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September 4, 2012

Present:  Chair Kellner, Chair Elect Zonderman, Secretary Sawyers, Senators Aday, Aspnes, Borden, Bradley, Daley, Devetsikiotis, Fleisher, Freeman, Fuentes, Funkhouser,  Jasper, Knopp,  Lubischer, Lunardi, Moore, Morgado, Penrose, Rucker, Snyder, Spontak, Tyler, L. Williams, M. Williams, P. Williams

Excused:  Provost Arden, Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Ade, Argyropoulos, Bourham, Hatcher, Holden

Absent:  Senators Lucia, Nfah-Abbenyi, Piedrafita, Sztajn

Visitors:  Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Mike Mullen, Vice Chancellor/Dean Academic & Student Affairs; Emerson Barker, Student Government Senate President Pro Tempore; Richard Bernhard, Professor Emeritus, Industrial and System Engineering

1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the 2nd meeting of the 59th session to order at 3 p.m.

2. Remarks from the Chair
Chair Kellner welcomed Senator Derek Aday, a new senator from CALS and he announced that Santiago Piedrafita (absent) would be the new senator from the College of Design.  

Chair Kellner reviewed information from the Faculty Senate handbook.

Chair Kellner had a meeting with two scholars from Japan who were interviewing people at the local universities regarding faculty governance.  He stated that it was interesting to see that their organizations did not have such organizations.  He pointed out to them that NC State’s Senate model is different from the other models in the UNC System, which have larger Senates and fewer meetings with more being done by committees.

Chair Kellner reported that Karen Helm attended the Executive Committee meeting to discuss the SACS process and she also wanted to be sure that everyone is being informed of the process of inventorying all of the credentials of every faculty member at NC State and what an enormous task this is going to be.

Chair Kellner attended the 604/607 training last week that was offered by Sarah Lannom from the Office of Legal Affairs.  He stated that the grievance process continues to be a difficult process, but we will continue to work on it.  There will be another 604/607 meeting on Friday to talk about possible ideas and changes.

Chair Kellner reported that another process that is beginning is the Physical Master Plan Revision Advisory Committee.  It’s time to revise the Physical Master Plan and there will be in the next year or so a group of workshops and various committees dealing with different aspects of the campus.  There will be an opportunity for us to bring to the table as a group, concerns and new ideas about what might be possible to change the physical structure of the campus for the better. 

The Tuition Review Advisory Committee had its first meeting.  This is a group that meets four times in the space of two weeks.  At these meetings we discuss what the number is going to be for the tuition increase next year.  The catch up process by which we have an agreement that over a number of years the NC State tuition can catch up with losses from legislative funding and move up a certain level within the peer groups, offsetting to some degree, reductions in budgets and state cuts.

Chair Kellner solicited Senate representatives to serve on the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and on the Campus Environment Sustainability Team (CEST).

Chair Kellner stated that the implementation of BORST is something that he has protested, because there is no faculty representation on the BORST implementation team.  On the other hand, the College of Sciences implementation committee does in fact have faculty members on the Academic Policy side of the committee and two people who happen to be senators.  This means that we have people who can bring information back to the Senate to talk about what’s going on before it happens.  There is always a concern when we don’t have an ear and a voice in matters of academic interest.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 1, August 21, 2012
A motion passed to approve the minutes as submitted.

4. Remarks from Mike Mullen, Vice Chancellor/Dean of Academic & Student Affairs
Vice Chancellor Mullen hails from Indiana and he has two degrees from Purdue University and he received a PhD in Soil Science from NC State, so he is an alum of CALS and Professor in the Soil Science Department. 

Mullen stated that during his time as Associate Provost, he learned a lot about student affairs and also had a very good working relationship with colleagues in Student Affairs.

Mullen stated that I would not have come to NC State if the position was the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs because that isn’t my background, I’m an academic by education.  I hope to one day be back as a Soil Scientist teaching classes before I ever retire.  I try to teach at least one time per year because I think it’s important to do good things for undergraduates in the classroom and it’s important for me to model that as well. 

