March 6, 2001
Present: Chair Corbin, Chair-Elect Carter, Secretary Brown, Parliamentarian Gilbert, SenatorsAsh, Banks, Bottcher, Braunbeck, Cassidy, Elmaghraby, El-Masry, Grimes, Havner, Headen, Hooper, Hughes-Oliver, Kimler, Kirby, Levine, Lytle, Malinowski, Marshall, McAllister, Misra, Robinson, Setzer, Suh, Toplikar, Tucker, Tyler, Vickery, Wilkerson, Wilson
Absent: Interim Provost Moreland; Senators Brothers, Funderlic, Grainger, Sawyers
Excused: Senators Hodge, Smoak
Visitors: Daniel Bunce, Bulletin Editor, News Services; Kelly Houk, Web Designer; Ron Kemp, Director of Creative Services, Public Affairs; Liz Pettengill, Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs; Sarah Stein, Assistant Professor, CHASS; Lydra Tolar, Director, Research Development; Frank Abrams, Senior Vice Provost; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity; Charles Leffler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities; Michael Harwood, University Architect; David Rainer, Associate Vice Chancellor; Carol Woodyard, Director, Construction Management; Bob Fraser, Director, Facility Planning and Design; Brad Mehlenbacker, Professor of English
1. Call to Order
The tenth meeting of the forty-seventh session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Frederick T. Corbin.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Corbin welcomed Senators and Guests.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, February 20, 2001
The minutes were approved without dissent.
4. New NCSU Home Page
Liz Pettengil, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, explained that they would be going over the rationale and design thinking behind the new home page. She noted that they have received more than 700 feedback messages about the home page. The way that they have been dealing with the feedback is to divide the messages into a hate it/love it folder. All the changes have either been addressed or have been assigned.
Associate Vice Chancellor Pettengil stated that they presented the home site this morning to the Executive Officers. They are planning to put an academic program link on the front page. "This home site is the result of months of work on the part of the team which was charged with updating the site." She introduced Dr. Brad Mehlenbacker, the consultant on this project who is a nationally known expert on usability; Kelly Houk, a graduate of the College of Design and an award winning web designer; Ron Kemp, Director of Creative Services; Steve Wilson, Director of Video Presentation Services, and Daniel Bunce, Editor of the Bulletin.
Associate Vice Chancellor Pettengil stated that they worked very hard on this project and also did an enormous amount of research before they started moving forward with any kind of design, architecture, or hierarchy. She thinks that they have a website that contains messages of the university which were worked out six months ago and which the Chancellor has signed off on. They feel that the website shows that NC State is a leader in science and technology. They feel that the website shows the university’s commitment to a broad range of teaching, to extension and engagement, and that it celebrates its partners. She stated that it salutes athletics in a way that they think is appropriate. They tried to get in as many pictures as they could to show the range of people and activities that take place on this campus. She said they are very proud of it and know that everyone has their opinion about it. They are delighted to get everyone’s opinion.
Comments from Dr. Brad Mehlenbacker
Dr. Mehlenbacker stated that efforts to redesign the NC State Home Page have been underway in various forms since 1995. What they started with as a team occurred in 1998, when 420 users of the then existing NC State website were interviewed about their use. They deliberately went after some of the short-comings of that website in their own redesign. Terminology was a problem with the other website. Unless you knew the institution well you did not know what to look for. The alphabetic organization versus the functional organization was another consideration. A fair amount of research that shows that people have a difficult time with an alphabetical organization. The website presence was difficult to decipher for some users-- particularly for external users. The design was visually limited. Finally, it was very difficult for those who looked for something beyond seven clicks. It was very difficult for people to navigate beyond the home page and find what they needed.
"We were brought together as a team, a multi-dimensional team with a lot of different backgrounds. We immediately began following some of the peer institutions’ and private institutions’ strategies for designing innovative web materials. We were also looking at what corporations were doing in terms of the web. We understood, for example, that we needed to understand our audience better than we did in 1998. Then we performed a competitive analysis of peer institutions of both their structures and their orientations and began to further cultivate their audience types. Early on I went around to talk to people who have a vested interest in the site. We went to eleven units on campus to try to get a sense of what the purpose and audience ought to be in terms of their unit, important links that it should contain, and how they would define a successful user interaction with the home page. At the same time we were also developing our own definition of what the usable website would be. It would be useful and effective, it would be learnable over time, and users’ subjective satisfaction ratings would be high. We were faced with the awkward challenge of designing both for internal constituents and for external users. This information is on the new design under "design rationale."
