Talley Student Center
Remarks by the Chair of the Faculty
Welcome to the Spring General Faculty Meeting.
One of the major purposes of today is to gain faculty response to the UNC Tomorrow Commission Report and specifically NC State’s response to that. The UNC Tomorrow Initiative is an effort to strengthen the connections between the public and its university system, a connection that is already very strong but it is also a connection without a doubt that can always grow. How well we make and understand that connection undoubtedly will have major impact on our programs and our very mission and how they are both valued and resourced in the future. We have all chosen to work in a public institution and I think all of us take that responsibility very seriously. I think we take our accountability to the public very seriously, both with the dollars they spend, the students they entrust to us, and the mission they ask us to accomplish, but we also recognize that along with accountability one way, is accountability the other way. Accountability is a two way street whether you are raising your kids, teaching your students or dealing with things like university planning. We absolutely need to connect with the state and the state needs to connect with us. Through public listening forums the UNC Tomorrow Commission has heard many ways in which the state values the university system and also has indicated a number of problems that they would like us to help solve.
Now it’s time for our campuses to respond. We need responses as to how we can help meet some of the challenges that the state has articulated to us and that the public has articulated to us. We also need to respond, as in any good business plan, with the commitment that we need the public and the state to make to us in order to carry out our mission of higher education.
This is a political process and, often, political processes get derided as ‘just politics’. Well, it is just politics, but that is very life-like of who we are. We live and die by the political system because we are a public institution. Like any political process there is a lot of talk that has to go on before there is action. This is still part of a talking phase. Sometimes we derive a talk without as much action in the academy and yet, we have all come to be comfortable with that because whether you are trying to figure out a new research idea, whether you are trying to draft a new scholarly work or whether you are just trying to do university planning, you need to start with conversation. You need to start with brainstorming, even crazy brainstorming to get ideas on the table. Then you need to filter and refine so that most important ideas come to the surface and you further filter and refine to make sure that you communicate to the audience that you are trying to communicate to. All of that is part of our goal. So right now we are still in lots of brainstorming phases, the brainstorming and focusing phase, and that is what we are about today – not to consider only UNC Tomorrow, but really consider NC State Tomorrow within the whole process.
The format of today’s schedule will include a comment from Chancellor Oblinger and he will also introduce us to a brief video that has been put together coming out of the listening sessions from the UNC Tomorrow response. We will get a brief perspective on the UNC Tomorrow’s work from two members from the Scholar's Council, Professor Michael Warden and Professor Ruben Carbonell. We thank them for their work in representing NC State and the entire system in this process. Then we are going to have an introduction to what is going on in our campus response from Provost Nielsen who is chairing that process. The most important part of the meeting is we will turn to you for the roundtable discussion. We want comments and we want ideas and those that you present are going to be absolutely invaluable as we refine our campus response to the UNC Tomorrow Initiative.
Chair Martin introduced Dr. Hans Kellner, Professor of English and Dr. Margery Overton, Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering as the two candidates who will be standing for Chair Elect of the Faculty. The election will be conducted electronically on March 31.
Chair Martin announced that the Council on Undergraduate Education is putting on an Interdisciplinarity General Education Symposium. This symposium is designed to help us address initiatives related to how we are going to implement the interdisciplinary component to the General Education Program. That symposium is going to be held from 1-5 p.m. on April 2 in the Faculty Club on Hillsborough Street. There will be keynote speakers, faculty panels, and there will be opportunities for roundtable discussions.
Chair Martin announced on behalf of the American Association for University Professors, the North Carolina’s annual meeting is going to be held in Chapel Hill on April 4-5. The lecture is at 7 p.m. and it is open to the public. Jennifer Washburn, a Fellow from the New America Foundation will address the topic “Higher Learning and Higher Profits; the Privatization of America’s Research Universities.”
