September 30, 1997
Senators present: Chair Wahl, Past Chair Smith, Secretary Corbin, Parliamentarian Link, Provost Stiles, Senators Bernhard, Bottcher, Brown, Daley, De Buysscher, Fahmy, Gilbert, Hamouda, Klenin, Lilley, Magill, Monahan, Middleton, Murty, Nagel, Patty, Rushing, Schwab, Serow, Siderelis, Strenkowski, Suh, Tetro, Wall, Wehner, Wessels
Senators absent: Senators Barr, Bizios, Carter, Griffin, Robinson
Visitors: Martha Welch, University Registrar; Michelle Gray, Computer Consultant; Louis Hunt, Assistant Registrar; Robert Sowell, Associate Dean, Graduate School; John Gilligan, Associate Dean, College of Engineering; Fonda Daniels, President, Graduate School Association; Bruce Mallette, Assistant Provost; David Raper, Professor, Soil Science; Clare Kristofco, Assistant to the Chancellor; April Harrison, Technician; LeRoy Martin, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics; Susan Kohlhausen, Student Senate President Protempore; Jenny Chang, Executive Assistant, Academic Affairs; Almad Harvey, Academic Affairs; Pam Smith, News Services
1. Call to Order
The fourth meeting of the forty fourth session of the NC State Faculty Senate was called to order by Chair Wahl at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Wahl welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Wahl announced that today marks the end of Dean Bateman's career as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He read a letter of thanks from Dean Bateman for the Resolution of Commendation he received from the Faculty Senate on September 16, 1997.
Chair Wahl announced that the Chancellor's Search Committee totals fourteen members plus a Chair. The faculty members include George Wahl, Chair of the Faculty, Stephanie Curtis, Head of Genetics and, Winser Alexander, Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He reported that the Committee is advertising for the widest possible input. Chair Wahl would like anyone with ideas to contact him so that he can share them with other members of the Search Committee.
Announcement from the Provost
Provost Stiles announced that Dr. Jim Oblinger has been appointed as Interim Dean of CALS and Executive Director for Agriculture Programs. His name has also been submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval to become Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Senator Gilbert stated that someone at the College of Forest Resources Faculty Meeting wanted to know why there are so few Faculty members on the Search Committee. They also wanted to know on what basis the other two faculty members were selected.
Chair Wahl responded that the Search Committee is a totally owned and operated product of the Board of Trustees. The number of Faculty on the committee is the same as the number of faculty that was on the immediately preceding committee and the one before. An earlier Senate had called for the general election of three faculty members to serve on Chancellor Search Committees. Over the years, the number has become accepted but not the manner of selection.
Chair Wahl announced that at the request of the Chancellor and in response to a situation called Perry versus Trustees, a joint faculty/student committee will be established to assess the campus climate for Academic Integrity.
Chair Wahl announced that Robin Patric of Purdue University will be on campus October 15 at 3:00 p.m. in G111 Caldwell to discuss sexual harassment issues and what can be done to reduce them.
Chair Wahl announced that the University Diversity Initiative Planning Group has prepared a draft proposal which is at each Senator's place. He asked the Senators to read it and be prepared to discuss it as they meet with the Deans in their Colleges and Schools. It is his hope that the Senate can play a positive role in the discussions.
Chair Wahl stated that by law the University Radiation Protection Committee must have a representative from the Faculty Senate. Secretary Corbin agreed to be the Representative from the Faculty Senate.
Chair Wahl stated that he has been personally investigating the loss of liability insurance. Dave Rainer, Director of Environmental Health and Safety assured him that he was able to obtain a $1M umbrella liability rider for his homeowners policy. The insurance was priced between one hundred and one hundred and fifty dollars. Chair Wahl stated that we still look forward to a definitive statement from the University's Group Insurance and Benefits Committee on other sources of liability insurance that might replace the insurance that was recently terminated.
Chair Wahl announced that it is time to check on implementation of the many recommendations of the Self Study reports. They can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/univ_eval/toc.html.
Chair Wahl thanked Senator Tetro for providing refreshments for todays meeting.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 16, 1997
The minutes were approved as amended.
