FACULTY SENATE MEETING
January 22, 2013
Present: Chair Kellner, Chair Elect Zonderman, Secretary Sawyers: Senators Aday, Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Borden, Bourham, Bradley, Daley, Freeman, Fuentes, Funkhouser, Holden, Jasper, Knopp, Knowles, Lubischer, Lucia, Lunardi, Moore, Morgado, Nfah-Abbenyi, Rucker, Snyder, L. Williams, M. Williams, P. Williams
Excused: Parliamentarian Weiner, Senators Ade, Hatcher, Penrose, Tyler
Absent: Devetsikiotis, Fleisher, M. Moore, S. Piedrafita, Spontak, Sztajn,
Guest: Wayne Blair, Ombuds, UNC Chapel Hill; Laurie Mesibov, Ombuds, UNC Chapel Hill; Randy Woodson, Chancellor; P. J. Teal, Chancellor’s Office; Jacob Majikes, Graduate Student, Materials Science; Marcia Gumpertz, Provost Office; Betsy Brown, Provost Office; Richard Bernhard, Professor, Industrial and System Engineering
1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the 9th meeting of the fifty ninth session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.
2. Remarks and Announcements
Chair Kellner welcomed guests and senators.
Chair Kellner announced that there was a meeting last week of the 125th celebration committee and Packapolooza is going to become an annual event.
Chair Kellner stated that the Faculty Assembly is addressing a situation involving the entire system that will affect everyone. This past weekend work was done to produce documentation to send to President Ross for him to respond on behalf of the UNC Faculty to the draft strategic plan.
QEP Committee/ Budget Reallocation Committee
Chair Elect Zonderman reported that the QEP Committee is focusing specifically on the Strategic Plan and had the second of its retreats Friday afternoon where approximately 50 people were in attendance. He stated that the basic message received was to make it like a focused research project, so they are embedding a plan within a plan. The official QEP plan is going to focus mainly on the first year students here at NC State and how they will begin to be exposed to models and methods and ways of thinking critically. The goal is to put that in a more ambitious plan.
Chair Elect Zonderman reported that the Budget Reallocation Committee is at a turning point. . Last week a consultant came in to discuss different models that they could work with and one thing he mentioned was to move forward with a standing budget review committee to get more people at the table and have it be a regular group that meets once or twice a month that will be continually looking at the budget and looking broadly at the university as a whole.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 8, January 8, 2013
The minutes were approved as submitted.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Woodson
Chancellor Woodson gave an overview of what has been happening in the Legislature.
Chancellor Woodson stated that almost 68% of the legislators have been elected within the last two years, so we have lost a lot of senior leadership. They have a number of agendas with one being the structure of taxation in the state, which is a huge issue and something that will occupy a lot of their time.
Chancellor Woodson stated that the strategic planning process in General Administration has been interesting. He noted that he had received a draft of the plan at midnight and it was posted online at 6 a.m., that it has been an interesting process where the writing of the plan has been held close to the desk of General Administration and the Board of Governors.
Chancellor Woodson thanked the Faculty Assembly who worked hard to author some comments about the draft plan. He urged the faculty to read the Faculty Assembly’s response and the plan itself, because from a faculty’s perspective the overwhelming concern is faculty governance.
Chancellor Woodson stated that he thinks it’s important that the Faculty Assembly, Faculty Senate, and the Faculty Advisory weigh in with respect to the overarching and overriding responsibilities of faculty to shape the curricula of each of the institutions.
Chancellor Woodson handed out a document entitled UNC System Education and Related (E&R) Spending per Degree 2007-08 to 2011. He stated that General Administration within the UNC System have been looking for a silver bullet, a single measurement that allows them to track and monitor efficiency. They have locked in on something and these are two pages from the strategic plan. Essentially it is an attempt to capture the costs of education and relate it to each of our campuses. There are a number of categories. There is instructional cost, student support, student services, research, operation and maintenance. There are a number of accounting buckets across each university, so the DELTA project, which is a national project that seeks to understand the cost of higher education and the efficiency of higher education has come up with a measure called education and related expenses, essentially it is instructional cost, student support, student services and it’s a portion of other cost, research, operation, and maintenance.
