January 20, 1998
Senators present: Chair Wahl, Secretary Corbin, Provost Stiles, Parliamentarian Link, Senators Bernhard, Bottcher, Brown, Daley, De Buysscher, Fahmy, Gilbert, Griffin, Lewis, Lilley, Monahan, Murty, Rushing, Schwab, Serow, Siderelis, Strenkowski, Suh, Wall, Wehner, Wessels
Senators absent: Past Chair Smith, Senators Barr, Bizios, Carter, Hamouda, Klenin, Magill, Middleton, Nagel, Patty, Robinson, Tetro
Visitors: Bruce Mallette, Assistant Provost; Tom Stafford, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs; Frank Abrams, Senior Associate Provost; Susan Kohlhausen, Student Senate President ProTem; Pam Smith, News Services; Jenny Chang, Chief of Operations, Student Government; Clare Kristofco, Assistant to the Chancellor; Alex Miller, Associate to the Vice Chancellor
1. Call to Order
The tenth meeting of the forty fourth session of the NC State Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 P.M. by Chair George Wahl.
2. Welcome & Announcements
Chair Wahl thanked Secretary Corbin for overseeing the last meeting in his absence.
Chair Wahl announced that the Art Studies Group is sponsoring what appears to be a very exciting Friday, February 13 entitled "Making Things Well".
Chair Wahl distributed a page from the December 15 issue of Chemical and Engineering News that had a picture of Senator Gilbert, and recipients of the 1997 Richard D. Gilbert Awards in Polymer Science on it. He congratulated Senator Gilbert on the award recognition.
Jennifer Lynn, Executive Assistant for the Community Services Team announced that they are very excited about their main initiative this year. The initiative is called NC State Service Day 98. It will be a large enterprise in which different student organizations will, before the date, commit to a Saturday of work. The date that they currently have scheduled is Saturday, March 28, 1998. It is their hope to involve the entire NC State Community. They feel that by involving the entire community, they will be able to facilitate more interaction between students as well as faculty. She stated that faculty and staff who are able to participate will be dispersed throughout the different groups that are already organized. Letters have been sent to each of the Departments.
Chair Wahl thanked Jennifer and asked her to draft a memo to send with the Senate mailing, stating specifically what she is requesting.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, January 6, 1998
The minutes were approved as amended.
4. Remarks from the Provost
Provost Stiles reported that NC State has been shooting for a target of 21,000 full time equivalent students for a long time. Three years ago it was missed by 1.2%, the year after that 1.3%, and last year by 1.4%. Our target was lowered by .8% which also cut the funding. He stated that we beat last year's enrollment by approximately 3% and will be 2.4% above what we are being funded to teach.
Provost Stiles reported that the renovated laundry building, which will have some computing activities, language laboratory, laundry, etc., should be ready by the end of February. The new Health Center should be completed by the end of this calendar year.
Provost Stiles stated that it is his belief that it pays everyone to look at what they are doing and sit back and reflect. Instead of having an evaluation of the people he works with just at salary time, he asked them to write two pages or less to answer seven questions about what they would like to do, how they can improve it, and what can be done to make the job better. Provost Stiles noted that if we are fortunate we will have a new Chancellor July 1, 1998. He asked "If you were going to quit the job that you are in now by July 1, 1998, what would you focus your attention on this semester?" How much time would you spend? What difference would it make? If something happened and you got sick, what would happen to those special projects? He stated that it is worth taking the time at least twice a year, if not once a week to say, am I spending my time on the right things. We would like to make a difference individually to have our lives make something better.
Provost Stiles reported that he is having breakfast meetings with department heads. They are in no special group and there is no hidden agenda and only items are discussed that the group would like to talk about. He stated that not one department head has complained about faculty. He thinks this is very complimentary and is recognition that the faculty are carrying out their jobs.
Provost Stiles reported that he thinks Past Chair Charles Carlton has done a marvelous job with COFOR. It is a very serious and important report. It builds on to the successes and the involvement that the Faculty Senate has had in the past. He feels that each of us has a diverse role in the university concerning how we carry out our responsibilities as faculty members. He thinks that it is important to recognize diversity rather than criticize.
