FACULTY SENATE MEETING
April 13, 2013
Present: Chair Kellner, Chair Elect Zonderman, Secretary Sawyers Provost Arden: Parliamentarian Weiner; Senators Aday, Argyropoulos, Aspnes, Borden, Bourham, Bradley, Daley, Devetsikiotis, Fleisher, Fuentes, Funkhouser, Holden, Jasper, Knowles, Lucia, Lunardi, J. Moore, M. Moore, Morgado, Snyder, Spontak, Tyler, L. Williams, M. Williams, P. Williams
Excused: Ade, Hatcher, Knopp, Lubischer, Penrose, Rucker
Absent: Senator Nfah-Abbenyi, Piedfrafita, Sztajn
Guests: Chancellor Woodson; P.J. Teal, Chancellor’s Office; Eileen Goldgeier, General Counsel; Stan North Martin, OIT; Kay Zimmerman, DELTA; Tom Miller DELTA; Donna Petherbridge DELTA; Dwayne Larick, Provost Office
1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the fourteenth meeting of the 59th session of the NC State Faculty Senate to order at 3 p.m.
2. Remarks from the Chair
Chair Kellner stated that this is the final meeting of the 59th session and the last meeting that he will preside over as Chair of the Faculty.
Chair Kellner noted that the most outstanding event during his tenure as Chair of the Faculty was serving on the Chancellor’s installation committee. The committee was filled with university staff where he saw effectiveness and a focus that he had never experienced before.Chair Kellner announced that next year while serving as the immediate Past Chair of the Faculty he will oversee the election process that will include the election of a new chair elect. He encouraged faculty to begin thinking about who will be willing to take on the four-year commitment, which will be both rewarding and demanding.
Chair Kellner announced that the OIED (Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity) and Vice Provost Joanne Woodard have been reviewed. There will be a report on the evaluation on Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Winslow Hall Conference room. The meeting will be open for those who are interested in attending.
There will be a mini connecting-with-NC tour on Thursday, May 16, a full day trip to Harnett County visiting several NC State connected sites. There are 20 seats available on the bus for anyone interested in attending.
Chair Kellner recognized the new senators and those that will not be returning next year.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 13, March 19, 2013.
A motion passed to approve the minutes as submitted.
4. Remarks from Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
Vice Provost Betsy reported on the summer salary issue.
Vice Provost Brown updated the faculty on the issue of summer salary. The issue initially came up in the Personnel Policy Committee. There were some changes in how people use their time and how they reported their effort if they were on grants and contracts during the summer and this was the result of an audit that took place in 2011-12. The internal audit looked at some sample transactions in terms of paying faculty and within the sample there were a range of errors. The error rate was at 87%, which is high.
Vice Provost Brown stated that the audit took place because in 2006 there was an informal review by NSF of our potential violations of the way we pay people in summer as a result of a whistle blower report where we were potentially not consistent with our own requirements. Since 2006 we have had a follow-up. The certification forms that you had to fill out a few years ago was one of the responses to the 2006 audit as a way to track rather than just document what people were doing throughout the summer. That’s now gone. It was clear that there were problems that weren’t going to be taken care of just by working through contracts and grants, so internal audit was asked to do the audit that they did of summer 2011 transactions.
Vice Provost Brown reported that Phase I of the audit was done in 2011-12 and Phase II will be to see whether the changes that were made as a result of that audit make a difference in terms of compliance with our own rules. That is going to take place next summer, because one of the recommendations of the internal audit was that there be mandatory training for faculty and also the college and department staff who are involved in reporting and paying for summer contract and grant work.
The first recommendation from the internal audit was that we need to be in compliance with our own policy that had to do with this 87% failure to comply rate so the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Research, and the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business agreed to do a number of things including fixing the non-compliant actions that had taken place in 2011, and in some cases we had to pay money back to the Federal government because money should not have been paid among that 87% error rate so we tried to make that summer whole again by correcting those mistakes as much as possible.