Chancellor Woodson stated that the Board of Governors has latched on to this as a way to monitor progress toward being efficient. Obviously we don’t normally compare ourselves to Winston Salem State, but they will use these numbers to compare us to our peer institutions in the future.
The first thing you will notice is that in the last five years in theory we have become more efficient. However, we have become more efficient because we have less money. As a system we have generated more degrees, more graduates and we have done that for less money so we have become more efficient. Another thing is they have attempted to capture the university’s goal to graduate more students and to do so more efficiently by this measure of E&R, educated related expense spending per degree (all degrees at all levels) and over the course of time most of us have become more efficient. Carolina has a lot of high cost professional degree programs such as medicine, nursing, law, and dentistry, so it kicks up the educational cost and for not a large number of degrees.
NC State continues to be the largest institution in the state with regard to production of degrees and increasingly those are graduate degrees. We have increased over the last five years 27% in terms of overall degrees production. I bring this to your attention because this appears to be the measure that the Board of Governors has gotten very excited about. The good news for us is if this is what they like we look pretty efficient, in fact more efficient than we would like to be.
Chancellor Woodson commented that including December’s graduation, this year we graduated 8,700 students, up from 8,300. We also opened the Hunt Library. It is getting a lot of attention around the world and will continue to be something that will bring a lot of positive attention to our campus.
Chancellor Woodson reported that the US News and World Report just came out with their online graduate degree rankings and NC State was in the top 10 for the first time. Overall in Engineering we were ranked 7th in the country and for online graduate degrees in Information Technology we are number 9 and our College of Education was ranked in the top 20 as number 17, so those were good things for those programs.
There was a mini retreat of the University Council where we continue to think about how do we budget in line with our strategic goals of the university.
Questions and Comments
How is the quality of the incoming students?
Chancellor Woodson responded that NC State has set a record for student quality, to put it in perspective, this time last year the early admitted had an average SAT of 1230 and this year it’s almost 1300 for the early admissions. The quality of education and getting on the “Best Buy in America” list has had an impact on the university.
5. Remarks from Provost Arden
Provost Arden announced that they are going to make some investments in the department of University Planning and Analysis by hiring a Senior Vice Provost for that unit. If you look at most comparable peer institutions that have research and planning units, they are significantly larger and deeper than ours and as we become a larger and more complex institution we need the tools to be able to manage the institution with accurate friendly data that everyone will have access to. We will begin this search for a new leader for what will become Institutional Research and Planning. That unit will go into place on July 1 and I’m very enthusiastic about what I think this unit can bring.
Provost Arden reported on the main elements in the second memo that he sent out on the College of Sciences update. He stated that we are on track for a July 1 implementation. He gave an update on some of the work that the student support implementation team is doing and noted that Vice Chancellor Mullen is leading that effort.
Provost Arden also gave an update on space planning. It is quite likely that no faculty will shift their offices or labs July 1st, because there are certain infrastructure things such as the biomedical research facility that has to be looked at such as where they are administered, how are they going to be funded, so the state implementation team has been working very hard, and parallel to all of these processes in each of the two colleges (Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Sciences), the Deans have undertaken very rigorous strategic planning processes to 1) Aligned the future of those colleges with the overarching university strategic plan and 2) rethink the structure of both of those colleges. This isn’t just about closing down four departments in CALS and shifting people and programs to another college and adding a unit for PAMS. It is about thinking about the structure of the remaining sixteen other departments in CALS and whether that is the best structure and how should they be aligned for success in the future. This is a time now for the college to step back and say what should or could the college look like in the future. That is actually a process that many Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences are going through around the country at the moment.