5. Unfinished Business
A. Third Reading: Resolution on Plus/Minus Grading
Senator Griffin, Chair of the Academic Policy Committee read the resolution for its third reading. She would like the Senate to vote on the resolution at the next meeting when there will be more Senators in attendance.
Provost Stiles stated that he would rather have the division to be in fractions as opposed to stopping a decimal at some point. He thinks to conform with outside scales, one should say that the maximum reported is 4.0. Otherwise, he is afraid people will scale things down.
Senator Rushing stated that he asked the faculty in Food Science their feelings about this system. Out of the thirty faculty members, the vote was 28 to 2 against plus/minus grading.
Senator Griffin stated that when the first version of the resolution went out which recommended the plus minus with no quality point differential, the overwhelming response from faculty was two to one in favor of plus/minus grading with differentials.
Senator Bernhard reported that he sent the resolution to the College of Engineering Faculty and received five responses. All were opposed to the A+ counting as 4.33.
Senator Serow wanted to know if peer institutions had been surveyed.
Senator Griffin stated that from a listing of peer institutions as well as four other institutions in the UNC system, NC State would be a trend setter by valuing an A+ at 4.33. There were two peer institutions that had no accessible information on the grading systems. No other institution values the A+.
Senator Serow wonders what would happen to NC State's credibility if it is using a scale that no one else uses.
Senator Griffin stated that her committee feels very strongly that there are cases where students may have five A+s, one A- and not have a 4.0 and that is unfair.
Senator Wessels stated that he did a mini survey and his faculty felt that a 4.33 would be recalibrated downward by other institutions. He feels that some professors are not going to give an A+ which would make students worse off with a system like this.
The resolution will be voted on in the next meeting.
B. Resolution of Commendation to the Athletics Program
Secretary Corbin read the resolution for its second reading.
The motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution. The resolution passed without dissent.
6. New Business
A. Post Tenure Review - Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Daley reported that the committee met and discussed the report issued by COFOR on post tenure review. The committee recommended that the report, with recommended changes or amendments, be substituted for the last paragraph in the current review section of the Faculty Handbook (5-11).
The committee moved that the first sentence in the fourth paragraph be deleted and recommended that in the seventh paragraph that the sentence read: " In subsequent annual evaluations the faculty member will report ( to the CRC) on activities aimed at improving performance and evidence of improvement." The Committee would like to remove that sentence from the seventh paragraph and put it at the end of the sixth paragraph.
The committee recommends that the second sentence in the fourth paragraph be changed to read: "Members of the CRC will be elected from and by the tenured faculty."
Senator Daley stated that the report addresses three separate issues:
1) It changes what we currently have. It requires that criteria standards be developed for tenured faculty, similar to those that we are required to have for those seeking tenure.
2) It creates a comprehensive review committee that will sit in judgement on whether those standards are being met.
3) It places a tremendous amount of emphasis on the professional development plans.
He stated that the purpose behind the comprehensive reviews is not to trash or savage faculty. It is to salvage them and bring them back into productive careers.
Senator Siderelis wanted to know if a faculty member can elect to have this review done by the department head as opposed to a committee or is this committee evaluation imposed upon the coverage plan that is done between a faculty member and a department head like it is for a full professor every five years.
Senator Daley responded that department heads will still do their annual evaluations. When it comes to the three year comprehensive review for associate professors or the five year comprehensive review for full professors, they will be reporting this information to this comprehensive review committee. The CRC will be the ones doing the accessing. If a faculty member does not meet expected levels of performance, then the comprehensive review committee will take a much more active role with the professional plans of work. The CRC only gets involved if in its judgement a faculty member is suddenly in trouble. Then it will take a much more active role in trying to help in assisting that faculty member.
Senator Rushing wanted to know who the people are that are being reviewed on a three year basis.
Senator Daley responded that every tenured associate professor is reviewed on a three year basis. Full professors are reviewed on a five year basis by the Comprehensive Review Committee.
Senator Rushing stated that most departments are using annual reviews. He does not see a reason to insert this at the full professor level unless there is a concern.
Provost Stiles commented that his view is that if the Faculty Senate accepts this responsibility, it is a sign of saying we are willing to do our part.
Senator Wehner stated that he agrees that this is an important thing to do, but he wonders what the public perceives that we would have done instead had we not been reviewing.
