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August 28, 2007

Regular Meeting No. 1 of the 54th Session

Present:  Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner, Provost Nielsen, Frederick Corbin, Parliamentarian; Senators Ambaras, Bernhard, Domingue, Dawes, Evans, Fauntleroy, Fleisher, Hanley-Bowdoin, Havner, Hergeth, Hudson, Levy, Lindbo, Lindsay, Muddiman, Moore, Murty, Overton, Ozturk, Poling, Raymond, Ristaino, Schweitzer, Ting, Wessels, Williams

Excused:  Past Chair Allen; Senators Akroyd, Robarge, Scotford, Shamey

Absent:  Senators Anson, Genzer, Heitmann, Mulvey

Visitors:  P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Diversity; Lauren Gregg, Writer, News Services; Suzanne Weiner, Library Administration; Chancellor Oblinger; Thomas Conway, Dean, Undergraduate Academic Program; Lee Fowler, Athletics Director; Stephanie Parker, Chancellor’s Office; Amber Matthews, SGA-Commission on Academics; Kevin Howell, Chancellor’s Office; Amber Joyner, Student Senate – Chairman of Academics; Bob Bruck, Retired Senator

1.  Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the first meeting of the fifty-fourth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.

2.   Welcome and Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Senators and guests and made the following announcements:

Remarks from the Chair
Chair Martin begin the meeting with a chemistry experiment using a hydrogen balloon. 

Chair Martin stated that hydrogen is a very energetic molecule and faculty tend to be very energetic people.  When we take that highly energetic bunch of folk and hydrogen molecule and alter the system, we can very easily have them burst and become a fireball.  At the same time we can take that same set of energetic molecules and energetic faculty and with the appropriate catalyst and the appropriate structure we can turn them into a fuel cell which would give us very highly efficient and clean energy.  I think that may be an analogy we can start out with as we begin the Faculty Senate year, that we in faculty governance can be that catalyst to turn that energy into a force of clean energy that can have a major impact on taking our university in directions that we all would like to see it go. 

Welcome to all new senators.  We are glad to have you working with us this year.  Welcome also to returning senators.  I look forward to an active and productive year. 

Welcome Chancellor Oblinger and Provost Nielsen.  Thank you for your coming to work with us.  Welcome other faculty, administrators, and any other visitors and I would like to give a special welcome to members of the Student Senate.

Today during the last half of the meeting we plan to focus on some strategic planning for this body and we shall plan what we hope to do throughout this year (possibly even farther into the future),  get ideas on the table, prioritize some of those ideas, and begin to set direction.  I think all of us work together for the same mission of the university.  Your ideas are welcome and I strongly encourage you to participate in the strategic planning exercise.

As the campus faculty representatives and deliberative policy-proposing body of the university, the charge of the Faculty Senate is to assume an active role in the university governance. 

Much of our work happens in committee.  The committees meet on alternate Tuesdays from the Senate.  The Chairs of your committees will be contacting you.

Several of you have also been assigned as liaisons on the university standing committees and various other committees. Please report back to this body regularly. 

Chair Martin stated that our operation as a Faculty Senate requires a lot of deliberation, listening to ideas and giving our own ideas.  Please don’t be shy because if we are shy ideas will not come to the table.  Let’s have a constructive place for strong discussion, even strong disagreement.  Sometimes battling over tough issues where we have disagreements is the best way of getting the strong action that none of us would have thought about had we not had that strong disagreement, so don’t worry about (not) having all those consensus votes.  If everyone votes the same way, you may not be representing your constituency. 

 I try to remember Winnie the Pooh’s model in any leadership responsibility that I have.  Look for those simple solutions; those straightforward common sense solutions because even bears with little brains can do some pretty remarkable things.  I hope that can be our function this year.