4. Martha Welch, University Registrar
Martha Welch, University Registrar stated that in the Spring of 1995 Provost Stiles requested her office to try to provide a better mechanism for faculty and advisors to communicate with students. She and her staff gave a presentation on improvements that they have made and are planning to make. She asked the Faculty Senate for feedback on the new plan. She stated that they have put things such as class rolls out on the WEB site. The second step was to begin to identify what tied the Advisor to the student other than the ADA system which was not appropriate for everything.
Michelle Gray, Computing Consultant displayed how the information can be accessed. She stated that it is accessed the same way as class rolls. The first step is to log in with your unity identification and password. Then choose the academic progress reporting system to get a listing of the courses being taught. Once a course has been chosen for a progress report, a report is received similar to the report received for a mid semester academic difficulty roll printout, complete with the equivalent to the three bubbles which are used on the current academic difficulty roll, and a text field for additional information. This will provide a report of everything that has been submitted for each student. The plan is for an E-mail to be automatically generated to a student each time the Professor checks something. She stated that it would be intrusive to E-mail an advisor every time a student receives a progress report. The information will be stored so that an advisor can access it any time during the year, unlike the academic progress report that is currently being submitted only once during the semester.
Senator Bernhard feels that if the advisor is alerted he or she would have a better chance of helping the student.
Provost Stiles commented that a button could be added where an advisor might choose to have everything relating to the advisee go to them as an E-mail.
Senator Middleton thinks that the person completing the report should also be allowed to suggest whether an advisor should be contacted or not.
Senator Magill would like to know if the student gets notification of their academic difficulty report if the faculty member does not submit information.
Ms. Welch responded that the student does not get notification if information is not submitted.
Louis Hunt, Assistant Registrar stated that on their Home Page under Administrative Information, there are two options which are Faculty access and Administrative access. Faculty access requires you to use your unity identification and password and Administrative information requires an ACS user identification and is intended for departmental administrative personnel.
He stated that class rolls are currently available. Once you log in and select a class of interest, you can select the information of interest to you and submit. It will list fresh data on class rolls and E-mail addresses. The information can also be downloaded. Advisor options are currently available with only undergraduates. He stated that class schedules, semester grades, transcripts, academic totals, etc. can be accessed. Mr. Hunt explained that if a student comes to an advisor prior to the registration period for an advising session this would be a set of tools that would simplify that advising process.
Ms. Welch stated that they are in the process of rewriting the ADA and providing a plan similar to the graduate plan of work to go along with the ADA. It is an involved process and will take at least a year and a half to complete.
Mr. Hunt noted that with this system one will be able to check semester grades during exam and graduation periods. The students' full transcripts will also be accessible. The advisors will be able to review a complete list of his or her advisees and will also be able to download the information to the personal computer. Mr. Hunt stated that the information is currently accessible by using the unity identification. It is available to every faculty member for any of their associated classes.
Ms. Welch noted that 65% of the students have already accessed the system on the web.
Chair Wahl thanked Ms. Welch and her staff for the excellent presentation.
Senator Patty stated that the Academic Policy Committee saw this presentation and was pleased with it. He recommended that the Faculty Senate endorse it.
It was properly moved and seconded that the Faculty Senate endorse the program.
The motion passed without dissent.
Comments from Chair Wahl
Chair Wahl stated that he attended two meetings recently that spoke of the availability of funds to the university that need to be spent for student learning related purposes. He stated that 2% of all funds revert to the State. He noted that there is an opportunity to maintain 1% of that if the University makes a strong and coherent proposal on how these monies might be spent to improve the climate for student learning. Chair Wahl stated that after listening to the Chancellor and comparing that to what he thinks the Senate agrees on about having better connectivity campus wide, it seems to him that the Senate might want to go on record as encouraging the Administration to spend those funds to have connectivity available at the earliest possible time in places where it is not available.
The motion was made and seconded to use the funds to complete faculty connectivity at the earliest possible time in places where it is not currently available.
The motion passed without dissent.
5. Unfinished Business
A. Hearings Panel Update: Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Daley reported that the guidelines for conducting Hearings according to section 603 of the UNC Code were introduced at the last meeting. It was moved and seconded at the last meeting that this be adopted by the Faculty Senate and recommended that it be a part of the Handbook.
