FACULTY SENATE MEETING
November 30, 2010
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
Present: Chair Overton, Chair-elect Kellner, Secretary Hergeth, Parliamentarian Weiner, Provost Arden: Senators Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Auerbach, Bernhard, Bourham, Carver, Edmisten, Funkhouser, Hammerberg, Havner, Khosla, Kidd, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Krim, Kotek, Levy, Mitchell, Moore, Paur, Robinson, Rucker, Sawyers, Sztajn, Townsend, Tu, Williams
Excused: Senators Hatcher, Miller-Cochran, Tonelli
Absent: Senators Croom, Headen, Poling, Washington
Guests: Lawrence Davenport, Chair, Board of Trustees; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Randy Woodson, Chancellor; Loek Helminck, Department Head, Mathematics; Marcia Gumpertz, Diversity & Inclusion; Meredith Davis, Interdisciplinary and Comprehensiveness Task Force; Bob Kelly, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Brand Fortner, Research Professor/Physics; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel/OGC; Shawn Troxler, Assistant General Counsel/OGC; Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor, OIT; Betsy Brown, Provost’s Office; Marc Okner, Director of Employee Relations
1. Call to Order
Chair Overton called the seventh meeting of the fifty-seventh session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Overton welcomed Senators and Guests.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 6, November 23, 2010
The minutes were approved as submitted
4. Comments from the Chancellor
Chancellor Woodson thanked Chair Overton for her leadership on the Provost’s Search Committee. He stated that the process is ongoing and will conclude very soon.
Chancellor Woodson announced that the speaker at the fall graduation will be Four-Star General Raymond T. Odierno, an NC State Alum and a Nuclear Engineer from NC State. He will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate along with Deanna Bowling Marcum, Associate Librarian of Congress.
Chancellor Woodson stated that this year at the request of the ROTC Program we are doing something different in that for many years in ROTC the commissioning of the officers has occurred in a separate ceremony. The officers being commissioned for a number of years have suggested that that occur in the larger graduation ceremony so that family members could be a part of the celebration and we could acknowledge not only their accomplishments in the ROTC, but their commitment to serve their country going forward.
Chancellor Woodson stated that a recent highlight in the Chronicle of Higher Education recognized the top universities in the country for supporting junior faculty. NC State was one of the top 32 Research Intensive Universities in the country in the mentorship of young faculty. “We were particularly recognized for excellence in what you all know to be the six realms of faculty responsibility and the clarity that we provide to our faculty about our expectations. This is a testament to those senior faculty members here that we make such a commitment to mentor our colleagues.”
Chapel Hill will also be included on the list.
Questions and Answers
What can we do about the dropping in ranking of faculty at the institution?
Chancellor Woodson responded that there are two areas where we continue to struggle and that accounts for our dramatic drop.
One is national reputation. We are not as highly regarded as we should be based on the strengths of our programs. We have more members of the National Science Academy than probably 50% of the universities that are ranked above us, so we have outstanding faculty but we don’t have the national reputation that we deserve. One thing that I encourage every dean and department head to do is in a limited resource environment, it doesn’t make sense for us to back away from inviting key people from around the country to this campus to give seminars and to interact with our faculty because they will go back and tell the story about how great this university is, so I want to see every department to continue to support visiting scholars, seminar series, the kind of things that bring balance here that will go back and spread the word of the strength of this institution.
The second area that is killing us is student success, and our graduation rate which is well below our peers. We lose students from this university that are academically qualified, academically eligible that can’t find a home so they leave. Our graduation rate is around 70% and most of our peers are 80 to 90 percent, six year graduation rate.
The real killer for us is what is called predictive graduation rate. We lose points because our graduation rate is actually below the predictive graduation rate based on the quality of our students and that is very rare.
The third piece that was added this year that contributed to our drop and a number other public universities’ drops that are largely state enrolled universities is that the other piece of the reputation now is that they go out and they query high school counselors on what are the best universities in the country. High school counselors don’t know us outside of North Carolina because we don’t have many out of state students. We are not a destination for out of state students, so that new piece of the ranking hurt us this year; reputation, student success, and National visibility both for undergraduates and graduates.
