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Faculty Senate Minutes Summary Oct. 31, 2011

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I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Baldwin, Connell, Connelly, Harrist, Klenotic, Laird, Shannon and Simos.  Guests were John Aber, Lisa MacFarlane, Judy Robb, Justin Harmon, Erica Mantz, Erik Swartz, Daniel Sedory, Karen Collins, Heather Barber, Jessica Fruchtman and Bob Swarthout.

II. Remarks by and questions to the provost – Provost John Aber said that the state-of-the-art presentation given last week by Bob Mair was well attended.  The next speaker will be Willem DeVries on November 14.   The event will begin with light refreshments and end with a time for conversation and questions.  Secondly the provost said that, regarding budget cuts, there will be less impact on the academic colleges this year than in the near future.  The provost said that last Monday the president told the senate’s Agenda Committee about a resolution from the Board of Trustees, on working towards autonomy for the four institutions in the university system.  Everything is on the table at all levels for budget cuts.  The senate chair said that the senate understands what UNH’s immediate response to the budget crisis is likely to be; but the potential for programmatic cuts remains; and so the senate committees are reviewing non-academic units for potential budget cutting.

III.  Update from Lisa MacFarlane on NEASC – Lisa MacFarlane presented information from  a self-study workshop on accreditation, from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation carried out by peer review, in which an institution or program is found to meet or exceed a set of standards.  Accreditation in the United States is done by private, nongovernmental organizations, is a self-regulatory system, is voluntary, and has benefits in eligibility for federal financial aid, tuition reimbursement, college guides, research funding, and public confidence.  Accreditation is a de-centralized system, is evolved rather than designed, has volunteer peer evaluators, and relies on candor and integrity.  This self-regulatory process helps maintain institutional autonomy, supports the values of the academy such as academic freedom and other values of community, and induces a collective professional responsibility.  Audiences include the academy, policy-makers and the public.  Accreditation is valued for preventing government intrusion.  Members of the academy are experts in academic quality, and self-regulation is a cost-efficient quality assurance system.  The New England Association of Schools and Colleges includes 238 colleges and universities in New England plus nine institutions abroad.  The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education consists of twenty-four elected commissioners (including four public members) and ten staff members and is assisted by over 1500 volunteers.

This accreditation is recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.  Accreditation includes the standards of the higher education community along with the mission of the institution and requires evidence and documentation.  Accreditation fulfills two functions:  the private function of helping the institution improve and the public function of ascertaining whether the institution deserves the public trust.  UNH posts the accreditation process and the self study.

Accreditation looks at input (enough books in the library, well-qualified faculty, and an appropriate curriculum), process (student use of the library books, good instructional practice, and feedback), and outcome (student information literacy and learning outcomes).  The eleven mission-driven standards are (1) the mission and purposes, (2) planning and evaluation, (3) organization and governance, (4) the academic program, (5) faculty, (6) students, (7) the library and other information resources, (8) physical and technological resources (9) financial resources, (10) public disclosure, and (11) integrity.  On-going engagement includes comprehensive evaluation, a fifth year interim report, and an annual report and might include progress reports, focused evaluation, and other monitoring.  Substantive change at the university would require additional reporting and might include branch campuses and instructional locations, enrolling students abroad, distance education, changes in higher or lower degrees offered, and a change in control.  The commission policy has a fuller list of such changes.  The Self-Study Report has a maximum of 100 pages plus forms and covers how we meet the standards, how well we meet them, and our plans for improvement.  The process includes studying the institution against the standards, strengthening the culture of inquiry, using evidence, and the community reflecting together.

Judy Robb presented a sample of the Academic Assessment Inventory which UNH is asking departments to fill out.  Many programs already have done all the necessary assessment and just need to report and document that, for each degree within the academic departments and colleges.  Providing samples of assessment will allow for qualitative assessment.  At the deans’ request, external review was added to the categories of the Academic Assessment Inventory used by UNH.  Not every department will do all types of assessment, and all of the listed types of assessment are acceptable.  Capstone experiences are done by all programs.  NEASC has definitions for each method of assessment.  Graduate programs may be evaluated separately.  Assessment reporting can be done electronically, include qualitative pieces, and be easily updated.