Mullen stated that he wasn’t looking for Student Affairs, but when they said we are going to have one division that focuses on academics and the life of the students all from one vantage point and the opportunity to take those units to began having discussions about what that might look like, not July 1, 2012, but perhaps, June 2013 or 2014 as we continue to evolve, I see what we have done so far as a start not a finish.  I still have  the formidable task of getting people around this university to see that this is a new entity and that I’m not here to replace John Ambrose or Tom Stafford, that indeed I’m here to fill a position that has never been at this university.  I have to continue to have that conversation with my own unit, so we have already begun the dialog of what I consider to be attributes of a great Senior Vice Provost, about how do we go forward with program and planning activities and policies.  I was really intrigued by this model and I was also very intrigued by the enthusiasm of Chancellor Woodson and Provost Arden when I spoke to them about this model and about the opportunity to take what I consider to be pretty successful student numbers and make them even better so that Maryland, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Purdue are looking to us for the kinds of programs that make students successful.

Mullen stated, I got here and we are talking about student success and retention at 90%, which is a pretty good retention rate.  At Kentucky I spent my three years as Associate Provost as a part of a four-year program at that time taking our retention rate from 76  to  82 percent.  That graduation rate is only 71% and surely we can do better than that with a 90% retention rate. We are bringing in good students and I think there are some things that we can look at when we start talking about what does it take to get from that 71 percent.  Something is happening after our first year of retention.  You have a great first year going here, how do we take that and build on it and move for more success for our students and I also think time to graduation.  Only 37% of our students graduate in four years.  There are reasons for that.  I know they change majors, but there still things that need to be done.

This is a really exciting opportunity and I’m very excited to be here.

Questions and Comments
How have you been discussing the issues of internal transfers with the administration?

Mullen stated that this has come up on more than one occasion and he will be meeting with one of the colleges next week to discuss the issue from their perspective.   He is also talking with the people in his unit.  It is certainly something worth looking at and it’s my understanding that Louis Hunt is supposed to be pulling a group together and I suspect that I will be a part of that group charged with looking at future college transfer issues.  When I get more information I will get back to you.

Senator Williams commented that the Athletic Council studied the same issue with student athletes and passed a resolution proposing a “get out of jail free” card where the athlete would get one opportunity to transfer with no questions asked as long as the student was making satisfactory progress.

Mullen stated that he would ultimately refer to faculty governance on that issue. I can see where in a few colleges they still would want to hold that in place.  It’s an intriguing idea, but there’s a difference when kids get a 2.7 instead of a 2.9 than when kids get a 2.1 versus a 2.7.

Chair Elect Zonderman commented that this needs a university-wide discussion.  The other problem is that money doesn’t always follow students.  What strikes you as the strengths of this reorganization? Are there concerns as well?

Mullen stated that no matter which side of the house that you are in there are academic programs.  You look at a living learning community where it’s primarily run out of Housing, I think that this kind of structure gets us to the point where we start having more cross cutting discussion about what the role of housing and what the role of academics is in the living and learning community.  I think they are both essential, obviously you the faculty will not want to stay in the residence hall 24/7,  but when it comes to programming and activities I think there needs to be a balance between where there is a student life purpose and an academic purpose.  Other areas we have not even discussed.  I mean we have discussed within our leadership group.  I was really pleased by the fact that when I came here not one of them held to the idea of this is the way we have always done it.  We talked about what does it look like in a year, two years and three years.  What kinds of shifting and moving across borders can we do that brings the academic and co-curricula and the culture in our own unit, so we don’t  even know what we are going to look like.  I think the benefit is that we are going to have a better focus on student life, in the classroom, or in the other components of their campus life, than either unit could have done separately.

Senator Daley asked, how do you go about getting the faculty involved with students outside of the classroom?

Mullen stated that he would like to think that we could foster an environment where we start to think as faculty about what do I say to students in my classroom.  How do I approach them the first day?  Do I mention the fact that there are counseling services, that there is a tutoring center?  I’d like for us to think as faculty about how we do communicate about success.  It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to talk about it to make sure that they understand that there are resources available beyond that.

Senator Fleisher commented that the information should be available in the class syllabus.

Mullen stated that it doesn’t take much to convey the message that I as a professor care about your success.

Mullen stated that in first-year student surveys at the University of Kentucky, 31% of freshmen agreed with the statement that the professors at the university do not care about them. How many of that 31% was part of the group that didn’t return? 

Chair Kellner  - What is your position on having classrooms and classes in the dorm?

Mullen responded that he likes them. 

