Faculty Senate Minutes Summary February 28, 2011
April 27, 2011
I. Roll – The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Howard, Morgan, Simos, Smith, Sparrow and Woodward. Excused were Berenguier, Chandran, Dinapoli, Wansart and White. Guests were Mark Huddleston, Peter Weiler, John Aber and Student Senate observers Christina Caiazza and Jeff Jett.
II. Remarks on the passing of Professor Pedro DeAlba – The senate chair expressed regret on the passing of Professor Pedro deAlba who was a member of the UNH Civil Engineering Department for thirty-three years, was a former Faculty Senate chair, and was a senator and chair of the senate’s Campus Planning Committee this fall.
III. Remarks by and questions to the president – The president introduced Peter Weiler, who is the new vice president for advancement. This is a new position formed by combining the UNH Foundation, Alumni Association, and offices of communications and marketing. UNH is now in the midst of planning for the second capital campaign, which will be a comprehensive, collective effort to engage the UNH alumni, parents, students and others and will require efforts by both students and faculty to share the reasons for appreciating UNH’s contribution to the state and nation. Those contributions include creating knowledge for business, protecting the environment, and preparing the citizens. Peter Weiler spoke of the infrastructure necessary to prepare for a successful capital campaign; and a senator responded that investment in such infrastructure, when the financial pie is limited, requires convincing other UNH constituents that this infrastructure is worth reducing funding for other UNH efforts. Peter Weiler replied that the fundraising will be used to support students, faculty and academic programs. A professor said that alumni loyalty is centered in the departments and colleges and asked if the vice president’s office would help departments raise funds.
The president said that a reduction in proposed future state funding for higher education is being contemplated but that this is not a rescission, because rescission means taking back funds already allocated. A senator said that the university has a $15,000,000 gap in funding for the construction of the new WSBE building and is considering a rise in tuition to pay for that, while hoping for an increase in WSBE students and revenue. How would additional students be housed? A professor asked, if six hundred new students come to UNH, what would the faculty-to-student ratio be and what will be the expenses for new faculty and new student services which may be needed? The president said that UNH should start building now, in order to take advantage of relatively low construction costs and a $25,000,000 contribution. He added that a tuition increase would be a last resort and that UNH will continue to try to raise contributions, donations and state support and to attempt to reduce expenses and increase revenues. The president said that many new housing opportunities are coming on line in the Durham area. Some have already been approved and others are in the planning process. Other auxiliary student services will have to be checked. A senator said that the principle of collective bargaining is important and that the university should work to do better in that regard.
IV. Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the administration is forming a Steering Committee on Technology-Enhanced Learning, in order to bring coherence and mutual support to various current initiatives. Ted Kirkpatrick will chair that committee; and the Faculty Senate will provide two representatives: Eleanor Abrams and one other. The Agenda Committee has agreed that the senate should extend an invitation to the Graduate Student Senate to send an observer to the Faculty Senate. The senate chair said that the university has received calls from state agencies to consider how UNH might deal with less state funding. The Central Budget Committee at UNH is tasked with discovering efficiencies and other adjustments to that end. The CBC is organizing a task force including faculty to look for savings. The senate’s Finance and Administration Committee will have involvement with that and will give reality checks from the faculty perspective. The first deadline is March 7. Professors expressed concern about statements made in the CBC and elsewhere about consolidating parts of the university system such as academic departments. A senator said that this is a bad idea which must be closely watched, and he asked that the chair of the senate’s Finance and Administration Committee report to the senate regularly on this matter. The senate chair said that the FAC will serve as a monitoring group and as a source of information to the Faculty Senate and that perhaps others will be invited to speak to the senate as well. A senator said that information on the university budget is best gotten from multiple sources such as both David Proulx and the AAUP. The senate chair said that the provost has stated that as much as possible of the budget tightening should be accomplished by administrative streamlining. John Aber and Dick Cannon alternate in chairing the CBC meetings, and the president does not usually attend at this time. The senate chair said that the CBC meetings seem to be constructive.