We are going to change it, but it’s not going to be fast.5. Comments from the Lawrence Davenport, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
I bring you greetings on behalf of the Board of Trustees and I want to tell you that we are very pleased and appreciative of your support of our Chancellor.
As Board members we actually can feel your attitude, we can feel the morale that there is on campus because we interact with you and we know that you are extremely dedicated to our students and that is what we appreciate so much.
We are feeling very good about what’s going on right now on campus and we want to thank you for your part in making us feel that way. I always appreciate the opportunity to visit with the faculty and exchange ideas about what’s working well and what we can improve. Obviously we have lots that we can improve.
Dr. Overton suggested that I might have a conversation about the Board’s involvement with the Strategic Planning Process.
The Board supports the Chancellor’s efforts to create a new plan for the university and endorse its consensus building approach. This is the best way we think to move us forward especially in this time of a very difficult economy, many questions about the future of higher education, the uncertainty of many new faces in the General Assembly and with our own efforts to build up to a new fundraising campaign in just two years. Our trustees are truly integrated in this planning process, but bare in mind that our role is only to advise and be supportive. Board members will be informed of the framework and substance of the plan as it emerges. There will be ongoing discussions and audit finance and planning committee meetings as we move forward. As many of you may know our trustee Ben Jenkins is serving on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and I’m sure that he will offer good insight and advice since he has had a lot of experience in that area. The Board will review for approval of the draft plan at our April meeting.
I have been involved with several strategic planning efforts over the years and I have learned that there is a natural tendency in the strategic planning process to overreach. It’s in our nature to go above and beyond and to try to do more. And, while our plan should be responsive to setting and reaching the most aspirational goals this is not a wish list, you must operate within certain parameters.
One of the Board’s primary responsibilities is to ensure that the goals of the plan are matched by a realistic view of our resources. It is also important that the Board is engaged as members of the team, that develop strategy aimed at generating external funding and the other funding resources that the plan requires. Many plans, after a lot of hard work, ends up on someone’s shelf collecting dust; I don’t think that is going to happen here. I can almost assure you that this is not going to happen with this plan. You will see this plan again and again.
Going forward, our board will insure that the Board’s work is directly supporting the achievement of the Chancellor’s goal. The trustees will always be asking how we can help or what can we do to support.
Question and Answer
Chair Overton asked Chair Davenport to talk about the flow of information –say a little about how you have been engaged in the strategic planning.
Davenport—So far involvement has been about how the process is going to work. The information that we have had so far has been secondary to the work that you all are doing. At our April meeting we will have the chance to look at the draft plan, and then we have a discussion about what we find there. We are waiting to see what you come up with and then we will make our comments beyond that.
Chair-Elect Kellner--In your judgment how open is the BOT to change at NC State?
Davenport--I think our board is very open to listening to change proposal. Once that is on the table then different members have different thoughts. We are a very diverse group with different backgrounds, so obviously we have a lot of different opinions and it really depends on the subject matter as to how much support or the push back that we might have on a different proposal, but I think our board is fairly open to change if they are convinced that it’s something that is going to push us forward.
Chair-Elect Kellner—does discussion on change take place in committees or at your board meetings?
Davenport responded that all of the detail discussions come in committees and outside the committee. When we have our full board meeting it is pretty cut and dry; by that time, most everyone has decided and we know what the outcome is going to be.
Chair Overton —Reports and discussions that we have had about rankings are they shared at that level? Many things that we hear from this room, from the Provost, or the Chancellor get back to the BOT, right?
Davenport—I can assure you that if you hear about some of those rankings one time that we hear them ten times. We are very interested in how we rank and we want NC State to be number one in the country. We think that it is possible and we think we can do it. We think we have great students and a great faculty and staff in place, so there is really no reason for us not to move forward. We all know the budget is going to be an extremely challenging process, but I think if we be aggressive on the budget and show that we can do things that will help make this university more efficient that we ought to do it. The Chancellor and I have had some conversations about doing some things to help our budget. I think if the people in the General Assembly feel that we are honestly making the effort to go out and meet these budget requirements, they are going to be a whole lot easier for us to deal with.
