February 8, 2000
Senators present: Chair Corbin, Secretary Carter, Parliamentarian Link, Chair Emeritus Wahl; Senators Banks, Bottcher, Brown, Brownie, Elmaghraby, El-Masry, Fitzgerald, Funderlic, Gilbert, Grainger, Griffin, Kimler, Lytle, Markham, Misra, Peel, Robinson, Smoak, Suh, Toplikar, Werner, Wilkerson, Willits, Wilson
Senators absent: Provost Hall; Senators Ash, Fisher, Grimes, Hamouda, Havner, Hodge, Kelley, Malinowski, Sawyers
Visitors: Sam Averitt, Vice Provost for Information Technology; Daniel Bunce, Assistant Editor; Bulletin; Ashley B. Perry, Senior Staff Writer, Technician; J. R. Wilson, Head, Industrial Engineering; R. Young, Industrial Engineering; Greg Holden, ADA Coordinator; John Borwick, Student Senate Pro Tempore; Frank Abrams, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Karin Wolfe, Director, Office of Academic Personnel Services
1. Call to Order
The tenth meeting of the forty- sixth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Fred Corbin.
Chair Corbin thanked Dr. Ruben Carbonell, Director of the Kenan Institute, for providing scholarships to the faculty for the Emerging Issues Forum on February 24-25, 2000.
Chair Corbin announced that the Reappointment Promotion and Tenure Committee has been appointed and the committee will be chaired by Ellis Cowling.
Chair Corbin announced that he plans to send a request to one person from each of the colleges to serve as Chair of the election committee.
Chair Corbin announced that along with the Faculty Senate elections, there will also be an election for a Chair-Elect of the Faculty.
The Board of Trustees will meet February 17-18, 2000. On Friday, February 18, 2000 there will be an open meeting at 10:00 a.m. in the Alumni Conference Room. Faculty are welcome to attend that meeting.
Chair Emeritus Wahl announced that "Service Raleigh" will be on Saturday, April 8, 2000 from 10:00 - 2:00 p.m. There will be a representative coming to the Senate to give specifics on the program.
2. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, January 11, 2000
The minutes were approved as amended.
3. Remarks from Frank Abrams, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Dr. Abrams thanked Chair Corbin for inviting a group of faculty to attend the AAHE Faculty Conference. Those in attendance were Alton Banks, Philip Carter, Fred Corbin, Crowell Bowers, Sarah Ash, Carol Schwab and Doug Wellman. He stated that the meeting is held each year and was stimulated out of the work of Ernest Boyer in a book called Scholarship Reconsidered which is one of the principal publications for looking at faculty professional progress and for what it means in helping faculty to define scholarship.
Dr. Abrams stated that he would like the Senate representatives on the university standing committees to help ensure that the committees are moving to identify who the next chairs will be. He said one of the fundamental changes that was made a few years ago is that the committees determine the leadership from year to year. Also, there is a review of the charge of the committee to see if the committee really needs to exist, or if it needs to be charged to do something different. Dr. Abrams stated that his office sent out information last week requesting feedback from the committees. He noted that the information is very valuable for the committee on committees. It enables them to make sure that the committees are appropriately staffed and people are where they would like to be.
Dr. Abrams noted that the university was closed for three days during the snow. After extensive but intensive consultation with the Chair of the Faculty and student leadership the administration made the decision to recapture two of the missed days by adding back the two days before the Easter Holiday. The Calendar Committee has been asked to review the calendar to think about the possibility of including into the calendar some labeling of class holidays as potential makeup days for these sort of things. He stated that it gives them a chance to think of a more regular way to think about outages.
Dr. Abrams stated that everyone has probably read Provost Hall and Michele Cam's article in the December Technician about Academic Integrity. He said it is a concern on this campus. A lot of it has to do with various things that happened on campus over the years. Nationally it is a concern. The Student Senate is considering a resolution in which they are asking themselves and faculty for more emphasis on the issue of academy integrity. Dr. Abrams would like the faculty to think about the issue and about what they can do as faculty in their interaction with students to communicate the importance of integrity in academic dealings i.e., that the faculty take cheating seriously and that they are willing to do something about it.
Dr. Abrams reported that efforts are under way to enhance the services for students with disabilities. Greg Holden who is the ADA Coordinator is here to answer questions. Disability Services were physically moved to the Student Health Services Building in December when that building opened. The ADA Coordinator position was expanded to a full time position. The ADA advisory committee has been assembled. The disability student services unit was administratively restructured and moved to Academic Affairs to report to Vice Provost Joanne Woodard. There are a number of things that have been undertaken in the context with this restructuring and the process of it. First of all, new procedures and processes have been put in place to include Customer Service. Disability Services for students are available for faculty in dealing with issues from a general standpoint and curriculum design standpoint.
Dr. Abrams reported that assisted technology equipment items have been purchased with funds provided through the education and technology fee. Provisions were made for intake procedures, tutoring services, reading services and testing accommodation procedures to make them more responsive to people’s needs. Temporary employees have been hired to render documents to braille where that is needed. Accommodation letters are now being sent directly to faculty. An assistant disability coordinator position was created and filled in September of this past fall to provide services for students with physical and psychological disabilities, and the Handbook for Students with Disabilities was revised to describe the procedures and expectations for obtaining reasonable accommodations on campus.