Provost Arden stated that Dean Solomon is having the same conversation with the current faculty in PAMS and the new faculty who are coming over, asking about the structure of the new College of Sciences, how we are going to be structured and how should the programs be shaped. So, those are the processes that are being facilitated by outside entities and we are looking forward to seeing the results of those in the next month or two.
Provost Arden stated that another thing that he sent out on the space committee was a new space planning memorandum. As the Chancellor mentioned we had a University Council Retreat last week and this is part of that same conversation. Essentially, things that we are really trying to stress is that as we move forward in our strategic plan that to maintain that momentum, to make sure that we can execute on the plan over the next seven years we really need to make sure that we are thinking very clear about an underlying financial plan and an underlying space plan as well as a Human Resources plan. I have put together some very quick ball park numbers for the University Council that are based on some very realistic assumptions. If you look at the number of people that we expect to hire in different categories over the next seven years and attach some standards about their average pay and start up costs, how much space would be necessary, how many graduate students they are likely to employ, how many post docs, and you spreadsheet all of that out and throw some realistic numbers at it and in today’s budget by the time you get to the end of the seven-year period it adds up to about $100 million recurring that would be added to the continuing budget. That is $100 million from all sources. If you look at the history of institution funding over the last few years it would lead you to believe that a significant proportion of that, at least one half is going to come from reallocation of things that we spend money on really challenging everyone to think about how we set our priorities. Implementing the strategic plan will not just simply require getting more money to pay for it, it will require us all to sometime make some difficult choices about what our priorities are and what are some things that we can stop doing so that we can start doing other things. So the subsequent memo that was sent out on space planning later in the week will begin by challenging the Deans to think about a couple of thing. We have an urgent need to think clearly and quickly about where we are going to put the current faculty that we are trying to hire. You will recall that we are trying to hire 38 faculty into 12 clusters and we have also authorized an additional 30 tenure-tenure track faculty lines down through additional college departmental lines, so we have about 70 searches that are going on this year and a real urgency is to figure out exactly where we are going to put those folks. The second is to recognize that maybe not at that pace of hiring, it comes down to about 50 new tenure-tenure track faculty per year throughout the remainder of this decade. We are going to have to think ahead and start to identify a certain proportion of the existing research space so that we can begin to bring that space up to standard and have that space identified well before we bring faculty in, so this is the underlying theme about strategic space planning. We know that some of the space requirements are going to be new space and we have to think creatively about that. I really want everyone to be thinking about the major resources that will be required to continue implementing the strategic plan at the pace that was stated.
6. Remarks from Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov, Ombuds, UNC Chapel Hill
Wayne Blair, Ombuds from UNC Chapel Hill talked briefly about the history of the ombuds program and how and when it came about at Chapel Hill. He also discussed the principles by which they function.
Mr. Blair stated that the program at Carolina was established in 2005 when Past Chancellor Moeser co-chaired a task force for a better work place. At that time finances were constrained, so the reason behind that was what could be done to create an environment for the employees of the institution that would not cost money and the number one recommendation was the development of the University Ombuds Program.
Initially the jurisdiction was all employees, which included faculty, staff, and administration. As of July 1, 2012, jurisdiction was extended to all students as well. One of the main reasons was though they were not advertising for students, every year the numbers would climb from students who would find them. Many were referred by faculty and some were referred by administrators as well and approximately 90% of the students were graduate students.
Blair noted that it may surprise you how many Ombuds Programs there are. People practice in different ways, and the program at Chapel Hill is referred to as an Organizational Ombuds Program.
The principles that they operate under include:
Blair stated that the Ombuds Office will not do anything unless someone gives them permission. A conversation with the ombuds does not put the institution on any formal notice. Every person is notified of circumstances in which confidentiality may be broken – concern about someone hurting themselves or others for example. He noted that their level of confidentiality is a main reason why people choose to meet with them.
