Faculty Senate Minutes for Nov. 16, 2009
December 9, 2009
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Boylan, Fraas, Kaen, Malley, Morgan, and Simos. Guests were John Aber, Dick Cannon, Leigh Anne Melanson, David Proulx, and Richard Peyser.
II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that he has met twice with the department chairs of liberal arts, to get input from the chairs and their departments regarding the position of the dean of liberal arts. The LA chairs voted to recommend a five-year reappointment for the current dean of liberal arts, and the provost accepted that recommendation. The provost added that he will soon complete discussions on the position of senior vice provost for academic affairs. The provost also announced that the CEPS dean, who has served for five years, will step aside and that there will be a full, national search for a new dean for CEPS as soon as possible. The provost said that the process for such searches has been clarified. The CEPS department chairs have made recommendations of who should be on the search committee, and the national search is expected to conclude in March. He said that the national search can include internal applicants and that, if the initial search does not succeed, an internal search will be conducted. If that also does not succeed, there will be an interim appointment.
III. Responsibility center management – David Proulx, who is the assistant vice president for financial planning and budgeting, said that the university’s allocated revenue comes from undergraduate and graduate net tuition, summer tuition, facilities and administration recovery, and the state appropriation. Unit direct revenue comes from executive education, summer activity, grants, contracts, student fees, sales of goods and services, gifts, endowments, and differential tuition. Direct expenses are salaries, wages, fringe benefits, administrative costs, travel, equipment, and debt service, while indirect expenses are for facilities and the general assessment. The RCM principles should be as follows. RCM must be guided by clear strategic plans and priorities and strong academic governance mechanisms; the university community will remain inter-connected and unified; and all units will operate in furtherance of university goals. Each budgetary unit at UNH will have its own designated revenue stream and will be responsible for managing its full costs within the limits of its total resources. Each unit will benefit directly from its initiatives that increase revenue and/or operating efficiencies. The focus of financial management will be on all funds, including education and general, internally designated, auxiliary, and restricted funds. The university would maintain a central fund to support the university, reward excellence and uphold the institution's mission. The budget model should be as simple as possible to promote easy comprehension and efficient administration. The budget model should be consistent and fair across all units of the university. The budget model should centralize only those activities where institutional consistency is imperative or where there are material economies of scale. The budget model should provide for formal input from users into the service levels and costs of central services.
The RCM goals are: (1) to enhance resource generation and management effectiveness by placing financial authority, accountability, risk and rewards at the appropriate local level, (2) to simplify budgetary procedures and decisions by reducing layers of institutional involvement, (3) to improve the quality of budget forecasting and financial planning by requiring unit-level plans and monitoring performance against those plans, (4) to free the time of institutional leaders from relatively immaterial financial decisions, in order to focus on strategic financial issues, and (5) to clarify the financial condition of the university and its units by presenting financial data in clear, consistent, and transparent formats to a wide audience. RCM needs review now because RCM has served UNH well but not in all areas and because UNH has changed quite a bit over the past four years. UNH now has a more challenging funding picture, restructuring of units, development of the UNH Strategic Plan, and other reviews (on research, athletics, Healthy UNH, a possible merger with Franklin Pierce Law Center, and NEASC accreditation). The goals for the RCM review are to align RCM incentives with institutional goals, identify a source of central strategic funds under the control of the president and provost, simplify the model wherever possible, develop greater accountability for all units, and establish the criteria and process for subvention management. Subvention management refers to the multiplying formulas included in the beginning of RCM to help essential programs whose income does not cover expenses.
The Central Budget Committee oversees the RCM process, meets every two weeks, and includes the provost, vice president for finance and administration, vice president for university communications, associate vice president of computing and information services, senior vice provost for research, director of finance for information technology, chair of the Student Fee Oversight Committee, the treasurer of the Graduate Student Fee Oversight Committee, two deans, and two faculty members plus the Faculty Senate chair and the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee. David Proulx and Leigh Anne Melanson serve as staff to the committee. The RCM review timeline includes information gathering from internal and external sources and analysis and findings from 9/22 to 11/15/09, modeling, testing and analysis of ideas for variations of RCM from 11/15/09 to 2/31/10, development of draft recommendations and report from 2/1 to 2/28, final CBC report presented to President Huddleston by 3/1, and President Huddleston’s decision by 3/15, with changes to be implemented in fiscal year 2011.
A senator said that RCM should include greater accountability for all units. David Proulx replied that RCM does not include a lot of measurement, because the academic units already give more data than the other units. The number of enrollments, graduations, graduate degrees and such are known. He added that RCM should include performance goals and rewards and incentives. The senator responded that there will need to be further discussion on that. A senator pointed out that, if those incentives were to come from a central fund, the academic units would probably be taxed, in order to provide those funds. Another possibility might be gifts from the capital campaign. The provost indicated that some incentives for units are built into the RCM system since, for example, if summer session revenues go up, the unit’s income increases. He said that it is important for the president and provost to have some funds to provide incentives and seed money. A senator replied that this would be an important change in the formulas and should have serious discussion. David Proulx said that this senate meeting is not the only time that the Faculty Senate will be consulted and that the administration will ask the senate for input on these matters later in the process. A senator said that RCM puts management in the hands of the unit heads but gives the responsibility to the department chairs. He added that the departments do not receive incentives to do better and that the decisions seem to be made on criteria that are not made known to the faculty. David Proulx said that this should be clarified and that each unit should be able to have its own incentive plan. He added that prior to RCM the budgetary structure had no incentives for the units but that now it is the units and not the departments which get the incentives. Faculty are invited to send input on that issue.
