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Faculty Senate Minutes Summary Nov. 29, 2010

February 16, 2011

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Carr, Dinapoli, Laird, Morgan, Pescosolido, Pfeiffer and Simos.  Excused were Becker, Berenguier, Cariens, Frierson, Reid and Stampone.  Guests were John Aber, Terri Winters, Dan Innis and Christina Caiazza.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – The provost said that the state-of-the-art lecture series began this fall with lectures by Nancy Kinner on October 7 and Amitava Bhattacharjee on November 15 and that next semester will feature lectures by Barry Rock and Ellen Fitzpatrick.  The November 15 lecture and another faculty event conflicted with Faculty Senate meetings, and the senate asked that its meetings and other faculty events be entered on a university calendar, in order to enable optimal scheduling of events.  The provost said that there is not yet a calendar for faculty events and that it would be great to have a calendar to highlight such events.  The provost said that he would communicate with Terri Winters in order to set this up.  Also, the provost has talked recently with the Agenda Committee about setting up a standing Committee on Scholars at Risk, to include at least one faculty member from each college.  In response to a question, the provost said that the final RCM formula presented to the Central Budget Committee was accepted and that any unit with a deficit will be expected to repay that on a very slow basis.  Faculty senators asked the provost to send to faculty an email containing a link directly to the booklist on Blackboard, both now and prior to every semester; and the provost agreed to have this done.  The Blackboard booklist is separate from listing the textbooks with the bookstore.  A senator said that his course was not in the Blackboard booklist section for the spring semester, when he tried to enter the textbooks.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair thanked the provost for agreeing to set up the faculty calendar and announced that the next Faculty Senate meeting will be on January 31.  The Agenda Committee will set up an ad-hoc committee composed mostly of faculty, to review teaching evaluations and other issues.  The senate chair also said that Erika Mantz and Jody Record of UNH Media Relations will work with the Agenda Committee to prepare a column on good news from faculty.  Paula Salvio and Cathy Frierson will send an email to the faculty senators requesting information for that column.  The senate chair said that Bob Jolley, who is chair of the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee, will resign as RPSC chair and from the senate because of a course conflict next semester and that Kent Chamberlin will become chair of that committee in January.  Bob Jolley’s department will name another faculty member to replace him on the Faculty Senate.  The senate chair asked that senators address the chair rather than each other during senate debate, in order to insure access on an equal footing for all participants.  The senate agreed that the discussion on undergraduate enrollment could take place today prior to consideration of the new standing committee on instructional technology.

IV.  Discussion with Terri Winters and Dan Innis on the Faculty Activity Reporting Project – The Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) Project would provide a single place to enter, update, and review faculty activities including those associated with publications, conferences, awards, committees and courses taught and to produce reports for faculty, departments, and colleges based on the data entered.  The website for this project is http://unh.edu/provost/far/.  Currently the FAR project plan, which was approved by the provost and is based on the Digital Measures Company application called “ActivityInsights”, is in the product demonstration stage from October through December of 2010”.  Then the plan is to do a pilot project with eighteen to twenty targeted faculty from April to June of 2011 and have UNH/UNHM-wide implementation in February of 2012.  The FAR working group has twenty-one members with representatives from each unit; and a core technical project team was formed with members from Institutional Research, Sponsored Research, and Instructional Technology.  The FAR Working Group was charged to develop the project plan and supporting budget, determine the FAR attributes and required reports, determine initial data feeds and integration, determine the pilot scope and schedule, incorporate the pilot results, and implement the project in the spring of 2012.  The group is currently looking at individual data fields to see what should be added or deleted, and the fields could differ among the colleges.  The banner system will have to communicate with the FAR system and have data migration from CEPS, CHHS, COLSA and WSBE.  There will need to be a budget and personnel for ongoing support.  Two open fora are scheduled for UNH-Durham on December 13, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in G17 Murkland Hall and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in 210 Horton Hall; and additional sessions will be scheduled in the spring semester.  Please give input to Terri.Winters@unh.edu and Dan.Innis@unh.edu.