Senator Gilbert stated that in looking at the guidelines in section 603 of the UNC Code, he was struck by the fact that nowhere is there a statement setting forth the intended purpose of the Hearing. It seems to him that there should be some charge made to a Hearings Committee. Also, it seems to him that it is implied but not clearly stated that the plaintiff has a right to have a Counsel present. Senator Gilbert suggested that the guidelines be modified along those lines.
The report was postponed for clarification until the next meeting at which time there will be a third reading and further discussion.
B. First Reading - Resolution on Board of Trustees' Review of Academic Misconduct Cases: Governance Committee
Senator Monahan reported that the issue came up as an issue of concern raised by Senator Bernhard last Spring. During Spring, 1997 the Governance Committee reviewed this issue before it appeared in the News & Observer. The Committee was asked during the Summer to permit the Board of Trustees to amend their appeal procedures by their own initiative and to allow them until their September meeting to do it. He stated that because they have not, it is time for the Senate to speak. There were three issues to arise from this. He addressed the following three issues:
1) Change of grades - Can grades be changed without knowledge of the instructor; what are the policies, how are they changed, and who does it. Also, included in that are retroactive withdrawals and a procedure for reporting to the faculty the prevalence of these activities. He stated that he suggested to the Executive Committee in the meeting yesterday that this issue be taken up by the Academic Policy Committee.
2) The airing of Grievances in the Newspaper and comments by Administrators and Faculty that appeared in the paper - Senator Monahan recommended that this issue be discussed in detail by the Academic Policy Committee.
3) Try to express to the Board of Trustees how the Faculty feel about this - He stated that we want them to change the review process. They should not review academic misconduct cases. He thinks most faculty who have spoken to him are very upset about what happened. He stated that it is important to convey to the Board of Trustees just how upset the faculty is. As a result he wrote a resolution (attached).
Senator Monahan introduced the resolution for its first reading. The motion was made and seconded to accept the resolution.
Senator Rushing asked Senator Monahan about the number of faculty with whom he has spoken who know what happened.
Senator Monahan responded that the faculty knows what the Board of Trustees did and that the Trustees are not giving a response to inquiries to the rationale behind their actions.
Chair Wahl reported that Senator Nagel had a list of questions about this issue at the last Faculty Senate meeting. Chair Wahl answered Senator Nagel's questions as follows:
Question: Was a decision against the student originally up-held all the way to the Board of Trustees? What were the various levels of review?
Yes. It went through the judicial board, was upheld at the Provost and Chancellor levels. At that point, one of two students involved appealed to the Board of Trustees. Thus, actions by the Board of Trustees only pertain to one of the students.
Question: Was this decision overturned at the Trustee level?
Question: What additional information persuaded the Trustees to change the original decision?
Chair Wahl responded that his understanding is that they had less information.
Question: Was there a grievance hearing against Professor Perry?
Not through the Faculty Senate Office. There are no other opportunities for Grievance Hearings.
Question: What was the charge and who brought the charge?
The charge was cheating on an exam and was brought by Dr. Perry.
Question: Was a grade changed?
Initially if you see someone cheating and you use the fact that they are cheating as a basis for your grade, you would give the student an "F". His understanding is that was the case. Chair Wahl stated that if you are over ruled, the ruling states that the person did not cheat. Given that, then the student has the right to appeal the "F" she/he received on the original charge.
Question: Who changed the grade and by what authority?
Chair Wahl stated that he read in the newspaper that since the grade was overturned, the "F" is no longer appropriate, so the professor was told to change the grade.
Question: Do his or her parents have influence? Do they know members of the Board of Trustees?
Chair Wahl responded that he does not know who the student is, so he cannot answer that question.
Question: How was the student able to bring this pressure on the Administration?
Chair Wahl responded that the student brought an appeal to the Board of Trustees and the Trustees acted.
This is a simple process that any student might make under similar circumstances.
Question: What was special about this student that led to the overturning of such a well supported ruling? (If in-fact such is the case.)
Chair Wahl responded that he has no way of knowing.
Question: Did Dr. Perry disagree with the final ruling in this case? And if so, Why?
Yes. We have the newspaper to say why.
