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Faculty Senate Minutes Summary, Oct. 18, 2010

November 3, 2010

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Gunlogson, Kaen, Morgan and Simos.  Becker, Cariens, Chavda, Howard and Wansart were excused.  Guests were John Aber, David Proulx, Jeff Jett and Leigh Anne Melanson.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that UNH will celebrate the opening of the state’s only Confucius Institute.  The celebration will welcome Chinese dignitaries and Chengdu University officials to the UNH campus, with a presentation on Chinese arts and culture. The nonprofit educational institution, which will sponsor classes in Chinese language and culture, will be housed at UNH.  Later this year a delegation from UNH plans to visit Chengdu University.  Also, a state-of-the-art UNH lecture series began on October 7 with a reception and a lecture by Nancy Kinner.  The second reception and a lecture by Amitava Bhattacharjee will be held on November 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in 510 Dimond Library.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair welcomed Professor Dana Remus as the ride-along senate representative from the UNH School of Law.  The reception for the Confucious Institute will be held on Tuesday, October 26, at 10:30 a.m. in the Strafford Room of the Memorial Union Building.  Additional celebratory events include an art exhibit at the UNH Museum of Art in the Paul Creative Arts Center, through October 31 with special Friday hours. A gallery reception will be held October 26, from 5 to 7 p.m.  There will be a gallery talk with the dean of Chengdu University’s Fine Arts Academy on October 27, from noon to 1 p.m.  A night of song, dance and theater with professional Chinese performance artists will be held at the Music Hall in Portsmouth on October 27 at 7 p.m.

IV.  Minutes – The minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting were approved unanimously, with a modification to the next to last sentence of item V to say “The senate vote on the NAVITAS motion stated above passed with two nays and no abstentions.”

V.  Discussion on responsibility center management – David Proulx said that this is the tenth year of responsibility center management at UNH and that reasons for changing to RCM included rationalizing the budget and providing local accountability and incentives for generating new revenue.  The Central Budget Committee has members from the Faculty Senate and has been reviewing modifications to RCM since March of 2010 in the second formal review of RCM, which has included discussion with many campus constituencies.  The goals of the review were to align RCM incentives with institutional goals, identify sources of central strategic funds, simplify RCM as much as possible, develop greater financial accountability for all units including central service units, and implement strong incentives for net revenue growth.  David Proulx said that we do not want the financial model to create the direction, because the strategic plan should do that.  The current draft of RCM recommendations is as follows.

  1. Fund central administration with a percentage of undergraduate net tuition, continuing education tuition, graduate net tuition, mandatory fee/room/board revenue and facilities and administrative recovery.  
  2. Allocate state appropriation revenue for (1) program appropriation units (Cooperative Extension, Agricultural Experiment Station, Marine Program, UNHM and NH IRC), (2) undergraduate resident financial aid, (3) graduate students funded by grants, and (4) central administration for academic services (Library, Academic Affairs, and Academic Technology). 
  3. Adjust the credit hour weighting values for undergraduate and continuing education net tuition allocations to 1.55 for CEPS, 1.15 for COLSA, 1.0 for CHHS, 1.0 for WSBE and 0.8 for COLA.  
  4. Adjust the percentage splits for facilities and administrative recovery revenue to 70 percent to the responsibility center, 20 percent to central administration and 10% to the support fund of the principal investigator.  
  5. Allow units to access up to 20 percent of their current fund reserve balance if the balance exceeds 6 percent of current fund operating revenue. 
  6. Develop and maintain a strategic initiative fund of $10 million by 2017.
  7. Implement a process to allocate budgets to central administrative units.
  8. Conduct a formal review of RCM no sooner than FY17.
  9. Implement the above changes beginning with the FY12 budget. 

Discussions on some of these items are ongoing with the academic deans and the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee.  The CBC will receive the final proposal in early November and then make a recommendation to the president soon, so that the president can made a decision in mid-November.  The funding sources for the strategic initiative fund are expected to be the percentage of revenues as described in point number one collected in excess of the approved central administration budget levels, unrestricted gifts and one third of the Ecoline reserve balance; and the university has already collected four of the projected ten million dollars for the fund.  In the future, the Board of Trustees of the university may vote in February on tuition and fees for the following year.  In response to a question, David Proulx said that the Research Office will be part of the central administration’s budget and be funded through the revenue streams for that.  He added that the total funds to the central administration would not change but the funding sources would change, while still being under the scrutiny of the CBC.

The administration has run a phantom budget model for the 2008 through 2011 budget years using the figures in the new proposals.  David Proulx said that the new model is expected to make only small changes in overall resources to the units but that athletics, COLSA and CEPS might see somewhat bigger swings.  A senator said that faculty in CEPS are concerned that the 1.55 credit hour weighting value for CEPS is less than the actual cost and would put CEPS immediately into a deficit.  He added that, since CEPS has increased its enrollment numbers, courses are maxed out and space is a problem.  He said that there are serious concerns about the data used in calculations related to a September of 2010 document from the provost’s office entitled “Factors Affecting Relative Cost per Credit Hour in the Colleges”.  The provost replied that CEPS has shown good growth and that the data came from standardized Carnegie data.  A senator asked how the UNH data was gathered, because the unit gets less credit for having a Ph.D. student than an undergraduate student, although the faculty time and effort is much greater for the Ph.D. student.  Also, the senator said that many faculty find the remedies listed in that document to be distasteful.  For example the document includes the following.  “Expectations for the college include more creative approaches to the curriculum that would break down the silos among the departments, and increase use of contingent faculty.  A thorough examination of TA support, and the graduate mission in general given the relatively low rankings assigned to the college’s programs in the recent NRC review, is expected.  Significant increases in external support for research should also be expected.”  Faculty in COLSA are also concerned about this document.  David Proulx responded that he will send to the senators the financial models of the proposed method for several budget years.  A senator said that it is very important that the financial model support graduate education and research assistants and the time faculty must spend for those advanced students.  The provost responded that graduate education is important in many units and that faculty at UNH teach a smaller number of courses per semester, because of the research responsibilities, than do faculty at Keene or Plymouth.  He added that for fiscal year 2010, if the new budget model had been used, all the UNH academic units would have had a positive budget balance and that units would keep eighty percent of the revenues for increases in credit hours of instruction. 