V. Minutes – The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved.
VI. Sustainability and energy savings – The chair of the senate’s Campus Planning Committee reported that a “Proposed Policy Regarding Sustainability and Energy Savings Settings on Individual Computers” has been developed by the UNH Energy Task Force with the following aims. (1) Efficient desktop power management practices could reduce UNH energy costs by approximately $150,000 annually, while simultaneously reducing emissions by approximately 600 tons. (2) UNH IT hopes to be able to piggyback installation of desktop power management software on all UNH computers through an annual registration process that is now required for all students. Currently faculty and staff computers are only required to engage in one-time registration. (3) Desktop power management software would have to be installed on any computer that would connect to the UNH network, but there would be a provision for individual users to opt out of the software or change their own power management settings without approval or authorization from campus IT.
Representatives from IT met with Campus Planning and answered the following questions. (1) What does the software actually do? The software is used to make sure that computers’ power settings are set within the energy use policy guidelines. Although the guidelines are still being negotiated, the pilot testing was done with fifteen minutes for the monitor to power down and forty minutes for the hard drive to go into hibernation mode. The computer would not turn off; it would just go into sleep mode. (2) What is the cost of the software and what personnel would be required to load software? The software is free to UNH, because this is part of the Network Access Control System which has already been purchased. The policy and changes would not require added personnel, because the option to download the software will be offered when the user registers the computer. The major change would be that faculty and staff would have to register the computer every year, not just the first time they go on the network. There is an option to opt out of the software with no consequences. (3) What would the yearly registration process involve? This would be a two minute process and just require entering the user name and operating system. The user would then be asked if he/she wants to download the energy use software. (4) What is the process for this policy being adopted by UNH? IT sought questions and input from constituents. Legal counsel approved the proposed policy, and it will be sent to the president’s office this week for review by the UNH President’s Council and final approval by President Huddleston. The policy includes computers with all operating systems, as well as wireless computers when they connect to the UNH network.
VII. Administrative duties for faculty – The chair of the Professional Standards Committee said that, regarding the committee’s charge to consider whether excessive administrative duties are expected of faculty, the PSC has no report because it would like greater clarity on the parameters of this charge, in order to delineate the breadth of the investigation. The PSC must serve quasi-adjudicatory functions, as stated in the faculty’s collective bargaining contract and certain motions passed by the Faculty Senate. The PSC chair questioned whether an elected committee should be assigned charges along with other standing senate committees, given its distinctive composition and its quasi-adjudicatory function. The senate chair said that a recent motion of censure was tabled according to the procedures established in a 9/10/07 senate motion which stated that first the Agenda Committee of the Faculty Senate should confer with appropriate administrators and/or faculty and resolve the case by mutual agreement among the aggrieved parties, dismissal, or referral to the Professional Standards Committee. Currently the Agenda Committee is conferring with the parties to the disagreement. If the Agenda Committee refers the matter to the Professional Standards Committee, the PSC would informally inquire into the situation, attempt to mediate a mutually agreeable resolution and, if no resolution is reached, make a recommendation concerning censure to the Faculty Senate’s Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate, whereupon the motion of censure would be debated and voted upon by the Faculty Senate. A former senate chair said that the PSC seldom receives a quasi-adjudicatory charge but that, if one were to occur, it would be time consuming. He added that perhaps the practice of giving non-adjudicatory charges to the PSC should be revisited.
VIII. Report on the percent of the graduating class receiving honors – The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee proposed a motion on Latin honors criteria. The rationale is that graduating students now receive Latin honors such as summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude, based upon a GPA of 3.7 or above, 3.5 or above and 3.2 or above respectively. These criteria currently award over fifty percent of the UNH graduates with Latin honors. Because the intention of honors is to award recognition to those students who achieve academic distinction, a policy change may be necessary. The motion by the Academic Affairs Committee is to change the granting of honors away from a fixed GPA formula to a percentage formula of the graduating class. Summa cum laude would be awarded to the top five percent of the graduating class, by college. Magna cum laude would be awarded to the next ten percent of the graduating class, by college. Cum laude would be awarded to the next ten percent of the graduating class, by college. This proposal would ensure that the top twenty-five percent of a graduating class would receive Latin honors and help ensure Latin honors as a mark of distinction, as intended. Each college would be responsible for recommending the top twenty-five percent of students for honors to the graduation office. Colleges may choose to take the top twenty-five percent based upon GPA at the college level or alternatively could choose the top twenty-five percent of students at the department level. The Academic Affairs Committee recognizes that awarding Latin Honors may vary structurally by college, but the committee believes the intention of Latin honors is best met by awarding honors to approximately twenty-five percent of a graduating class.