Senator Daley stated that it is an extra burden, but the alternative is to ask the department heads to do it. The result will be that the General Assembly will come in and start mandating all kinds of things for us. We will lose a lot more.
Chair Wahl stated that when this was described to members of the Faculty Assembly our colleagues at many of the smaller schools in the system were marveling at how democratic this was and how they appreciated the idea that the faculty had a direct say in evaluating other faculty, wherein at their particular place it would be one person doing something, not providing an explanation, but providing an evaluation.
Senator Monahan stated that he has had occasions to have conversations with department heads on what is going to be done about a particular individual. From an administrative point of view, you do not want to take action that is really going to offend the rest of the faculty. You want to do what's fair. It also has to be fair to the rest of the faculty that a person is not pulling his or her weight. What is the appropriate measure? Can we get this person to do some productive things? Are there some things that this individual should be doing that he or she is good at doing instead of wasting time in some unproductive area of research or teaching courses? He stated that this allows the faculty to get involved in that. He has seen this in his college and it is not an easy task to deal with. He has seen department heads do a very bad job in handling these situations. This will allow the department head some other information from colleagues about good ways to proceed.
Senator Wall stated that the positive side is that it gives us an opportunity to clarify what our expectations are of ourselves. He noted that he read an article in the New York Times where the person who is comparable to our Board of Governors in the state of Massachusetts is saying things like businesses are downsizing and why not higher education. He stated that it seems to him that in the climate that we are in where tenure is under scrutiny and our explicit claim to the Legislature is that we need the resources to do the job that they ask us to do. We need the resources and we are getting in deep need of even more resources. We need more faculty, better salaries, etc. All of that seems to be particularly challenged. It is not inconceivable that a time would come at which a mandate would come from the Legislature that institutions like ours need to downsize. If that occurs, he knows for whom department heads work. They do not work for the faculty. They work for the Deans and the Deans work for the Provost and the Chancellor. When orders like that come down, he knows whose needs are going to be met. He stated that for him, this is an opportunity at this stage when things are not so critical, to have faculty play a clear role. If that day comes, the standards by which decisions about whether faculty are doing their jobs or not are going to be in place and established collegiately by faculty establishing and securing the principle that we do establish the rules for ourselves, and that the legislature and others need to respect that. It will require some time. In the current climate, it is time well spent.
Senator Rushing commented that some professors can be rehabilitated, but some need to be fired. He stated that he would like to see something that would allow you to fire someone who is not doing their job.
Associate Provost Abrams commented that once a determination is made that a faculty member is in this state that the commission calls chronic failure, there was some agreement between you and your colleagues on your review committee on what kind of things you should be thinking about doing to improve it. If after that point, in any two following reviews or any three out of the next five resulted in the same determination, this policy would recommend that serious sanctions be taken.
Senator Wehner asked if it would be twenty five years later if the faculty member fails in three out of five reviews.
Associate Provost Abrams responded that there is an evaluation each year by the Comprehensive Review Committee after a person has been found inadequate. If someone is really not making any progress, two years later, he or she could have serious sanction.
Senator Suh stated that he thinks the issue is whether we need it. The answer is yes. On the methodology, he thinks it is premature because the committee as such has not been well defined and the method of how the results are reviewed is not clear to him. He moved that it be sent to the General Faculty to receive more comments. The motion was seconded.
The motion was voted on and failed by a count of nine for it and ten against it.
Senator Gilbert observed that Senator Daley and his Committee have done a very thorough review of the situation. He feels that the motion should be voted on.
Senator Suh wanted to know how the results would be used.
Chair Wahl responded that a more significant file will be built on each person so that if you would like to nominate the person for sainthood or dismissal you would be better prepared.
Senator Gilbert called the question. The motion was voted on and passed to call the question.
The motion passed.
B. Academy of Outstanding Extension Faculty and Professionals - Governance Committee
Senator Monahan reported that the Governance Committee has discussed the proposed establishing of this academy, but is not yet satisfied with all the information. They will give a report at the February 3, 1998 meeting.
C. Academic Policy Committee
Senator Griffin reported that an issue of concern was raised in the Senate regarding the evaluations of honors and scholars courses conducted by the University Scholars Program. Specifically, the issues were why departmental evaluations cannot be used for these courses and under what authority are these evaluations done.
