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Minutes of the Faculty Senate

February 13, 2007

Present:  Chair Allen, Secretary Bruck, Chair-Elect Martin, Parliamentarian Corbin, Provost Nielsen; Senators Akroyd, Blair, Branoff, Culbreth, Dawes, Evans, Fleisher, Genzer, Hanley-Bowdoin, Hudson, Jones, Kellner, Khosla, Kinsella, Lindbo, Muddiman, Moore, Murty, Overton, Ozturk, Raymond, Robarge, Schultheis, Scotford, Smith, Wessels, Williams

Excused:  Senator Shamey

Absent:  Senators Anson, Fauntleroy, Banks-Lee, Lindbo, Mulvey, Murty, Schultheis

Visitors:  Tom O’Brien, Football Coach; Cat Warren, Director of Women and Gender Studies; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost, Faculty and Staff Diversity; Betsy Brown, Special Assistant to the Provost; Lauren Gregg, News Services; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Gerald Ponder, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Education; Lee Fowler, Director of Athletics

1.  Call to Order
Chair Nina Stromgren Allen called the eleventh 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.

Senator Kinsella announced that a three-day program related to the topic of global warming would be held February 26-28 with panel discussions, a musical event, and a guest lecture by Elizabeth Kolbert, author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe:  Man, Nature, and Climate Change.” 

Senator Paul Williams, Faculty Senate representative on the Earth Day Planning Committee announced that he is in charge of labor for setup and running errands.  If anyone knows of any student organizations that have a service requirement or function in ways that are indirectly related to earth day themes have them contact him.  Faculty are also invited to participate.

Dr. Cat Warren talked briefly about a conference that the AAUP is having at the end of March.  This year the new president of the AAUP will give the keynote address at Chapel Hill.  The event will be opened to the public.  There will be a reception following the talk that will be open to everyone. 

There will be a series of workshops on the following day that will be dedicated to private funding issues including looking at the role that the Baptist colleges across the state are playing.  They will also be reviewing contingent faculty issues and also concentrating on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) looking closely at faculty governance issues at those colleges.

The registration for tenure track and tenured faculty is fifteen dollars and for contingent faculty or graduate students ten dollars. 

3. Remarks from Tom O’Brien, Football Coach
Tom O’Brien began his career as a coach in the Naval Academy.  He spent seven years at the Naval Academy and fifteen years at the University of Virginia.  He later took the job at Boston College as coach.  His standards at Boston College were that they were going to be champions in the classrooms, champions in the community and champions on the football field and ten years later they achieved a lot of those goals. 

Coach O’Brien was very successful at Boston College during the past eight years.  Boston College was the number one team in the country because they graduated with 100% three years ago and this past year they had a 96% of which 97% were Caucasian football players and 93% were African American. 

Coach O’Brien noted that they found the middle ground between being a high profiled sports football team with being the top twenty-ranked football team yet graduating kids at the highest level.  He stated that the opportunity to come back to the south to a great university like NC State was a great challenge.  He and his coaching staff look forward to working with the kids at NC State and they plan to do everything in their power to be champions in the classroom, in the community and on the football field. 

He and his coaching staff look forward to working with the kids at NC State and they plan to do everything in their power to be champions in the classroom, in the community and on the football

4.  Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 10, January 30, 2007
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.

5. Remarks by Provost Nielsen
Many of you know that I am a fan of the American Musical Theater.  While other kids were learning the words to Elvis Presley tunes I learned Broadway Show Tunes and because of that and other youthful habits that I had, even today there is some song running through my head all of the time.  The song is, “There is no business like show business.”  In that song the characters described their love affair with show business despite its ups and downs.  This seems like a great analogy to me to our life in the university so I want to sing you today a song that I call there is no business like, the “know” business.  As we go through our daily routines with the ups and downs pretty well immersed in the world of the university we can sometimes forget some of the central qualities of our academic life.  We can’t forget that there is no business like the “know” business so I would like to refresh our thinking a bit for a couple of minutes today. 

Let’s remember we are members of one of the most respected and trusted professions in the world.  Despite an occasional rebuff by a disappointed student, hovering parent or an inquiring legislator we enjoy an elevated reputation in society.  Survey after survey shows that after the clergy we are tops with the regular folks out there.  If we say something true people generally accept it.  People truly believe that we are committed to improving the world around us that we aren’t in this business for ourselves and they should believe that because it is true. 