The UNC-Tomorrow initiative is moving into its community listening forum stage.  Prior to that we had campus visits here at NC State on March 23.  This summer all of the faculty chairs from the UNC system were asked to offer perspective or feedback about what the UNC-Tomorrow might be.  I met with the available Executive Committee members over the summer to have conversation and draft some ideas to get a bit of a faculty perspective on what we think are important issues.  Out of sixteen institutions in the UNC system we feel that it is very important to differentiate our mission as a research extensive university. We have a different education mission.  We have a different research mission, a different cost structure.  Each institution has a core mission that is absolutely critical to meeting the needs of the state.  We think that we have a unique mission and we try to articulate that to some degree in that perspective. 

We are moving to the stage of listening forums.  If you go to UNC-Tomorrow.org you will get all the information you want.  They will have a list of all the community listening forums throughout the state.  On October 10 there will be a listening session here in Raleigh at 4 p.m. in the McKimmon Center.  This is not so much intended as a listening opportunity for faculty to get involved in, but if you know constituencies in the area i.e., business persons, alumni, legislators, policy makers, influential persons in the community, etc., encourage them to go.  Have conversation with them sharing a faculty perspective of what UNC-Tomorrow might be and listen to what their concerns are.  If we have people who understand what our mission is all about, understand higher education through these listening forum can only serve to help our institution grow.

UNC-Tomorrow people who will do the listening will include a Scholars Council -- we have Ruben Carbonell on that Scholars Council.  Ruben is a professor of chemical engineering and also head of the Kenan Foundation.

At various times we have talked about the need for some ombuds functions.  Last year Barbara Carroll from Human Resources came over and left some flyers talking about employee relations.  Copies of the brochure are available in the Faculty Senate Office.

Chair Martin announced that an initiative called WITH has come from both Student Government and Public Safety to promote quality sportsmanship.                                       

Chancellor Oblinger stated that as an incentive, anyone who volunteers for the WITH will receive a free ticket to the game.

3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 15, April 24, 2007
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.

4.  Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
Chancellor Oblinger introduced the following members of his staff that were present:  PJ Teal, Secretary of the University and Assistant to the Chancellor; Stephanie Parker is a graduate of NC State, a Park Scholar and also now working on her masters in Public Administration.  She is working in the communications venture in the Chancellor’s office;  Kevin Howell is Legislative Liaison and  our main presence in the General Assembly. 

The students are back.  There are approximately 4, 780 students in this year’s freshmen class and that will bring our overall total on the campus to about 31, 700, up by 400 on the graduate level and several hundred at the undergraduate level.  This talented group has an average GPA of 4.11; 1177 is the average SAT score. 

Legislative Session
Chancellor Oblinger reported that there is an additional $35.6M in student aid that was not there last year.  It is taken as it historically has been from the escheat fund.  This is one-time money taken from the escheat fund. 

Faculty received an average of 5% and one of those percentage points is meant to and targeted for an adjustment for the eightieth percentile level.  Many of you have heard our Presidents of the system talk about over a decade how important it was to have faculty salaries moving up toward the eightieth percentile level with our peers.  That is now happening under President Bowles and I see this as the first installment toward that goal.

There were $6.0M added to the Distinguished Professor Endowment fund, which is a very important fund that provides matches to donors, and that means NC State will be able to free up four or five professorships that have been waiting in line to be funded from that.

Chancellor Oblinger stated that $3.0M was received for a Research Competitive Fund, which was the first ever in the General Assembly.  It is a small number at $3.0M but it is the first time it has ever had an allocation in the area of research from the General Assembly, which is a positive sign for things to come although we had asked for upward of $50M.  It is a small step toward that.  We will see how it is distributed. 

Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention:  A couple of million dollars were received for that.  We haven’t had an increase in tuition remission since 1997 and although this is a small amount it is an amount that we will get a major portion of.  If they distribute it as they have in the past, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State will receive the majority of that funding.

Chancellor Oblinger announce that UNC Online is a program where they are pulling together all the electronic offerings across the system into one site centered at General Administration.

Kannapolis:  $16.5M was allocated to the Dole Food Project where $8.5M is recurring and $8.0M non-recurring.  The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be a major benefactor of that funding.

Future Teachers from Teacher Education:  Funds were allocated to that important area.  We would benefit from that, primarily because we produce more math and science teachers than anyone else in the system and we have a new elementary education program.

