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Minutes of the Faculty Senate

January 16, 2007

Present:  Chair Allen, Secretary Bruck, Chair-Elect Martin, Parliamentarian Corbin, Provost Nielsen; Senators Akroyd, Anson, Blair, Culbreth, Dawes, Evans, Fauntleroy, Fleisher, Genzer, Hanley-Bowdoin, Heitmann, Hudson, Jones, Kellner, Khosla, Kinsella, Lindbo, Murty, Ozturk, Raymond, Scotford, Shamey, Smith, Wessels, Williams

Excused:  Senator Branoff, Gustke, Muddiman, Overton, Robarge, Schultheis

Absent:  Senators Banks-Lee, Moore, Mulvey, Yencho

Visitors:  PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Marcia, Gumpertz; Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty & Staff Diversity; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Betsy Brown, Special Assistant to the Provost; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Kevin Howell, Assistant to the Chancellor for External Affairs; Benny Benton, Bulletin Editor; Donna Petherbridge, Director, Instructional Services, DELTA; Tom Miller, Vice Provost, DELTA

1.  Call to Order
Chair Nina Stromgren Allen called the ninth meeting of the fifty-third session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.

2.   Welcome and Announcements
Chair Allen welcomed Senators and guests.

Chair Allen announced that the following five-year Vice Provost Reviews have been scheduled:

Sam Averitt, Friday, January 19, 2007 in 216 Mann Hall; Joanne Woodard, Friday February 9, 2007 in 211 Gardner Hall; Tom Miller, Wednesday, February 14, 2007 in 29 Winston Hall. 

The reviews are scheduled from 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Chair Allen announced that she would be giving a report from the Faculty Senate to the University Council and asked that any input be sent to her via email.

The Emerging Issues Forum will be February 1-2 and anyone wishing to receive one of the scholarships provided by the Provost’s Office should contact Vernice Stevenson by Friday, January 19, 2007.

Senator Blair announced that the GER Forum is scheduled on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 from 3-5 in Stewart Theatre.

Chair Allen announced that the General Faculty Meeting will be held Tuesday, March 20, 2007 in 2215 Williams Hall at 3:15 p.m.  The forum will be a panel discussion on graduate education and the graduate student support plan.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 8, December 5, 2007
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.

4.  Remarks from Senior Vice Provost Katie Perry
Vice Provost Perry reported that the RPT process is ongoing.  They have received 22 cases so far and are expecting another 50 or more.  There are approximately 31 looking to be promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, six looking for tenure, and approximately 25 looking to be promoted to full.

The post tenure review regulation will be coming to the Faculty Senate soon.   

Vice Provost Perry stated that a web site listing the professors of distinction would be put on the web shortly.  She noted that it is very important to give these people some visibility, which we don’t have.  There will be about eighty-five names that will appear on this list.  Only one person opted out so the list will be minus one.

Vice Provost Perry stated that there is still a lot of room for the colleges to nominate and select distinguish and distinguish university.  She thinks there are many who are still deserving of this honor.

5. Remarks about Distance Education and Learning Technology
Tom Miller, Vice Provost for Distance Education and Learning Technology stated that one of the driving forces in the university was that the state legislature had recently decided in 1998 that the universities in the University of North Carolina system should be reaching out more to the state using technology and using distance education and passed a law that made distance education equal to in the eyes of the legislature face to face instructions, the education that we do in our class rooms on campus.  From the legislative stand point it means funding, so the funding formula that went into place in 1998 which switched the entire university system to FTE based model, to a student credit hour model included distance education off campus instruction for the first time.  This was an opportunity for new money, for recognition, for meeting the mandate that the legislature put before us to go out and do more for the state by expanding our reach through distance education and at the same time realizing that we needed to do more on campus with respect to teaching and learning with technology. 

Dr. Tom Miller was appointed in July 2000 by then Provost Kermit Hall as Interim Vice Provost for Distance Education and Learning Technology.  He accepted the position and then applied for the full time position.

Vice Provost Miller stated that the distance education enterprise has grown significantly since July 2000.  The growth of distance education enrollment over the past five years has been 20.5% per year.  They have more than 250 faculty currently involved in teaching courses through distance education.  Last year more than 950 course sections were offered and 7500 students were served.

Vice Provost Miller stated that when DELTA was formed they took three units from the university, which included the learning technology service, which was the staff that came together out of the Project 25 effort and they took the Rebecca Swanson’s group from the McKimmon Center.   Rebecca’s Program was the largest enrollment in terms of students. 

DELTA has made a conscious effort over the past few years to hold down the growth of the central entity, the flexible access program and push the growth out to the individual colleges.  When this started the departments of Engineering and Textiles had fairly significant programs and now there are programs in quite a few of the colleges.  In the enrollment growth this semester flexible access growth is minus 2% from this time last year.   The college, managed programs as of today are up 35% from last year this time.  They have managed to successfully push the growth of programs from their central entity out to the programs in the colleges. 