The second issue was that the university didn’t have a simple standard comprehensive process to cover all the parts of the approving, paying for, and reporting work in the summer on contracts and grants, so there were some significant revisions to the policy going into last summer, which was an attempt to try to correct some of the things in the policy that might have been leading people to make mistakes. We did some significant revisions. The most important thing was to start to talk about how we understood from the Feds what they meant by effort. We limited the percentage of time that you could attribute to contracts and grants because like it or not, we understood from the NSF and others that if you said you were going to work 100% on this grant, you shouldn’t be working on anything else and we never really found a way to help people comply with that, so the reaction was to do what a lot of other institutions have done and that’s to just limit the percentage of your effort that can be assigned to contracts and grants in the summer.
The third issue was providing better guidance to faculty and staff about how to do these processes. This is really a contracts and grants area and they have worked on a standard operating procedure as well as some training.
The final issue was to get rid of the faculty certification form, which was an attempt to try to get a handle on this, so where we stand now is that the policy has not changed for this year. Whatever you thought you understood last year about how to request, get paid for, and report your effort in the summer is still the same. The only change is that everyone participates in the online training.
Finally, I want to mention that the National Science Board which is advisory to the National Science Foundation has a request for information on the topic of reducing investigators administrative workload for federally funded research.
Questions and Comments:
Aspnes – The real problem here is this insane interpretation of effort is not our fault. Is there any evidence of the activity in the part of the academic institutions of banding together and trying to get this reversed short of an act of Congress?
Vice Provost Brown stated that she doesn’t know the answer, but one of the things they’ve done is to invite all the institutions to send representatives to these conference sites, the local one is at Georgia Tech, on this issue and she thinks that is a time when someone needs to bring up that question. It is not the direct focus of this request, but it’s certainly the motivator of some of what these requests might involve.
Comments from Duane Larick, Sr. Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives
Vice Provost Larick updated the faculty on the College of Sciences.
Vice Provost Larick reported that two implementation teams are still working with one being the Space Team. They met last week and came up with a few more resolutions and one that we have been working hard on is the biological research facility. We have also been working diligently on trying to figure out what to do with the teaching laboratories. We have basically set up some joint buildings where we have multiple departments and multiple colleges teaching classes and utilizing the same classrooms.
The group has been working on trying to figure out some IT details so that the special applications will be available the first day of class.
The Alumni, Development, and Communication Team has been busy. They have set themselves up into three subgroups, a subcommittee on foundation and administration, a subcommittee on communications and one on alumni relations.
The communication subcommittee outlined a communication plan that begins with a broad community announcement that is going to go out at the end of April to alums. We are continuing to work on the College of Sciences website and the communication effort. The Provost again has offered transition funding for those communication letters. There are a few issues that still need to be worked out and most of those are in the development and foundation administration agreement.
Larick stated that there are proposals to establish new academic departments, one in the College of Sciences titled the Department of Biological Sciences and the second in the College of Ag and Life Sciences called the Department of Applied Ecology and then there is a name change which was proposed to change the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences department of Plant Biology to the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. There is a lot of interest on both of the creations of applied ecology and the question of, does that mean that this group of faculty own the word “ecology” on our campus and can anyone else on campus still work in ecology. We are working through exactly what the Department of Applied Ecology is and isn’t and the opportunities that others would have to work in that and related areas. It has continued to open the opportunity for something broader than a department, something broader than one college, to looking more like a school, something going across the College of Natural Resources and the College of Ag and Life Sciences. That type of interdisciplinarity is something that I’m keenly interested in and I think we might be able to work toward these changes.
Questions and comments:
What are you hearing from alumni about their response to pick a college?
Larick stated that they aren’t hearing a lot because the letter hasn’t gone out.
The Provost has spoken frequently about hiring 50 new faculty a year for seven years as part of the implementation for the strategic plan. Where does the Faculty Excellence Program stand with regard to that?