Bioenergy Initiative:  NC State will soon formally declare that 2008 is the "year of energy" and we shall soon talk in a very aggressive and proactive way about the multitude of efforts that are under way, thanks to the faculty on this campus.  We will be promoting the role that researchers at NC State play in addressing the energy portfolio of America and, in fact, the world.

There was some money allocated to NC State’s Entrepreneuralship Program.  There was a considerable amount allocated on a continuing basis to the College of Engineering: first installment on a multi-year upgrade of the college of engineering’s overall operating budget.

The Center for Universal Design in the College of Design received some one-time funding to continue that important work. 

The North Carolina Specialty Crops Program received some one-time funding and some one-time funding was also allocated to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Chancellor Oblinger stated, “Often one-time funding has a particular interest to a group or an individual legislator who is in a position to convince other legislators that this will be a good investment and that is precisely what I would say has happened this year.  If we do well with that, I would like to think that we could leverage that into some form of either additional one-time funding or into recurring funding.”

Capital Projects
NC State received $38M for Companion Animal Hospital at the College of Veterinary Medicine that will go with an already accumulated amount  of $34M in that facility through gifts.

The College of Engineering received $34M appropriation to add on to Engineering Building III.

The 4H, that serve all the youth in North Carolina, received $7.5M in repair and renovation funds. 

The system received $32.5M for Coastal Studies Institute where NC State will partner with other entities in the system like ECU, Carolina, and Wilmington, who have Marine Sciences programs in one form or another.  This facility will be located in Manteo NC State, and will have both a research program and possibly a physical presence in the Coastal Studies Institute. 

The Hunt Library Complex on Centennial Campus received $17M in planning money.

Chancellor Oblinger stated, “I hope you can feel some of the enthusiasm that I have about these projects because of what you put together in individual and collective programs and what the legislature sees as worthwhile investments in this great university.” 

Chancellor Oblinger stated that they also have a history of announcing legislative studies.  There is another workload study that we have yet to receive any additional information on but we know that we will go through that.  Two other studies that are of particular interest here at NC State are the elimination of vacant positions (EPA and SPA).  Vacant positions are vital; in fact, most of the graduate students that are paid from state funds are paid against existing salary lines that are vacant. 

They are proposing a legislative study, which will take place relative to vacant positions, and on top of that they will look at the use specifically of lapsed salaries.  Two separate studies but they are going to be very closely related as I see it relative to vacant positions. 

They reopened career banding, which is very important for our staff.  We have about 50% of our positions on campus that are banded.  Now that they have opened that back up it would appear that we will now look at all job classifications and career band them, which I think is a way to pay competitive salaries and maybe stem the tide of training people to go to work somewhere else.

There will also be a study in the General Assembly about the state of the Agriculture and Research Station.  NC State owns several research stations. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services own several and there was legislation to give them all to the university with the appropriate budget that is currently assigned to them.  At the same time there was a mandate to reduce the number which would (not) have made us very popular.  It is no small undertaking and could not be done in the short length of the legislative session so there will be a study group assigned to that. 

Over the summer we held a new Board of Governors orientation and there are several new members going to the Board of Governors who have had good relationships with NC State.  Ann Goodnight for one and there are a couple of graduates from NC State who are going on to the Board. 

We also have three new members and one reappointed member on the Board of Trustees;  Gayle Lanier, Raleigh, NC, Vice President and General Manager of Knowledge Services for Nortel Networks; Barbara Mulkey, Raleigh, NC, President and CEO of Mulkey Engineers & Consultants; John Sall, Cary, NC, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS Institute; Steve F. Warren, Greensboro, NC (Secretary) Managing Partner, Gateway Management Group.

Competition for the National Bio and Agri Defense Facility:  I hope you know a little bit about that multimillion-dollar facility that will be located in Butner, North Carolina.  It is a multibillion-dollar operation,  a high security biological facility that you have probably read about.  It is not a project solely of NC State University and the College of Veterinary Medicine; it is a huge partnership of everyone associated with biotechnology healthcare, medical care broadly defining animal health.  We are well positioned to compete nationally for this facility: Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina are in the finals.  We will be visited and so will Mississippi because they also have some powerful legislators.