In response to a question about information on procurement, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, David Proulx said that the administration is looking at procurement on the university system level, in a way that may result in savings. The provost added that the university has already put into practice many of the Chronicle’s recommendations, such as business service centers. Also, electronic procurement methods may make information known more broadly and thus enable purchasers at the university to find better prices on goods. A former senate chair said that faculty are concerned that RCM gives incentives to units to pick each others’ pockets, and he asked if there is a strategy to deal with that. The provost replied that the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee (UCAPC) should make sure that one academic unit does not rob another. How can the university provide for university-wide programs like the Discovery Program, and how can RCM respond to that? David Proulx responded that the Discovery Program is a university priority, no matter what the funding method is. He said that the university must make sure that RCM aligns with the university’s goals and must make choices about how to fund those activities.
A professor said that the university needs a good records management program, which could provide savings and prevent information from becoming unavailable after a few years. A senator stated that the original committee that created RCM discussed providing funds for the president or provost to administer centrally and decided not to provide such funds. He added that UCAPC was intended to solve problems between academic units and that providing funds to the president and provost would be a big shift and would take away from funds available to the units. The provost said that in the future the university could serve more people, resulting in more funds, and that grant revenues may increase, along with possible additional income from a January term, summer scheduling, and the capital campaign. A professor said that the review should look into the practices at the end of the revenue pipeline. Faculty should send input and concerns to the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee at email@example.com.
The discussion continued at the end of the senate meeting. A former senate chair said that, in 2005, the Faculty Senate passed a motion which said in part: “As we make and support choices among alternative uses of our limited resources, the Faculty Senate emphasizes that the standard by which fiscal decisions must be judged is their effect on academic goals of teaching, learning, research, artistry, and outreach, never vice versa. A good budget system serves academic priorities; it does not define them.” Regarding RCM incentives, he said that, if his department were to offer a course on video games and cartoons, that course might attract many students; but the course would not therefore be more important than a course on the works of Chekhov. A senator asked for more information on the similarities and differences of how the academic units operate. Do some units channel summer credit dollars back to the departments that earn them and do other units not do that? How does subvention management work? Under the “hold harmless” system, dollars are taken from some units and given to others. That process should be reviewed. A professor said that, although one of the stated principles of RCM is that it should be “consistent and fair across all units”, the use of the formulas which take money from certain units is neither fair nor consistent and cannot be justified. Another senator replied that it costs more to educate in some disciplines than in others.
A professor said that, although RCM is relatively transparent and there is no magic way to allocate funds, there is a tendency to “game the system”. There needs to be a structure of rules, and UCAPC could help in this area. The University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee (UCAPC) is a senate committee, reports to the senate and was set up to “serve as an appeals and fact-finding body to consider academic and curricular matters which have inter-college and/or campus-wide effects or which are likely to affect the quality or integrity of the realization of the university’s academic mission”. Faculty with concerns in this area should propose them as a charge for UCAPC. The UCAPC chair said that some faculty seem to feel that UCAPC is being bypassed and that appropriate decisions are not being brought to UCAPC. Should UCAPC only deal with issues which are brought to it as charges?
A professor said that the multiplying formulas are more subtle than people think, because different units have different types and numbers of courses with different credits per course. A senator asked for data which would show the number of financial and computer administrators and staff before RCM was instituted and now. She asked if there is a relationship between the multiplying factor subvention issue and the fact that the consultants seem to be privileging only certain areas of the university. Another problem is that the consultants chosen often seem to be strongly biased towards one side of an issue, such as RCM. A senator said that another concern is that facilities costs seem to fall more on some units than on others such as athletics and the library, even though the library serves the whole university. She added that some units are very aggressive on cost recovery while others are discouraged from cost recovery. Another senator said that it is a paradox to ask faculty to increase research while at the same time the travel allowance for faculty in liberal arts is deleted. He added that a cut, if any, in the travel budget should be across the university.
A professor said that he sees the dean’s office as a black hole of funding and that RCM is not a motivating factor, because the faculty who are teaching do not see any increased funding in the department when the number of students increases. A senator said that it is very important that RCM should have transparency at the unit level. He added that, although departments should not make the budget decisions, incentives should go to departments that earn them. Another professor said that the multiplying formulas were compromises and that RCM was the vehicle that persuaded the university trustees to let the units build up and retain reserves from year to year. The units differ in size and complexity. He added that the risk, of passing RCM down to the department level, is that there would be many important departments that could not pay for themselves. Therefore now each unit head decides what departments are essential and how to support them. That is a decision which must be made in the unit. However, faculty in the unit should be free to discuss with the unit’s management how and why those decisions are made. He asked why a central fund should be established for the president and provost to administer, and he said that would be a big change.