- Public Records and Access Law
Blair stated that they keep no records with anyone’s names on them. One of their responsibilities is to track trends in pattern and issues and when they decide there is a pattern that needs to be addressed the decision is made in a very creative way to move it forward to the decision maker. The information is moved forward to the decision maker without disclosing how the information was received. The Chancellor and Provost are not always the decision makers.
Information is tracked by a very specialized database system that is kept in house and not maintained by University IT. They do their own backups every Friday at noon and copies are kept in a vault at the bank across the street from their office.
- They remain neutral from the university
Blair stated that they don’t take sides and they don’t advocate for any one position. They will help people advocate for themselves, but they have no vested interest in the outcome and they don’t make the decision of the outcome. He feels that is the reason so many people come to them.
Blair stated that they are informal, because every formal process bears a record and they are completely off the record. If a person would like to have a formal process they will help them access the process. Being informal allows them a great deal of flexibility. It allows them to do creative things in resolving issues. It is not uncommon for them to be moving information from one source to the other without disclosing who the other party is. It is not uncommon for them to conduct mediations or facilitated conversations with individuals or groups off the record to address issues or concerns in that particular unit. The key issue is that they don’t disclose who they are speaking to or what was said. He noted that their flexibility allow them to assist people in helping themselves.
Blair stated that while they are independent of the institution, they are employees of the state of North Carolina and UNC Chapel Hill. There is no one who oversees their schedule, who they meet with and who they don’t meet with. He stated that all they do is create a safe space where people can come and are confident in their confidentiality and where they are willing to discuss some concerns that are disturbing in some matter. He noted that they also serve as a reality check.
Questions and Comments
How do you deal with the Human Resources people?
Blair responded that they get along very well and that they also refer issues to them frequently.
Ms. Mesibov commented that sometimes they can help HR and the General Counsel and vice versa, so they are not worried about them trying to take anything away from them.
How busy is your office?
Blair responded that their case load has increased every year. They deal with about 500 cases per year and anticipate that this year there will be more with students who are coming in. The faculty is about 40% of that number.
Blair explained that a case could be one individual walking in to meet for approximately one hour and they never see that person again. A case can also be one person coming in from a department, meeting with them that first time and two weeks later coming back with two or three other people and in the end after about eight months of working with the department head they have done something like how to manage conflict or how to manage problem areas where they may have met with the whole department once a month. That is still considered one case.
Have there been any cases of retaliation?
Blair stated that at least 60 to 70 percent of those they meet with don’t want to do anything. They want to come in and just talk and think about their options.
In terms of retaliation, one thing the institution has made very clear is that if someone enters the ombuds program they are not to be retaliated against. He stated that it is very rare that someone will say that I’m going to retaliate against you.
Do you ever have cases that end up in court?
Blair responded that it has not happened so far and noted that other ombuds programs have gotten themselves into trouble by trying to wear two hats.
Is there a period of time when you see more people than others?
Blair responded during post tenure review people sometime fail to have the appropriate professional development conversations and they are surprised on the record and then they come to us.
7. Senate Discussion – BOG Draft Strategic Plan
Chair Kellner compiled a list of topics from the Strategic Plan for the Senate to discuss to give the Chancellor and Provost a sense of how the faculty feel about very sensitive academic points identified in the plan.
Degree Attainment Goals – Chair Kellner stated that the document called for a considerable number of additional college graduates in North Carolina. The question is where are these students going to come from? Are the goals realistic? There are a couple of things along the line of ways which they are going to increase the number that are concerning. One of them has to do with more community college transfers. The head of our general education plan is extremely concerned. The idea is that when the community colleges get together and decide what their curricula are going to be in the various specializations that they have, the system will simply accept them as whole so that when you come in from a community college you will have completed all of the general education requirements at whatever institution you may have arrived at even if you haven’t taken x, y or a foreign language, so this is a matter of concern because it takes curricula decision making away from the individual campuses and places it on an articulation board somewhere.
