2007-08 Faculty Senate January 28 Minutes Summary
February 20, 2008
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Afolayan, Barcelona, Calculator,
Hamlin, Lane, Onosko and Park. Excused were Brunet, Dorfsman, Dowd, Haskins,
Klein and Senier.
II. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The director of EOS is leaving
that position. An interim director will be appointed and a national search
begun. The senate chair said that he is still waiting for a response from the
administration concerning the issues raised during the recent senate discussion
of field trip guidelines. Roger Beatty has sent to the senate chair a report
on academic retention for minority students and may report later to the senate.
Also an exit survey of college seniors will be sent to the Agenda Committee
The senate chair and vice chair and chair of the senate’s Research and
Public Service Committee spoke with the university president and the vice president
for research, about the concerns the senate expressed on 12/3/07, about research
strategic planning and other research issues. In addition, the senate had indicated
that a faculty observer should be appointed to the Research, Scholarship and
Creative Activity Strategic Planning Committee, but the president has recently
folded that committee together with the Vice President for Research Search
Committee, in order to form a Presidential Blue Ribbon Panel on Research at
UNH. Kevin Gardner, the senate’s observer to the Research, Scholarship
and Creative Activity Strategic Planning Committee, attended the recent retreat
of the panel and will give a report to the senate today.
The Agenda Committee has declined to appoint representatives to the Faculty
Awards Committee and to the Advisory Board of the Office of Sponsored Research
during work to rule and has stated that, if those committees were to function
without this faculty participation, that would be a violation of shared governance.
The senate chair has charged the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee
and Professional Standards Committee to review and make recommendations on
the USNH background check policy and has invited the heads of the Graduate
Student Organization and the Graduate Council to participate in that discussion.
Vice President for Finance Dick Cannon and Sharon Demers have sent documentation
on this matter to the Agenda Committee and may discuss those issues with the
III. Minutes – Unanimously except for one abstention, the senate approved
the minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting with two changes: to modify
paragraph two of item V to say that “UNH has gotten about two hundred
million dollars in federal ear-marked funds since 2000” and to add to
paragraph three of item II that another senator said that the EOS deficit is
not due to any reduction of income but rather to a change in the way funds
are assessed centrally via the new RCM formula.
IV. Report on the retreat of the Presidential Blue Ribbon Panel on Research – Kevin
Gardner was the senate’s observer at the retreat held by the Presidential
Blue Ribbon Panel on Research. The charge of that group is to lay the groundwork
for a successful vice presidential search next year and the foundation for
a robust and enduring research enterprise at UNH, by addressing three questions:
(1) what does UNH need to do to ensure the vitality of research, scholarship,
and creative activity for the next ten years? (2) what is the right mission
and organizational structure for the Office of Research and the right qualifications
for a vice president for research? and (3) how do we ensure that research activities
are integrally connected to and supportive of the broader academic mission?
Regarding the first question, the university president said that research is
central to the university’s mission and critical to its identity and
that there is an unhealthy divide at UNH between research and teaching.
Regarding the second question on structure, the president asked the panel
to look for incentives and disincentives that exist for engaging in research
and creative scholarship and to review responsibility center management, promotion
and tenure guidelines, and other factors in this context. Thirdly, the president
asked how the university can fix the cultural divide that exists and how incentives
and disincentives can be properly aligned. He asked those at the retreat to
air issues and exchange ideas, and he proposed that a working group of eight
or so persons would gather data and information, engage the stakeholders, and
prepare recommendations for the president to move toward resolution of these
Scott Long, who is the associate vice provost at Indiana University, discussed
the structure of and funding for the office of the vice provost for research
at Indiana University. Then John Aber gave an historical perspective of research
at UNH and discussed some structural and incentive-related problems. Joseph
Klewicki spoke on issues such as the need for alignment of the missions of
departments, colleges and the university as a whole. Break-out groups then
discussed four questions: (1) how would you organize and structure research
operations at UNH? (2) what are current financial incentives and disincentives
for research at UNH and what changes need to be made to ensure the vitality
of research, scholarship and creative activity? (3) what funding opportunities
are available to UNH institutes, centers, faculty and students and how can
access to those be improved? and (4) how can UNH optimize the involvement and
engagement of all faculty, research scientists and students, in research and
the broader academic mission?
Regarding organization and structure, research is a core value; and if the
culture is modified, structural changes will follow. The culture might be changed
via workshops, inclusive discussion, promotion and tenure expectations, and
valuing teaching and research and perhaps the service aspect of the academic
mission equally. Research could be incorporated more fundamentally into the
Deans’ Council, and the vice president for research could report to the
provost. The Academic Council could include the vice president for research
and the heads of major centers and institutes. The panel discussed heavy teaching
loads as being the largest disincentive to research. The definition of scholarship
should be clarified, broadened, and coherent throughout the university. The
panel discussed partnering research faculty and tenure-track faculty in various
ways and also incentives to take advantage of undergraduate research and on-going
funded research. Research faculty case studies could highlight success stories.
The Office of Sponsored Research could become more service oriented, to improve
the experience of faculty who may be out of the funding loops.
Amitava Battacharjee and Jan Nisbet will convene the task force to work on
the group’s charge, and on Feb. 20 the vice president for research from
the University of Delaware will speak to the group. Feedback from faculty will
be sought through executive councils and web-based input. Today the senate
chair said that the group should also obtain feedback from the Faculty Senate.
A senator asked if there was discussion of financial incentives, and Kevin
Gardner replied in the negative. Merit pay is an issue in the contract negotiations.
How to increase the number of Ph.D. graduates was discussed at the retreat.
