Faculty Senate Minutes Summary March 1, 2010
April 28, 2010
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Beane, Chandran, Fraas, Gunlogson, Harvey, Lanier, Morgan, Sharp, Simos and K. Zhou.
II. Minutes – Item X of the 2/15/2010 senate minutes will be modified to say the following. “The chair of the Campus Planning Committee reported that the committee will continue work on most of its charges. The committee has been charged to review the availability and quality of large lecture hall space and has appointed a liaison to the university’s joint committee on large classroom repair and renovation.” The minutes of that senate meeting with that modification were approved unanimously except for two abstentions.
III. Discussion on inviting administrators to senate meetings during work to rule – The Agenda Committee suggested a motion that the Faculty Senate will meet with administrators at the Faculty Senate’s discretion. Thus the senate would decide on a case-by-case basis whether administrators should be invited to the Faculty Senate. Senate committees would make their own decisions on this issue regarding their own meetings. However, if a committee wanted an administrator to speak to the senate, the committee would contact the senate chair who would present the matter to the senate for a vote. A senator said that, in previous work-to-rule cycles, administrators were not invited to the senate and that the senate should be very clear that administrators must not make decisions on academic matters without faculty approval. Another senator said that making a decision in the senate on each case when someone suggests an administrator come to a senate meeting would be very cumbersome. When work to rule is not in force, there is a standing invitation to the president and provost; but currently the default position should be not to invite the administrators to senate meetings, although the senate chair and vice chair will continue to meet with the president and the provost. Some senators said that the senate chair, with the advice of the Agenda Committee, should be able to make the decision that a given issue is of sufficient importance to faculty that the senate should break its default position. The motion was modified to say that “during work to rule, the Faculty Senate will not normally meet with administrators except in extraordinary circumstances decided on by the Agenda Committee.” Senate committees make their own decisions about inviting administrators. The modified motion passed with twenty-nine ayes, three nays, and two abstentions.
IV. Draft of a letter about PAT and OS concerns – The Agenda Committee suggested that the senate approve a letter to the university president as follows. “The Faculty Senate stands in solidarity with our colleagues in the EE/PAT and OS, who have suffered wage freezes and continual pressures on their benefits. These decisions have undermined a sense of well being and respect among the university community. We urge the administration to lift the wage freeze and maintain, if not enhance, all benefits.” Erik Swartz moved the motion, and Roslyn Chavda seconded it. Jeff Diefendorf said and Robert Woodward agreed that the senate should have concrete information on this matter before voting. The senate chair replied that she spoke with Monique Couillard, who is the chair of the Operating Staff Council. The staff are not given specific details about cuts but, according to the senate chair, are continuously threatened with a reduction in benefits. An Agenda Committee member said that the administration told the staff councils that the councils must state what benefits should be highest on a list for cutting. The Agenda Committee member said that this is not some figment of the imagination and that it is very important for the faculty senators to make a recommendation such as this motion, because when faculty have pressures on their pay, benefits or working conditions, faculty can take those concerns to the faculty union, but the staff have nowhere to turn. He added that ambiguity is a strategy that can be used against people and that this may be what is going on here. Bill Stine said that the motion is well written and should not be changed but that, in order to make it more powerful, it should be accompanied by a list of concrete events that were the concerns. Another former senate chair replied that the senate should express solidarity with the staff and that it is not the senate’s job to draw up a list of the details. He suggested and another senator agreed that only the first sentence of the motion should be used. Another senator disagreed, saying that the senate can simply state that the administration has told the staff councils that they must prioritize potential cuts in benefits. The senate chair said that the staff councils have sent two letters of concern to the university president about these matters. A senator suggested changing the first two words of the second sentence of the motion to “Such practices”. Another senator said that the Faculty Senate is not an investigative body for another group. She added that the staff are struggling and have less power and so the Faculty Senate should speak up in support of the staff. A professor suggested changing the first three words of the second sentence of the motion to “This has”. Larry Prelli moved and Gary Weisman seconded that the motion should be tabled at this time. The senate chair said that the motion will be redrafted and returned to the Faculty Senate. The motion to table the original motion passed with twenty-nine ayes, three nays and one abstention.