Senator Carver—how are all of these different task forces going to be linked together—She wonders if the students that are on these task forces, across all the task forces should meet and come up with a prioritized list of things that they need to have and that the staff and faculty do the same so that they are promoting. Is something like that being done?
Provost Arden thinks it is a good suggestion, one way we have tried to do that is by bringing the leader of each of those task forces together to coordinate the planning process. In the end the strategic planning team including the Chair of the Faculty and himself will combine the different task force results into one coherent document.
Would you talk about how the Board of Trustees interacts with the Board of Governors, General Administration and the Legislature?
Obviously we are all appointed by the same group, Trustees and Board of Governors by the Governor and the Senate.
The interactions that we have with the Board of Governors are not that much other than the ones that are assigned to us. There is one BOG member assigned to our university who is Peaches Blank and we have interactions with her quite a bit. Any other interaction with the BOG is very little. Many times the trustees move on to the Board of Governors, so they already know what we are doing as the Board of Trustees.
The interactions with members of General Administration as far as the trustees go depends more on their own personal contact with folks over there. Some trustees don’t know anyone over there. The trustees play a much bigger role downtown because it is very important what we do on campus that those folks that are casting their vote understand what NC State is all about and what we have to offer and where we plan to go and what our aspirations are and why we think that we are doing a better job than any of the other campuses. Our trustees have good relationships downtown, however we are going to have a flip flop with the new administration coming in. It may mean that we will have to tighten up a little bit but I tend to have a lot of respect for the leadership that is coming in on the Republican side. It’s up to up to make sure that we don’t have negative feelings downtown about our university and we do have a board that I think can handle that well.
6. Committee Reports
Resources and Environment—Roby Sawyers, Chair
The Resources and Environment Committee met three times during the semester and discussed a number of issues relating to Physical Environment at the university.
Other issues that the committee has dealt with included the fence around the Chancellor’s new resident and whether that infringed on the use of Lake Raleighwood for educational and recreational use; an issue of trash in and around the Brooks parking lot; some perceived safety issues at the Avent Ferry/Western Boulevard intersection and plans for improving safety at that intersection in the future; with the issue of parking fees charged to retirees when they return to work; yellow water problems in Ricks Hall; issues of concern relating to the ceiling and windows in Thompson Hall; an issue from the Port City Java in the Park Shop building.
Academic Policy – Donna Carver, Chair
Senator Carver reported that the committee has tackled a number of items and noted that some of them are in progress.
The committee addressed the grievance policy and determined that there were a number places where it could be clearer. They invited Sarah Lannom from Legal Affairs to clarify the policy and she agreed to help them rewrite some areas in the policy to make it clearer to the reader.
The Academic Policy Committee met on November 16th to discuss items related to the Task Force on Undergraduate Student Success, and the following four discussion items were supported:
- The "Get Out of Jail Free card" instead of the First Year Course Repeat Policy: Rather than requiring students to repeat the same or a similar course, students would be able to identify two (or three if that is what the policy becomes) courses that would not count toward the GPA, and this could be at any time during the student's time as an undergraduate at NCSU (rather than just during the first year).
- A "Pathway for Citizenship" that would address the intracampus transfer issue: Rather than having a minimum GPA (which discriminates against students who start out in a major with a very rigorous first year), intracampus transfer would be based on achieving a minimum grade in specified courses as determined by the department that administers the degree. "If students complete the following courses and earn a grade of....."
- Creation of some sort of General Studies degree (would like to see a better name) that would replace the FYC designation: One significant problem for intracampus transfers is that we admit students into a designation (FYC) that is not a degree they can graduate from. This general degree would be one that students could be admitted into, and students could also change to this major.
- A defined pathway for modification of Undergraduate Academic Policies: When an improvement is needed in an Undergraduate Academic Policy, there is no clear pathway for the suggested change to follow, which leads to discussions dragging on for years. We would like to see the pathway identified so all who are involved would know the proper procedure to follow.
