Faculty Senate Minutes Summary Nov. 17, 2008
December 3, 2008
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Beane, Dowd, Gardner, Gross, Powell, Tobin and Walsh. Excused were Carey, Nimmo and Sample. President Huddleston, Kevin Linton, and Thomas Pistole were guests.
II. Remarks by and questions to the president – The president and the faculty senators discussed the chancellor’s search process; and some faculty mentioned concerns that a university system chancellor should have an academic background and input by the system institutions’ faculty. On another matter, the president said that the new provost search committee will be co-chaired by Joe Klewicki and Sheila McNamee and include Professors John Aber, Ross Gittell, Nancy Kinner, Cesar Rebellon, Mihaela Sabin, Janet Sable, Michael Swack, Roy Torbert and Stephen Trzaskoma. The president indicated that, in order to facilitate completing the search by July 1, the committee has been kept small but has been charged with consulting widely and often with all groups on campus. The president discussed the deficit the state is facing now and for the next biennium and how this may affect the university, which receives fourteen percent of its funds from the state. The number of student applicants looks good for next year; and the university has taken steps to deal with the cost of energy; but funding is a serious concern for the future. The economic downturn might affect the ability of parents to pay for college costs, the ability of students to obtain loans, and the UNH capital campaign.
III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The past senate chair attended a meeting of the Central Budget Committee and heard a report that a 1.3 million dollar recision will be apportioned among the UNH schools and colleges, using the RCM formulas. Higher-than-budgeted student tuition income may help with a part of this recision. The Agenda Committee recommends that, when discussing representation in committees related to shared governance, a term such as “non-administrative faculty” should be used, since faculty who take an administrative position also take a leave from the faculty bargaining unit.
The Agenda Committee has assigned to the Academic Affairs Committee an additional charge as follows. Since we recognize that the relationship between UNH and the community colleges may be changing at an academic level, the Academic Affairs Committee should review the relationship between the Thompson School and the UNH baccalaureate program in the same way and also monitor the evolving relationship with the community colleges. Also, both the Academic Affairs and the Student Affairs Committees had charges on academic assessment. The senate chair said that the Academic Affairs Committee should handle this charge; and the Student Affairs Committee could pass on to the AAC any already-gathered information.
IV. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously.
V. Report from the Student Affairs Committee – The chair of the Student Affairs Committee said that the committee will hold off on its charge, to consider how faculty and students can be better informed about the Behavioral Intervention Team effort, pending the results of an initiative by Mark Rubinstein’s office to explore various scenarios, identify gaps which may exist, and discover tasks which may need to be done, in order to better equip the university to respond to a variety of emergency events. The SAC will present to the senate at its next meeting a recommendation on possible academic calendar changes. Regarding the field trip guidelines policy, the SAC has sent a list of questions to the university counsel and to the vice president for Finance and Administration. The Study Abroad Working Group is proceeding in its review of the study abroad financial issue.
Regarding the charge to review the issue of student use of electronic devices in the classroom, the phrase in the proposed policy for the Student Handbook saying that “course instructors have the right to temporarily confiscate any of these electronic devices” only means that the instructor could hold the device during the remainder of that class. Perhaps “confiscate” might be changed to “limit access to” or similar wording. As described in the previous senate minutes, the SAC is asking that the policy be printed in the course syllabus and in the Student Handbook. Students in a class should have the right to know if their comments will be recorded. The SAC will present for a senate vote on 12/1/08 a motion on student use of electronic devices in the classroom.
VI. Strategic planning – Last week the strategic planning group met; and facilitators have been interviewing selected individuals, in order to get a picture of what the current concerns about UNH are. The senate chair noted that only a few senators were included in the selected group from which the strategic planners will obtain their initial input; and so the senate’s Agenda Committee decided to add strategic planning reports as a regular item on the senate’s agenda. Also, the senate chair asks senators, who are interested in giving more input on strategic planning, to inform him of their interest, so that they may participate in the process. The relationship between undergraduate teaching and research is an important issue now. Reviews are ongoing on the Discovery Program implementation and on the report by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Research. UNH accomplishes a lot with a small amount of resources, and the Strategic Plan Steering Committee is trying to identify the main direction the university should take. A professor pointed out that the format of a question can influence the responses.
A senator said that, since the main source of the university’s income is undergraduate tuition, UNH must above all provide a quality undergraduate education. Other senators questioned whether the university can afford to shift more funds from undergraduate education to research, as suggested in the report by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Research. The university’s mission is to do both research and undergraduate education, and the university should look at the way those components interact. The tenure-track faculty all do research or creativity of one kind or another. In some colleges there are many non-tenure-track faculty, although many research faculty who are not tenure track do some teaching. Also a professor said that, when considering the work done by various kinds of faculty, advising should be included, as that is a time-consuming part of the work done by many teaching faculty. A senator suggested that the next capital campaign might help improve the infrastructure needed by both research and teaching faculty.
VII. Discovery Program – The chair of the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee said that the committee is now reviewing the Discovery Program’s perspectives-on-social-identity attribute and also the interdisciplinary-understanding attribute and will report on these matters at the next senate meeting. Also pending is the “environment, technology and society” category. Then the Academic Affairs Committee will look at the entire Discovery Program proposal and bring a written recommendation to the senate. The potential goal now is for implementation for the fall of 2010 rather than 2009.
VIII. Library Committee report on purview change – The Library Committee moves that matters pertaining to information technology be added to the committee’s purview and that a member of the Library Committee serve each year on the Steering Committee for Information Technology (SCIT). The rationale for the motion is that, given the increasing integration of information technology and library services and the vital interest faculty have in technological decisions at the institutional level, the committee recommends that information technology be added to the Library Committee’s purview and that a committee member serve each year on the SCIT, which is a newly established advisory committee to the president, and report to the Library Committee on the deliberations of the SCIT. The SCIT is a university-wide committee composed primarily of administrators, with input from the Faculty and Student Senates and from the Graduate Student Organization, and chaired by the vice president for administration and finance. SCIT convenes monthly to discuss and make policy on IT issues at the institutional level; and these IT issues encompass matters of importance to faculty and to the university’s academic mission, such as instructional technology and technology in support of research. SCIT is charged with developing a Technology Master Plan for UNH and with revising the IT governance system. We were invited by Tom Franke, who is the director of Computing and Information Services and a member of SCIT, to send faculty representation to the committee. The chair of the Library Committee discussed such a change with the dean of the University Library as well as with Tom Franke, both of whom endorsed this connection between the senate and SCIT. Now Library Committee member Steve Tuttle is serving on SCIT. This motion would make Faculty Senate representation permanent and give faculty two members, who are currently Steve Tuttle of the senate and Mihaela Sabin of the faculty at large. The Faculty Senate passed the Library Committee’s motion unanimously. Senators are asked to give input on technological matters to the senate’s Library Committee.
The senate discussed the voting and non-voting membership of SCIT. No non-administrative faculty are voting members of SCIT, even though this committee deals with an area of great importance to faculty and a very large budget, and an expensive budget item is being discussed by this committee. Bill Stine moved and David Richman seconded that the faculty should have a voting member on SCIT. Perhaps the dean of the university library should also be a voting member. A senator said that SCIT is currently working well and that the voting members are listening to the non-voting members. The Faculty Senate agreed unanimously to table this motion until its next meeting.
IX. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.