The other issue is that on page 84 in terms of degree attainment goals they make one of many statements calling for more fundamental use of online learning. The question is, is this realistic and do we have concerns on this issue?
Senator Daley commented that it is going to take more money to hire people and where is the money coming from?
Senator Williams stated that student numbers will go up and student support is not mentioned.
Chair-elect Zonderman asked, are we ever going to have a discussion about what it means to really shift, going from 20 to 40 to 80 percent online learning on campus?
Chair Kellner stated that the next issue is the issue of general education. Our future talks about core curriculum and ultimately core competencies. This brings up the question of faculty control of curriculum on an individual campus basis, which is how we are accredited and in some places in the document that is spelled out and in other places it forgets all about that kind of thing. The question is by December 2013 insure that all general education courses at all UNC institutions meet transfer level quality SACS accreditation standards.
Chair Kellner stated that what they want is some sort of simplified way of creating interchangeable students from various levels.
Senator Knopp commented that we don’t need the core curriculum talk, we need the basic science talk. We need students who have strength in those areas.
Chair Kellner stated that he is hearing that no matter where we try to steer the conversation it keeps coming back to articulation and transfer issues and the different levels of the institutions within the system and between the community college curriculum and ours. “That I think is an issue that the people who wrote this plan would really like to see go away.”
Senator Borden commented that he has not seen any data where we are tracking and evaluating the performance of transfer students, particularly relating to the performance of students from different community colleges.
Assessment - Chair Kellner stated that the document calls upon something called the college learning assessment (CLA) which got a lot of people upset. The references in this document comes out of the book called, Academically Adrift, but it seems to have a certain amount of sway, questioning whether students are learning enough in the years they spend in college and the CLA is the way of dealing with this.
The assessment resolution from the Faculty Assembly focuses in part on the use of the CLA and calls for different ways of assessing and that kind of assessment approach is mentioned elsewhere in the document but when it comes down to it, we arrive at that in the fall of 2013 pilot on five UNC campuses, the use of the revised college learning assessment test with a statistically valid sample of the freshmen cohort and then by May 2014, the point is that by pretty soon everyone, alumni surveys, employer surveys and ultimately implement a system-wide prior learning assessment program between 2014 and 2016.
We were told at the Assembly that the CLA tracks very closely with SAT scores and that therefore it doesn’t really add much in the way of knowledge.
Chair Kellner stated that he thinks the broader issue is whether a system-wide organization should be choosing the test. One of the goals that it called for is that the UNC system will become a national leader in the assessment of student learning.
E-Learning – Chair Kellner stated that the issue of E-learning says among other things that they want to develop and deliver up to ten new competency based distance deliver general education or other bottle-neck courses including laboratory courses and five MOOCS that meet the highest standard of instructional quality and student learning and general education requirements at all UNC campuses and at the same time the idea of developing and aggressively market a fully online intra institutional undergraduate degree in liberal or interdisciplinary studies. Should the UNC System offer a fully online degree in anything and if so how?
Secretary Sawyers responded no and noted that degrees should be granted by individual institutions, not the UNC system.
Chair Kellner stated another point on E-Learning refers to exploring avenues to expand access to the UNC online exchange for world languages with new markets through a new and existing partnership such as the Southern Regional Education Board of the US military, and establish programs to enable assessments, sustainable, and scalable revenue generating models for a state national and international online presence that generates potential new revenue. He stated that this issue is so complicated and when you put it within the context of our campus versus system situations it becomes even more complicated and I don’t know how we will straighten it out.
Chair Kellner stated that the Faculty Advisory Council has written an excellent document and have responded to this sort of thing.
Chair Kellner stated that the final issue is on efficiencies and it involves shared services, which involves a number of things.
A motion passed to defer the remaining agenda to the next meeting.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 5 p.m.