Faculty Senate Minutes Summary Nov. 2, 2009
November 18, 2009
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Beane, Curran-Celentano, Fraas, Kaen, Morgan, Ramadanovic, Simos, Tobin and William Woodward. A guest was John Aber.
II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that he has met with the department chairs in liberal arts and asked for input from the chairs and their departments regarding the position of the dean of liberal arts. Those chairs will meet again soon and provide further input. The provost said that he will soon complete discussions on the position of senior vice provost for academic affairs. He also announced that the CEPS dean, who has served for five years, will step aside and that there will soon be a search for a new dean for CEPS. The provost recently met with the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee to discuss possible new schools policy. The Strategic Plan will include this topic as well. The RPSC chair said that the relationship between any new schools and the other entities such as programs, departments, colleges and institutes is a complex issue which will require considerable work.
Regarding the discriminatory harassment issue, the provost said that the administrative departments now understand that they should bring any announcements for vetting by the provost’s office before sending them out to faculty. The provost said that he is interested in how to protect faculty and inform them about harassment issues. While people generally agree on the need to create a harassment-free environment, the details may not be so clear, especially in regard to recent court cases. The provost asked for input on how to change the training program so that it would be more effective and more acceptable. A former senate chair suggested that a document should be created with a cover page listing bulleted items of how a person could be liable and with attached links for further information on each situation. The document should say that people with additional questions could contact Donna Sorrentino, Director of Affirmative Action and Equity. Another resource is the director of the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program. A senator said that the front page of the document could be posted in many UNH classrooms and perhaps discussed in departmental meetings. Another former senate chair suggested a document from the provost, a symposium with faculty speakers, and/or a play by the UNH Theatre Department. Another faculty member said that there should be a section on harassment, in the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities manual. A reminder could be sent just before classes start.
III. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the Strategic Planning Committee met on October 21 to review the penultimate draft of the plan and that the plan will be released by the president in a month or so. The senate chair also said that last week Senior Vice Provost for Research Jan Nisbet informed her that two Washington-based government relations firms, which UNH is considering as partners to help advance research and scholarship, will be on campus. The first firm, Van Scoyoc and Associates, will be on campus on November 3. Two of the associates will meet with the Deans’ Council from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., followed by a meeting with members of the research community from 10:00 to noon in the Lamprey Board Room in Holloway Commons. All faculty senators are also invited to attend the latter meeting. The second firm invited by UNH is Oldacker, Belair & Wittie. Their representatives will be here on December 1, possibly from 10:00 to noon in the 1925 room of the Alumni Center. The senior vice provost for research has asked these firms to work with UNH, to support advancement and funding for strategic priorities and research interests. The senate chair spoke with Jan Nisbet about faculty concerns about the cost of consultants, and she replied that, in her estimation, this cost is best understood as an investment in research and scholarship. Since there are significantly fewer earmarks for research funding now, special efforts may be needed in the legislature or funding agencies; and this work would help also with competitive research grants. There is a lot of competitive funding which originates through earmarks. Faculty also expressed concern about the late notice for the November 3 meeting. A professor asked for a cost benefit analysis for trips to Washington and hiring these firms versus the yield expected; and the senate chair said that she would check on that. She added that she had asked how much hiring the firms would cost and was not given an answer. She said that these are important questions. Two past senate chairs said that something of this magnitude should have faculty consultation and that the senate chair should communicate to the president and provost that, for shared governance to work, better communication is necessary and that to inform is not to consult.
IV. Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously except for one abstention, with a modification of the last sentence of item IX to: “He added that soon the Academic Affairs Committee will present to the senate a motion regarding continuing the pilot study and that the committee will then consider how much or whether to review outcomes assessment.”
V. Motion on Student Separation Policy – The Student Affairs Committee met with Anne Lawing, Dean of Students (Division of Student and Academic Services) at her request, to review the Administrative Separation and Procedures for Re-Admission in the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities manual on page 37, accessed at: www.unh.edu/student/rights. The committee requested clarification on several aspects and suggested a few additions to the policy that are highlighted in the draft. The committee is satisfied with this revised policy and with Dr. Lawing’s plan to request, at the time of notification to the associate deans, that each associate dean notify the individual faculty member whose student has been separated. The revisions will be in effect immediately and will be published in the January, 2010, Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities manual. The Student Affairs Committee made a motion that the Faculty Senate endorse the revised Administrative Separation and Procedures for Re-Admission in the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities manual, to be published in January of 2010. The motion passed unanimously except for one abstention.
