May 1, 2001
Present: Chair Corbin, Chair-Elect Carter, Secretary Brown, Interim Provost Moreland Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators Ash, Bottcher, Braunbeck, Cassidy, Elmaghraby, ElMasry, Grainger, Havner, Headen, Hodge, Hooper, Hughes-Oliver, Kimler, Kirby, Lytle, Marshall, McAllister, Misra, Robinson, Sawyers, Setzer, Suh, Toplikar, Tucker, Tyler, Vickery, Wilkerson, Wilson
Absent: Senators Brothers, Grimes, Levine
Excused: Senators Funderlic, Malinowski, Smoak
Visitors: Suzanne Weiner, Head, Collection Management; Karl F. Bowman, Chair, University Library Committee; John Lapp, Professor, Economics; Frank Abrams, Senior Vice Provost; George Wahl, Chair Emeritus; Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost; Dennis Daley, Professor; George Worsley, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business
1. Call to Order
The fourteenth 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.
Chair Corbin recognized the newly elected Senators.
Brad Dixon, President Pro-Tempore of the Student Senate, commented that the state faces an $800 M dollar budget shortfall. The UNC System has been asked to provide approximately $250M of that. The students are going to march down to Jones Street to let the Legislature know that they do not want those cuts. He noted that it says something about the time in which we live when we have to march on the capitol to protect education. Public education has been something that has built this state, has driven this economy, and has produced its leaders. It disappoints him to no end that the students have to go and beg that it be spared. The students will rally at the bell tower on May 2, at 11:00 a.m.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 13, April 17, 2001
The minutes were approved without dissent.
4. Remarks from Interim Provost Charles Moreland
Interim Provost Moreland updated the faculty on the proposed budget cuts.
Interim Provost Moreland reminded the faculty of a one-time budget reduction that was returned to the state for this fiscal year that occurred a couple of months ago; that was paid back to the state without bothering the colleges. The requests now are mainly coming from General Administration but are directed from one of the committees (Education Appropriation Committee). Their task is to look at legislation to approve budget support for the universities. The first request received from them was approximately one month ago. NC State put into place what is called zero based budgeting. This included monies that were appropriated for specific programs. A major number of them are probably in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Some of the programs were initiated by NCSU through General Administration. Others of these programs are initiated from the Legislature to speak to different areas of importance. "We were asked to take a look at all of these programs and to come up with a rationale about why we thought they should not be zeroed out. At that time Chancellor Fox along with leadership from General Administration and from UNC Chapel Hill went down to speak to the committee about the importance of the program. General Administration and UNC Chapel Hill did the same and then answered questions. It was not a contentious interaction. It was straight forward. There is a dollar figure (approximately $10M). If you add UNC Chapel Hill to that amount it is approximately $25 M. They are looking for $125M total from the universities. A number of people feel threatened by that. I think the bottom line which was put forward by all parties from universities was that we would like to make a decision about where those cuts would be if we have to have a cut.
Not too long after that a request came from that same committee to the President, wanting to know what the impact would be if there was a 7% budget cut. For example, categories would take the form of administrative support, academic support, instructional support, business education, faculty salary lines, facilities, libraries, and student services. We were asked to provide information about the impact of the 7% solution to this budget problem. We engaged in the exercise of finding approximately $18.0M from what we called the institutional budget as opposed to another $7.0M which comes to us because we have an Ag and Cooperative Extension budget. We took a point of view that whoever read this document was going to think it was somewhat in priority order. If they were going to do that we needed to make sure that the things that were put up front would be things like administrative support and areas which were not necessarily directly related to the research, teaching and extension mission of the university. We would talk about those things being cut first as opposed to the teaching. Although we obviously were keeping track of where we were with regard to the totals and what percentages they were, it is not easy to get to a two or three percent budget cut in this university without cutting some faculty positions, without cutting some support for instructional programs, without cutting some things regarding the library, and without cutting a lot in regard to some of the distance learning opportunities that we were planning on. Obviously when you get to the bottom of all of that and you are up to 7%, you can imagine then that what I have just said is multiplied to a sense that you really have cut a large number of faculty positions, and a lot of support for teaching assistants. It becomes very obvious that this 7% cut could be very damaging to the academic mission of the university. From having said that, which sounds very negative, remember that we are engaged in an exercise. We have offered up what the impact of those cuts would be in every one of those cases. The Chancellor was involved in this process to make sure that what we turned in was reasonable."