V. Report on water damage to the library – Elizabeth Slomba said that, on Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 a.m., a nearly two-and-one-half inch hot water pipe broke on the second floor of the university library. Water ran down into the first floor and level G. The library was closed that Saturday and Sunday, but branch library hours were extended that Sunday. The library has arranged some alternate study space for students. By Monday, March 1, floors three, four and five were opened; and the media lab on floor two will also be open. Floors one and two, including the government documents, multi media room and group study rooms, are expected to be closed through Friday, March 5; and the Memorial Union Building will help with group study space. Some materials from the closed areas may be available through the circulation desk if needed. The rare and special materials, the film collection, and the Darfur exhibit were not damaged. Student cluster servers were not affected. Technical services were displaced, and some library faculty offices were damaged. The academic technology office will honor all reservations. A professional company is working on mold abatement, and much of the carpet is expected to be saved. The university will review how to prevent future breaks of pipe support brackets. The break was not related to the recent wind storm and the interruption of electric power. The university library is grateful for the quick response from the Durham Fire Department and surrounding fire departments.
VI. Reports from the Academic Affairs Committee, on assessment, on Thompson School charge, and on work-to-rule decisions on charges 4 through 7 – Charge four is that the Academic Affairs Committee, in consultation with the Finance and Administration Committee and the Research and Public Service Committee, should review the academic aspects of the components of the Academic Plan and report to the Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate. During work to rule, the AAC will do no work on this charge and recommends that the Faculty Senate freeze deliberations having to do with the academic plan. Charge five is to monitor implementation of the Discovery Program, in consultation with the Discovery Committee, and consider a recommendation by the Discovery Committee on the Discovery Program guidelines requested by the registrar. During work to rule, the AAC will do no work on this charge. The committee notes that the Discovery Committee continues to operate. Charge six is to assess the success of the winter term. During work to rule, the AAC will do no work on this charge; and the committee recommends that the Faculty Senate take no action concerning winter term during work to rule. Charge seven is that the AAC should, in consultation with the Finance and Administration Committee, consider the advisability of a partnership with NAVITAS. During work to rule, the AAC will not work on this charge and recommends that the Faculty Senate hold on it. This matter falls squarely into the area of faculty jurisdiction; and considerable thought, discussion, and time would be required for faculty to ascertain whether it is advisable to move forward with a NAVITAS partnership. The Academic Affairs Committee not only recommends that the Faculty Senate hold on NAVITAS but also urges the Faculty Senate to make clear to the administration that, if the administration moves forward with this partnership without Faculty Senate approval, such action would constitute a violation of shared governance.
Charge one is to “consider outcomes assessment for UNH. Should it be enhanced in order to produce well-rounded and well-grounded graduates who are prepared in more ways than just academic knowledge? What metrics should UNH use to measure achievement of these goals? What are some bench marks of social maturity?” The committee had completed work on this charge before work to rule and presents to the senate the following motion for a vote. The rationale of the motion is that an instrument purporting to assess what a sample of UNH students learn is necessary to the continuing accreditation of the University of New Hampshire by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The University of New Hampshire has, for the past two years, been using the assessment instrument of CLA, the College Learning Assessment. The instrument has been administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence. The Academic Affairs Committee entertains reservations about this instrument but recognizes that there does not currently exist a better instrument to address the immediate aims of UNH in the accreditation process. The AAC therefore moves that the College Learning Assessment pilot continue for three years, from 2010 through 2013. The Center for Teaching Excellence should continue to administer the tests, as that center has been doing. The senate asks the Center for Teaching Excellence to report to the Academic Affairs Committee, at the end of this three-year period, regarding the findings and results of these continuing tests. The following language is not part of the motion but is included for the record and in the spirit of collegial recommendation. The Academic Affairs Committee recommends that tested students be given the opportunity to participate in exit interviews. The committee believes that further discussion of assessment should be discipline specific and should occur in the departments and programs.