IV. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that students would like faculty to remember the provost’s letter earlier this semester asking faculty to be flexible this flu season. The student body vice president added that the Student Senate would like faculty to be more lenient now on attendance policies, since the Student Health Center has asked students who are feeling ill to stay home. The Student Health Center does not provide notes to document student illness. After a discussion of this matter, the Faculty Senators indicated that it is each student’s responsibility to talk with the instructor via phone or email in case of illness. Also, regarding administrative separation for reasons of health related behaviors, in item 22.2 of the Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities manual, the Faculty Senate chair asked that faculty consider in their departments the kind of norms placed on what it means for students to be sane and healthy, since faculty senators have raised concerns about creating narrow notions of “healthy” behavior. The senate chair added that the Strategic Plan will be released soon. The senate chair reminded senators to attend the meeting with research consultants Oldacker, Belair & Wittie. The forum will be held on December 1, perhaps from 10:00 to noon in the 1925 room in the Alumni Center; and confirmation of the time and place will be forthcoming. The senior vice provost for research will meet with the Agenda Committee soon to discuss the cost and benefits of hiring such consultants. What benefits will there be for liberal arts?
V. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously.
VI. Motion to endorse the president’s letter to the university community – On behalf of the Student Affairs Committee, Barbara White made a motion to endorse President Huddleston's letter to the university community (printed in The New Hampshire, November 6, 2009) and his call for civic engagement in upholding our collective social responsibility to ensure the safety of all members of our campus and town community. The senate motion passed unanimously, except for one abstention.
VII. Report on the Advisory Board for the Office of Sponsored Research – In 2005, the Research and Public Service Committee was charged to serve as an advisory board to the Office of Sponsored Research. The committee believes that UNH is in a new situation now regarding research and OSR. The Blue Ribbon Panel report and the Strategic Plan indicate a desire to raise the research profile and ranking at UNH, to further integrate research faculty into campus life, and to increase outside finding but with less dependence on earmarks and clearer attention to research not funded by external sources. The vice president for research position has changed to the senior vice provost for research, and a new person has been appointed. The senate’s Research and Public Service Committee has proposed to the senior vice provost for research the creation of a new advisory committee that would contain representatives from the Faculty Senate and other constituencies, with the aim of advising the senior vice provost for research regarding the larger research mission at UNH. She is currently identifying a variety of existing advisory bodies and plans to work with the RPSC on developing a functional and efficient way to involve the Faculty Senate in the advisory process. The RPSC chair said that he will meet with the senior vice provost for research regularly and work with her on this project.
VIII. Motion on senate representation from UNH-Manchester – Sarah Kenick, on behalf of the faculty members at UNH-Manchester, made a motion to change the Faculty Senate Constitution with respect to senate representation from UNH-Manchester; and Marco Dorfsman seconded the motion. The senate constitution’s current language reads: "Each academic department shall elect one member to the Faculty Senate for a two-year term. Departments with more than 20 tenure-track faculty shall elect two senators. For purposes of Faculty Senate membership, the Library, the Thompson School, and UNH-Manchester divisions shall be treated in the same way as departments." The proposed change will read: “Each academic department shall elect one member to the Faculty Senate for a two-year term. Departments with more than 20 tenure-track faculty shall elect two senators. For purposes of Faculty Senate membership, the Library, the Thompson School, and UNH-Manchester shall be treated in the same way as departments." It will also be necessary to correct the listing of eligible representatives noted in Section 4 of the Bylaws to replace “UNH-M, Humanities and UNH-M, Sciences” with “UNH-M”.
The rationale is to remove the word “divisions”, in order to allow for the election of two at-large senators from the entire UNH-Manchester faculty rather than limiting representation to one senator from the Humanities Division and one senator from the Sciences Division. UNH-Manchester faculty members do not meet as division members but as a faculty at-large. In addition, under the current language of the constitution, the new Social Sciences Division is not able to elect representation to the Faculty Senate. There are 29 tenured or tenure-line faculty members at UNH-Manchester: 12 in the Humanities Division, 10 in the Social Sciences Division, and 7 in the Sciences Division. If UNH-Manchester is treated as a department (in the way that the UNH Library is) then two senators should be elected from UNH-Manchester faculty in accordance with the Senate Constitution. This would keep the same number of representatives as now. The motion passed unanimously.
IX. Recommendation on faculty use of the Behavioral Intervention Team – Barbara White said that the senate’s Student Affairs Committee recommends that the faculty senators review with their departmental colleagues the information from the 10/19/09 senate presentation on the Behavioral Intervention Team and consider inviting Dr. Anne Lawing and/or Dr. David Cross to present such information at a departmental faculty meeting or college/school gathering. Senators suggested that this recommendation should not be in the form of a senate motion, and they asked for a one-page summary of the information. Senators are requested to share with their departmental colleagues this forthcoming summary, as well as the information from the flyer and the 10/19/09 senate minutes.
X. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.