Today a senator said that there is a dichotomy not only between faculty who
are active in research and those who are not but also between the large research
centers or institutes and the smaller researchers. The panel had discussed
evaluating equally the different types of research and teaching, as well as
service. There are many different aspects of inquiry, and those should be rewarded.
There is friction between the perceived value of research, especially big research
and the value of undergraduate teaching. A professor said that often research
and outreach which serves the needs of the state do not receive high research
grants. Some colleges, especially COLSA, seem to be down-grading that type
of work, and we need a resolution of that.
A senator said that one shared-governance issue is how the administration
structures and facilitates valued activities and that the integration of research
and teaching shows a disfunction in this area. When faculty have big teaching
loads and many advisees, there is little opportunity to engage in research.
Service is an important part of the university’s mission as well, but
it is not being sufficiently recognized. Also, what amount of service is required
of faculty? A professor pointed out that research faculty deal frequently with
graduate students and sometimes undergraduate students as well. The senate
would like to know who the members of the research task force are and how they
represent the various types of research on campus. Does the group include members
who represent the faculty who both teach and do research?
Now the largest institute is running a deficit, and the administration is
providing central funds to offset that. A senator said that EOS is a contributing
member of the university and brings in $8,500,000. This amount has not decreased,
but the central assessment to the university under the new RCM formulas increased
and created a deficit. The president is allocating central funds to mitigate
the EOS deficit, and a professor said that those funds could have been spent
on other purposes.
A professor said that teaching loads in a given department can be hugely different
and that salaries at the same promotion level can also vary greatly. A senator
said that the university underfunds teaching assistants, which makes competing
for them uncompetitive, and he said that better funding for the teaching assistants
would improve both the academic and the research programs. Another senator
added that recruiting new faculty is also difficult when the potential faculty
know that they would be teaching five classes per academic year, doing outreach
and site visits and accomplishing research, especially when there is an on-going
contract dispute. A professor asked how research is supposed to dovetail with
teaching and added that some of his research equipment is now being used in
teaching labs. On the science side of campus, the integration of teaching and
research may be different from that in liberal arts or business education.
How are the creative enterprises and the research enterprises perceived and
understood? Question #3 contained in the charge to Presidential Blue Ribbon
Panel on Research asked “how do we ensure that research activities are
integrally connected and supportive of the broader academic mission?” After
some discussion of potential circumstances that could limit integration, one
senator stated that tenure track faculty members have responsibilities for
teaching, research and outreach. Those faculty have the opportunity and are
likely to integrate these activities. In contrast, research faculty and contract
faculty may have responsibilities in only one of those areas. The senator wondered
if the more narrowly-defined responsibilities of such groups of individuals
might be one factor contributing to limited integration of research into the
university’s broader mission. A member of the Art Department said that
the university does not provide him with space in which to paint and that he
must rent his own lab, a studio in Portsmouth, in order to accomplish the research/creative
activity which the university requires.
A professor asked how research is supposed to dovetail with teaching and added
that some of his research equipment is now being used in teaching labs. On
the science side of campus, the integration of teaching and research may be
different from that in liberal arts or business education. How are the creative
enterprises and the research enterprises perceived and understood? Tenure track
faculty members have teaching, research and outreach responsibilities and tend
to integrate these activities.
However, the university has promoted research and institutes and may be relying
increasingly on contract faculty to teach courses. These latter groups of individuals
typically have responsibilities in only one of those three areas. This may
be an important factor contributing to the perception that research is not
being fully integrated into the other aspects of our institutional mission.
A member of the Art Department said that the university does not provide him
with space in which to paint and that he must rent his own lab, a studio in
Portsmouth, in order to accomplish the research/creative activity which the
V. What shared governance means in the context of work to rule – The
12/3/07 senate which authorized an observer rather than a member for the research
planning group had said that this matter should be discussed further at today’s
meeting. Senators said that the choices today include providing a full member
or an observer, refusing to participate during work to rule, or withdrawing
from the process while stating that the functioning of such a group without
this faculty participation would be deemed a violation of shared governance.
After the senate discussed the pros and cons of the choices, a senator suggested
that the Faculty Senate could communicate to the president and other administrators
that work such as the research panel’s proceeding during work to rule
and without participation provided by the Faculty Senate will be deemed a violation
of shared governance.
Jeff Salloway moved and Rochelle Lieber seconded that, in as much as the primary
resource of the university is the quality of its faculty and in as much as
the university does not have at this time a contractual relationship with that
faculty, the Faculty Senate will not send a member to the Presidential Blue
Ribbon Panel on Research or other such committees and also that the furtherance
of the panel’s work would be deemed to be a violation of shared governance.
This would mean that the senate would withdraw even its observer and that the
administration would be put on notice that implementation of new policy or
plans on academic matters without participation provided by the Faculty Senate
could result in a vote of censure or no confidence. The motion passed with
twenty ayes, nine nays and two abstentions.
Last year the Faculty Senate passed a motion stating in part that:
The Faculty Senate will take no decisions and no actions during this period
of work to rule, and the Faculty Senate expects the university administration
to take no decisions and no actions on all those areas over which the faculty
has primary or co-equal responsibility. Should such actions be taken, the Faculty
Senate will be prepared to take appropriate action including but not limited
to motions of censure and no confidence.
The university president had been asked to attend today’s senate meeting
to discuss matters of shared governance, but he said that his schedule was
too full to attend today. A senator proposed that the senate continue to ask
the president to have this discussion with the senate, and this will be decided
VI. Adjournment – Today’s meeting was adjourned.