Revisions to the General Faculty Bylaws
Section II: A handout was distributed that contained the current bylaws and the proposed revisions. The issue that was raised at the last General Faculty meeting had to do with the Emeritus Faculty. The bylaws stated that Emeritus faculty may retain voting membership and there was a question about what was meant by “may.” Things have been modified to include “and Emeritus Faculty” on the list. To help understand the “may” we have added the note “that Emeritus Faculty will not be counted in the apportionment of Senate seats and will not be needed for dealing with quorum.”
Section III: The statement “with advisement and consent of the Provost” actually was a duplication that was missed, which was language that was important when the Government Committee was in existence and now these decisions are made by the Executive Committee and the Provost is a non voting member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. The Provost is there, so it becomes redundant. Otherwise the comment for Section III is the same -- that decisions with respect to the voting roster are made by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate.
Article IX deals with revisions to the bylaws and what is being suggested is that the clause be added that deals with non-substantive revisions. The request is that we modify this to allow this kind of non-substantive edits to be made by the Faculty Senate requiring a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate to adopt those kinds of non-substantive revisions. If the general faculty did not like the non-substantive revision that has been made, all revisions will have to be sent to the entire faculty for noted and, like any revisions or any action to the Faculty Senate which is Article 1b in the bylaws, the General Faculty can overrule any decision of the Faculty Senate so the goal of this revision is so that we can have an updated set of bylaws in which various things can change without having to go through the entire process when dealing with these kind of less substantive matters.
Article VII on Committees and Councils: It was noted that the Faculty bylaws explicitly told the Faculty Senate how to construct their Executive Committee and we are also looking at revising the Faculty Senate bylaws and it seems to make sense that while the General Faculty bylaws need to say that we have an Executive Committee and give it its function, the mechanism for selecting and constituting that committee, the Governance Committee is recommending that it would make more sense to be in the Faculty Senate bylaws. The recommendation is simply to move the mechanics from the General Faculty Bylaws to the Faculty Senate Bylaws. The Governance Committee, vetted by the full Faculty Senate, proposed those recommendations and now they are before you. We need a motion and second to approve these and if that is done we can have a discussion if necessary and then it would go to the full faculty for a vote by electronic ballot.
A motion was made and seconded to accept the changes. Hearing no discussion this will go to the General Faculty for a vote on March 31.
Approval of the Minutes of the October 3, 2007 General Faculty Meeting
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.
Introductions and Perspective on UNC Tomorrow
Chancellor Oblinger introduced the Executive Officers and Deans of the university.
The University of North Carolina System has had for years a multi-page document known as the strategic goals of the university system. When President Bowles came on board that document was about eight pages long and between forty-eight and fifty-two goals of motherhood, apple pie, and a few other things related to higher education in North Carolina. We are now down to one and a half pages, ten goals, all ones that I believe everyone in this room would relate to, and consistent with setting those goals Mr. Bowles also made the observation that it had been a long time since the system had listened to the citizens of North Carolina and if you recognize his background, listening is important. As part of his strategic emphasis, he made the decision that we would have the University of North Carolina Tomorrow undertaken with great support from the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors has transitioned from a micro-managing organization to one that deals with policy. The leadership of the Board of Governors felt that the system, which hadn’t undertaken a strategic plan of this nature, felt very strongly about the mission of the sixteen campus system and so many of us see this as very much responding to the needs of the citizens in the state but see it also as a mission analysis for the various campus. So even though there were specific questions I think I would like you to keep in mind particularly in your discussion groups that we ought not to just respond to the questions, but that we also ought to be sure that it is very clear -- the uniqueness of NC State as an institution that has statewide impact in a lot of different ways, and the programmatic emphasis of our faculty that is unique in the system and has state-wide regional, national, and in fact international impact. This is our opportunity to respond to the questions of need and at the same time speak to uniqueness because I think it does set the course for the next ten to twenty years. So it is very important, and that’s why I am so gratified to see as many faculty here today as there are.