A senator expressed concern about departments with few graduates. Also how will this affect UNH students who compete for jobs with students from other universities which may not have made such a change? This issue is connected with grade inflation, and the senate has not weighed in on grade inflation because of similar concerns about students competing in the job market. The AAC chair will forward to the senators data on Latin honors granted by UNH colleges in the last ten years. Some UNH departments may have higher grade inflation than others and might, under this motion, receive most of the Latin awards in the college. The AAC has asked for more input from academic administrators. A motion to table the original motion until the next senate meeting passed unanimously.
IX. Report on the academic plan – The chair of the Academic Affairs Committee reported that in 2003 Provost Bruce Mallory and President Ann Hart released an Academic Plan, which had been the result of a process of analysis and discussion within UNH. This was a five-year plan to remain in effect from 2003-2008 and can be found at http://www.academicplan.unh.edu/. Beginning in 2006, as the plan was getting set for renewal, Provost Mallory commissioned various faculty working groups to address different aspects of the plan and suggest changes, updates, improvements, etc. The senate was expecting to see a new version of the plan and to comment on it before it went into effect in 2008. However, while significant work was done on Academic Plan 2.0, it never came before the senate or any other official body for a number of reasons, such as work to rule, shared governance discussions, and later President Huddleston’s Strategic Planning process of 2008-09. Many of the ideas and work of the academic planners may have made their way into the strategic plan, but the plan itself ceased to be in the forefront. In any case, as a constitutive document, it expired in 2008. President Huddleston’s Strategic Plan, “The University of New Hampshire in 2020,” is now presumably the guiding document for the institution. Provost Aber emphasizes that the Academic Plan and its five main elements (discovery, engagement, resourcefulness, effectiveness and community) form the cornerstone of the Strategic Plan.
At this time, the senate’s Academic Affairs Committee does not believe it would be fruitful to engage in a detailed analysis and discussion of the Academic Plan, since the document has not been updated and theoretically no longer obtains. The Academic Affairs Committee does not believe its charge is to review and comment upon the Strategic Plan either, since that plan was developed upon different shared governance procedures and agreements between President Huddleston and the Faculty Senate. However, since the Academic Plan does seem to play a prominent role in guiding the university and since Provost Aber refers to that plan in multiple contexts, the Academic Affairs Committee does recommend further discussions with the administration to clarify exactly what role the Academic Plan should play since it is not, in its current form, a document that has been vetted by the Faculty Senate. The senate chair agreed that this question should be discussed with the provost.
X. Motion on change in the wording of the senate constitution – The chair of the senate’s Library Committee presented a motion to change the description of the purview of the Library Committee in the Faculty Senate Constitution to the following: “The Library Committee will concern itself with matters pertaining to the university library, including information technology as it pertains to the mission of the university library.” The rationale for the motion is that the current description is: “The Library Committee will concern itself with matters pertaining to the university library and information technology.” However, prior to 11/17/2008, the description in the constitution was “The Library Committee will concern itself with matters pertaining to the university library.” On that date, the Library Committee moved “that matters pertaining to information technology be added to the committee’s purview and that a member of the Library Committee serve each year on the Steering Committee for Information Technology (SCIT)”; and the Faculty Senate voted unanimously in favor of the motion. The current Library Committee is in agreement with the 2008 Library Committee, which in its rationale for the 2008 motion, stated that “Given the increasing integration of information technology and library services and the vital interest faculty have in technological decisions at the institutional level, the Library Committee recommends that information technology be added to the Library Committee’s purview….” This year with the establishment of a new Information Technology Committee of the Faculty Senate, there was discussion of either going back to the pre-2008 description or leaving the description unchanged, with the Agenda Committee assigning charges to the new IT Committee, the Library Committee, or both as appropriate. The current Library Committee prefers the wording introduced in today’s motion, not only as a matter of housekeeping but for clarity. The Library Committee believes that it is prudent to codify this into the constitution, to ensure that future Faculty Senate Library Committees have some oversight of IT matters which impact the library and its mission. The library faculty also supports the proposed language. Since this pertains to a change in the senate constitution, the original motion was tabled until the next senate meeting.