Comments from George Worsley, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business
Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that the university has been through budget cuts before. It is not very positive, but this university has survived. Each time the faculty and staff pulled together with students and found a way to deal with it. NC State has been well supported by the General Assembly and by the people of the state. He is very positive about this university. In 1991 there was a huge problem in which there were only eleven payrolls in one fiscal year. The university did not miss the payroll but had to move it, which caused a lot of problems for everyone. It took a while to recover from that. Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that the next ninety days are going to tell the story. The whole situation is both economic and political. No member of the General Assembly wants to discuss raising taxes. He noted that there will probably be a budget cut. Hopefully it will be less than 7%. He thinks that it will be less.
Vice Chancellor Worsley noted that a deficit is the difference between what you want to spend and what you have to spend. In the university’s case it is the difference between what you would like to spend and what you think you are going to collect. In 1991 the General Assembly came to town and had a revenue estimate that very few people believed would ever be fulfilled. In fact, the budget here was cut in August. "We were heroes in December."
Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that if there is not a salary increase, the whole dynamics of this situation immediately begin to change. "If you find a way to reduce some of the cost in human resources it is a way to deal with that. The revenue is going to continue to grow, it is just going to grow at a slower pace. I have no idea how we will come out, but I can tell you this, you have one of the best street fighters in Chancellor Fox. She is good. I have watched her work with the General Assembly. They admire her and have confidence in her. They really believe what she says, too. She is a good asset for NC State University.
We are going to protect the core academic programs. The order in which we offered up in terms of looking at this was Administration, Facilities, and Student Services. Faculty was at the end and the Library was well down the list as well. We will do everything we can to try to protect those areas. I cannot predict now and would not risk prediction of whether we can save every faculty position. Probably not. Will there be huge layoffs? I do not think so. There will probably be a few layoffs in staff, because one of the things that we will have to do is to make sure that we cut where we need to cut so that we do not damage a particular program. The worst thing we can do is just pull vacant positions, because you need to fill some of those vacant positions."
Vice Chancellor Worsley closed by saying that this is not the end of the world. It is a challenge. "If we all face that challenge, as a team we will come out successfully."
Senator Sawyers stated that the press seems to criticize the university’s approach in identifying cuts. Cuts are not being directed to specific areas but rather across the board. He asked Vice Chancellor Worsley to address why that was done that way.
Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that they did the best they could to provide categories of cuts, to begin to identify types of positions but not necessarily programs. This is an economic and political issue. The reporter who helped write most of that article in the newspaper is one who writes for NC State all the time. He stated that a lot of the quotes in that article are political.
Senator Elmaghraby wanted to know if the university is moving in unison with Chapel Hill on this matter, because the two campuses are alike. In view of the impending increase in enrollment the two campuses should be moving together.
Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that the Chancellor has had several conversations with the Chancellor at UNC Chapel Hill. Both institutions have lobbyist, within the General Assembly, and they both consult on a daily basis.
Chair Elect Carter wanted to know if those who wish to march with the students tomorrow should be advised to take vacation.
Vice Chancellor Worsley feels that this is a student protest and that the students should independently have the opportunity to express their views to members of the General Assembly. He stated that it does not do a lot of good politically. The quality of the students education may be threatened, and their expression of concern would be more genuine as opposed to a joint march/protest by a lot of staff who have some self interest in their jobs. He noted that it is a political mood and in politics nothing is fair and there are no rules.
Vice Chancellor Worsley stated that the flood had a major impact on the economy in this state. This state is like a huge ship. You just do not stop this ship. "Could Jim Hunt have foreseen the economic down turn? Perhaps, but there are several issues that were involved. Perhaps Jim Hunt might have changed the course somewhat, but so could 170 members of the General Assembly. So could we. We are free to express ourselves to each of the representatives. These economic cycles are not as predictable as we would like. They are there, we have to experience them. I would not try to blame anyone. I think we should look forward to move on."