The committee has discussed the testing process with the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, who said that there does not seem to be a better assessment instrument currently available; and the senior vice provost for academic affairs also seemed to agree. While the testing process may not be perfect, it appears to be the least harmful available and is needed for accreditation. The CLA samples a representative selection of students from all colleges. The motion would simply continue the pilot program for three years. If a student is routinely selected for the CLA, the student is not required to participate; but the response has been good, since a payment is involved. The Faculty Senate approved the motion unanimously.
Charge three of the AAC is 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.” The Academic Affairs Committee recommends that the senate pass the following motion. The rationale of the motion is as follows. In recent years, baccalaureate majors have been required to take TSAS courses, after those courses have been subjected to rigorous examination by the pertinent colleges. However, these TSAS courses do NOT factor into a baccalaureate student’s grade point average, although these courses explicitly meet major requirements for graduation. The current practice is exemplified by TSAS Horticultural Technology (HT) 204, Plant Propagation. Students in the baccalaureate program majoring in Environmental Horticulture are required to take this course as part of their major, but the grades they receive in this course do not figure into their G.P.A.s. If the following motion were passed by the senate, this course would be designated as HT 404, Plant Propagation; and the baccalaureate students required to take the course would have their grades figured into their G.P.A.s. In other current cases, there is dual numbering of courses. Thus, students take the same class but receive different academic recognition for it. Applied Animal Science, (AAS) 232/ANSCI 432, Animal Forages, provides an example. Thompson School students sign up for Animal Forages as AAS 232, while 4-year students sign up for Animal Forages as ANSCI 432. The course is delivered as Animal Forages to both sets of students sitting in the same class and taught by the same instructor using the same syllabus with exactly the same academic requirements used to assign final grades for the course. If the senate passes this motion, this course would be designated as AAS 432, Animal Forages. This motion applies only to courses taught by the Thompson School, that baccalaureate students are required to take. The dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture supports the motion put forth by the Academic Affairs Committee. The motion is that all TSAS courses that specifically meet baccalaureate major requirements be changed to appropriate TSAS 400 and 500 numbers. These courses would maintain their appropriate Thompson School departmental designations.
Under this motion a Thompson School student, who transfers to UNH after taking a course described above, could get credit for a 400-level course which would count towards the number of credits required for graduation. On 1/24/2000, the Faculty Senate passed a motion saying that University of New Hampshire Baccalaureate or Associate in Arts degree candidates may take any Thompson School courses with 200 numbers for credit with certain stipulations and restrictions, one of which was that grades received in 200-numbered courses would be recorded on the student’s transcript but would not affect or be included in the student’s GPA. On 5/2/2005, the Faculty Senate passed a motion that BA/BS candidates may take more than 16 credits of Thompson School courses but would need a grade of C or better to receive credit for Thompson School courses. Today’s motion would indicate that all TSAS courses that specifically meet baccalaureate major requirements be changed to appropriate TSAS 400 or 500 numbers now and in the future. In response to a concern by a senator, the AAC chair said that the motion is appropriate for the Faculty Senate, because the senate has as a purview intercollegiate academic policy and this motion would affect more than one college. The senate chair said that there is already a recognized approval process in place for courses to meet baccalaureate major requirements; and this process involves approval by the baccalaureate department, the college, and the provost. A senator said that the COLSA dean supports this motion. Larry Prelli proposed and Jeff Diefendorf seconded an amendment to change the verb in the next to last sentence of the motion from “be changed” to “may be changed.” Other senators spoke against the amendment, saying that the original verb is appropriate because the senate’s purview is to make academic decisions affecting several colleges. The amendment failed with one aye, twenty-eight nays, and no abstentions. The original motion passed unanimously.
VII. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.