FACULTY SENATE MEETING
October 2, 2012
Present: Chair Kellner, Chair Elect Zonderman, Secretary Sawyers, Parliamentarian Weiner, Provost Arden; Senators Aday, Aspnes, Borden, Bourham, Bradley, Fleisher, Funkhouser, Holden, Jasper, Knopp, Knowles, Lubischer, Lunardi, Moore, Nfah-Abbenyi, Penrose, Rucker, Snyder, Sztajn, Tyler, M. Williams
Excused: Senators Ade, Argyropoulos, Daley, Hatcher, P. Williams, Piedrafita,
Absent: Senators Devetsikiotis, Freeman, Fuentes, Morgado, Spontak, L. Williams
Visitors: Chancellor Woodson; Tom Miller, Senior Vice Provost; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University/Chancellor’s Office; Margery Overton, Past Chair of the Faculty; Emerson Barker, Student Government Senate President Pro Tempore; Betsy Brown, vice Provost, Faculty Affairs; Duane Larick, Senior Vice Provost; Richard Bernhard, Professor Emeritus
1. Call to Order
Chair Kellner called the 4th meeting of the 59th session to order at 3 p.m.
2. Remarks from the Chair
Chair Kellner announced that participation is up in the “Wolfpack Gives Back” campaign, but the dollar amount is not. He encouraged everyone to pledge.
Chair Kellner announced that the General Faculty meeting will be held in lieu of the October 16 Faculty Senate meeting. The next Faculty Senate meeting will be 30 October.
The theme of the General Faculty meeting will be “Faculty Wellbeing.” Steve Reynolds co-chair of one of the Quality Enhancement Plan committees will give remarks on what they are doing about critical and creative thinking. There will also be a number of senators making brief presentations as well.
Chair Kellner reported that Peter Hans, the new chair of the Board of Governors (BOG) attended the meeting. He noted that he has spent nine years on the BOG and six years on the Board of Community Colleges. Peter thanked the Faculty Assembly for their work especially on the “academic first” plan which he thinks is promising.
President Ross talked about North Carolina’s need for degree attainment. He said whatever the answer is we need more, and it became clear that a major argumentative strategy was going to be numbers, the need for more graduates in the state, that this would be an important part of his argument for more resources. He noted that it’s a different world and the new five-year plan had a different objective from UNC Tomorrow on which he also served. The new objective of the five-year plan would be to renew support from the business and political world of the state. We need to renew support to find new friends and regain the support of older friends that the system has had for a long time. For this reason he said business leaders were invited into the plan in a notable way.
Peter Hans stressed the importance of a full education beyond work force needs and he noted that the plan would begin with the work of a small group which would then move out to the work of a large group.
President Ross said that the fast time line, having everything done in January, had a strategic purpose, mainly that they wanted something in place before we have a new governor and a new legislature. To the question, how specific will the plan be? President Ross said not that specific. He later commented that part of the strategy of having a fast time line would be to make sure that we couldn’t be too specific, but he did say that certain things such as degree attainment policies and shared services would be spelled out clearly, because these are the kinds of shared things that we can do in the state in terms of increasing efficiency. To the question about the business people on the plan (is it a good thing)? Ross and Peter Hans put their heads together and noted that this is a strategy which may or may not work. The strategy is by placing people who have been critical of the system in the past on the committees that they would have some ownership of and that they would hear the arguments that go into it and that that would be a positive thing.
Chair Kellner stated, to the question of why are faculty needs and concerns so obviously lacking, there is only one faculty member on either group and that is the Chair of the Faculty Assembly. We have a fairly predictable comment that the university needs faculty. To the idea, why not reach out to citizens, to the anti military, anti political group here, President Ross noted that North Carolina has a bipartisan position with regard to higher education and that the lightning rods on the commission have a history of being large financial supporters of universities in the state.
Finally, the question, what can we in faculty governance do to help this process along? President Ross mentioned, we could all provide information about the use of technology, especially in pedagogy, so this is information that he wants to have from the 17 campuses. Kellner thinks that he is imagining a board that might feel that we weren’t doing enough, when in fact, they don’t know what we are doing.
At the end of the Faculty Assembly, a resolution was taken calling essentially for more faculty representation on the Strategic Plan Committee and that something like the Scholars Councilthat was part of the UNC Tomorrow should be done.