A past senate chair said that the FAR project should not go beyond a pilot unless the program is approved by the Faculty Senate.  As agreed in shared governance, since this is an academic matter, the faculty has primary responsibility; and the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons communicated to the faculty.  A senator expressed concern about how faculty work in theater or the arts could be measured via the FAR system and also the likelihood that this system will take more faculty time than the previous reporting system.  Dean Innis replied that the FAR system would accept a link to a performance, painting or other artistic creation.  He said that digital measures have been employed at other institutions and that the working group will draw on those experiences.  The fora schedule was sent to the deans for distribution to faculty and listed on UNH Today.  A senator said that it is essential to have an off-line template for faculty reports.  Dean Innis said that the FAR system will allow cutting and pasting from other systems and that this process will be explained in the fora.  A senator said that different departments in the same college require different bench marks.

How will the system be secured, and who will have access to the information?  Each faculty member will have access to his or her personal information; the department chair will have access to the data for the department; and the dean will be able to access the data for the unit.  Terri Winters and Security Director Petr Brym discussed security issues with the Digital Measures Company and were satisfied and are working with the company regarding authentication.  The data will be kept in an off-site server.  However, Terri Winters said that exhibits, performances and written work might be stored in the UNH institutional repository and not on the outside company’s server.  A senator said that there would need to be a lot of protocols about who could have access and how that would be restricted.  Terri Winters said that copyright issues are important here and that she is working with the legal counsel and the library on these matters.  A senator said that there is concern that the information in the FAR project might go to more people under certain circumstances than the current reports do.  This technology would make it possible to expand access easily, and he agrees that the Faculty Senate should approve the FAR reporting system before it is implemented.  What would happen, for example, if there were a request through the freedom of information act?  How will this new auditing system affect academic freedom?  Also, how will the system deal with faculty who are in more than one department at a time?

The university evaluated three companies and then chose the Digital Measures Company.  Dan Innis said that his unit’s accrediting agency has a data base like this, and it is very helpful.  A senator from CEPS said that, although the CEPS system has been in place for years, it still contains problem areas.  The FAR project cost will be $19,000 per year for the software, not counting funds needed for inputting and managing the project.  The senate’s representative to the FAR working group urged that faculty participate in the fora, because he is the only faculty member on that group and more faculty input is needed.  He had told the group that the date chosen for the fora is not convenient for faculty.  The chair of the senate’s Research and Public Service Committee said that his committee is charged to review this matter.  What is the plan for monitoring and oversight of the system when it is in place?  Will faculty be involved in working out problems with the system when it is up and running?  Dan Innis said that should be included on the working committee’s agenda.  After Dan Innis and Terri Winters left, a former senate chair said that the senate should vote on the FAR issue this spring and that, if these digital measures were to go into effect without approval by the Faculty Senate, this would be a violation of shared governance.  Another senator confirmed that a vote by the Faculty Senate is needed for shared governance to be meaningful for both this and any other proposals relating to academics.  The senate’s representative to the FAR working group said that he had told the working group that informing college executive committees is not sufficient for shared governance and also that the working group should have more than one faculty member.  Another senator expressed concern that faculty could lose control of the information put on FAR, regarding how it is used and by whom.  The administration has signed a contract with the Digital Measures Company, for a one-year demonstration. The senate chair said that the Agenda Committee will work to ensure that the project will not be implemented without Faculty Senate approval.

V.  Discussion with Mark Rubinstein on undergraduate enrollment – Mark Rubinstein said that undergraduate student enrollment has risen from about 10,000 to 12,200 over the last ten years.  The 12,200 students this year was not a target but resulted from high retention and also strong numbers of transfer students and more seniors who stayed at UNH.  In the late 1990s, there was a significant gap between the per capita net tuition paid by non-resident students and the per capita net tuition (coupled with a per capita share of the state appropriation) paid by New Hampshire residents.  In FY 1997 and FY 1998, the USNH Board of Trustees raised resident tuition by 14 % and 11 % while moderating non-resident tuition increases.  The intent was to equalize per capita net tuition (after accounting for the state appropriation on a per capita basis for New Hampshire resident students); but this initiative stalled; and there is now about a $5,000 difference between the net tuition for out-of-state and in-state students (again, after accounting for the state appropriation). 