We signed agreements with six institutions in China who currently have several students on campus who have launched into a group from Zhejiang University.  Zhejiang University is our sister institution in China.  We would hope that you would take the time to read the various blog reports and get a feel for what we have in mind as it relates to working with the singularly important institutes in China. 

Chancellor Oblinger stated that he just wrapped up a retreat of deans and executive officers.  We have participated extensively in a strategic plan that has evolved over the last several years.  We have now merited that strategic plan with a marketing plan, so you will hear the Chancellor talking about energy, the environment, economic development, health and well being, education innovation and leadership development at all levels.  I think the deans and the executive officers are committed to talking about its focus at NC State University, not exclusive to those areas but certainly featuring those areas as a role that we have to play.  If you think about education innovation you can range from the Friday institute to what we are doing in science, technology, engineering, and math.  The renovation will take place in Humanities and Social Sciences.

I sat in on a report from Barbara Carroll from Human Resources.  If you haven’t seen some of the numbers that I have seen and the Provost and the Executive Officers have seen within the last month, they deal with retirement.  They deal with the number of people on the faculty who are fifty-eight years or older, and who theoretically could retire within the next five years.  It’s more than four hundred; 103 in CALS, 78 in CHASS, and 62 in engineering so within five years four hundred existing vacancies not factoring in the enrollment growth that we have had and the hundreds of positions that will probably be necessary in the future.  This is very intimidating.  It is the third cycle that I have participated in and I know what the first two were like.  It means that we have to exercise our networks to contact the best future faculty and bring them to NC State. 

Announcements by Chancellor Oblinger

Thank you.

5.  Status of 2006-07 Resolutions
Chair Martin reported on the status of three resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate during the 2006-2007 academic year. 

Graduate Student Support Plan

- In response to the resolution, Vice Chancellor Gilligan agreed to delay implementation of any modifications to the current GSSP for 18 months to allow time for a comprehensive review of overall funding of graduate education.

- The Faculty Tuition Remission Committee found it difficult to recommend measures to address shortfalls in tuition remission funds while looking at the GSSP in isolation. Now that classes have started again, Provost Nielsen and Vice Chancellor Gilligan will shortly be appointing a task force to carry out a comprehensive review of funding for graduate education.  That task force will be expected to complete its work by Spring 2008, so that any changes can be implemented in time for the Fall 2008 recruiting season.

- In order to test whether the availability of tuition remission slots is restricting the number of graduate students hired as GRAs and GTAs, Provost Nielsen and Vice Chancellor Gilligan provided funds to allow us to significantly increase the number of slots to every college for 2007/2008.  This should allow us to estimate what the maximum usage could be and whether the availability of tuition remissions or stipends is the limiting factor.

-  This summer, the State Legislature appropriated increases to the tuition remission budget for the first time since 1999.  The increase provides $2M this year and $2M next year of recurring funds for the entire state university system.  We are still waiting to find out how UNC-GA will allocate the funds, but if they use a formula similar to the past, we expect an increase of around $500K each of the years, for a total permanent increase of around $1M recurring for the GSSP.
The answers were from Terri Lomax

Rocky Branch Phase III

I think we have good news to report on Rocky Branch.   We expect Construction Documents to be finished right after Labor Day.  They will need to be reviewed (and corrected in response to that review) and then bid, before we can start construction.  We will not be making any changes to the current parking lot, and are not proposing any changes to Miller Fields.  We have solved that dilemma by changing 3-4 parallel parking spaces on the opposite side of Morrill Drive to perpendicular spaces.  Combined with the funds we made available previously to address the parking shortfall, this project will be fully compliant with the parking replacement policy.  We have received Transportation's concurrence that this is a reasonable strategy to meet that policy.