We had a white background which seemed to be acceptable to a broader NC State audience. We have learned this interestingly from trying red backgrounds, black backgrounds, and collecting data. We dramatically simplified the initial terminology and characterization of information on the front page compared to the initial website, which had some forty-three categories alphabetically compiled. We clustered the content into what we hope was meaningful groupings. This to me is what will ultimately make our model for this website work. At the second level we must be willing to recognize that admissions matter not only to faculty and staff and students, but also to visitors and alumni. Admissions should be accessible at the second level to all of those audiences.
It used to take six or seven links to get to the English Department. The research actually supports that taking more than four clicks to get to your desired information often frustrates users. We are working very hard to keep people clicking no more than two or three times to look for the information they desire. We found from the survey of 420 people that the wolfpack had a strong identity for a lot of alumni, corporate visitors, potential students, etc. The format allows most users to view the home page without scrolling. Downloading has become faster in the last week, and we are still working on that. Font size is suited to cross platform readability. The rollover images enhance subjective user satisfaction. The university address is prominently displayed. The red bar offers secondary but relevant information so that it does not clutter the initial organizing categories. The textured frame around the outside switches on a random basis (every hour). The second tier pages are designed to anticipate Internet user needs.
Finally, I think that three things that are all clustered together is that we designed this based on a fair amount of research about universal usability, which roughly translates to ADA accessibility issues, compliance, etc. I was involved a great deal with the universal usability conference this past year. We were as a team really extraordinarily sensitive to meeting diverse needs and representing diverse audiences. Not only did we incorporate usability testing methods early on with very initial prototypes at every stage, but also we are continuing to test the site.
None of us would have ever dared to believe that on February 27, when we released the page, that we had gotten it right and that we would not have to touch it again. We are fairly actively revising based on feedback and encourage all sorts of constructive stuff."
Senator Kimler commented that he had received an enormous amount of complaints from the students. He wanted to know if this is expected of the new design.
Dr. Mehlenbacker stated that in the last two or three years he has been involved with different efforts with student teams and with the Office of Information Technology and later on the Office of Public Affairs trying to develop a student portal specifically to meet the needs of students. For one reason or another students have not been able to get it organized enough to do that. The student’s Internet right now is designed based on probably only 60 or 70 students giving input on what they needed.
Senator Wilkerson thinks that there are many things about the site that are good and there are also a few things that are not. She feels that it is slow to download because of all the jif files. She feels that it would be better to update images daily or hourly.
Dr. Mehlenbacker responded that he does not have the reaction of a designer to rollover. There is a lot of research that shows that if your categories are not meaningful, they are supposed to provide an extended description of the information.
Senator Wilkerson stated that it is nice that the page does not scroll, but she feels that there are other ways to do that. When you put it on a high resolution screen, it is very small and the text is small. When you put tiny red text on the textured background, it is almost illegible.
Senator Levine commented that when he first accessed the page, he got the feeling that he was getting into the middle of the page instead of the beginning.
Ron Kemp, Director of Creative Services, stated that they have been discussing changing the page for five and one half years. This should have been something that was being done on a regular basis. He said whether we all agree on the way it looks or the way it works does not matter. This should be something that is being changed every year.
Senator Tyler stated that she did not have any negative reaction when she accessed the page. From a standpoint as an academic, she thinks something to think about is that the high school students are more computer literate than college students are right now. She feels that a senior in high school is expected to do more than she can get from her seniors at NC State. The kids coming now are doing assignments in high school on the web.
Senator Bottcher commented that the presentation that Dr. Mehlenbacker gave should be able to answer some of the concerns that people have. He suggested putting the links into the minutes.
Dr. Mehlenbacker stated that at the home page, you click on "about this site," then "design rationale."