It really began back in February 2007, six months where a commission of twenty-five individuals went to the various campuses and listened to what the campuses felt they were doing, how they were doing it, why they were doing it and what they were doing. This was our document. It was called “Leading, Connecting, Transforming” and the subtitle was “Meeting the Needs of North Carolina, One Hundred NC State Programs that Impact the State, One Hundred Programs from Our Faculty that Impact the State”, outlined in a one-page statement. We were the only institution that presented the commission with such a document. It was received very well.
There was a six-month period from August 2007 until January 2008 where the commission went to eleven different sites across the state with their last stop being Raleigh North Carolina. They covered everything from the coast to the mountain and listened to eleven listening sessions. There were 3,000 active participants in all of those sessions and another 7,000 survey instruments returned about the subject matter related to UNC Tomorrow. Close to 10,000 citizens in North Carolina responded in one way or another to UNC Tomorrow and out of those listening sessions ‘UNC Tomorrow challenges and areas of opportunities and response solicited’ arrived on the campuses.
Chancellor Oblinger presented an eight-minute DVD of recorded excerpts from the eleven statewide listening sessions.
Chancellor Oblinger stated we have a special role, a special mission as it relates to two areas; Discovery Research and the way that we reach out to people. In addition to everything else that is something that we do not want to lose sight of.
Thank you for the opportunity to give that background and thank you for your participation.
NC State’s Response to the UNC Tomorrow Commission Report
A Perspective from the Scholars Council
Professor Michael Walden— The Scholars Council to the UNC-Tomorrow Commission, on which I served and proudly represented NCSU, had two functions. First it served as the staff for the Commission, collecting data and writing background reports on issues. Second, it provided a mechanism for faculty to interact with the public all across the state at the "listening forums" which were held in the fall (2007).
The listening forums were, indeed, an amazing process. Held at eleven different locations from one end of the state to the other, they really were a way to hear directly from the public. After brief comments from President Bowles, Chairman Phillips, and selected local speakers, the bulk of the 3 to 3.5 hour meetings were spent listening to comments from local residents about issues they and their communities face and how the UNC System can help. It was truly inspiring to hear the high regard that North Carolinians hold for our public university system. People are looking to the universities for help in solving today's problems. People now "get it" that the education and expertise higher education offers are essential to the quality of life in the globalized and interconnected world. Very positive comments were made about North Carolina State University. In my 30-year career in academia, I have never been more proud of my institution and my university system.
NC State’s Response to the Commission Report
Provost Larry Nielsen (Statewide Process and Recommendations)
The purpose of the UNC Tomorrow Initiative was to determine how the University of North Carolina can respond more directly and proactively to the 21st century challenges facing North Carolina both now and in the future through the efficient and effective fulfillment of its three pronged mission of teaching, research and scholarship, and public service.
The contexts for the UNC Tomorrow Commission recommendations are campus visits, including administrative, faculty and student input, faculty scholars’ research and analysis, and listening forums across the state.
The Commission made seven recommendations.
- Educate students for personal and professional success, via being globally competitive
- Increase access to higher education, especially for underserved regions and populations
- Help more to solve public education challenges.
- Help more to enhance economic transformation and community development.
- Lead in improving health and wellness of all citizens and communities.
- Lead in addressing energy and environmental challenges.
- Engage and connect more with citizens and communities.
General Administration would like a report by May 1 and they want to know what existing programs do NC State have that respond to the recommendations. They want to know the needs that the university thinks are working well and should be expanded. What new programs do we wish to start that respond to these programs? What things do we intend to eliminate or reduce in order to provide the capacity to do these new things?
Provost Nielsen noted a website (www.ncsu.edu/unctomorrow) and email address (UNC Tomorrow@ncsu.edu) available for communication and feedback. He stated that the “YES” button is also there for comments.
Faculty Round-table Discussion and Response (Clicker Questions Attached)
The topics discussed at the Roundtable discussions were Global Readiness; Access to Higher Education; Improving Public (K-12) Education; Economic Development; Health; Environment; Outreach and Engagement
Chair Martin thanked everyone for participating and stated that the session was very good.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 4:30 p.m.