XI. Report on open access and on representation from the senate’s Library Committee to other committees – The Library Committee met with Eleta Exline, Scholarly Coordinator of Dimond Library, on 9/20/2010 to discuss the library’s open access (OA) initiatives. She provided literature, also available on the library website, to committee members and gave an overview of the ongoing open access initiatives, including the creation of a scholarly communications office, the development of an Institutional Repository (IR), enhancement of awareness and providing as much assistance to faculty as possible including cataloguing articles, and formation of an advisory committee (vide infra). Discussion included costs of OA, institutional support for OA, impact factors of OA journals, promotion and tenure, and education of the faculty with respect to OA. The committee recommends that OA issues continue to be monitored. On 2/7/2011 the committee received an update from Professor Exline on the IR. The first stage of development of the software implementation, which includes configuring the repository software, designing a basic interface, and implementing indexing and search services, had been completed. The library digital collections are being used to populate and test the repository for usability testing sessions. The IR will soon be able to accept faculty and institutional publications, in the second stage of IR development. The library is in the process of hiring three positions which will contribute to the second and subsequent phases: a web developer, a scholarly communications assistant, and a metadata librarian. Professor Exline’s office plans to be in a position to work more on other scholarly communication initiatives (besides the IR) in the coming year, and she would like to have guidance about what issues the faculty find most pressing. This is something the next year’s Library Committee should follow up on.
Eleta Exline is planning to start up a university-wide committee to advise about the library scholarly communications and institutional repository initiatives. The senate’s Library Committee should work with and provide a representative to this committee. Professor Exline is assembling the advisory committee this semester, and the advisory committee will begin to meet regularly next fall. The Library Committee confirmed with Professor Exline that the new committee will include a member of the senate’s Library Committee and an at-large member representing the Faculty Senate, as well as other faculty. The Library Committee had also been charged to confirm that both a member of the Faculty Senate’s Library Committee and a second faculty member serve each year on the Steering Committee for Information Technology, given the increasing integration of information technology and library services and the vital interest faculty have in technological decisions at the institutional level and as endorsed by the director of Computing and Information Services and the dean of the University Library. The Library Committee contacted the offices of CIO Joanna Young and the vice president for finance and learned that the SCIT is inactive and that the CIO plans to replace it with a different committee. The Library Committee recommended to the CIO that she make contact with the Faculty Senate chair to ensure that the senate is involved in monitoring institutional technology.
XII. Library academic structure – Regarding the Library Committee’s charge to monitor recent and proposed revisions in the library’s academic structure, the committee met with the Dean of the Library, Sherry Vellucci, on 10/25/2010. Dean Vellucci presented the current strategic plan, restructuring goals, and the timeline for the new library organizational structure. The committee made itself available to library faculty to discuss the revisions in the academic structure. The committee has met with six faculty members including the department chair and has received written communication from one other faculty member. The Library Committee concludes the following. (1) The library faculty had input during the initial stage of the planning process for reorganization. (2) The new organizational structure is complex and still a work in progress. Areas of concern include the clarity of reporting and communication lines and the position of the branch libraries in the new organizational structure. The new structure has not so far impeded the ability of library faculty members to do their jobs, nor has it impeded academic freedom. (3) Not all library faculty members are satisfied with the new structure, but the majority believes that it is an improvement on the old structure. (4) One goal of the new structure is to allow staff to take over some of the operational aspects, so that faculty members have more time for scholarly pursuits. Only time and continued monitoring will tell whether or not this goal is achieved. (5) Nothing that the Library Committee has heard rises to the level of requiring Faculty Senate action. (6) The Faculty Senate’s Library Committee should continue to monitor the situation for at least another year.
XIII. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.