Associate Vice Chancellor Pettengil stated that one of the things they have been struggling with since she came here is the sense of identity of the institution. She said there is no symbol for the institution other than the bell tower and the wolves. The bell tower is lovely, but it did not meet with the same level of acceptability in their user group that they surveyed as the wolves did. " If you can give me a symbol that encompasses all that NC State is, we would work with that symbol. We try to lighten the wolves by putting a lot of pictures around it that features students and faculty."
Senator Suh stated that he does not mind having one wolf. He feels that this is a first class academic institution and he would like something that portrays the institution as an educational university to be there along with the wolf.
Dr. Mehlenbacker stated that as a faculty member he does not particularly care for the wolf; however, it is one symbol that not only attracts perspective students, but also students and alumni.
Senator Wilson wanted to know about faculty. She stated that there are a lot of people that are being hired. She would like them to see something about the university. She feels that the university is not just being sold to students and alumni, but also to faculty. She encouraged the design team to hear from the faculty that they have a concern about it. They want the site to also reflect the academic institution as a Research I institution.
Dr. Mehlenbacker stated that the best thing that our web site did was to serve the people who worked here.
5. Presentation on Construction Sequencing
Associate Vice Chancellor Charles Leffler gave an update on the bond referendum project.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that the bond referendum provided NC State with four hundred and sixty eight million dollars. This will cover eleven new buildings, fourteen major renovations, and eight infrastructure projects--mostly chilled water improvements for the campus. The money or funds that were previously appropriated by the legislature were restored because of the hurricane Floyd reversion.
The money from the referendum is available over a six-year period. The sale of the bond is controlled by the legislation that was authorized in the referendum. It will be sold in increments over a six-year period. The build-out of these projects will take approximately eight years to complete all the work. The first monies will hopefully be available this month. There will be a Legislative oversight committee involved. That group monitors how the university system and the community colleges spend this money, and they will approve any changes to project scopes or shifts in budgets.
One thing that is key to planning is the physical master plan, which was updated last year. This document contains a lot of the assumptions and plans that guide how the money is used to accomplish goals. Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that the decisions they make are consistent with that in terms of how they site buildings, the principles that they use in designing them and other facets. Critical to the planning is swing space. They are not going to renovate these fourteen major buildings on the campus without moving some people around. He said they have to think about where these people are going to go in an interim period, and what kind of setups are required to accommodate them when they are moved back. They are working to minimize the moves, because they do not want to move people any more than they have to. They will need more than 150,000 assignable square feet of swing space over the course of this activity. The peak swing will actually occur 2004-2006 in terms of when the most space will be needed. If money is spent, they want to figure out a way to capture many of those dollars in a permanent way.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that they have utilized a sequence in the cash flow plan. They have taken every project in the entire bond and broken it down by every step it goes through from the time that it is advertised to the designer to the time that the building is accepted.
He stated that they also have to track cash flow. They have to coordinate the cash flow of every dollar spent out of the four hundred sixty eight million dollars with the overall system and the community colleges.
They have also included in this schedule non bond projects. Even though there is almost one half of a billion in the bond projects, there are almost another four hundred million dollars in non bond projects.
Another important strategy is how the parking impact is minimized. When construction begins, parking will be impacted in three ways: 1)the temporary spaces that are taken because of additional construction areas that are needed around the project 2) the permanent spaces that are replaced with a building 3) the additional demand when we build and add new square footage and therefore add new students.
