature for DE and on campus is identical.  They are both governed by the twelve cell matrix but there are some important differences related to non-resident students.   

Charge #1:  Examine our tuition model, with the goal of eliminating the penalty currently imposed when full time, on-campus students take additional hours by DE.

Miller reported, right now tuition is charged based on the course.  If it’s a distance education course, tuition is charged by the distance education formula which is a per-credit hour formula, and this is a legislative mandate, it is not a choice.  Distance education is charged by the credit hour whereas on campus instruction is based on an FTE model.  Back in 1998-99 when they went from an FTE model to an credit hour model, there was an expectation that every credit hour would be charged tuition and that has never happened and there is good reason for it not to happen because it would change a lot of things, but they did mandate that distance education would be charged on a per credit hour basis with a specific formula.  You take the annual tuition for undergraduates divided by 29.6 and that is what you charge per credit hour.  You take the annual tuition for graduate students divided by 20.4 and that is what you charge for a graduate credit hour.

Miller stated that they visited with the GA about this and they approved our plan to do this, and the plan was, what if, instead of charging by the course, what if we charge by the category of classification of the student.  In other words for an off campus student we would charge them as if the courses were on campus.  So that is what we have proposed, it’s what the GA said would be acceptable.  It’s now with the Board of Governors and it does change the matrix that we submit for funding.  It actually makes the funding request go up by $2M.  We may end up getting more money from the Legislature as a result of the change.  It’s going to hit international graduate students particularly hard because they cannot become residents.   They will be paying full out of state tuition for each course that they take.

Karen Helm, Director of Planning and Analysis gave remarks about the accreditation process and sought the Faculty Senate’s advice on how to proceed in one of the matters before them.   

Helm reported that there are two primary components to accreditation. 

The Compliance Certification is similar to what you are accustomed to.  This involves drafting reports that describe what NC State does to comply with about 80 or 90 standards.  We will be treating this like an administrative task.  The compliance standards cover almost everything that we do although it’s largely focused on instruction. 

Helm stated that the more interesting part in her view of the accreditation effort is the Quality Enhancement Plan and that is where the committee will like some input from the faculty. 

Helm stated that the Quality Enhancement Plan represents an opportunity to address a need related to student learning and to do something new or to change something that needs to be changed.  Since we will be collectively spending a lot of time, energy, and money on the Quality Enhancement Plan it is worth thinking about how best to take advantage of this opportunity.

The QEP is an action plan that is designed to improve student learning in some way and we may choose what that way is.  We can choose what the focus of our QEP is as long as it focuses on student learning and the learning environment.

Helm asked, “How would we choose a topic for the QEP?”  Certainly it needs to be an institutional priority.  Hopefully it would be something that would be reflected in our strategic plan and you will recall from the strategic plan that one of the goals was related to student success through a variety of high impact educational experiences like seminars, undergraduate research, etc.  It is important that we identify two or three topics that enjoy a high level of interest and commitment among the faculty and administration. It needs to be feasible and affordable.  It’s important that whatever offices or departments that will be involved in implementing the QEP that they also have the commitment and capacity to implement this. 

The QEP that we chose ten years ago, Learning in a Technology Rich Environment (LITRE) was a project that was overseen largely by DELTA, so DELTA staff were involved from the very beginning and they provided a home for the five years of its existence, so we need to be thinking about do we have the commitment and capacity and the particular office or department that will support the QEP. 

We must choose a topic designed to improve student learning.  That means that some of the strategies we might explore in a particular QEP might involve curriculum or courses or general education requirements and that is something that the faculty will need to look in to and possibly implement. 

SACS requirements—These are what SACS will look for when they come to evaluate our QEP. 

We will be obliged to develop an assessment plan, a well constructed assessment plan that we can use to measure the impact of student learning.  

This whole effort is being steered or coordinated by a SACS leadership team.  The leadership team includes:  Chancellor, Provost, Accreditation Liaison (Karen Helm), Hans Kellner (Faculty Senate), Duane Larick (Graduate School), and Joan Cohen.  Last fall, the leadership team identified five topics that they were interested in that related to strategic planning.  They were Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Information Literacy, Global Awareness and Civic Awareness. 


Senator Aspnes – We are heading in the wrong direction in trying to teach more and more students and we are trying to compensate for the lack of successful interaction between students and instructors.

Helm- So one of the things we have to do with our QEP  is, we would say broadly that we will include student learning.

Aspnes - By having a closer interaction with the professor then it is possible that with 150 students I can get a better idea what they need and how best to meet that need

Senator Auerbach stated that one of NC State’s biggest problems is a shortage of tenure track professors. He would be in favor of eliminating the last two potential topics and to focus on those that are more likely to result in an increase in tenure-track faculty.

Senator Lubischer stated that she thinks critical thinking is core to the mission of the university and is essential for our students.

Senator Lunardi noted that support for undergraduate research has declined and that it would be very nice to be able to increase funding for student research as part of the QEP.

Senator Zonderman stated that all four of the goals are fabulous.  If ranked he would say critical thinking is the most important.  He would really push for things like freshman seminar programs which are highly correlated with student success.

Senator Hatcher asked how this is going to be funded  The other question has to do with metrics—has that subject been asked in terms of what are we going to do in terms of that measurement, in other words what is that measurement going to look like?

Helms stated that they can’t figure out what the metrics are until it is known which QEP topic they are going to have. The reason I have been spending time with people on what topic is because we need to choose a topic very carefully because we will spend money on it so it needs to be a priority.  We will need metrics.  We will have to have a plan that details who is going to do what when, what is the assessment plan, what’s the metric, etc., and it will need a budget.  I can’t tell you how it will be funded and I can’t tell you how much it will cost until we have a planning committee who will decide what strategies we will use. 

Secretary Sawyers suggested that the committee think about defining the topic as broadly as possible.  The reason being broader allows you to more specifically tailor an experience to different groups of students.

Helm stated that one of her worries about the QEP is choosing one that requires redesign of courses or curriculums.

Senator Edmisten stated that the first three topics were the best.  He thinks that the students he deals with are pretty good at critical thinking.

Senator Tonelli asked how this would be coordinated with programs that are already in place. For example, will it replace current programs or enhance or supplement them?

Past Chair Overton noted that the strategy to accomplish the QEP remains to be figured out.

Senator Hatcher asked, what does institution-wide entail?

Helm stated that it is up to us to interpret.  Certainly it would be institution wide if it affected every student, less than that I’m not quite sure, but I’m not sure that we have to have a community that affects every student.  I can tell you that it was limited to a department or college that’s probably not institution wide. 

Senator Headen suggested that it would be important to ask students what they want and what they think is missing in their current education.

6. Issues of Concern                         
Chair Kellner received an issue of concern that alleges that the draft program evaluation tool of the development of program effectiveness group favored large main stream programs.

Senator Zonderman responded that the mechanism used will be that in addition to all the quantitative data, we are going to follow up with a qualitative review for smaller programs.

CNR Faculty have expressed concerns with “the modification to consulting and conflict of interest regulations and notification of intent being promulgated,” particularly the new policy that requires disclosure when dollar thresholds are exceeded.  Chair Kellner assigned the issue to the Personnel Policy Committee.  

Past Chair Jim Martin submitted an issue of concern about disability services and the method of notifying faculty of accommodation requests. 

7. Adjournment
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:50 p.m.

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