The trust and respect that people afford us also produces a second trait of the “know” business that we are trusted to pursue our work as each one of us individually sees fit.  We are all expected to do scholarship of course but what that scholarship is and how we go about it is pretty much up to us, another way to say this is that the concept of boss is pretty marginal in the university.  Sometimes it may seem that the hammer of accountability falls heavily on us but compared to virtually all other forms of work we are as close to self-determining as one can be and still be part of an organization, and comparison to other work environments we operate in the truly benign administrative setting.  Once a year we send a report to our department head.  We use the information to decide on our salary increase, not to decide to fire us or demote us or move us to another department, and once every five years or so we actually have to explain what we have been doing and accomplishing to our peers.

We enjoy an incredible level of job security because we are trusted and because people understand and value deep down that our work takes time and dedication.  We had the promise of life long employment and as long as we aren’t evil or lazy we will continue to enjoy our positions. 

We enjoy the enormous privilege of working in the “know” business.  We have the privilege and responsibility of working with young people who are just at the right age to learn.  They have the basic skills to learn, the maturity to run their own lives, the curiosity to seek new ideas, the freedom to explore, and despite what we might say about the decline of any of those virtues from the time when we were students or even young faculty members I believe that case is hard to prove, but what ever the current condition of society in general we have the best of them at the university and we always will have.  We also have the privilege and responsibility of producing new knowledge.  We are free to follow lines of inquiry and creativity without a close look at the bottom line.  In fact, we have no bottom line, we have only a top line in the university and the top line says, “do good.”

We work in a setting of beauty and grace.  Although we might wish that our particular campus was more pastoral or more ivy colored.  The fact that we work on a campus at all is meaningful in its own right.  We don’t work in an office building in the mist of a city or on one floor of a building smashed like a turkey layer and a club sandwich among other lettuce and tomato businesses to which we have no connection or in a cubicle in the mist of a sea of cubicles.  We work in an environment that physically replicates the essence of our work, the work of thinkers and to help us along in that work.  The people of our state and nation provide libraries, laboratories, computer resources, auditoriums, theaters, studios and lots of other facilities.   I have said these things today in order to put some context around the discussions we often have about how things are going in the “know” business.  We all feel pressured and stressed so it is good to take a deep breath and see the larger picture every once and a while.  A couple of times every week it occurs to me and I marvel at my great fortune.  As the son of a cleaning woman who didn’t finish high school and a milk man who barely did I thank my parents and my nation for opportunity that they gave me and continue to give and a big part of the joy I feel in life is because I get to work in this great institution devoted to the best that life has to offer and to expect. 

Provost Nielsen handed out copies of a paper he wrote several years ago to commemorate the life of a great colleague who died unexpectedly. 

6. New Elementary Education Department
Dr. Gerald Ponder, Associate Dean in the College of Education stated that prior to 2005 a typical path for NC State students who wished to become elementary teachers was to major in a field at this university and then go to Meredith College. 

The Elementary Education Program was developed in 2005 and approved by the General Administration in 2006.  The first cohort of official teachers started this fall with thirty and they are already the largest program in the College of Education.  The plan is to eventually top-out by design at 240 undergraduate students and 30 or more graduate students. 

The program will generate approximately 4200 semester hours by each term and because of the needs of students in the program and the governance issues of control over programs approximately 10 new faculty will come on at the same time.  Since this program supports the STEM mission of this university there are two present consecrations, one in mathematics and statistics and one in scientists and they plan to apply for a third one in global perspectives either this spring or next fall. 

Secretary Bruck moved to endorse the development of the Department of Elementary Education at NC State University.

The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

7.   Issues of Concern
An issue of concern was presented regarding the controversy surrounding the Pope Foundation. 

The concern was followed by a vigorous debate in which a number of senators shared opinions that it is not appropriate for NC State to accept money from the Pope Foundation. 

After much discussion on the issue Chair Allen suggested that the faculty keep an eye on the issue and noted that if needed it could be bought up again in the Senate.

8.  Old Business

Revision of Article II of the General Faculty Bylaws
Senator Khosla, Chair of the Governance Committee reviewed the recommended revisions.  He stated that they have been very unsuccessful in getting an authentic list of emeritus faculty.  The result is the committee is suggesting that the emeritus faculty not be included in the voting membership.   He noted that they also added after those full time employees and those on phased retirement be voting members. 