VI. Higher Education Act and textbook pricing availability – The website of AACRAO, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, says at www.aacrao.org/ that, after several years of legislative debate, the Higher Education Act was reauthorized in August of 2008, by the passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL110-315). A key feature of the act, section 133, deals with the requirement for institutions to provide textbook information at the time a student registers for a course. The textbook provisions in HEOA take effect on July 1, 2010. Given the long lead time typical in the preparation of a course schedule, higher education institutions need to begin planning how their institution will meet these requirements. UNH, after discussions with the VPAA, registrar and CIS, has a plan in place to use the current UNH booklist now available through Black Board as the vehicle by which the university can comply with this law. The booklist will be linked to the online Time and Room Schedule (or web address given in the printed form) and will allow faculty to place the ISBN, publishing information and suggested retail cost along with the book title. The UNH booklist is linked to both book stores, and so faculty will be able to place book orders through the UNH booklist as well as be in compliance with making costs available. The Student Affairs Committee will work with CIS, to ensure ease of the UNH booklist access and use, and will solicit comments from faculty about problems or concerns next spring. The target for “good faith compliance” with this law is the use of UNH booklist by 80% to 85% of the faculty who use textbooks. This law applies only to faculty who use published materials that students must purchase. The Student Affairs Committee made a motion (1) that faculty use the UNH Booklist as the mechanism for compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL110-315, reauthorized in 2008) and (2) that the Faculty Senate charge the Student Affairs Committee with observing the use of the UNH booklist by faculty in the spring semester of 2010, assessing both ease of usage concerns as well as percent of faculty using the booklist.
This process would be in effect for the spring semester of this academic year. A professor expressed concern that, when he listed a textbook with both local bookstores, each ordered 40% of the books needed and so some students did not get the book until a month later. The SAC chair said that Terri Winters would like faculty to send her their concerns about how the booklist software should be shaped. Also, the students want the textbook information early enough to allow them to purchase books elsewhere, such as from online sources. Some faculty would like the software to allow them to specify which local bookstore will receive the textbook information. Currently the information would go to both local bookstores, and thus the UNH library would receive some funding from the university bookstore. However, there is also a button which can be pushed in order not to submit the information to the bookstores; and then the instructor could telephone either bookstore. The SAC chair said that the booklist software might be modified but that using another mechanism for complying with the law about textbook information would cost a lot to develop. She stated that CIS will be able to insert the book cost and the ISBN, when the instructor writes the book title and author in the booklist on Black Board. A senator said that students may choose courses in part based on textbook price and that therefore she needs to know both the new and the used price and how many used books are available. She asked if CIS could provide that information. With the ISBN, students and others can search online in places like amazon.com for used textbooks. Prices are also available online from Books in Print. The motion passed with twenty-five ayes, nine nays, and three abstentions.
VII. NAVITAS – The past senate chair said that UNH is looking into a potential partnership with NAVITAS and that the task force has faculty representation and is chaired by Kristin Woolever, who is the UNH-Manchester dean, and by Professor Sally Ward. NAVITAS, which originated in Australia, is a for-profit educational corporation which works with students graduating mainly from elite secondary schools in China, India and other countries and provides pre-enrollment courses at universities worldwide. Such a partnership would enable UNH to increase its undergraduate diversity and reduce budget problems. Marco Dorfsman said that NAVITAS is large and well respected and has a unique program called the bridge pathway. He said that the UNH group which visited Simon Fraser University was very impressed with the operation of NAVITAS on that campus. The NAVITAS program there has a similar name, Fraser International College; but the program is a separate entity. NAVITAS offers its students a good support system and a core of courses modeled on the host institution’s curriculum, with a slate of courses that most of its freshmen take. The bridge year would also help the students improve their English language, cultural and study skills. The host institution reviews the bridge courses, including the curriculum, the syllabus and the instructor. Many of the NAVITAS faculty might be UNH lecturers, graduate students, retired faculty, or current faculty who wish to work an overload.
The university would develop an agreement with NAVITAS covering many issues, including that UNH would accept for admission the NAVITAS students who pass certain tests and standards. When admitted to UNH, those students would be out-of-state students and pay the usual tuition and fees. For the bridge program, the university would provide the name, the space and the supervision and for that would receive a royalty. Although starting with a smaller number of students, NAVITAS could eventually supply the number of students desired by the university, perhaps around four hundred or more. Will the expected UNH enrollment from traditional sources decrease due to a demographic reduction in students graduating from high school? Will space for classrooms or dormitories become available, perhaps in the New England Center? A professor expressed concern that, if a program were at or near capacity, the NAVITAS students would take priority over other current UNH students. The standard required for admission could vary by department, and not all departments would need to participate. A senator asked how accreditation standards would relate to NAVITAS. Initially certain disciplines, such as business and engineering, may be more in demand by NAVITAS students; but some may decide to change major after admission. NAVITAS would need to provide for visa and security clearance information. NAVITAS has fourteen years of tracked data which show that its students perform just as well as any other transfer students. The UNH task force feels that the partnership is an intriguing prospect, if potential logistical problems can be solved. Senators could forward this portion of the senate minutes to their colleagues and request input to themselves and to Marco Dorfsman. The task force plans to make a recommendation to the president by the beginning of next semester. A former senate chair said that this matter should be presented to the senate for a recommendation, before the university makes a commitment to NAVITAS.
VIII. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.