Did Dr. Perry's customary teaching duties change on or after Spring 97?
Chair Wahl responded that he does not have knowledge of that but understands from the newspaper that Dr. Perry was not going to be given his initial assignment, so that led to his retiring a semester early.
Question: If a professor catches a student cheating, what should the professor do?
Chair Wahl stated that if there is clear evidence that a student is cheating, an action needs to be taken. If the action taken has any possible chance of ever leading to a judicial action and a faculty member being sued for improperly charging a student or destroying a student's career by virtue of the grade that was given to them, you will want to have the most support possible.
Chair Wahl stated that he has spoken with the Chair of the Judicial Board in great detail, on two separate occasions. He has every reason to believe that the system is working. Paul Cousins has been with the University since 1990. This is the first appeal of an academic misconduct charge to the Trustees that has ever been overturned, at least in this decade. It is the strongest possible recommendation of the Student Judicial Board that faculty and students should use the system. If you do that, whatever the result is, should later legal action be taken against you for injuring the student, the Attorney General or his or her designate will support you. On the other hand, if we were to freelance and say I caught the student cheating, no question about it, I am going to give the student an "F", while that might be in your power to do, it is his understanding that this would be interpreted as working outside of the system and consequently, you might thereby forfeit your right to the defense by the Attorney General.
Senator Nagel stated that the questions were brought up because the only available information at the time they were asked came from the News & Observer and the Technician. It was his expectation to come to the meeting today and hear someone in authority give something more than what was in the newspapers. He wonders if that can be done, if not now maybe at the next meeting.
Chair Wahl responded that he tried to tell the correct information that was printed in the newspapers. He left out information that he believes was not correct. He stated that any additional information would likely be a violation of someone's privacy.
Senator Serow said it seems to him that much of the discussion revolves around Dr. Perry. He wonders if Dr. Perry has been invited to speak to any of the Faculty Senate Committees or to the group as a whole.
A motion was made and seconded to invite Dr. Perry to speak to the Senate at his earliest convenience.
Senator Wehner wanted to know if someone should speak on the other point of view. He stated that he is not sure what the other point of view is, whether it is the Administration or the Trustees.
Chair Wahl responded that he will have the Chair of the Trustees speak to the Executive Committee, and if the Senate would like for him to come to the Faculty Senate, that would be okay.
Senator Klenin stated that she thinks the issue is not to have an argument about who is correct. The point is that this resolution is based on a specific case for which there is no information. The person whose privacy is being protected is in fact, Dr. Perry. She feels that if he is willing to tell the Senate what he perceives as the issue, then at least a statement about what this issue is about would be useful.
Senator Rushing stated that he does not see the point of Dr. Perry speaking to the Senate.
Senator Serow suggested that there is a need for information and this would be the first step toward getting the information. The Senate's responsibility is to the other members of the faculty. This is a case in which it seems to him, lack of action on the Senate's part sends a very poor signal to the other people that it represents.
Senator Patty spoke against the motion. He feels that it is better to separate the issue from a particular case. It seems to him that the resolution is addressing a procedure and has facts that did occur as a result of the case in question, but he sees nothing to be gained by tying the resolution to the case. He stated that there is evidence that a procedure occurred that was not agreed with, and he thinks that is what should be addressed.
Provost Stiles stated that there has been no pressure from the Board of Trustees on the Administration to act in any way. The inappropriateness of certain comments limits what can be said. Provost Stiles stated that a faculty member has not grieved from it. Therefore, he does not think the Senate should bring a faculty member in to testify. He feels that if a faculty member would like to grieve something, then he or she should go through the normal procedures. He thinks it would be a big mistake, for all future things that happen with the faculty, for a faculty member to come and grieve in front of the Senate.
Senator Serow stated that it seems to him that if the Senate were to invite Dr. Perry in, there would be some parameters as to what would be discussed. He stated that they are looking for information more than anything else.
Senator Nagel feels that the Senate should get some information from Dr. Perry through a trusted source, not in a public forum. He said he does not like getting his information from the News & Observer, and he does not like being on the Faculty Senate when other Faculty are asking him about something that strikes to the core of what we do.