Dr. Abrams stated that Provost Hall wanted him to thank the Senators for their involvement as Senators and in their teaching involvements and to ask them as leaders of the faculty to help promote dialog among the faculty regarding issues of how to appropriately address accommodating disabilities in student learning, to ask for guidance and support to promote accommodation efforts by faculty colleagues, and in thinking about things such as the extent to which syllabi materials can be made available in a timely fashion. Dr. Abrams stated that there are situations where materials have to be brailled or put into another form to accommodate a disability, then our timelessness becomes a critical issue.
Chair Emeritus Wahl wanted to know if disability services are available for faculty.
Greg Holden, ADA Coordinator, responded that those services are available through his office.
4. Faculty Memorial
Dr. John Riddle, Professor of History, read a memorial statement for L. Walter Seegers
5. Remarks from Sam Averitt, Vice Provost for Information Technology
Vice Provost Averitt stated that information technology is touching almost everything that is done today. Therefore, the decisions we make and the choices that we choose to pursue are extremely critical to the university and to our success in the long run.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that Provost Hall established an IT Advisory Committee during the fall semester. He charged that committee with looking at IT and coming up with some innovative recommendations that could help push the university forward. As a result of that, the committee went back to the Provost and proposed that NC State adopt open-source as a strategic direction for academic computing. He stated that the Provost listened, and they made the arguments. The Provost then asked them to carry this forward to the campus. Vice Provost Averitt stated that many questions have been asked as a result of that process. He said one thing that should be known is that questions about communications are part of the communication process. He thinks that is an example of how they intend to do business.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that open-source does not equal Linux. Open-source is a thing unto itself. It has a rich meaning, and it is a very powerful meaning. If you substituted something, what you would probably substitute would be on the line of technological diversity or open choice to the campus community. If you think that our IT direction should be to pick a strategy, and if you are for choice, diversity, and being able to use many solutions, then open source is the right approach for you to follow. We will support Linux as an option. We believe that Linux is going to be a very powerful force in the future of technology. It is not here today, except in the server side.
Why are we going with open-source?
It is important that we take charge of our destiny. It is important that we set a vision that we know where we are going as we move out into the future. We want a destiny by design, not by default as we move into time enhanced learning. It is very important that we take into serious consideration access to our content, how our content is stored, how people are going to access it, what are the restrictions if any, what are the mechanisms by which that is done, what are we going to do for the distance learner, and what are we going to do for the learner who is using technology on the campus. We need to be following a mode that allows us maximum opportunity to innovate. We need to avoid unintended fragmentation, and it is generally agreed that in the long term, open-source will produce a more supportable and more affordable computing environment.
Three Phase Technology Life Cycle
You have frontier, you have commodity phase and obviously most of the people live in the commodity phase, and in the tailing end you have the legacy phase. In all of those phases I believe that the right choices is a self selected choice. Users decide whether they want to be on the leading edge. There is a fairly large number of people on this campus who are well served by being on the leading edge. Obviously the bulk of the people on the campus are well served by being in the commodity group. Finally--- the legacy group--- at some point we have to convert systems that are no longer supportable, dysfunctional, problematic and are becoming increasingly high maintenance. If systems become an impediment to getting our work done, eventually we have to phase them out.
There has been a number of questions about staffing. Approximately two years ago we did a survey for some response. At that time about 40% of our IT resources existed within the colleges. The other 60% were in Central Services in a combination between Finance and Business and Information Technology. Looking just at information technology, you see that we have five major departmental groups. Two are chosen to highlight the systems group. They are responsible for supporting our servers and our services. Ninety-three percent of our servers are Unix based.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that they have a number of projects currently underway. In fact, they have just done some internal reorganization. They have selected a senior staff member who is going to be in charge of pushing some of the projects forward. He stated that there are some serious issues with supporting the windows environment. Vice Provost Averitt is optimistic that some changes will be made and a difference will be seen in the colleges and departments for some of the things that they are able to bring into being.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that if you look at open-source as an issue, it has a more global perspective. There are a lot of fundamentally important factors that come into play. He said they are coming under increased competition. If we want to be who we say we are, then we are going to have to be creative and aggressive.
What is it that we must do in IT to be successful?
In the very largest sense, we must balance the interest of a multifaceted institution and a diverse community. We need to position NC State University as a technology leader. Chancellor Fox has said that she wants NC State to be a premier technology university, the flagship university in the state, and competitive nationally with the top tier of schools. In order to do that we have to make decisions and take actions that position us as a leader. We have to do that without crippling basic productivity. We have to create transforming opportunities without requiring that all our users become experts. We have to raise the bar. We have to do that without disenfranchising our constituents or compromising academic freedoms.
Vice Provost Averitt said he thinks that we need to embrace diverse objectives without imposing undue financial and support burdens over the university. If we accomplish these goals then we will be successful in IT and supporting the university in its best interest.