Chair Kellner stated that one or two of the campuses have written a similar resolution, but he doesn’t think this campus should write one.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 18, 2012
A motion passed to approve the minutes as submitted.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Woodson
Chancellor Woodson commented on the annual publication of US News and World Report.
Chancellor Woodson stated that NC State continues to struggle in this annual ranking, but that he is confident that with the things that we are putting in place and the work that the Provost is doing that we will make progress. The indication that this is the case is that this year we made the list of up and coming universities. You would think that a university with a 125 year tradition would be long past the up and coming list!
Chancellor Woodson stated that each year the Presidents of each of the fifteen hundred national universities are asked to identify ten universities that they believe are putting innovative programs in place, both academically and administratively that will continue to propel the university forward and that other universities should pay attention to. Others on the list include Texas A&M and Purdue University, so we are in some pretty good company and it indicates that people are paying attention to the efforts that we are working on here at NC State.
Chancellor Woodson reported that NC State also made the list of best values, the fifth best public value in America. Last year we were third and this year we are fifth and the year before we were tenth, so the good news is that we remain one of the best values in America in public higher education.
We continue to get accolades for our work in writing across disciplines, but we are still at the cuff of being a top 50 university by other measures. We have gotten off to a great start this year in terms of grants and contracts. Recently the National Science Foundation selected three new Engineering Research Centers. Engineering Research Centers are the largest multidisciplinary engineering centers in America funded by the National Science Foundation. There were three funded this year and one was in Electrical and Computer Engineering, lead by Veena Misra. It is a collaborative project where we are the lead and involving three other universities. In fact, we are only one of two universities in the country to have ever lead more than 3 engineering research centers. The other is Carnegie Mellon and that is a real tribute to NC State. We are the only university in the country that currently has two active engineering research centers. The other is lead by Alex Swain in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In fact, all three of the centers that have been funded at NC State are in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. This current grant, about $19 million will focus on self- powered devices for monitoring help, so this is a biomedical application and the idea is to create sensors that humans will be able to wear. They would be powered by your own body chemistry and used to monitor your own body chemistry.
Chancellor Woodson announced that NC State has been selected by Eastman Chemical for a new program focused on broadening chemistry across most of our colleges. This was a national competitive program where the company went out and sought universities and they ultimately selected NC State. It has a lot to do with our strength in chemistry across both basic chemistry and also applications and polymer, textiles, and across the university.
Dr. Jay Baliga from Electrical and Computer Engineering will receive the state’s highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award for Science, which will be celebrated in November.
President Obama has appointed Paul Turinsky to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, a good indication of our continued strength in Nuclear Engineering. Our staff success continues to be a hall mark for NC State, because five of the last seven years one of our staff nominees has received the Governor’s Award for Excellence. This year, Lisa Eberhart will receive it and she has done a terrific job of empowering students with information about their diet.
Chancellor Woodson reported that NC State is undergoing SACS review and our goal is for everyone on this campus to know what the accreditation process is so that their questions can be answered emphatically and knowledgably.
Chancellor Woodson reported that the Board of Governors’ effort to revive a strategic plan is numbers driven, Currently just under 35% of our population have a bachelor’s degree, so we are in the top 50% of the states, but as a knowledge based economy we would aspire to be a little higher than that. We are working hard at NC State to manage our enrollment, so most of our growth will likely come through our efforts to include student success at NC State, not by dummying down the curriculum, but by helping students navigate what has historically been a very difficult university to find appropriate majors.
We are currently at a six-year graduation rate of about 74%. Most of our peers are considerably higher than that, so it’s an area where we have some potential to improve and as a result of that improvement the potential to produce graduates that the state critically needs, but we shouldn’t forget, whether the plan calls for it or spells it out , it is not going to deter our graduate degrees. A big part of NC State’s commitment to the Sate of North Carolina is the post-baccalaureate education that we provide to students.
Chancellor Woodson reported on his trip to Asia. He stated that NC State has a lot of very successful alumni in Asia. We are about to launch a capital campaign and for us to be successful in raising the critical money that we need to use for NC State, we have to broaden the donor base. There are a lot of dedicated alumni in North Carolina that can do great things for NC State. We also have alumni all over the world that feel very connected to this university in spite of our lack of attempt to stay connected to them. Most are graduates of the graduate programs. Three of the Senior vice Presidents at Samsung are NC State alumni. The father of statistics in Korea is a dean of the College of Natural Sciences in one of the top twenty universities in the world and he is a graduate of NC State. The owner of the largest petroleum company in Asia and Southeast Asia is a three time graduate of NC State, so we have very impressive alumni around the world and they need to be cultivated and I think we will get significant help with the coming campaign from people around the world.
