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April 6, 2010

Present:  Chair Overton, Past Chair Martin, Secretary Hergeth; Parliamentarian Weiner, Provost Arden; Senators Akroyd, Anson, Argyropoulos, Auerbach, Bernhard, Carver, Croom, Edmisten, Fahmy, Fleisher, Franke, Genereux, Hatcher, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Kidd, Krim, Kocurek, Kotek, Levy, Miller-Cochran, Murty, Paur, Roberts, Sawyers, Townsend, Walker, Williams

Absent:  Senator Khater, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Poling, St Amant

Guests:  Randy Woodson, Chancellor; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Dennis Daley, Public Administration; Marc Hoit, OIT; Marcia Gumpertz, Diversity and Inclusion; Hans Kellner, English; Walt Robinson, MEAS; Marc Okner, Director, Employee Relation; Joe Hice, Communications; David Bird, Plant Pathology

1. Call to Order
Chair Overton called the thirteenth meeting of the 56th session to order at 3 p.m.

2. Welcome and Announcement
Chair Overton welcomed senators and guests. 

Chair Overton stated that the grievance policy that was passed in the Faculty Senate will be submitted to the Board of Trustees at their April 15 meeting.

Chair Overton announced that the Executive Committee met with Chancellor Woodson yesterday morning to establish a sense of communication on the issues that the Senate has been discussing.  She also had a meeting with Eileen Goldgeier, the new General Counsel, where they discussed issues about faculty, senate operation, and the legal office interaction. 

Chair Overton announced that she had breakfast with one of the candidates for the Dean of the College of Education and it was noted at that meeting that this was a new action.  She thanked Provost Arden for allowing the participation of the Chair of the Faculty.

The Executive Committee has had a brief review on the regulation on external influence on curriculum.  They are also looking at the faculty personnel file regulation. 

3. Comments by Chancellor Woodson

Background Information
Chancellor Woodson stated that his background is in Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  He has been at Purdue University for the last 25 years where he has served on the faculty in the Horticulture Department doing basic plant molecular biology work, understanding how plant hormones affect reproductive biology. 

Chancellor Woodson moved into administration in 1996 while he continued to do science and teach.  Positions that he held were head of the Horticulture Department, Associate Dean of Agriculture, Dean of Agriculture, and more recently Provost. 

Chancellor Woodson stated that NC Sate is such a great tradition, a great university with tremendous faculty and students and is in a really exciting part of the country, being in Wake County and the Research Triangle area.  This whole environment within North Carolina is a very vibrant place to have a university that has a mission among its many missions to help the economy of the state and do it in a way that fosters science and technology, but not to mention the many other areas that make this such a vibrant place.

Chancellor Woodson stated that he thinks Jim Woodward has done an amazing job to help this university in its interim period to move on from a very difficult chapter.  His sense is the faculty, staff, and students have definitely moved on and he wants to publicly thank Jim Woodward for his leadership. He has worked very hard to make sure that balls were not dropped between the two Chancellors, and he has left many notes in the office. 

Chancellor Woodson stated that he thinks it is important for NC State to develop over the course of the next few months a shared vision for our future, and to clearly articulate that in a way where we can get people reconnected with this institution.  He stated that a high priority for him will be to enhance the endowment of NC State because it has one of the smaller endowments of a university of this size and statue; and when you are limited in invested cash, you are limited in your ability to buffer a difficult economic period.

Chancellor Woodson stated that we are in a difficult economy and NC State is not alone in having a difficult economic period for higher education.  This is one of the most challenging times for higher education across the country in long memories.  While it is challenging, compared to many parts of the country we are a bit more buffered here.  One of the attractive features for Chancellor Woodson to come to NC State was the long standing tradition of investment that North Carolina has made to higher education.  North Carolina is fifth in the country in terms of dollars invested in higher education per student so it is a legacy that this state has adopted.

‘The Legislature of North Carolina has invested in higher education for many years, and it has certainly made it attractive to bring me here but, having said that, states are really struggling to figure out how to do this going forward. So we have a lot of issues to work through financially and academically.  I have said publicly and I’ll say here that I believe the size of this institution is too large for the size of the faculty.  We are going to have to figure out how to grow the faculty if we are going to continue growing enrollment; so hiring faculty and recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty is about the most important thing that we do in universities.”

Chancellor Woodson said over the course of the next few months we will be launching a national search for Provost.  While he wants to get this started during the summer we will not do anything without involving faculty and certainly not start interviewing and involving candidates for this position until faculty have returned for the fall semester.  “I want to publicly thank Warwick Arden; he has done a terrific job and is really a stellar Provost so I think I have his commitment to continue doing this job while we do this search, and I just want to thank Warwick for all he has done to keep NC State strong.  We will get this started quickly and the Senate will be an equal partner in this process to develop a shared vision for the way NC State positions itself for the future.  I am really interested in having a collective vision about where NC State is and where it can be if we put our emphasis in the right place in moving forward.”  