This year we identified through the review process, twelve clusters, which resulted in 41 positions and at the same time the colleges submitted just a one year strategic plan because of where we were in the state budgeting process. In those strategic plans the colleges identified an additional thirty-five positions that needed to be filled at the disciplinary level, so those two things are happening simultaneously as two separate processes. All total this year funding was approved for 72 positions, the plan would be to have at least 50 positions per year. The biggest challenge that we have is space. We haven’t built a new building, so instead of building new buildings, I’m working with the colleges to try to fit these faculty members.
The Provost Office has put up $3.9 million in space renovations between now and June 30 and we have an additional $1.4 million already earmarked for space renovations for next fiscal year in order to facilitate getting these faculty members situated.
What’s happening with the RPT procedures for the interdisciplinary hires? Have those been worked out or are they being drafted?
Vice Provost Betsy Brown has been working diligently to rewrite and redo the RPT processes to make sure that we accommodate faculty members working across these disciplinary lines.
5. Discussion on MOOC
Vice Provost Miller stated that MOOC has been popular in the news. He stated that MOOC is very different from what we have traditionally done, because it is entirely enabled by what’s happening in the digital world.
Vice Provost Miller stated that Coursera now has 62 university partners, mostly from the US but 13 countries represented overall. They are offering 313 courses and have 2.8 million students enrolled averaging 1.4 million every month and is growing rapidly. The majority of the students that Coursera enrolls are international students and they are venture funded by a top tier Silicon Valley Venture firm who see no problem with a business model for this.
The other primary example is edX which is a Harvard/MIT collaboration. Unlike Coursera it is a not- for-profit. MIT and Harvard each put in $30 million to get this off the ground, so it’s funded to the tune of $60 million. Again, it is not for profit, but they as well have a business model for sustainability and it’s very similar to Coursera’s business model. Not quite as big, they have 675,000 students, mostly international and they are currently offering 25 courses and are expected to double or triple or quadruple that next year. There is some good, bad and ugly. A key point is that when you are dealing out there in this very public environment of massive open online courses with hundreds of thousands of students engaged in it how you do it makes a big difference, so done well it can enhance the university and done poorly it can really do a lot of damage so it’s something that we as an institution should not take likely.
Vice Provost Miller stated that the American Council of Education is looking at the credit issue and has worked with a number of universities offering MOOCs and is working with the State of California and the state of Texas and their legislatures to look at the possibility of offering or granting course credit for MOOC participation. SACS has a committee looking at the whole issue of MOOCs and how they impact accreditation and what they actually mean in terms of university accreditation. Karen Helms serve on that committee.
DELTA has been reviewing this issue, because we are being asked questions like can I get a MOOC, when in fact, there are MOOCs going on out there right now. The Friday Institute has launched a MOOC and it’s not an academic course per se but more of an extension type course for continuing education type activity for teachers. They launched it a couple of weeks ago and have 2200 students enrolled. There is another activity going on in the College of Engineering where a faculty member has been putting together content for a MOOC to offer this summer. We have put a team together to look at this. Kay Zimmerman is leading that group within our organization and there are a number of folk from our technical IT staff, so I think we are getting a fairly good handle on that.
Vice Provost Miller stated that the following question have been put together for NC State.
- How should we identify possible courses for MOOCS that represent the “best of the best” at NC State?
- What value is in it for us to do NCSU MOOCS?
- What would faculty need to do to offer a MOOC?
6. University Wide IT Strategic Planning Process
Stan North Martin, Director of Outreach, Communication and Consulting reported on what they are doing as an IT strategic planning process. He also solicited ideas from the faculty on that process.
Martin gave an overview of the strategic planning process specifically for information technology. He stated that this is the first ever university-wide IT strategic plan. There have been IT strategic plans for different divisions and different organizations and units but this is actually something that is campus wide. The overarching question that we are trying to answer as part of the process is, how can IT best support and accelerate the achievement of NC State’s mission, vision, and goals. Clearly, we want to be in alignment with the campus strategic plan so we are working on creating a framework and a vision to be able to do that as well as to help us prioritize some spending priorities. At the end of the process we hope to develop a set of guiding principles for IT at NC State University. We are looking at creating a number of specific goals that will come out of this process that we are going to be looking at trying to accomplish in the next three to five years, kind of in alignment with that 2020 strategic planning process and obviously some strategies to help us achieve our goals as a part of that.