Chancellor Woodson stated that President Obama invited him along with a group of University Presidents to be part of a discussion on innovation and higher education. They spent a lot of time with the Secretary of Commerce, and it was a great conversation about reminding people in the federal government of the key role they play in supporting us to keep innovation flowing. One of the reasons why we have so many companies in the area is because the National Science Foundation, five years ago funded electrical and computer engineering in the FREEDM Center. It was a good conversation, but there is a lot of stress in public higher education right now and a lot of concern over the lack of state support, concern about the future of federal aid for our students, and concern about the future of federal grants.
Chancellor Woodson announced that the Chancellor’s forum will be October 17 in Stewart Theater.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Chair-elect Zonderman asked the Chancellor to speak about concerns he has related to the new strategic planning committee.
Chancellor Woodson stated that he made a plea early on when the process was starting that a number of key industries around the state should be represented on that committee, industries that hire a lot of our graduates, that require the intellectual property that comes out of the university. There is an increasing rhetoric that we actually may be sending too many people to college. My view is, how do you progress as a civil society if you have not educated your society? There also needs to be a strong voice about the key responsibility of universities to create an educated population that can be part of the civil discourse necessary to keep the country moving forward.
Senator Jasper wanted to know if the impending fiscal cliff was mentioned during the Chancellor’s visit to the White house.
Chancellor Woodson responded yes, they talked about concerns over the fiscal cliff. They talked about concerns over Pell grants and the loss of funds for our students. We talked about concerns over continued investment in research. He noted that the Department of Commerce oversees the small business grants that often are coming out of universities.
Chancellor Woodson noted that 50% of employees in America are employed by small businesses, businesses with less than fifty employees, and many of those small businesses start in places like NC State, so we talk about all those things but at the end of the day it is Congress that has to give.
Chair Kellner – The question of immigration policy, would it impact NC State with regard to our foreign graduate students.
Chancellor Woodson noted that both Presidential candidates have come out in support of enhanced H1B permanent resident Visas for highly technical workers. They have indicated that it is a priority for their administration, so I have some level of confidence that the leadership of the country recognizes that a lot of the talent that has built this country has come here to be educated in faith, but they are going to have to change their Visa requirements for that to continue in the future.
Senator Knopp stated that with all the expansion in North Carolina, is the business community stepping forward and saying that we are going to help pay.
Chancellor Woodson stated that he had not heard that. Most of the companies that have come here came because they felt like we had an educated work force. The projections are based on what companies nationally are saying and the state is concerned that if we don’t continue to be a leader in the production of graduates then those industries will not stay here nor come here. Many examples of the nuclear industries have a huge number of retirement age employees and they are very worried about all of those folks that came out of the naval program leaving and where their graduates are going to come from.
5. Comments from Provost Arden
College of Sciences
We continue to move forward with the implementation of the College of Sciences. By the end of August we made a determination of the 44 tenure-track faculty that would be moved from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to the College of Sciences. During the month of September we worked on finalizing the final academic home of our undergraduate and graduate academic programs and looking at which non tenure track faculty, non faculty EPA, SPA, funded graduate students, and Post Docs will move. We finalized that last week and sent out those lists to the faculty and staff of all four departments involved and including the initial 44 tenure track faculty and 197 FTE of individuals who are expected to move. About 70 of those are graduate students and Post Docs.
We are currently having an open comment period. Dr. Larick and I had two open forums with the faculty and staff of those departments on how we have upgraded the university in terms of interdisciplinarity and otherwise. We hope to have that input incorporated and those decisions finalized by the end of this week.
The next step is to make final funding allocation decisions, which we hope to have done by the end of this month. Things are moving pretty quickly, the reason that we have to move things so quickly is because next week we have open house. We will have to have a lot of these pieces in place in time to recruit not only undergraduate students, but also graduate students in those programs. If we are going to be effective in implementing this by July 1 of next year, most of the major decisions will have to be made by November.