“As an outsider, coming from outside the state of North Carolina, there are a lot of people all over the State of North Carolina who care deeply about this university.  It is one of the attractive things about being a land grant university, the largest one in the state, but it also means that your Chancellor has to get out a lot.  In particular, as the new guy, I feel like I need to get out over the next couple of months and reconnect NC State to the communities around the State of North Carolina to make sure that they have confidence that the university is being led, and to make sure that they will continue to be passionate about what we are doing here at NC State.  I’m excited to be here.”


You mentioned in an interview academic risk and putting a stake in the ground, what is the process you envision for this activity?
Woodson—I asked my staff to set up an interview session when I was here in March.  I think it’s critical that they feel that the Chancellor is accessible, so I wanted to get off on a good start and frankly I could not be more pleased with the coverage.  So, what I meant was that we can’t be all things to all people and we have to make some critical decisions about where we are going to be world class and the strongest  possible academically.  Now I can’t envision right now that there are  programs here that will not be here five years from now, but what it means is that you are going to have to be bold in saying some areas that NC State cannot afford, cannot be world class, and we have to make investments in those areas to make sure that we remain competitive nationally and internationally. 

Did you do something like that at Purdue?
Sure.  The last thing I did at Purdue was to create a new college and it was approved the last month before I left by the board.  It was the College of Health and Human Sciences.  That was a faculty led agenda and I just empowered it.

Looking at NC State as an outsider, my view of this university is that it is one of the innovative universities in the country.  Centennial Campus is a great example of that. 

NC State has a long tradition of working closely with industries, typically third or fourth in the country in industry funding.  It has been a university that has not been afraid of that public-private partnership and that is very exciting, but I think we have to work hard here to make sure that we have got the barriers as low as possible for interdisciplinary work; for scientists, for faculty to collaborate across department and college line, not only on research but academic programs.  Some of the most interesting academic things that we can do with students, programs that we can create to help students be successful require faculty from across colleges to start to come together to form curricula, and universities don’t do this particularly well.  The research side, faculty get that, they seek each other out when they need collaborators but on the academic side I think unfortunately we tend to think very department centric  and worry about teaching loads and all of those type of things. 

Senator Headen’s question  
I’ve come from a very decentralized university, land grant universities historically have this history of strong departments and colleges, but I don’t think I have ever seen one that is quite as good at it as we are.  When I met with the students yesterday I was surprised to hear them say that they don’t feel as connected to NC State as they do to their college, and that they want very much to feel proud of the university and to feel connected to the university and to feel like they are a graduate of NC State. 

I do not think the job of the university or the Chancellor should be to set the vision for a specific department.   At the end of the day I want the faculty that we have hired here to be about their scholarship and their education and not about getting signatures from three different groups on a grant, but we have got to be compliant, so when I think about strategies for the university at the university level; it is a very big picture, but it delineates some tactical issues like how do we reduce administrative barriers?  How do we encourage and create structures that allow interdisciplinary work to be done?  I don’t want to put road blocks in front of colleges and departments.

In the next 3-5 years do you see yourself making some major changes in that structure?
The answer is really no, and I say that is because you cannot be a strong interdisciplinary university without strong disciplines and they are embedded within departments.  I just want to create an environment where we can encourage colleges to think collectively about the kind of faculty that we are hiring.  I do not think getting rid of academic departments, if that is what you are asking.  I am not a big fan of the chaos associated with structural change unless there is value in it.  You can waste a lot of time asking departments to consolidate or split and that time could be use to be more productively creating curricula, developing interdisciplinary research programs instead of writing new bylaws for governing instructions. If faculty are interested in consolidating departments, usually when universities do that they spend a couple of years reorganizing and at the end of the day they have missed a lot of opportunities to do good work because they are spending all of their time writing bylaws.

I think benchmarks for this institution are going to be large, strong, public universities that have highly ranked programs in similar disciplines and the faculty is going to have to help us think about that. 

There are academic benchmarks and there are organizational benchmarks. You will find that I am a very open transparent kind of leader and prefer to be honest about what I am thinking.  We will have good exchanges and I will be responsive and I will be engaged with you.

4. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 12 of the 56th Session
A motion passed to approve the minutes.

5. Elections
Chair Elect
Drs. Helmut Hergeth and Hans Kellner were elected by the Faculty Senate to run for the Chair-Elect position.  Their names will be submitted to the General Faculty for an open election and the person receiving the most votes will serve as Chair-Elect during the 2010-2011 academic year and Chair of the Faculty 2011 - 2013.

Athletics Council
Joy Gayles and Matthew Militello, both from the College of Education were elected to serve on the Athletics Council. 

Faculty Assembly
Suzanne Weiner and Jim Martin were elected to serve a two-year term on the Faculty Assembly.  Secretary Helmut Hergeth was elected to serve as an alternate.

Procedure for Executive Committee Election
Chair Overton explained the process for electing members to the Executive Committee.

6. Adjournment
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:30 p.m.
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