Chair Wahl stated that every month since the first of July he has attended three or four meetings that pertained directly or indirectly to this topic. In meetings that pertained directly to it, he tried to get the information that the Senate had been asking for. He was convinced that some of the information that was not public record was definitely a privacy issue. He stated that he had lunches with members of the Board of Trustees, and he has attended their meeting. While he might not agree with every thing they do, by what they have said and have not said, he has no reason to believe that they did this with a hidden agenda. He thinks they followed the process.
Senator Nagel stated that there needs to be a basis for confidence building. There must be something that the Trustees or someone else can say to reassure us. They are unwilling to try. Their unwillingness to try is what strikes the fear in the hearts here.
Senator Monahan observed that the Senate is stuck with not being able to get all the information that they would like to have. He thinks it is best for the Senate to approach problems that they can do something about, and that is to change the policy.
Past Chair Smith stated that two things are being confused. One is what happened with the cheating case and there is no way we are ever going to know anything about that because no one can talk about it. He stated that a lot of discussion is about what Dr. Perry claimed happened to him and of course other people claimed that did not happen to him. He wanted to know if the reason the Senate wants him to come here, is to find out what really happened after the decision was made by the Board of Trustees.
Chair Wahl stated that there may be another legal consideration and if the Faculty Senate does formerly make a request to see Dr. Perry, it should be done with a stipulation that if there are things that would inhibit him in possible further legal activities, the invitation would be rescinded.
Senator Tetro stated that speaking from a student's voice, she hopes that all students, despite the circumstances, have that support if they ever need it so that we as a body do not have the right to say they do not have the right to go forward with any kind of charge. Her feelings are that this is a cheating issue. There could be other issues dealing with faculty or staff where students have gone forward. She has encouraged students in the seventeen years in which she has been here to not take no from faculty nor staff, but to follow through to the next level.
Provost Stiles noted that where the authority lies, anyone can appeal without lawyers. It is one of the strengths of our system and one of the weaknesses. If a student thinks that at any level something can be overturned, and clear the record whether they were innocent or guilty, they keep going.
Senator Magill wanted to know if this is something that remains in the student's file even though he or she has been cleared of it.
Senator Brown responded that it is removed from the student's file when they are proven not guilty.
Senator Magill feels that if it remains in the Faculty file it should remain in the student's file in case it should happen again.
The Senators voted on whether to invite Dr. Perry to the Senate or not.
The motion failed by a count of eleven for it, and fourteen against it.
Chair Wahl stated that the resolution will be debated at the Faculty Senate meeting on October 21, 1997.
6. New Business
A. Proposed New Procedures for Graduate Committees - Governance Committee
Senator Monahan stated that the issue at hand raised earlier as an issue of concern, is a proposed change in the policy to make the Graduate School representative on Ph.D. Oral Exams optional if there is a minor representative or other member from another department. Anyone on the committee, department, or student can anonymously request a Graduate School Representative to be appointed. He stated that at the committee's meeting last week, Dean Stewart explained the origin of the trial policy. He stated that there is apparently no unanimity on the Governance Committee or any other body that he has addressed on the issue. In terms of protocol, the Governance Committee would make a report to the Senate on recommendation and the Senate would voice its recommendation to the Provost on the proposed change of policy. The concerns raised at the committee meeting were general pros and cons of the Graduate School representative. He stated that the main concern that was raised at the Governance Committee meeting, that is perhaps keeping them from making a recommendation at this time is the deep concern of whether this trial will provide any useful information. There may not be very many cases which will arise from which any difference could be determined. He stated that the plan is for the committee to meet once more this semester to bring a recommendation to the Senate. In the interim, he would like to hear anyone's opinions on this issue.
Comments from Senator Fahmy
Senator Fahmy stated that he has served as Director of Graduate Programs for over twelve years. This is his third year representing the Senate on the Administrative Board of the Graduate School. He has become actively involved in the discussions and deliberations on the issue of Graduate School representation before and after the Committee was formed. Their recommendation, incidentally, had near unanimous support from the Board, DGPs, and from the Graduate Student Association.
Senator Fahmy observed that over the past three or four decades this institution has grown in size and stature to where it is almost unrecognizable now. At the beginning there were so few Ph.D. exams each year that the Dean of the Graduate School sat in all of them. As the numbers grew, it became necessary for the Dean to designate a representative chosen from a related area but not too close to the topic of the students work.
