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Faculty Senate Minutes Summary Sept. 28, 2009

November 4, 2009

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Beane, Boylan, Fraas, Harvey, Howard, Morgan, Simos, and Tobin.  Guests were John Aber, Sharon Demers and John Baird.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that there will be an announcement shortly about a review of responsibility center management, to begin immediately.   The goals of the review are to provide incentives for the goals in the Strategic Plan, simplify RCM, and provide flexible funding for new initiatives identified in the Strategic Plan.  There will be fact finding until November 15, then modeling and testing until the end of January, report drafting in February, and a decision from the president by March 15, 2010.  The changes should apply for the next business year, and the Central Budget Committee will oversee this.

The provost has discussed with the senate’s Agenda Committee the possibility of continuing appointments of certain administrators and how to ensure that shared governance is done appropriately regarding new or continuing appointments.  The appointments under discussion are the positions for the senior vice provost and the dean of liberal arts.  Faculty Senators suggested that, prior to making a decision, he should send an email to all faculty asking for their input on the possibility of continuing the appointment of the senior vice provost.  The appointment might be for three years, with the possibility of renewal which would follow the usual shared governance process.  Regarding the position of dean of liberal arts, the provost said that he intends to meet with the department chairs in that college and also the faculty senators from that college.  After discussion on the relative merits of a national search versus an internal candidate and in response to a suggestion that he invite the liberal arts faculty to give input on the position, the provost said that he intends to gather input from the liberal arts faculty, before a decision is made on how to fill the position.

III.  Campus climate survey – John Baird, who is a consultant from Baird Borling Associates, gave an overview of the campus climate survey results.  [On 9/29/09, a letter will be sent to all faculty and staff summarizing the results and providing access to the overall survey results on line, at http://www.unh.edu/hr/workplace-survey/UNH-Workplace-Survey-Results.htm.]  The survey results have been discussed with the RCM unit heads, and each has been provided results for that particular area.  Completed questionnaires were received from 303 faculty and 1,394 staff.  This is a response rate of about thirty percent from full-time faculty (lower than the fifty percent participation rate normally seen) and sixty-one percent for staff (slightly below the normal participation level of sixty-five percent).  The responses are compared with those from about 13,200 faculty and 68,000 staff in thirty organizations surveyed nation-wide over the past two years.  Senators said that seventy percent of UNH faculty did not fill out the survey and that more might have participated if they were told how much UNH is paying for the survey and that the results might affect allocation of resources.  In the survey, the strongest concerns were expressed about workloads, compensation, interdepartmental and upward communication, and the management of change.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the Distance Learning Forum and luncheon on September 25 was a great success and that there was ample opportunity for faculty to ask questions and express concerns and needs.  The senate chair also said that, after a senator raised concerns about the single format for business cards required by UNH, she met with the vice president for university communications.  The vice president explained the logic behind the graphic identity and branding guide but agreed to provide three different templates for the business cards.  The senate chair will send the template information to the senators.  The senate chair said that the deans are considering the possibility of instituting a ten-year synchronized accreditation cycle.  She reminded the senators to get input from their departmental colleagues regarding open access policy and to send the input to Val Dusek, who is the chair of the senate’s Library Committee.

Last summer, the procedure for the course evaluation for distance learning was approved on a course-by-course basis.  The senior vice provost for academic affairs has asked the senate chair for input on the correct procedure for January-term course evaluations and assessment and has suggested forming a group with a member from the Faculty Senate, charged with recommending the procedure.  This would not preclude the general discussion the Faculty Senate will have about whether and how course evaluation procedures might be improved.  A senator suggested that, for this January only, the associate deans could work out arrangements with the departments for those course evaluations.  Another senator said that the senate could recommend that option to the committee formed by the senior vice provost.  That committee would put together a temporary plan for this January only, and any permanent plan should go through the senate’s Task Force on Promotion, Tenure, Teaching and Standards.  The Faculty Senate has the authority to deal with how evaluations should be made.  A professor said that, since the January term is a pilot program, assessment of the courses is especially necessary.  A senator volunteered to be a member of the committee that may be formed by the senior vice provost.    The vice provost’s committee should bring any recommendations to the Faculty Senate.

V.  Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously, with one abstention.

VI.  Discovery Program implementation – Larry Prelli said that the Discovery Committee has completed the catalog descriptions and defined laboratories for the Discovery Program.  The committee has also formulated program descriptions.  He said that there are about 180 courses approved for the Discovery Program breadth courses and 444 courses at this time.  The committee plans to have the information needed on all these courses by November 1, in order to meet the printing schedule for the 2010 course catalog.  More courses are needed.  Departments are asked to send inquiry attribute courses and others as soon as possible, via the standard approval process of the department, the associate dean of the college, and then the Discovery Committee.  Barbara White said that the committee has not rejected any courses but has returned a few courses to the dean and the faculty member, with a request for more information.  Any questions on that should be sent to Larry Prelli.  The Discovery Program website has the proposal forms for Discovery Program courses.  Larry Prelli said that the forms are brief and would not take long to fill out.  A senator said that her course was submitted to the department chair and the college Academic Affairs Committee in March but that she has received no response.  About three thousand seats are needed for freshman courses for each category.  Many previous courses may qualify for Discovery Program courses with no or only minor adjustments.

VII.   Administrative separation procedures for students – Barbara White, the chair of the Faculty Senate’s Student Affairs Committee, said that the senators have received on email the proposed version of the administrative separation procedures and the previous version which is dated 1995.  The section on administrative separation for reasons of health-related behaviors is currently being discussed, refers to involuntary separation to prevent threats to self or others, and has been revised in order to clarify parts of the 1995 version.  She asked senators to get input from their departmental colleagues and send it to her by October 9.  Then the committee will formulate a recommendation and bring it to the senate.  The committee is concerned about how and when faculty would be notified of such a separation.  No representative of Student Senate has been observing the Student Affairs Committee meetings, and Barbara White will again look into that.  [An invitation has been extended since the beginning of the semester.]  Faculty who are concerned about student behavioral issues may call David Cross, who is the Director of the Counseling Center, or one of the telephone numbers listed on the card faculty received on this subject.

VIII.  Communication about senate issues – A senator said that, because the Faculty Senate is a deliberative body, its actions take time.  It is each senator’s job to inform the departmental faculty about the issues being dealt with in the senate and to bring the colleagues’ opinions and concerns on those issues back to the senate.  Senators receive the senate minutes, agendas and other documents on email and should forward them to their departmental colleagues, with or without comments.  A senator said that she sends those items and that, in addition, her department has the Faculty Senate as an agenda item on every departmental faculty meeting, so that she can give an oral report about the current senate issues.

IX.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.
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