Faculty Excellence Program
We are in the middle of trying to hire 38 new Fellows into twelve clusters. Most of those searches are well under way. We have already hired one faculty member in the statistics area. We expect to interview more than one hundred individuals this academic year. There are some excellent applicants for these positions and hopefully they can bring a really high level of scholarship to the campus.
Faculty Scholars Program
This is a program designed to recognize and reward high achieving early to mid career faculty. The college level committees have done their jobs and forwarded nominations to university level committees. The university committee is composed of one individual from each college and their job is to take those forty nominations and define the top twenty individuals and we hope to make those announcements by the beginning of November. Those individuals will have a salary supplement and carry the title of University Faculty Scholar for a five year period, so I hope to have those decisions made by the end of the month and make an announcement on the University Faculty Scholars Program at the end of November.
6. Remarks and Discussion Distance Education
Vice Provost Tom Miller addressed questions that he received from the Senate on Distance Education.
Miller handed out a chart that breaks down DE enrollment by college. He explained that the data shows a total of 94,386 credit hours for 2011-2012 to include summer. The chart is a snapshot by credit hour. He stated that he tends to work mostly with credit hours because the university is funded by credit hours.
This fall the total head count of students taking one or more DE credits was 10,237 compared to last fall of 8,133.
Chair Kellner asked, what is the definition of a DE course?
Miller stated that there are many definitions. Miller also clarified that there is no such thing as a distance education premium. By state law, DE is mandated to be charged on a per credit hour basis and there is a conversion factor that converts full time tuition and fees to DE tuition and fees. You take the full time, annual undergraduate tuition divided by 29.6 and that is the per credit hour tuition for DE.
Since this began, we literally interpreted the regulation to charge the tuition based on the classification of the course and so students who were in an on campus degree program were billed differently and that resulted in an inequity. It effectively is a premium to a full time student, because full time students that chose to take a DE course would in fact, pay the additional credit hour tuition for DE. However, it turns out that most students actually benefitted from the inequity than were penalized.
Miller stated that the dollar figure works out differently, but part time students could actually take a DE course and pay less than they would if they were charged for an on-campus course. However, as you might expect, none of the students who were benefitting complained about the situation.
Miller stated that they did get rid of the inequity this year, which resulted in a huge change in course- taking patterns that we are still trying to analyze and come to grips with
In summary, the percent of on-campus students taking one or more DE courses last fall was about 18% and this fall 24%. The total number of DE degree seeking students last fall to this fall also jumped 33 percent. What happened? A number of students who were in on-campus degree programs were taking nothing but DE courses. In some cases they were out of the state and in some cases they were even out of the country.
Distance Education/online courses is really a mode of delivery, it should not be considered a different class of education, a different class of students, it is a mode of delivery. We have a very large overlap in our population, a hand full of true distance education students, approximately one ninth of the total. We have about one quarter of the total, which are non degree seeking students who take a lot of distance education. Non degree seeking includes students who are seeking admission and trying to take courses to get them into a program.
How is class size being counted for DE classes?
Miller responded that it is exactly the same as on campus. A section is created in Registration and Records where a cap is put on that section where it’s approved by the college and it goes in, just as it would an on campus class.
Are there any plans to change the funding going back to departments?
Miller stated that right now there are no plans to change the funding going back to departments.
Chapel Hill has a rule that no student may take more than a certain percentage of distance education courses—do we have anything like that?
Miller stated that we don’t have anything like that. Now some programs have their own constraints, particularly some of the graduate programs will limit or not allow their students to take DE courses. We use to have a policy that DE courses were treated as transfer credits when the fact was that it was our same faculty teaching the courses with the same level of rigor with the same requirements, why is it that the courses would be considered transfer credits and limited from students.
Chapel Hill does it differently, they use the very old model of distance education that we had here prior to the late 1990’s when it was managed out of the McKimmon Center and was not academically connected to the university. When the state funded distance education in 1998-99, we said that they are in effect giving us a mandate to take this on and make it part of our mainstream academic programs . I took the job when Kermit Hall was Provost and from day one the idea that we are not going to look at this as two separate populations, in essence a method of delivering education that our on campus students benefit from as well as those who never come to campus. Chapel Hill never moved forward from the old model that is still run out of the Friday Center.
Chair Elect Zonderman stated that he is concerned that there is no limit to the DE courses that undergraduates here on campus can take. He thinks both the student and the campus is somehow losing out.