Lisa MacFarlane informed the senate that new federal regulations defining a credit hour require that we clarify our long-standing practice and collect syllabi to show that we are in good faith compliance.  UNH is setting up a steering committee as well as committees to work on the eleven accreditation standards.  Please send recommendations for committee members to Lisa MacFarlane.  The standards committees will start work in January.  The department chairs should fill out the assessment inventory by the end of the spring semester.  Academic year 2011/12 is for preparing the work which needs to be done.  In 2012/13, the NEASC report will be written including a description of what the university has been doing, an analysis of what that means, and a projection of what should be done with those results.  In 2013/14, the accreditation report will be submitted; and the NEASC team visit will take place on November 3-6, with possible rewrites to follow.  Further information can be found at http://www.unh.edu/academic-affairs/neasc/.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to Justin Harmon and Erica Mantz on Media Relations – Justin Harmon, Associate Vice President of University Communications, described how UNH devotes time and resources to promote the work of faculty both on and off campus.  His office prepares university communications and marketing and is focused on trying to refine a message about UNH.  He said that the work of the faculty comes at the top of the list.  Erica Mantz is the director of UNH Media Relations and is eager to work with faculty to prepare stories about their work.  She would like to include all areas of the university in this effort.  The Campus Journal, UNH Today, and the UNH home page can include more items than the outside media can.  The website at http://www.unh.edu/news/word.html shows all the UNH news outlets and how to submit stories to the appropriate venue.  http://www.unh.edu/news/word.html shows how to submit information about student achievements to the home-town newspapers which may be interested.  Faculty can contact Erica Mantz at 862-1567 for help with stories.  She is also willing to speak at departmental faculty meetings.  A senator said that some groups on campus have their own publicity but that other sectors need more help from Media Relations to reach the public with their work.  He added that perhaps that office could ask for an outside opinion on the work, to add power and be a quality check.

V.  Report from the IT Committee, on the “Good News from Faculty” column – The charge of the senate’s Information Technology Committee is:  “in collaboration with the deans’ offices, to coordinate a ‘Good News from Faculty’ column in the Campus Journal.”  The committee is looking for the following:  (1) items of interest to the general public that involve faculty, (2) items that involve faculty and students who have local newspapers, (3) interesting photo opportunities, (4) items of interest to the UNH community that involve faculty, (5) interesting photos and stories about faculty activities that will catch the eye of those who view the UNH web page, (6) calendar items that highlight upcoming faculty activities open to the general public or the UNH community, (7) good news stories involving faculty activities that are of interest for The New Hampshire, (8), faculty activities of interest to alumni, for the UNH Magazine, (9) faculty activities of interest to UNH facebook fans who are generally a younger crowd.  Faculty should either submit a paragraph or two about the activity or event with contact information, so that UNH Media Relations can write the article, or submit a more complete write-up with available photos.  Faculty may submit these good news ideas or articles to Good.News@unh.edu.  The senate’s IT Committee plans to send a monthly email to department chairs and to develop contacts in dean’s offices.  The goal is two good news articles from each college every month, in order to change the public perception about faculty work.  Please share the above information with your departmental colleagues.  Requests for articles should also go to the UNH library, the Honors Program, the Discovery Committee, etc.  A faculty member who does a project with a student could find out the hometown and the name of the newspaper there, so that the university can send an article and picture to that newspaper.

VI.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair mentioned the recent trustee meeting, which he attended as an observer, and the discussion of the university system.  The senate chair asked faculty senators to sign up for the dinner with student senators and to sign up to sponsor a student for this dinner, which will be held in a specially-assigned area of the Philbrook Dining Hall on November 28 at 5:30 p.m. after the Faculty Senate meeting.  Meals there cost $8.50.  Lastly the senate chair said that, although the Faculty Senate is a deliberative body, it is trying to respond in a timely fashion to the budgetary crisis, while still doing a thorough job of review and recommendation.  Therefore, when a senate ad-hoc committee on reorganization gets a portion of its work done, the committee will present a motion on that part of the work.

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

VIII.  Resolution that the senate chair should send a letter asking faculty to include information relevant to educational requirements in the course syllabi – The senate chair said that the Student Senate passed resolution XXXIII-R1 to encourage the Faculty Senate to ask all faculty members to include information relevant to educational requirements in their syllabi.  Today on behalf of the Faculty Senate’s Agenda Committee, Art Greenberg proposed a motion that “the Faculty Senate endorses Student Senate Resolution XXXIII-R1 and thereby requests that all faculty include educational requirements met by their courses on their course syllabi.  This endorsement and request will be communicated by the senate chair to the provost, college deans, and all teaching faculty.”  Information in the syllabi could include writing intensive, inquiry, etc.  Information which differs among the majors would not need to be included.  A senator said that not every faculty member will know with precision what requirements the course will fulfill at a given moment, that not everyone is up to date on everything, and that the syllabus is a contract with the student.  A student observer said that, although students understand that it is their responsibility to know the requirements, the students would appreciate some help with that.  Some professors said that departments require different things and that this is complicated and changes over time.  Therefore that information should not be on the syllabi; but university-level requirements could be included.  The university’s time and room schedule should list the requirement information.  The senate chair said that, although it is not a written policy, in his experience a student should not be penalized for a faculty member’s mistake in the syllabus.  A senator responded that therefore faculty should be cautious about what is included in the syllabus.  A motion was passed unanimously to postpone debate until the next senate meeting, so that senators can discuss these matters with departmental colleagues.