Senator Wilkerson wants to know who determines what hardware is used in the university students’ labs and who makes the decision on the software and downloadable application packages. In the past it has been her perception that as faculty they have no control at all over what machines are in those labs, what is being run on them, and what is available for the students to use on them. She wants to know if a system can be devised where that is reflected more in the college lab.
Vice Provost Averitt responded that he feels that will change in the future. When you are dealing with the need to deliver services in a given semester in progress, fall and spring have a continuity to them. We have made changes in that we have introduced a significantly larger number of NT work sections. In some ways we are throttled on that introduction based on how well we can provide the back end services that fit the particular operating system environment for other platforms.
Senator Wilkerson stated that she is asking for an attempt to make those university labs more reflective of what the faculty and students are indicating they need based on what is in the college labs.
Vice Provost Averitt wanted to know if it is the operating system environment that’s really important or is it the applications.
Senator Wilkerson replied that in the colleges there is a lot of discipline specific software which runs on a particular platform. She feels that there has been a disconnect between what is in the college lab and what is available on the university lab. She wants to know if the two can be brought together so that if a student needs to do something at 2:00 a.m. it can be done from the dorm, rather than not be able to do it at all, because the college lab is closed.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that he thinks the issue is applications. The whole open-source initiative is to take those things off the table so that what we can do is talk about applications. There is no good justifiable technical reason why the underlying operating system and the general purpose computer environment and the applications have to be so tightly cuffed. We hope that we can run all of the applications across multiple platforms and then they are platforms of choice. We are obviously not there yet.
Dr. Jim Wilson, Department Head of Industrial Engineering reviewed some of the same sentiments reflected by Senator Wilkerson. He stated that he is in a discipline where virtually all the software that they require for teaching and research is exclusively on Windows platforms. He stated that based on his knowledge, the software vendors who developed software for this discipline, that it is simply not going to be the case in the near or far term that they will be able to separate themselves from the Windows platform. He suggested that the university is going to have to address the needs of discipline specific software for teaching and research. He stated that he is a little concerned to find the head line of the Bulletin stating that "NC State Adopts Open-Source Computer Policy" when there has been no discussion of it. He is also concerned about what appears to be a trend to move toward open-source, and leaving them twisting in the wind on the support that they need to teach their classes and to perform their research. He feels that it is a crisis situation in fundamental computing for teaching and research in some areas of the university.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that from Central IT Services, they have certain labs which they provide support for, and then there are a huge number of labs that reside in the colleges and departments. That is a policy of long standing. That is something that can be brought up for debate. The way it is now, 40% of the resources reside in the colleges and the colleges support a large number of labs. He is sympathetic with the problems that Dr. Wilson expressed. He stated that one thing they can help him do is to work on the larger technical solutions in terms of integrating into the back end.
Dr. Wilson stated that he would assert that the claim that this open source thrust is going to sweep away everything else in the near term is simply not supported by the facts. In fact, now we need adequate support to just go about the daily business of teaching our classes and doing our research.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that two years from now open source will be used as a mechanism to solving some of those problems. On the other hand, we are here now today, and we have to make things work. We have to invest in fixing problems that we have today and in preparing for the future because the future will come. When it comes, we have to be able to address the needs as they exist in that point in time as well as to address the needs today.
6. Resolution of Commendation
Secretary Carter read a resolution of commendation from the Faculty Senate to Coach Kay Yow for serving as NC State’s Women basketball coach for twenty- five years.
The Senate congratulated her with a standing round of applause.
Coach Yow thanked the Senate for recognizing her and gave the following remarks:
"I’m honored. Words could not say how honored I am by you. It is my pleasure to do what I do at NC State. I know a leader is a person who serves. I feel I have a visionary role and I have to establish a vision and a direction for the people that I lead with some input from other people.
It is a part of my vision for the women’s basketball program at NC State. There are other things that are part of my vision. I want to produce winners as people. I am striving hard to do my part in helping to develop qualities and characteristics within people that will help them be a success no matter what they do. I think leadership begins on the inside. It is character. You have to have it on the inside and then it comes on the outside.
We have to be task oriented, but we also have to be people oriented. If you get too task oriented, you forget about the people. If you get to people oriented, we forget about production or the task. The balance is to understand tasks and people and bring a perfect blend to excel in both. My team has excellence together and that is what we hope that we are about. Today we are number one in the ACC race. I will enjoy being number one in the ACC for the next one and a half days. I will enjoy the full impact of that.
It is my pleasure to work with young people and to work at the University. I have never, since the day I arrived here in July 1975, even considered another job offer.
People ask, when will I retire. I have not thought about that word yet. I have seven freshmen on my team and three sophomores and a very young team. They have renewed me, because at one point I thought, I do not know about young people, what’s happening to them. Then seven freshmen came along and they are everything I ever thought a student athlete could be. I would be glad to have them for my daughters and I would be proud that they would represent me in that way. To be with people like that and work with them toward a common goal energizes me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The Senate also presented her with a twenty-fifth anniversary cake.
Chair Corbin adjourned the meeting at 4:55 p.m.