In addition to tuition and room and board, UNH students must pay around $3,000 in mandatory fees.  UNH provides a great deal of financial aid for both in-state and non-resident students.  Still, students often do not realize the amount of student loans they may have when they leave the university.  For May of 2009 baccalaureate graduates, $31,000 was the median amount of student loans upon graduation; and in recent years, about one quarter of the total amount of money that students pay to the university for tuition, fees, room and board is paid with student loans.  Students had also been getting more and more in private loans, escalating from about $7,000,000 in FY05 to nearly $30,000,000 in FY08; but the collapse of the credit market and changes to federal loan limits have dramatically reduced this type of borrowing.

Two years ago the federal government recalibrated the effective family contribution (EFC) formula, and this has tended to decrease the EFC and to increase "need."  The Board of Trustees requires UNH (and other USNH institutions) to meet the full direct cost of attendance for Pell-eligible New Hampshire residents.  In 2001, UNH invested less than one million dollars to meet that objective, but now the cost is sixteen million dollars.  UNH works with an outside consultant--originally the College Board--to analyze the financial aid packaging strategies the university uses.  The analysis shows that the university is close to the top it can charge for out-of-state students.   UNH is becoming too pricey for non-residents; and if it pushes too far, fewer non-resident students will attend; and the university will lose enrollment as well as revenue to support our mission.  Mark Rubinstein said that the NAVITAS partnership program will give UNH an opportunity to keep up the number of out-of-state students. 

Last year the Board of Trustees allowed some flexibility on financial aid for in-state students, specifically for those who were not Pell eligible; but the university applied that flexibility only to first year students, to avoid undercutting continuing students whose enrollment decisions were based on the original packaging philosophy.  The flexibility will move into the other classes year by year.  UNH can admit non-resident students as long as it does not displace resident students.   In the current configuration of fall/spring academic year and unless/until January-term and summer term grow, the optimal enrollment is about 12,000 undergraduate students. Housing, recreation and other auxiliaries are at the edge of what they can handle.  UNH attracts non-resident students (as well as resident students) because of the quality of programs, commitment of faculty to engage undergraduates, and the beauty of the campus with a rural feel and a more human, personal scale than many of our peers.  UNH now has about 60 % in-state students and 40 % from out-of-state, compared to the former figure of 57 % in-state students.  An estimated 10 % to 12 % decline in high school graduates from 2005 to 2018 is expected.  However, this may be somewhat offset by a higher percentage of high school graduates going to college and more non-traditional students going back to school.  What role will on-line education play?  Community colleges now have on-line courses which they accept and then can be used to transfer into UNH.  In the first year, NAVITAS students will not pay full tuition to UNH, although the university will get some funds from the NAVITAS program.  In addition the NAVITAS students will pay for UNH housing and could displace other potential students in the residence halls.  About 2,900 first-year students are expected next year, and the university must figure out how to handle the housing pressures we are facing.

VI.  Minutes – The minutes of the last Faculty Senate meeting were approved with one abstention and no nays.

VII.  Motion on new standing committee on instructional technology – At the last senate meeting, Ben Cariens said that the Agenda Committee voted to propose a motion to the Faculty Senate that a new senate standing committee on information technology be established by the beginning of the next fall semester.  Today David Richman moved, Marco Dorfsman seconded, and the senate approved taking that motion from the table.  The motion, which requires a two-thirds vote because it would change the senate constitution and bylaws, is worded as follows.  “We move to establish a standing committee of the Faculty Senate dedicated to information technology matters.  The committee’s corresponding administrator will be UNH’s chief information officer; and the membership will be chosen in the same way as the other senate standing committees.”  A discussion on the wording of the Library Committee’s purview in the senate constitution was postponed, and the Agenda Committee will deal with that issue.  The senate approved the main motion with thirty-one ayes, no nays, and one abstention.

VIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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