IX.  Report and resolution from the Committee on Organization of Other Entities, on college athletics –  The chair of this committee said that all entities at the university should be considered for budget cuts and that nothing should be exempt.  He said that a report written in September of 2008 by David Proulx, Assistant Vice President for Financial Planning and Budgeting, stated  in part that (1) intercollegiate athletics at UNH play an important role in helping UNH achieve its mission, (2) UNH athletics management has worked very hard to reduce costs where possible, (3) intercollegiate athletics is a very complex operation, (4) operating a high-quality Division I, intercollegiate athletics department and generating sufficient funding to cover expenses is a challenge, if not impossible, (5) the general student body is not supportive of the UNH athletics fee at its current level, (6) UNH athletics is not unique in its fiscal challenges, and (7) most UNH and state community members are not aware of these factors.  The report added that, even with the most recent round of restructuring, UNH athletics must generate additional external revenues of at least $500,000 per year, continue to operate as efficiently as possible, rely on 5% increases in the student athletic fee, and continue to get a large amount of financial support from the university’s general fund.  The report offered the following potential strategies:

Option

Benefits

Issues

1)  Make investments in facilities expansion – Whitt and Outdoor venue to increase seating capacity

Could increase revenue by up to $1 million per year and net revenue by as much as $500k per year.

Funding for facility enhancements is not readily available.  Whitt improvement construction technology relatively unproven – could be costly.  Outdoor venue could present political issues with town of Durham.

2)  More reductions in sport offerings other than football

Some minimal annual savings $100k-$200k.

UNH has to maintain 7 men’s sports to maintain Div I status – UNH currently has 8. Dropping 2 men’s sports would result in our inability to remain a member of the America East Conference.

3)  Work with other presidents to maintain competition level but reduce net cost to the institutions.

Could result in savings over time.

Will take major effort from presidents, conferences and the NCAA to make this happen.

4)  Significant reductions in scholarship awards

Men’s scholarships would be reduced first to maintain Title IX status, meaning football, basketball and hockey would all be hit impairing ability to compete.  May yield $400k-$500k in savings.

Will significantly limit ability for UNH to field competitive teams in conference, regionally and nationally.

5)  Eliminate Football Program

Would save between $500k - $900k annually.

Major political consequences at state level and also with alumni.  Loss of major revenue streams from sponsors and donors.  Impact on UNH fundraising campaign and Title IX consequences.

6)  Non Scholarship football program

Would save about $1.2 million annually.

Would severely diminish competitiveness and would limit any income generating capacity. Loss of major revenue streams from sponsors and donors. 

7)  Move to Division II

Would save $5 million annually.

Could not have Division I hockey team, would not generate alumni and state interest in UNH.

8)  Require graduate students to pay mandatory athletic fee

Would generate $500k additional revenue.

Strong opposition from GSO – majority of funding would have to come from increased grad stipends.

9)  Move to Division III

Would save $10 million annually.

Could not have Division I hockey team, would not generate alumni and state interest in UNH.

10)  Significantly increase contribution from the university’s general fund and/or student athletic fee

Would need to increase by additional $500k to $1million.

Reallocation of funds from academic/research activity and increased financial burden to students.

11)  Significantly increase private funding

Would need endowment of additional $20 million to generate $800k.

Will take a number of years and major investment to generate this level of investment against competing needs in other areas of UNH.

12)  Ask the state to provide additional funding

Could potentially generate funding.

Highly political and potential to reduce state operating and capital contributions.

The senate committee chair said that the report emphasizes the importance of athletics.  Items 1, 8, 10, 11 and 12 in the table could generate more money, and items 2 through 7 are about budget cutting.  If UNH were to change to division II athletics, UNH could not have a division I hockey team.  On behalf of the Committee on Organization of Other Entities, Bob Taylor proposed a Faculty Senate motion as follows:

Whereas, on October 14, 2011, President Huddleston stressed before the Faculty Senate the need for quick action to begin addressing the university’s structural deficit in time for submission of a proposed biennium budget to the Board of Trustees in December, and

Whereas the president indicated that all units are “on the table” for consideration of budget cuts to address the structural deficit, and

Whereas a structural deficit is addressed through alteration of significant parts or units of the structure that contribute to its deficit, and

Whereas the Faculty Senate’s ad hoc Committee on Organization of Other Entities has completed its examination and report on the university’s Athletics Program, and

Whereas the UNH Athletics’ Program budget of $23,059,481 (FY 08) depends largely on student fees ($8,452,984 or 37%) and institutional support from tuition and state funding ($7,444,082 or 32%), and

Whereas the student athletics fee cannot continue to increase at a 5 percent rate as it nears $1,000 per student each year, and

Whereas there is growing concern about raising tuition to a level that prospective students cannot meet, and

Whereas state funding has been reduced dramatically with dim prospects for restoration in the immediate future, therefore

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of New Hampshire advises the university administration to consider the Athletics Program along with other academic and non-academic units when exploring programmatic budgetary cuts to address the university’s structural deficit.

The senate chair said that the committee will continue to review other entities for budget cuts.  One senator said that recommendations for all the entities should be grouped together in one report; and another senator responded that, in order to move quickly the senate must not wait until it has investigated all units.  A professor said that athletics is often off the table for consideration and that faculty want athletics to be included in consideration for budget cuts.  Another professor said that the motion should not single out athletics and that the motion should state that all entities should be considered.  The senate chair said that the committee is not expected to review every single unit on campus but rather to focus on units with budgetary deficits and those units which seem especially well funded.  A motion was passed unanimously to postpone debate until the next senate meeting, so that senators can discuss these matters with departmental colleagues.

X.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.