The committee recommended that Alex Miller, Director of the University Scholars Program communicate with the Teaching Effectiveness and Evaluation Committee. This committee will be conducting a comprehensive review of evaluations on campus. The Academic Policy Committee recognizes that departmental evaluations cannot be used for these honor courses and have viewed the evaluation of honors courses by the University Scholars Program as appropriate. Senator Griffin moved that the Faculty Senate accept the report. The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
D. Report from George H. Wahl Jr., Chair of the Faculty
Chair Wahl reported that the Executive Committee started the new year with a very productive breakfast meeting with Chancellor Monteith.
Chair Wahl reported that a newspaper headline stated that UNC Seminars aim to connect faculty and students. He stated that when he served on the Academic Policy Committee, one of the things that they thought was very important was early on in a student's career that every student should be assured that he or she would spend at least a semester in a group of twenty or less. He recommended that the Academic Policy Committee find some time to consider that. He thinks that there is an overwhelming amount of academic research being done to show that when students develop some affiliation with some faculty member early on that their chances of success are much enhanced.
Chair Wahl reported that he attended the budget hearings in December which lasted eighteen hours. He attended most of those hours and feels that it was fairly productive.
Chair Wahl reported that at one time there was a group called the University Council on Academic Policies and Procedures on campus. It conducted a fairly high level discussion of academic policies and procedures. The group has been disbanded in favor of another group yet to be named, tentatively called the VCDC, where the Vice Chancellors and Deans will meet. The only problem he has is that it raises the issue of who are professional staff.
The Eva Klein study has been in the newspaper. It describes in general terms where the university might go if it wants to reach for the stars. The report has some very attractive ideas in it. He urged the Senate to take the study seriously.
Chair Wahl noted that the Staff Senate held a full membership forum today. There were approximately eighty staff members in attendance.
Chair Wahl reported that the Chancellors Search Committee will hold an open forum type meeting on Monday, February 2, 1998. He stated that anyone wanting to speak five minutes or less is more than welcome and should contact John Kanipe.
Chair Wahl reminded the Senators of the Trustees Meetings that will be held February 19-20. He encouraged them to attend one or both of the meetings.
Chair Wahl announced that the Emerging Issues Forum will be held on Thursday and Friday of the following week. He urged senators who have not reserved tickets, to do so by the end of the week.
Chair Wahl announced that the Faculty Assembly will be meeting on Friday, February 20, 1998.
Chair Wahl reminded the Senators that the Chair Elect of the Faculty will need to be elected this semester. He would like them to think about the best procedure to use. His proposal is to make a university wide announcement. He would like to accomplish this within February. He hopes to circulate it before the end of January so that the two people will be voted on at the February 17 meeting.
Chair Wahl stated that simultaneously that tells us that we have to also be ready to elect senators for the 1998-2000 term. Simultaneously with all that, we need to elect new members to the grievance and hearing panels.
Provost Stiles would like the Senate to address how to rearrange the selection of people who will serve on the panels with their schedules in line so that the panels can get off the ground and find a time to meet so that certain things do not take forever to hear the case.
Chair Wahl explained the process to the Senators. He stated that the process has taken a long time for a variety of reasons and we have to find a way to speed it up.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Daley stated an issue of concern regarding the academic schedule starting on a Monday.
Chair Wahl assigned the concern to the Governance Committee.
Senator Wessels stated that as the Senate Representative to the Council on Athletics, they are looking into ways of enhancing the competitiveness of the Athletic Program. In particular, they are looking into getting some members of the faculty to discuss the acceptance of the program by the faculty on campus, and in particular, constructive comments on what can be done to enhance that acceptance or things that they should not do to stop the enhancement of the program. He noted that they will be meeting on February 20, 1998 from 2 to 3 p.m. to get comments from the faculty. He would like anyone who is interested in coming to contact either him or Chair Wahl.
Chair Wahl stated that Jeff Mann has organized a Safety Perception Committee which meets once a month for one hour. It is composed of three students, three staff members, and three faculty members. Chair Wahl asked for volunteers to serve on the committee. Senator Gilbert volunteered.
The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.