One of the strategies is that each project that this campus builds will replace any parking it displaces and add that parking which the new square footage requires. The main way that this is going to be solved is that monies will be pulled out of each project and contributed toward parking to expand the coliseum parking deck in the central campus area. This will add space for the majority of the spaces that will be displaced because of this work.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that space programming is clearly linked to what they are doing in the master plan and the enrollment goals. The enrollment goals with this master plan were based on 31,000 students, the same goal that is currently being used today as they work with deans on enrollment goal planning. They are going through a process of looking at how the 31,000 students will be allocated between graduates and undergraduates, between the colleges and various disciplines. They are working to coordinate that as they finalize the space assignments. They are looking at what each college needs and how to solve each college’s needs. The space standards that are used are those which were adopted by the university system almost three years ago. He said that speaks to how much square footage is allowed for each student, what kind of utilization there is in classrooms in terms of percentage of seats they use on average basis, and the percentage of the number of hours and classrooms used on a weekly basis.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler said, "We will continue to work with the scope of each project. When these projects were estimated and the amounts were set for them in the bond issue, that was all based on very preliminary work. It is going to take a lot of revisions as we scope out the project and establish the budget and look at whether adjustments need to occur. We also have to look at inflation. The legislature was asked to consider inflation impact and to accommodate the inflation that would occur over the course of the build out. They chose not to include that, so we have to look at the budget of each project and take into account what is going to happen inflation-wise given when that project is going to be built over the next six to eight year period.
There is also what we call a 5% project management fee. There was an effort by the General Administration to recognize managing this body of work will take some additional cost. A 5% category was added to each project to be set aside for project management; that includes the additional staff it will take to manage this. It also includes some contributions toward the swing space cost.
You also may have heard about permanent construction methodology. We have been looking at how to accelerate projects by using something different from the traditional state system. You have heard about the construction management and risk model and the approval of that by the state commission. We have been advocating that. We are working out the details on how that will happen, and we do think that will make an impact on bringing projects in earlier. If successful, we are going to keep working to bring this schedule up. All of our schedules are tentative in the sense that we are revising them every week as we learn new information and as we get ahead or we see something change.
We have some projects under construction. The arboretum classrooms and the arboretum education center is under construction. We have been taking bids on the undergraduate science teaching labs. Site preparation is beginning to move the green houses out of the area west of Gardener Hall to create space for the undergraduate science teaching lab. Projects that we have ready for bidding are the teaching and research feed mill. The design is also complete on the meat processing lab. We have a number of projects in design: Undergraduate science teaching lab phase one, which is the chemistry replacement facility; engineering phases one and two that moves approximately one half of the College of Engineering to Centennial Campus. Those three buildings actually create that starter space for us as we vacate Riddick and Withers and began to swing departments around to renovate those buildings. The CVM research building is an addition to the College of Veterinary Medicine campus and what is now part of the Centennial Campus. The Sport Services Building is an administrative facility that will be on Sullivan Drive. The welcome center is actually a self liquidating project. For the most part it has a very small piece of bond money in it, and that is on Western Boulevard. Public Safety facility will move out of the Riddick Stadium area. It will be out on Sullivan Drive. We are renovating the first floor of Clark Hall now. The old infirmary will be an east campus dining area. The other three floors have been assigned to student and faculty support units.
Critical to our process has been communication. We have been working closely with the Deans and Vice Chancellors on the enrollment space allocation strategies. We have a facilities website called facilities/bond projects which tells about the things that are happening. It carries a series of maps that are called construction impact maps.
A week ago Friday there was an insert in the Bulletin called "Physical Master Plan" which contained a summary of some information in the physical master plan. It also included a map that reflects all the building projects that are in the bond issue as well as those that are self liquidated or financed. Please feel free to contact the university’s architect office to receive a copy."
Senator Kimler stated that faculty want to be involved in the renovated space as well as new buildings. He wanted to know the kind of planning cycle for getting faculty input as to what the office/classroom space will look like.
The response was that each project will have a building committee made up of the occupants of the building recommended by the dean and appointed by the Chancellor. "As we move to each building, we will be requesting of those deans that have any occupants in the building to give us the recommendations for that. That committee is the committee that the facilities group works with along with the architect in planning the building."
Senator El-Masry wanted to know if there is any truth to the rumor that some of the money for the Engineering research labs will be shifted to build a parking deck.
Associate Vice Chancellor David Rainer responded that the use of hazardous materials in buildings gets a lot of discussion and consideration. "In the engineering building there are labs specifically designed for use of hazardous materials. The floors are laid out to minimize access for people who do not need to be in areas where hazardous materials are used. Through the input received from the faculty we have been able to address the issues that relate to chemical storage."
Senator El-Masry stated that the faculty cannot take on the price of moving and outfitting new research labs.