In terms of a time frame, this spring we have been gathering data, coming together as a process team doing a lot of querying of folks and talking with people. This summer we are going to be shifting focus into analyzing that data so the goal would be that we would have a draft strategic plan by August to share with our stakeholders on campus.
The goal would be to have a strategic plan that is approved by the Executive Officers by the end of October so that in the November time frame we can start working with some action plans to put in place the goals and to start moving on those.
As a part of the data gathering process we have been doing a series of workshops. We have some surveys for students and we will be meeting with the Staff Senate. We are going to be doing some focus groups. This afternoon we would like to spend a little time getting some ideas from you. He handed out questions and asked the faculty for feedback on the process. Several senators provided input.
7. Nominations for 2013-2014 Executive Committee
The senators were asked to select six names from the ballot that was handed out. The top twelve names will be placed on a ballot for the 2013-14 Senators to elect a new Executive Committee.
8. Special Presentation
Benny Suggs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations, Randy Ham, Associate Executive Director, and Chancellor Woodson recognized Chair Kellner as the outgoing Chair of the Faculty by presenting him with an NC State Alumni Association chair.
Chancellor Woodson thanked Chair Kellner for his outstanding leadership during the past two years.
9. Old/New Business
The Governance Committee submitted the following proposals. Both will be addressed during the Fall 2013 semester.
Bylaw Revision - Governance Committee
The Proposed change is to enable the Chair or Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate to call for emergency meeting
Change in the Senate bylaws
The Governance Committee proposed changes are as follow:
ARTICLE 1 Section 4: by adding “Chair of the Faculty, the Executive Committee, or” to read:
The Chair of the Faculty, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and the Faculty Senate have the power to call special meetings of the General Faculty.
Change “Meetings” in ARTICLE III as “Meetings of the Faculty Senate” to clearly specify the subject of the Article, which refers to Section 3 of the Article that reads: “Special meetings may be called by the Chair of the Faculty, by the Faculty Senate's Executive Committee, or by one-fourth of the Faculty Senate members in written petition to the Chair.”
Proposed Solution for EPA/Non-faculty representation- Governance Committee
The Proposed Solution for EPA/non-faculty (see above) representation:
- A 1-year grace period prior to any changes regarding representation in the Faculty [or Staff] Senate
- Automatic representation in the Faculty Senate for individuals involved in teaching a minimum of 3 credit hours/year.
- Consideration of representation in the Faculty Senate on a case-by-case basis for any other individuals not meeting the automatic teaching criteria mentioned above; petition for consideration should consist of (1) brief (1-page) description of the individual’s current duties and responsibilities signed by the individual’s Department Head or Program Director, and (2) co-signature by a faculty sponsor from among the current General Faculty (as described above).
Budget Realignment Task Force
Chair Elect Zonderman reported that the budget task force continues to meet and they are currently looking at the following three items.
- Where the main sources of money are coming from and going to in the university;
- The core criteria by which money is allocated;
- Different budget models. One that is getting a lot of talk is called the resource centric model. The challenge we would have is that those work best in a world where resources are growing, given what is coming out of the state budget and given our enrollment plan over the next few years, we are not going to be in a resource rich and growing environment. I think we are going to have to look at some other model, so that is where we stand now.
10. Issues of concern/Grievance Report
Chair Kellner requested that Secretary Sawyers post a report on the issues of concern.
Chair Kellner reported that there has been no grievances filed this year, which does not show that we are a purely happy campus, but rather that we have a system that isn’t working very well.
11. Passing of the Gavel
Chair Kellner passed the gavel to Chair-elect Zonderman for him to adjourn the fifty ninth session of the Faculty Senate.
A motion passed at 4:50 p.m. to adjourn the fifty ninth session of the NC State Faculty Senate.