Senator Fahmy said this worked well for a while. It gave him a chance to meet with other Faculty and Graduate Students and to be exposed to interesting thoughts and ideas. It was an enriching experience for him, and served as a kind of quality control besides an assurance of the fairness and proper conduct of the exam.
As time went by, the system started to show signs of strain. It became more and more difficult to make these assignments both because the number of exams per faculty increased dramatically and because there had been a subtle but very real change in the priorities the faculty placed on their service in this capacity relative to their other duties that faculty perform. Moreover, we have come of age and no longer was the quality of the examination an issue in question.
Senator Fahmy noted that in his conversation with colleagues, he sensed overwhelming support for the present proposal. He addressed some of the arguments that question the necessity of this change. In one it was said that faculty who are not eager and willing to perform this function at the slight expense of their time should not be here at all! In another, a calculation in dollars was placed on faculty time. He stated that money is not earmarked for this effort. It is part of faculty salaries and is already spent. The issue is whether the faculty member considers it worth his/her time or not .
Senator Fahmy stated that he has seen students struggling for weeks to schedule their examinations to accommodate one more participant on their committee. He has seen examinations delayed with the student now a bundle of nerves, waiting to give his/her presentation while they locate the assigned Graduate School Representative. There were times when the Graduate School gave its reluctant permission to allow the examination to go without its representative and he has seen Graduate School Representatives overstepping their role of observers and becoming the main examiners with questions that were neither relevant nor fair. He stated that in inquiries about feedback from Graduate School representation he was told that in over 90% of cases the representative simply signed the examination form with no comments, and in the rest there were comments like the examination was fair or it is okay.
Senator Fahmy stated that here one may argue that it is because of the presence of the Graduate School Representative that the examinations ran smoothly and fairly, and that may be so. But how do we know, how can we be so sure of that without trying some examinations without this representation to see how well they go.
Senator Fahmy stated that he is not necessarily at this point, for the abolition of Graduate School representation but is strongly in favor of implementation of the pilot program to see how things work out. Furthermore, under this program, any college, department or program can elect not to participate and go on as it has been. Any student, advisor or Director of Graduate Programs can request a Graduate School representative and the Dean even with no request can appoint a Graduate School representative. He said all of this pertains only to committees that do not include a member from outside the department. He sees no reason why the Senate should not endorse this program.
David Raper, Professor of Soil Science, stated that Fonda Daniels is a member of the Administrative Graduate Board and was specifically requested to get the opinion of the Graduate Student Association in so far as one can for such a diverse body. The Graduate Student Association did poll their membership and brought back the response, which surprisingly to him, was at best only luke warm in favor of having a Graduate School Representative. In fact, it was a little on the negative side. They did not overwhelmingly support it.
Senator Rushing commented that Graduate Degrees are awarded by the faculty of the University and not by the department.
Past Chair Smith commented that he is bothered that the department in which the degree is awarded makes the decision on whether a Graduate Student Representative is appointed to the committee or not. It seems to him that it is still a very good idea to have someone, somewhat outside the system, to observe and participate in the process itself.
Senator Bernhard stated that he shudders to say how much less he would know about what goes on in other departments had he not had the privilege of being the Graduate School Representative on these committees. It has been one of the most worthwhile and useful things he has done. He thinks it is a very bad idea to discontinue it.
Senator Suh spoke for the issue. He feels that it gives you the opportunity to go somewhere and meet others. He feels that it is a good procedure and is needed at this institution.
Senator Middleton believes that having a Graduate School Representative is useful.
Senator Monahan welcomed other comments and noted that the Governance Committee plans to present a recommendation at the next meeting.
7. Issues of Concern
Chair Wahl stated that he would like everyone to participate in the October 21 Faculty Senate Meeting. He plans to use that as the mid semester progress report. Chair Wahl asked all Senators to E-mail him a brief response on what the university committees on which they serve have accomplished to date.
He also requested that the Senators read the draft they received on the Diversity Initiative and to be prepared to discuss it at their next meeting with their College/School Dean.
The meeting adjourned at 5:08 p.m.