Pathway for citizenship—proposed that the students be able to choose another major and take two to three courses in that major and if they do well that they would be able to switch majors. Better than having folks in a major that they are not doing well in.
Looking at evaluation of teaching for the spring. Will discuss in the next meeting—concern about how faculty members are evaluated for tenure.
Governance - David Auerbach, Chair
The Governance Committee addressed informal issues related to information flow between the Senate and Colleges and departments as well as more concrete issues about voting. They also talked inconclusively about is there a mechanism about getting appropriately rewarded or credited for serving on the Senate and other university service work.
The committee has also started developing an agenda for next semester—
Senator Auerbach stated that they discovered a lot of variations in the issue of governance at the college level; one idea was rather than creating another level of representation, that a good model would be to have the senators from the college convene faculty meetings and also set the agenda for those meetings.
Senator Auerbach stated that the most complete thing that the committee did was to design a normalization of the voting process for senators and grievance committees and hearings committees. He explained that they could use something like the survey motion to handle the mechanics of the voting. The methods include distributing to each voter a certain number of votes which they can distribute any way amongst the nominees, and the committee’s proposal was if you got twice the number of votes that there are nominees that would serve the purpose.
Senator Auerbach stated that the committee would like to formalize having all the nominees submit a very short bio/platform for their division. One of the main problems is getting enough nominees and one minor but useful thing that could be done is to construct a plea for people in the colleges to nominate themselves and one of their colleagues to serve and to keep distributing this plea on a regular basis until we get enough nominees.
Personnel Policy-Mike Levy
The committee met four times. Senator Levy thanked Betsy Brown from the Provost’s Office and Mark Okner from Human Resources for attending the meetings of the committee.
The committee reviewed a regulation for the review of the dean of undergraduate academic programs, the dean of the graduate school and Vice Provost to bring that in line with the review process for the deans.
Dr. Rebecca Leonard, Professor Emeritus will be working on a mediation training course this spring. He recounted when a group of faculty went to Colorado for mediation training about ten years ago.
The committee has initiated a review with Betsy Brown’s assistance in looking at voting rights for faculty that have joint appointments. The documents for that were not clear if a faculty members have appointments in two or more departments, do they get to vote in each department or no vote. Betsy Brown is currently reviewing this to make sure that this policy is consistent with any other policy that we have.
Senator Levy stated that in hopes of making this a more family friendly place to work, last year there were policy changes that were put into place to require lactation space for faculty and staff. The committee has started to looking into that.
Policies that the committee will be looking into over the next few months include a more diverse faculty and a senior majority faculty.
7. Report from the Faculty Assembly – Hans Kellner
The Faculty Assembly met on November 12th and the first point discussed was the progress of the academic freedom resolution; who had passed it and who had not. Sandy Gravett, the chair of the Faculty Assembly spoke about the Program Removal Committee which has been convened in order to review the various parts of the code that will deal with the possibility of dealing with program elimination through the system.
The main event was organized by Bruce Mallette, Senior Assistant Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. There were 3 mini seminars on advising, registration, and financial aid and in each of these we heard from people from various universities. NC State University was represented in each case; Carrie McLean from our First Year College, Louis Hunt, Registration and Records and Julie Mallette from Financial.
Chair elect Kellner stated that he chose to have lunch with the Registrar where the three of them emphasized the SAT problem and suggested solutions to it, but who also asked the question who owns policy and tor the rest of the afternoon a number of people discussed various events.
- Economist from Winston Salem State suggested that in talking about retention rates we should think about units attempted rather than years to graduation
- From another committee on advising questions, they made up a list of items to ask your advisees and the most important indicator was, do you own the books for the classes you are taking.
As the meeting moved to a close the chair noted that President Ross would make an appearance at the next meeting and then she talked about the large number of searches going on across the system including three in General Administration and Human Resources and Finance and that sixteen governors on the Board of Governors would be turning over.
The meeting adjourned at 4:38 p.m.