Senator Knopp commented that our promotion and tenure system does not reward involvement with students outside of the classroom. Are you going to press for some changes along the line of advising?

Mullen stated that advising is another issue.  I don’t know how you are rewarded for advising students or if you are rewarded for advising students.  My guess is no, more than yes.   I also hope that as we go forward we start talking about what does that second and third year transition look like, that we have a group on campus that is comprised not just of administrators. 

Chair Kellner inquired about the relationship of First Year College and the discussion of a general studies degree as a way of giving students who are marooned, a way of finally graduating. 

Mullen stated that he asked and the short answer was no. The longer answer was that there has been no serious discussion in the recent past on a general studies degree however, that is not the same as the discussions that are going on with regard to the central interdisciplinary major. 

Chair Kellner stated that one of the challenges he faces in this room was the problem of the interdisciplinary perspective courses that were put into the general education program about five years ago. It is a challenge to agree on what interdisciplinary is, how it works, what courses would be considered, how to maintain the standards, how to find continuity in them from year to year.  How to keep faculty interested in doing them, all these things remain major challenges and one of the ongoing problems in the general education program.

Mullen stated that he has seen some really outstanding interdisciplinary degrees.  Interdisciplinary Programs offer beautiful things but they often die a few years later because of lack of  continued administrative support for the resources or faculty.

Chair Keller inquired about the arts and music.  He wants to know when are they going to be moved in a college that is not  in academic and student affairs.

Mullen stated that he has no timeline and answer yet. It’s not likely to happen this year, but certainly it is something that is on the radar.  I am well aware of the thought from particularly the music department.  Those discussions are happening.

5. Questions for Louis Hunt, University Registrar
1)  Academic Calendar:  Concern that the fall semester seems to be starting earlier and earlier. 

2) Do students work too much outside of class?

3)  Financial Aid – What is the safety net in borrowing?

4)  Why does classes start in the middle of the week?

5)  Why are classes no longer offered on Saturday?

6)  Why do we end classes on Friday and not start exams until Tuesday?

7)  English language capabilities of entering freshmen from other countries?

8)  Concerns about the qualities of transfer students

9)  Irregular admission where people are admitted that do not meet the admission standards?

6. Discussion of Senate Topics of Interest
The votes and comments from the last meeting were tabulated by Secretary Sawyers and copies of the results were provided to members.

Chair Kellner reported that the top three topics of interest were Distance Ed, Faculty Recognition, and Governance.   What should the senate do to explore these topics this year?  The question of distance education keeps coming up, so the question is, what do we mean, what are we talking about, why are people voting for it as the number one issue?. 

Senator Daley commented that distance education is a mess. 

Chair Kellner stated that it does seem that now the premium for distance education classes no longer has to be paid by the student taking distance education courses.  At the same time however, the premium to the department offering distance education courses that is divided usually at the discretion of the department head with the person who is teaching the distance education course with some remaining for the department, remains in place.  I have spoken to the Provost, asking how is that financial model being handled and I don’t think I received an answer that I can remember. 

Senator Fuentes stated that we have had a model here at NC State for a while in which entrepreneurial faculty have gone out and devised courses as overloads and that the model seems to be changing to in-load teaching of DE courses.

Chair Kellner stated that he is led back to the notion that being a student is 100 percent of your job, but being a teacher isn’t, so the overload model always distresses me.  The model here will be hard to change because of the financing tradition and because the faculty incentive tradition has gone this way.

Senator Lubischer stated that there is a disparity between financing a course in a recognized program and financing a course in an unrecognized program.

Senator Knopp stated that we need to decide whether we will embrace a formula funding model with respect to DE.

Senator Kellner  stated that what he knows about this topic now is that Tom Miller will bring it up with Louis Hunt who can answer some questions. 

Senator Zonderman commented that the funding model for DE is murky and that we need data on the educational value of DE programs. Is increasing DE good or bad for NC State?

Chair Kellner congratulated the Resources and Environment Committee for scheduling a meeting on Centennial Campus next week.

7.  Issues of Concern
A faculty member from CALS is concerned that a group of students was not approved for a study abroad trip to Australia.  The issue was assigned to the Academic Policy Committee.

Senator Borden inquired about the functionality of security cameras in DSO.  Chair Kellner assigned the issue to the Resources and Environment Committee.

8. Adjournment
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:40 p.m.

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