We continue to struggle with the budget due to on-going escalation pressures.  Barbara was successful in getting another small grant from DENR, but we do not think we will have sufficient funds to daylight the stream.  As a result, we will be bidding that work as an Add Alternate. If our estimate is wrong (too high), or we locate some more funds, we will be able to daylight the stream.  If the bids are higher than the funds we have available, we will still repair the section not currently in the culvert, and will add the proposed multi-purpose path.
The answers were from Michael Harwood

GLBT Center

Thanks for the support last year from the Faculty Senate on this issue. We are still working on some of the details, but the funding issues have been resolved to a point that we are ready to move forward with the GLBT Center and to make that announcement publicly early next week. The Center will be jointly funded by The Provost's Office and the Division of Student Affairs and will located in Talley Student Center, but the exact location is still under some discussion. Thanks again for your interest and support. 
The answer was from Tom Stafford

6.  Report on Grievance and Hearings Processes: August 2007
James D. Martin-Chair of the Faculty
Nina Allen-Immediate Past Chair of the Faculty

During the 2006-2007 academic year, five grievance and two hearings cases were filed.  One hearings case that has been in process since 2004 was concluded.  Additional lengthy discussions were held with two Professors and one Assistant Professor, who in the end declined to file.

Of the Grievance filings, two were resolved by mediation, one was dismissed by the committee due to lack of jurisdiction, and two are active.

Of the hearings cases the Hearings committee ruled in favor of the faculty member in two cases, no report has been provided to the Faculty Chair’s office for the third.  The hearings committee recommendations were accepted with conditions in one case, and administratively overruled in the second. The third case also resulted in discharge of the faculty member.

The effectiveness and fairness of the Grievance and Hearings process has been a matter of concern for some time.  Grievance and Hearings reports to the Faculty Senate in 2004 and 2005 raised serious concerns with regard to the fairness of the processes, the lack of due process, the imbalance of power (faculty vs. administrative), and tendency to allow technicalities to obscure other serious concerns.  Similar concerns were observed by the immediate past chair of the faculty.  Discussions that previous Grievance and Hearings committee members have had with the current Chair of the faculty reiterate these concerns.

Given this past history, the current Chair of the Faculty has begun a study of NCSU and UNC grievance/hearings policy and initiated a review of the history of grievance cases between 1993 and 2006, the dates for which reasonable records are available.  Graphic summaries of this historical data are presented below. 

Institutional Profile
First and foremost, review of the past grievance and hearings cases finds that the faculty panels constituted to review these cases have generally demonstrated conscientious performance.  To date no evidence of ‘frivolous faculty protection’ nor ‘hostility to administration’ is apparent.  Rather, faculty panels have sought to within their jurisdiction, document the facts and provide recommendations that are in the best interests of the University.

History of Grievance Cases
According to NCSU’s grievance policy (POL05.25.1) “The purpose of this grievance procedure is to provide an internal university process for the good faith resolution of employment grievances filed by faculty, SAAO Tier-II, and EPA professionals.”  The fact that only one quarter of the persons who have filed a grievance during the 1993-2007 time frame remain employed at NCSU raises question with regard to the effectiveness of the “good faith resolution.”  This concern is further highlighted by the four grievance cases in which the grievance committee found in favor of the aggrieved party and the Chancellor accepted the recommendation of the committee.  In one case the faculty member left NCSU shortly thereafter.  In another the specific follow-up administrative action has yet to be accomplished. 

By far the majority of cases have been dismissed by the faculty grievance committees.  These include cases in which (a) clearly there was no grounds for filing the grievance, (b) cases in which the grievance case was poorly described such that effective consideration was precluded, and (c) cases in which a seemingly legitimate case was filed, however procedural and/or technical issues precluded grievance committee jurisdiction thus preventing implied ethical concerns from being addressed.  Further review is necessary to determine the proportions of each.

The second largest category of grievance filings contains those that have been withdrawn prior to any recommendation by the grievance committee.  Only two of the ten (both dealing with publication/patent issues) were withdrawn with resolution.  The remainder appears to have been withdrawn when the grievant left NCSU, in several cases leaving apparent discrimination concerns unresolved.