Category “C” called others who are many times they find only marginally qualified and the Executive Committee who makes these decisions finds it very difficult to assess their qualifications so they are suggesting that the others not be included for the voting membership.  Since category “D” goes with “C” they are suggesting that both c and d be omitted from the article.  The Executive Committee has approved the revisions.

Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that the revisions do not line up with the current system.

After much discussion a motion was made and seconded to table the issue until the next meeting.

9.   Reports

Regulation on Post Tenure Review
Senator Gary Moore made a motion to remove from the table the regulation on Post Tenure Review.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

Senator Robarge, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee was charged with revision to the post tenure review regulation.  He reported that they are extensive in terms of verbiage but they do not change the fundamental nature of the regulation as it currently stands and at the end of the session last meeting he conveyed to the Senate that the committee had decided to approve all of the recommendations that had been brought forth by Senior Vice Provost Perry’s office regarding this regulation.

The major addition to the post tenure review regulation was an enhancement regarding specifics as to the rank that was going to be reviewed and what the guidelines were going to be that the individual was going to be reviewed on.  The main changes are primarily procedural in terms of little things such as if you have a does not meet expectations.  Some of this was a nature that you would have assumed people would follow but it apparent have not happened, that there would be signatures on the documents that would be prepared following a does not meet expectation.  There is a clarification that if you are in a does not meet situation you prepare the necessary documentation as specified in the original proposal and then you sign that statement with your department head.  There are also clear expectations regarding an individual’s performance should they have the unfortunate circumstances of having a does not meet expectation and the time frame over which there has to be improvement. 

Senator Robarge reminded the Senate that the post tenure review process is a series of evaluations once a does not meet occurs.  The committee has made a motion to accept these as they are. 

Chair Elect Martin stated that he met with Chair Allen, Senator Robarge and Senator Hanley-Bowdoin last week to discuss this issue and what to do about it.  They also had extensive discussion with members of the Executive Committee last week and in addition to that they invited John Fountain who is the department head of MEAS and chair of the Chair’s Council.  They learned that many department heads are not satisfied with the post tenure review policy as well.  There are at least significant numbers who are not happy with the revisions to the policy as it has gone through and their seems to be a broad sentiment that we haven’t done what we could to make post tenure review an efficient process which as the Board of Governors outlined is suppose to be kind of a five-year check up instead of a whole new activity in and of itself.  It is also interesting when you read the Board of Governors guidelines in point number one, the primary purpose of post tenure review is to encourage and reward excellence, which doesn’t even appear in our document for post tenure review so if we looked at our document carefully in respect to the Board of Governor’s guidelines we would see that there are some discrepancies.  What the four of us discussed after the Executive Committee discussion was that we would recommend putting together a task force including faculty senators and department heads to look at the post tenure review policy and after even discussion with Provost Nielsen at the Executive Committee who agreed that we probably could increase the efficiency of this process.  This is in the spirit of efficiency and effectiveness in getting this document so we are not just modifying policy line by line and then wondering what we have in the end. 

Chair elect Martin recommended putting together a small work group.  The recommendation at this point is to include him and Senator Margery Overton as representatives of the Faculty Senate, John Fountain as chair of the Chair’s Council and another head to be selected from the heads.  They will be meeting this week to discuss the idea and the recommendation would be that this would be a person coming from CALS.  Their recommendation would be that there be a small working group to review the Board of Governors guidelines, and our current policy, to see what has been done in the past and to see if they can come up with some level of efficiency from the level of discussions that has taken place at this stage. 

Chair Elect Martin recommended tabling this item indefinitely and letting the process continue as it is and to move forward with this combined heads and senate workgroup.

Senior Vice Provost Perry thinks it is incorrect to state that it does not line up with the Board of Governor’s policy.  She feels that the only thing that was missing is what is now being proposed to add the 7.5.2, which was the BOG policy requires that the plan spell out the times and the consequences.

Secretary Bruck moved that the report submitted by Senator Robarge be permanently tabled and that the Senate endorse the working group proposed by Chair Elect Martin to move forward with its work.

The motion was seconded.

Secretary Bruck revamped his motion that the Senate endorses the working group of the Senate and department heads as proposed to explore post tenure review policy.  The motion was seconded.

After some discussion on the issue the motion passed with two abstentions.

Provost Nielsen endorsed the idea and suggested that Senior Vice Provost Perry be included in the group to explore post tenure review policy.

Secretary Bruck moved to reinstate the motion to table indefinitely the report of the Personnel Policy Committee.  The motion was seconded.

10. Adjournment
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.

The motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 5 p.m.


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