Miller agreed that it is a totally different experience. Most of the research out there shows that there is no difference in performance for students who take a DE course and take other courses on campus in terms of their academic performance, but yes they do miss out on campus life and all other things that go around that.
In your judgment what is the primary misunderstanding of DE on the part of people outside the university?
Miller stated that there is some idea out there that distance education is cheaper to provide than on-campus education. There have been a number of studies done by the legislature that show there is no difference. The only way you can make a significant difference in the cost is by changing the faculty to student ratio.
Do you think that it is true that people feel that faculty are anti-distance education?
Miller responded that he doesn’t think its true on this campus. As we have had more and more faculty engaged in distance education and more and more students engaged there is much less feeling that a distance education or online class is second rate as compared to a face-to-face class. I think this campus has come a very long way in that regard. I would say that that is probably not true at Chapel Hill and some of the other campuses as well.
Am I correct that we are the second biggest distance education campus after ECU?
Yes we are second to ECU, they have made it part of their core mission to expand through distance education and they have done a good job. They have been a little bit more cavalier than we have. We have been more deliberate in our growth. Our growth has been about 20% per year in the time that I have been in this position in the aggregate, it’s slowing down now, 20% is a big number compared to the campus as a whole. We are right in line with other public universities and we are doing a good job in that regard.
Now that the distance education premium has been eliminated for undergraduates, what is going to make up that money for the recipients of it?
Miller stated that the budget office is predicting a $4 million shortfall in tuition this year as a result of the changes. I’m working frantically with the budget office going through this data and we are trying to make the case to GA that this is the way it should to be done.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Vice Provost Miller stated that there are some great videos out there that talk about this process.
Miller stated that the whole idea behind MOOCs is let’s not have an admissions process, let’s just make it open to everyone and let’s make it available for free to see who can do the work and succeed. And then they do the work and succeed and then we will give them some recognition for that. This is a totally different model than the way that we traditionally do higher education and a much cheaper way of doing it. This is a huge operation, 33universities currently, all of them except a hand full of internationals, AAU universities. Is it effective? Nobody knows the answer. How is it going to change things? Nobody knows how it is going to change things, but I guarantee you it is going to change things and in my opinion, NC State should be involved in this in some way.
Senator Moore - You say that they are taking courses from AAU universities, are they getting credit like they do here?
Miller stated that there are many reasons that they can’t receive regular university credit, for example limitations dealing with accreditation.
Senator Fleisher – If NC State was to join this, how would the money flow?
Miller stated, right now they don’t have a business plan that they publish. They have more internally than they are letting out to the public right now, but basically I can tell you that the way that it works is the university owns part of the intellectual property. They have people that will work with you to get it in the right format. They will work with you on things like automated assessments. The key thing is assessment has to be scaleable because you do a lot of automated assessment and a lot of peer based assessment. They have research to show that peer assessment correlates well with instructor assessment.
This is a big opportunity for the university. If you have a course that you offer and thousands of students take that course, you can find the top 1% in the world that can perform well on this course that you teach. It’s a great recruiting tool for the university, in many ways much better than looking at incoming high school grade point averages and SATs. It provides direct evidence of a student’s ability to perform.
Is this purely undergraduate?
Miller responded no, it is all over the place.
Do students have to pay a fee?
Miller responded no, students do not pay a fee. It’s a lot like Facebook, nobody pays to sign up for Facebook but there are all kinds of opportunities. In a nutshell it is higher education meets social networking.
Aspnes—We have to teach students how to think and that is where they often run into trouble. What do you know about employers hiring students as a result of completing MOOCs?
There is a big impact, students particularly outside of the U.S. are getting jobs based on their completion of MOOCs. Hopefully, employers are going to look at the competency of the student more than the degree, so that’s what we need to pay attention to.
7. Old Business
Senator Aspnes, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee reported on the status of the ombuds project.
Senator Aspnes stated that the committee decided to upgrade the ombuds report. He noted how much the language has changed in the last forty years. The Personnel Policy Committee kept the basic structure, which calls for an Ombuds committee to which the ombudsman would report. The Ombuds committee would consist of two people appointed by the Chancellor from the Administration, two from the Faculty appointed by the Faculty Senate and two from the Staff Senate. The entire operation would be funded through the university. This is what they have put together so far.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:45 p.m.