David Proulx said that a unit with a deficit would have the deficit on paper; the university would cover the deficit; and the unit would be required to make a plan for resolving its deficit.  Sufficient reserves must be maintained.  A senator said that the credit hour weighting values are being negotiated now by the deans, and he asked if the provost expects to have a consensus on that.  The provost said that he hopes for consensus but that, if consensus does not occur, he will make a recommendation to the CBC which will make a recommendation to the president.  A senator said that, although the ability to use part of the unit’s reserve funds is intended to give incentive to the units to improve their budgetary status, in reality the reserves may be redirected to balance out a unit that has a deficit, thus obviating the incentive; and he added that the proposed model seems to give more money to the central administration.  The provost replied that the pool would remain the same but would be paid for differently, because the new model does not have any taxes drawn back to the central administration from income given the units.

In response to a question about credit hour weighting values and the possibility of passing on higher costs to the students for courses which cost more to produce, David Proulx said that the university has discussed this for years and that this would be a big change which would have to be agreed upon by the Board of Trustees, although there is currently differential tuition in some programs in CEPS and WSBE.  He added that this matter is not being considered in this version of RCM.  Replying to a question about the difference between net and gross tuition, he said that the university sets tuition rates for resident and non-resident students and then gives financial aid.  The gross tuition minus the institutional financial aid gives the average net tuition figure for undergraduates.  Grants, gifts and endowments are not part of that calculation.  A professor said that although eight percent of the graduate tuition streams would go to fund the central administration, the school of law and WSBE get no assistance from the university for their graduate students.  Research-based graduate assistantships have little university financial aid, because they come from grants; but other graduate assistantships are decided on by the unit.  The law school is not yet in the RCM model because no merger has occurred.  David Proulx said that the per-graduate-student charge for the tax to fund central administration is lower in CEPS and COLSA than in the other colleges.

At this point the administrative guests left; they therefore had no opportunity to address points made in the following discussion.  The senate’s Finance and Administration Committee will discuss RCM matters with David Proulx and others on October 25 and then hopes to discuss these issues with the senate before the planned November 15 decision date by the president.  Bill Stine added that the senate’s representatives in the CBC have contributed a lot to the discussion and have been heard.  The models and data have been shared with the senate’s CBC representatives.  A professor said that the September of 2010 document from the provost’s office entitled “Factors Affecting Relative Cost per Credit Hour in the Colleges” shows that the financial system calls for increased use of contingent faculty, in spite of the fact that David Proulx said above and a senate motion stated that academic matters should drive the financial model and not vice versa.  A former senate chair said that, if the financial model were allowed to drive academic matters, that would be a violation of shared governance.  The senate chair will ask the provost to arrange for a copy of the September of 2010 document to be sent to the senators.  A senator said that, in the call to break down silos, he does not see any effort to break down administrative silos and that he is concerned with the document’s advocacy of providing education on the cheap.  The senate chair noted that the last two CBC meetings have been cancelled.
VI.  UNH booklist – The chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee said that the Higher Education Opportunity Act reauthorization of 2008 has a provision requiring higher education institutions “in good faith” to post textbooks by the time of course registration, so that students can comparison shop. The law went into effect on July 1, 2010.  Last year, the student affairs committee presented a motion (XIV-M4) passed by the senate on 11/17/09, providing “(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.”  The SAC chair said that the percent of faculty using the booklist was 4 percent in spring of 2010 and 25 percent this fall, and she urged that faculty post the required books on the booklist in a timely manner and that the senators ask their colleagues to participate.  Courses which do not use books are, of course, exempt.

A senator said that the university should send to the faculty a link to the UNH booklist electronically at the appropriate time prior to each semester.  Another senator said that the UNH bookstore sends a message to faculty before each semester, stating the texts previously used for the course and asking for an update.  The senator said that, when the faculty member responds to the bookstore, it should update the booklist on the university’s website.  The SAC chair said that she would request that these suggestions be put into practice.  Another professor said that it is not the job of the Faculty Senate to publicize this matter and that the administration should send out a notice asking the faculty to abide by this law.  If faculty provide the book’s ISB number, the students will be able to comparison shop locally and on line.  If necessary, a faculty member could provide the information for the primary textbook on time and then add supplementary books later when they had been selected.  Also, textbook information could be given to the departmental assistant for posting on the booklist.  A senator said that the booklist administrator should make it easier to copy textbook information from one semester to the next.  The SAC chair asked that faculty provide textbook information to the booklist by November 22 for the spring semester courses.  The SAC chair also presented a message from Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs David May, asking faculty to consider using the UNH bookstore run by Barnes and Noble, in order that the university might receive incentive payments from the bookstore.  In his message, he described the current contract with Barnes and Noble.  Posting on the booklist can be done without sending to either bookstore; or if the “send” button is clicked, an order goes to both bookstores.

VII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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