Miller stated that their information technology group the ones that he manages, support the technology, which includes things like web CT Vista, Wolfware, or media distribution.  They make CDs and DVDs that get shipped out to students through the bookstore and other mechanisms.  They have the video nine video classrooms that are group managers, three video conference facilities and three post production editing faculties that are used to work with the faculty and their courses to do the video production and post production.  All of this is categorized under information technology, which is a total headcount of 26 people. 

Miller stated that they have a group called marketing and partnership development that works with the various D programs on campus to look at getting the information out and that group is a total of two people. 

They have a business office of three individuals and they work to manage all the funding that is dispersed to the campus.  The total distance education enterprise from a dollar standpoint is close to $18M, which includes the total state funding which incorporates tuition for students in state.  For students out of the state there is no state funding.  The university receives thirty one percent for general institutional support and other things.

Chair Allen asked, “What is the percent of non resident students versus NC State students.”

Miller responded that approximately 12% are out of state students.  There is no distinction.  Distance Education is not a type of student.  It is a method of delivering instruction.  It is an extension to the classroom and so what we are finding is that about 55% of those enrollments are students who are also taking classes on campus whether they are degree seeking students, life long education students, etc., and when you consider that these students are enrolled on campus and are paying extra to take a course by distance education.  That is a battle I have been fighting more than three years now with the General Administration to make permanent the way the tuition is charged so that our on campus students are not penalized for wanting to take a distance education course.  From what I’m hearing from General Administration it is probably going to be 2008-2009 before the tuition gets harmonized between on campus and distance education.


Senator Kellner asked: It is my understanding that faculty who teach distance education are paid from the distance education budget, so that, in effect, this is not part of their salary, nor is it  part of their

teaching load that comes through the department.  It is as though they are moonlighting at a different institution, which just happens to be located here on campus.  It seems to me that this is a point that one might well examine critically. I take it that there is a per capita payment (so much per student enrolled) for the faculty member teaching in a distance education course who is also typically teaching in his own discipline and department, which is quite a different thing.   This strikes me as a questionable situation.  Can you comment on this?

Miller stated, “That is not the way it’s all done.  This is the model or part of the model with the flexible axis program that Rebecca Swanson manages.  Many of the faculty who teach distance education have taught either now or at one time through the flexible axis program.  We have been pushing this out to the colleges over time.  The majority of the funding now is in the colleges not centrally.  The 101 funding that comes to the university for teaching the majority is in the colleges and not in our central organization.

We have been working with Ken Esbenshade to transition a lot of the CALS courses and programs out of flexible axis into management of the college.  Basically the flexible axis program is primarily an incubator for new courses and programs.

Any faculty member who is teaching a distance education course also has a full load on campus.  What does a full load on campus mean?  I looked at credit hour load of each faculty member who was teaching and separated out the in load portion from the overload portion and what I found was that for faculty who were teaching distance education courses on an overload basis paid through our shop, their on campus teaching was about 80% higher than the overall average.” 

Does that include tenure and non-tenure track?

Miller responded that it might have included non-tenure track but it was full time.

Are the bulk of your distance education courses skewed to the lower level of university courses?

Miller responded, no.  If you look at it compared to on campus it’s probably more at the graduate level than the undergraduate level.

Senator Khosla wanted to know where the overload is coming from.

Miller stated that the faculty that are doing this would not agree that it’s the same effort because they have additional preparation and additional work to deal with the students at a distance compared to the regular class.  Some colleges have chose not to use an overload model.  CALS and Education are the two primary ones. 

Miller stated that he looks at the teaching load of those who are teaching distance education in load and their total teaching load is 21% less than average.  My conclusion from this is that we have faculty out there that actually love to teach and they are willing to teach extra if they are paid a little bit extra.

Have there been studies that show there is a significant ramification of expanding distance education? 

Miller stated that he looked at two sets of data from University Planning and Analysis and did the math and came to the same number bottom line.  “If you look at the deficit of the on-campus teaching budget about 12% of that could be accounted by students taking the distance education courses rather than traditional face to face courses.” 

Do some colleges restrict students from enrollment in distance education?

Miller stated, that is a peragotive that the colleges have.  It’s kind of like trying to pull back the tide because students want to do this; in fact, there are a lot of reasons for students to do it.  I have looked at the end of semester surveys and with the comments that the students write I can come up with three reasons why on campus students take distant courses; progress toward degree, scheduling, and a large number of students say they learn better this way.  A lot of students feel that having the ability to go at your own paste is much more effective than a traditional classroom. 

The colleges that are restricting the on-campus students from the online courses the students should be counseled about it.  The online environment is a very powerful thing so for those departments that are concerned about this are going against the time.  Students that are coming in now grew up entirely with the Internet and they do it very effectively and they expect to be taught online and they expect to have their resources available online.

Miller stated that he wouldn’t be concerned about the classrooms not being full.  There are always going to be students who prefer the face-to-face mode but those who do better and prefer an online environment we need to make it the best we possibly can for them.

Do all DELTA courses go through course approval?

Miller responded, yes.