Associate Vice Chancellor Rainer responded that as they work with the budget through the College of Engineering they will look at the cost of various types of spaces. They believe that they have the money that will outfit those labs properly. The issue of the parking deck is trying to make sure that they hold to the policy of providing enough parking for new buildings.
Senator Tucker stated that he has been through one of these, and they had excellent subcommittees of faculty making major localized decisions. He said in that case, there was not much coordination of the changes among all of those different subcommittees. "Centrally you need to make sure that the deans ensure that the committees are communicating among themselves."
Senator Lytle commented that he is pleased to see the Welcome Center moving along. He asked what kind of revenues will be generated, since this is a self-liquidating project.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler said that is a $5.0 M facility, of which only 1.0M is coming from the bond issue. Two million will be from other university funds and two million will be private gifts.
Senator Kimler wanted to know if there are restrictions in the renovations of new buildings. Faculty would like to be able to move beyond and have a teaching and learning oriented architecture and facilities. He asked if they would have to live under a set of rules and guidelines.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler responded that in Harrelson Hall they have a couple of classroom renovations that have a few of the items mentioned. He stated that there is a form on the facilities web page where one can submit a recommendation on any specific classroom. The classroom coordination person takes the information to Ed Funkhouser’s committee and talks about those things as priorities are set.
Senator Levine wanted to know if they are moving toward using wireless technology for any activity in classrooms.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler said that is a question for the technology people. He noted that they install what the technology people tell them to install.
Senator Wilson wondered about buildings that are not on the renovations list; many have the same problems that have been discussed.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler responded that "if you note on all of the documentation as well as things you may have seen in the public sector, this is actually what is called Phase I of the capital improvement program. We have a number of buildings with almost equal need that are in the second phase. It is a matter of how much can be put into one referendum."
Senator Vickery stated that for the first time there will be thousands of undergraduates taking classes on Centennial Campus. He wonders what the latest thinking is on getting those students back and forth when there are fifteen minutes between classes.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that the classes on Centennial Campus are scheduled at an offset from the classes on the main campus. The timing has worked very successful with Textiles. In terms of the Wolfline service, it has worked very well for them and it may be that some additional vehicles may have to be added to that route.
Senator Bottcher wanted to know if special considerations are being made regarding safety of people walking and moving around materials.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that each of the building sites will be fenced off. On the north campus the undergraduate science teaching lab and the renovation of David Clark will be the most intense areas. "We are going to be tearing up a good part of the campus, because we are going to be building a central chiller plant on the north campus for the first time. We are going to be piping around the campus. There is going to be construction everywhere at some point and time over the next eight years. We will spend a lot of time watching those kind of issues."
Associate Vice Chancellor Rainer stated that there are two components to the question. One is site safety issues and the other is security issues. They try to isolate construction sites. They have worked closely with construction management about site safety issues. In fact, they have run training programs for the construction managers.
The other issue as it relates to security is that there is going to be a large transit in population on campus in terms of contractors. There are going to be vehicles on campus and they are going to have to address those issues to the Public Safety Department.
Senator Tucker stated that he is housed in the new Textiles Building that has been there for ten or eleven years. It has had severe roof leakage every year since then. He wants to know if anything is different or what has changed in those eleven years to prevent that from happening to the new roofs that are being installed.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler responded that the technology has changed some, but what has changed the most is the attention that is being paid to the roof detailing.
Senator Ash wanted to know if this will be a seven day project.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler responded that on specific projects it might be, if it means avoiding certain kinds of disruptions that would happen during the week. Routinely it would not be because of the extra cost that would impose on the projects.
Senator Braunbeck wanted to know the plans for addressing the problem of construction noise during classes.
He responded that they try to be conscious of that issue. If they know about something they will try to respond.
Secretary Brown commented that she learned from the students at the Chancellor’s Liaison Committee meeting that they are concerned about the lack of infrastructure on Centennial Campus.
Associate Vice Chancellor Leffler stated that most of those are self liquidated. "We do recognize that those things need to occur over time. The reality is that we have to hit a critical mass over there. We want that to be near the first two phases of the College of Engineering-- probably the beginning approach for the second two phases. It just takes enough people to make those things viable in terms of what the student body can support."