The data further suggest that the grievance process is most effective when a specific technical issue is aggrieved, and least effective when any aspect of personal malice or discrimination is charged.  Of the 15 cases that directly cite some form of personal malice or discrimination ten were withdrawn or discharged, one resolved by mediation, two received favorable ruling by the faculty committee, and reported data on two cases is not complete.  Only three of the fifteen faculty members remain at NCSU (the mediated solution, one of the favorable rulings, and one of the withdrawn cases). 

History of Hearings Cases
Hearings committees are constituted to address cases in which a tenured faculty member is discharged.  Reasons for initiating dismissal have included substance abuse, sexual harassment, and incompetence.  In only one of the most recent cases has the faculty member not left the University.  Review of the available details of these cases raises some serious concerns with respect to precedent (i.e. proportional justice, compliance with the ADA, dismissal because of ‘incompetence in service’).  Irrespective of the individual cases, their precedent raises question with respect to national academic standards, and potentially puts the University at risk with respect to state and federal law.

Records of the recommendations and agreements from Hearings cases have not been provided to the Chair of the Faculty’s archives.  However, it appears that all of the cases in which a settlement was achieved prior to any recommendation of the Hearings panel included conditions that the faculty member leave NCSU.

Review of the NCSU policies and regulations regarding grievance and hearings has found several matters that need to be addressed.

·  The Grievance policy POL05.25.1 needs to correct the section describing the composition of the Grievance panel.  The current policy instructs each college to elect members from the following groups.

  1. the combined ranks of tenured professor and associate professor
  2. the rank of untenured associate professor
  3. the combined ranks of assistant professor, instructor, lecturer and EPA professional.

Given that the number of faculty in category #2 is negligible, and that group #3 has largely been defined as Special Faculty in policy up-dates, it is recommended that these categories be changed to the following.

  1. the rank of tenured professor
  2. the rank of tenured associate professor
  3. the ranks of untenured assistant professor or the ranks of special faculty.

·  After careful review, it is found that we currently have no Hearings policy.  Elements of the Hearings process are articulated in the UNC policy (The Code 603) and in NC State's Academic Tenure policy (POL05.20.1).   Additional guidelines for conducting a Hearing are published on both the NCSU-Legal and Faculty Senate Web sites, and the 1995 Faculty Handbook Appendix D-8 lists the procedure for selecting the Hearings panel.  This matter requires serious and immediate attention.

·  It is apparent that there are no clear guidelines or resources available to a faculty member for filing an effective grievance.  This gives an appearance of abrogating due process, and further has resulted in cumbersome filings.

UNC policy 101.3.1, section II.C.i, specifically states “…it is important for the President and the chancellors to assure that faculty committee members, as well as relevant administrators and aggrieved faculty members, have access to appropriate training materials and guidance to enable them to perform their functions well.”  Depending on the nature and level of the filing, administrators are given legal assistance by NCSU’s legal council or the State Attorney General’s office.  The faculty committee is given legal assistance by either NCSU’s or the UNC-system’s legal council.  The aggrieved faculty may personally hire external legal council.

In conclusion, there is a serious need for a high-level task force (partly external to NCSU) to objectively review our entire grievance/hearings process to ensure fair and due process for faculty and administrators, as well as to ensure the integrity and protection of NCSU.

Chair Martin recommended that it would be wise for us to constitute a high level task force to review our judicial system to ensure that it does meet due process.


Senator Havner noted that he served on a grievance in the past where the recommendation of the committee was overturned by the administration.  He feels that such cases should be reviewed.

Chair Martin stated that there are some high profile cases that he thinks has particularly raised that issue.  We need to start from the assumption that we should all be working in the best interest of the university therefore when there is a conscientious faculty committee that have seriously considered the situation and there is conflict of perspectives we need to find a way actually toward reconciliation of those perspectives.

7. Faculty Senate 2007-08 Strategic Planning
The senators broke into groups to begin the strategic planning process.

Some ideas from the group discussions include: 


Faculty Governance

Faculty voting member on the Board of Trustees

Making the community aware of accomplishments

Chair Martin plans to discuss the information with the Executive Committee and he will report back to the Senate with a copy of the final report.

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

Chair Martin adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.


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