How many actual degrees do we run on this campus through distance education?

Miller said he is not sure. 

The CHASS program leadership sector is undergraduate.  There are undergraduate engineering degrees.  They are physically not here.  “We have a complete degree program in collaboration with UNC Asheville for an undergraduate engineering degree and it is counted as distance education because it is not on our physical campus.  The ones that are clearly online are the leadership and the public sector undergraduate and a number of engineering degrees and several educations and CALS.”

At what point do we cease to be a university and just become an educational provider over the Internet? 

Miller responded, “If you look at the growth numbers of 20% plus per year and the online enrollments and you look at the average growth at the university being somewhere between one and two percent, I think what is going to happen is that we are going to approach a steady state, and frankly where I want to go is I don’t want to think about campus based students and distance education students, I want to think of this as a way of delivering instruction and I could envision a steady state where every NC State student spends some fraction of their time at the university in the laboratories, in the class rooms and some fraction getting instruction on line. If you look at the need to address the fact that North Carolina’s population is growing very rapidly and increasing at a much more rapid rate than the national average we have got to deal with this population.  We can either deal with it as NC State taking our share of students that are interested in the disciplines that we support or we can say hey some of you other institutions we don’t want any more students.  If we in a steady state say 20% of the average instruction is done in online courses and 80% done in face-to-face kinds of traditional courses that is not too bad.  It allows us to serve 20% more students with our existing classrooms, parking, traffic, infrastructure.  I think that is where we should go.”

Have you enjoyed doing this job?

Miller responded, “Yes, and I am very proud of the accomplishments.”

Comments from Donna Petherbridge, Director of Instructional Service
Historically DELTA came together out of several groups.  It is a growing organization and a new organization comparing to many on campus.  They offer professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and graduate students and they coordinate some of their workshops with the information technology division.  DELTA also works closely with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning to help faculty with their teaching efforts. 

Donna is teaching a workshop this Friday in Daniels 331 called “The Primer on Blended Learning”.  She noted that they have face-to-face classes using technology; distance education classes where the students are not coming to campus and they are also seeing in the research literature that technology can really help students learn if implemented in certain ways.  She stated that there is real power in combining the two and so the idea of blended learning is perhaps even a reduction in class time where they meet online sometimes and face to face sometimes.

Donna stated that another service they offer is custom training, which is often done for departments, groups, and faculty. They are happy to come out and work within the colleges because one of the things they have learned is that all of the colleges are different.  There are best practices across the board but often faculty do really well together when they are working with a group.

They also offer an instructional house call service where they come to your office and have someone talk to you about any teaching and learning that you want to discuss relating to technology.  They made 389 instructional house calls last year.

Instructional Services also offer a summer institute program each year after graduation.  This year the program is scheduled May 15-19 and that program is not just for distance education faculty, it is for faculty who want to learn how to use technology instruction.  The focus this year will be on blended learning where they will discuss strategies for dividing the best face-to-face teaching and using the technologies that are often used in distance education courses. 

Donna pointed out that DELTA is not just about distance education, that learning technology and supporting faculty is very important to them as well.

They offer help desk support.  They collaborate very closely with the information technology help desk and do cross training. 

DELTA manages VISTA, which is web ct, which is now actually blackboard learning system and Wolf ware as well.  They also have a system called illuminate which is a learning management tool where you have real time discussions between yourself and students.  In VISTA they have more than 1000 course sections and 36,000 total enrollments.  Wolf ware’s is higher than that since it is a lot older. 

Donna feels that if you have 87% of your students who are touched by one of those learning management systems she thinks it goes to show you that it is not just distance education, that it is classes, courses sections, using technology. 

”My message to you in brief is that DELTA is more than just distance education.  We are learning technology too and I hope that you will walk away knowing that we are here to help you in any way we can.”

6. Remarks from Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen announced that at the conclusion of the Emerging Issues Forum there would be a session on Women in Higher Education, which is to kick-start a renewed conscious about women in higher education. 

Provost Nielsen introduced Betsy Brown as a Special Assistant to the Provost, but she is primarily working 75% on International Programs with Bailian Li, Interim Vice Provost for International Programs and 25% on faculty and other leadership initiatives.

The Japan Center is having some financial problem.  They have moved the Director to a part time position to do some of the programs that he alone can do.  Provost Nielsen noted that they are not abandoning the Japan Center that they have created new Asia initiatives as an umbrella.  Betsy will be acting as Director of the Japan Center. 

Provost Nielsen stated that this year we will be incorporating the center more into the operations of the university instead of it being a free standing item.  Betsy will also be leading our efforts under the Confucius Institute. They are planning a March 14 luncheon opening for the Confucius Institute with representatives from China. 

Forty students from China have applied for the coming year and they will be paying from their end.  A representative from NC State will go to China to interview the students on site. 

There is another university in China that wants to form a relationship with NC State with the goal of sending thirty to forty doctoral students over here.  There interest would be in biology, engineering, management, and IT.

7.  Adjournment
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.  The motion passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 5 p.m.  

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