Comments from Sarah Stein, Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable
Dr. Stein stated that Michael Yoakum came to the roundtable and asked if they could have a special meeting in February for the purpose of having faculty input in terms of classroom design and renovation. She handed out a form that Michael and the architect who attended that meeting passed out and asked for feedback in terms of the various categories that are on that form.
The form can be filled out on the web site at delta.ncsu.edu. A paper form can be sent to Michael Yoakum, at Box 7401.
Dr. Stein stated that approximately forty-five people were in attendance at the meeting. "The majority of the considerations were pertaining to climate control. It does not matter if you have a central console that controlled all of the different media outlets if you cannot hear anyone in the class because you have to open the window because it is so hot or it is so cold that you are all in a state of paralysis. It is important that the architect know that part of our problems are on a basic physical infrastructure level. Even though our task was to think about the design and outfitting of technology into classrooms, a lot of it has to do with physical structures.
One of the things that also came up was the suitability for various media, overhead projectors, video, Internet connections, as well as chalk and blackboards and the ease or difficulty in operating those. One single point of failure that came up often was the need and desire for one console controlling everything. The other things that came up was how to move large classrooms into group types of interactions." She urged the faculty to look at this list and stated that if they have other areas and categories that they think are important, to add them to the list or send an email to Michael. She noted that they are on the roundtable, a group that meets with faculty, staff and technical personnel, students and administrators. They issue recommendations and reports and have had a considerable influence in some important areas on campus thus far. Dr. Stein stated that she always urges more faculty to come because their voices are very important to this.
Secretary Brown wanted to know how the survey interacts with the classroom environment committee.
The response was that Ed Funkhouser is involved with this. That classroom committee is the one that works with the 110 classrooms. Those are the centrally scheduled classrooms as opposed to those that are departmental classrooms totally scheduled by the department or college.
Academic Policy Committee (Draft Report Attached)
Senator Banks presented a draft document which summarizes the results of the joint meeting of the Academic Policy and Personnel Policy Committees. He stated that it attempts to summarize the sentiments expressed at those meetings.
Senator Banks urged the faculty to read the report and to send responses to a member of the Academic Policy or Personnel Policy Committee to let them know their thoughts about the issue. He thinks the important thing to consider when looking at chairs or heads is not what they call the person. The critical issue is what that person is expected to do, how that person is expected to function. He encouraged the faculty to think about what it is they think that person should be to faculty here at NC State–how that person serves in the dual role of being not only a liaison to the dean so that the administrative functions can go on in a continuous fashion, but also serves as a colleague of his or her cohorts in that department.
Senator Kimler urged the faculty to pay strict attention to the last page because it discusses outcomes. It does not end up with the sort of Senate resolution that something be mandated across campus; they look much more for each college to end up deciding what it wants to do for itself.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Bottcher reported that the Personnel Policy Committee met jointly with the Academic Policy Committee. He thinks it is a great idea to have another joint meeting. He suggested having the meeting March 27, at 3:00 p.m. in the Faculty Senate Chambers.
The Personnel Policy Committee also addressed an issue of concern that the governor is using state contributions to the teaching and employees retirement system to help balance the budget. He has heard strong statements of concerns from staff members basically equating that to theft. The UNC General Administration is addressing this issue. The Personnel Policy Committee agreed and wanted him to express very strongly their concern that this effort not have a long term impact on the faculty’s benefits.
The third item that the committee addressed is a draft of a new nine-month employee summer research supplemental pay procedure that is being developed by the Office of Contracts and Grants. The committee has reviewed it and has given Earl Pulliam with the Office of Contracts and Grants their feedback. They made changes in the policy based on the committee’s feedback. One of the primary concerns was the way that the monthly payment rate would be calculated. They have changed the calculation to be based on percent of the reporting period that is worked.
The Personnel Policy Committee is very supportive of the change from days to percent on this policy.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Kimler stated that it would be a good idea for faculty and their colleagues to write individually to the legislators about the important issue of protecting their benefits, especially when it comes to health care costs.
Chair Corbin adjourned the meeting at 4:58 p.m.