Interim Provost Moreland thanked Chair Corbin for the support that he has given the Provost’s office and members of the Administration during his two-year term as Chair of the Faculty.
Chair Corbin stated that the Executive Committee noted in a resolution the hard work that has taken place by the administration. He recognized Secretary Brown to read a symbolic resolution about the budget situation.
Secretary Brown requested that the rules be suspended for the first, second, and third reading of the resolution.
The motion was made and seconded to accept the resolution. The motion to adopt the resolution passed without dissent.
Senator Banks, Co-Chair of the Academic Policy Committee, reported on the University-Wide Evaluation of Instruction.
Senator Banks reported that this is a process that has been going on for approximately three years–a process that begin at the behest of faculty a number of years ago with the understanding of creating a set of common questions that might be useful for evaluating instruction in each department throughout the course of the year.
The committee was headed by Professor John Lapp from the College of Management as a subcommittee of the Evaluation of Teaching Committee, and charged with coming up with a set of questions that one might ask in common to every department at the end of the semester. In addition to the basic questions, there were some background information with regard to students. There were also questions that colleges and departments could add to the base set of thirteen. The idea was that this process would be set up in such a fashion that all the data would be turned into a central collection agency; the data would be tabulated and provided to all faculty and departments. That subcommittee worked very long and strenuously at trying to pare down the questions to those which were common to most evaluation instruments. These data would be available to faculty so that one could ask questions that were available in the aggregate and not available in any other fashion. There is some discussion under way about the section on background information. There is discussion about whether we should collect information on the gender, ethnicity, class for the students, etc. The Academic Policy Committee heard a presentation by Professor Lapp and Vice Provost Judy Peel about this process and the committee approved and endorsed the idea of this common set and suggested that it be implemented at its earliest possibility. Since that time, it is the committee’s understanding that the budget for this particular process for this upcoming year has indeed been cut. Senator Banks stated that he is here to ask for the Senate’s endorsement of the Academic Policy’s feeling that they press on with this process at the earliest possible time when the financial problem has resolved itself--The process being the set of common questions, with additional departmental questions that can be tailored not only to the department but to the instructor, collecting data in a common fashion and making the aggregate data available for faculty to ask questions.
Senator McAllister wanted to know if departments will have the option to not use the evaluation.
Professor Lapp responded that the recommendation of the University Standing Committee on Evaluation of Teaching is that it be uniform across the entire campus so that there would be thirteen questions that will be incumbent upon all departments to use. In addition, departments, colleges, and individual instructors can add any additional questions they wish.
Senator Sawyers stated that some of their students were having problems with the sixth point on the scale not being applicable. Likewise on the back there is no scale listed.
Professor Lapp responded that the back will take some getting used to. For example, an instructor who had divided the semester up into sections might ask the students which section worked best for them. That allows for enormous flexibility reflecting the different kinds of courses that are taught. The other is that when a common form is used, students will become accustomed to dealing with the same form in all of their courses.
Senator Banks stated that this process has been through two semesters of pilot in the College of Management, and this past semester was used by all of the departments in the college.
Senator Vickery stated that he is convinced that having only the option to write the answers to open ended inquiries at the end after filling out the quantified questions will very likely produce a lot of blank papers at the end. The students will feel that they have filled out the evaluation by taking on the numbers that they have.
Senator Suh commented that his greatest fear about the course evaluation is that the faculty undermine the quality of instruction by subjecting what they do to students’ opinion. He maintains the theory that the only way to evaluate the instruction and instructor is how much students have learned and not how much students like the faculty member. He does not think this has been addressed.
Senator Banks commented that he thinks that since many of the departments do, indeed, give end of the year evaluation instruments anyway, that having a common set provides some basis of comparison to reduce the popularity aspect of that.
Senator Suh wanted to know if there is an element in the committee that emphasizes the quality of instruction and the content of instruction against what students feel or enjoy.
Senator Banks stated that several of the questions address the quality of instruction.
Professor Lapp stated that there is no suggestion that this is the complete process of the evaluation of teaching. The university is mandated to have student evaluations at the end of the semester and this is an attempt to improve them. The Committee on Evaluation of Teaching is also working but is not ready yet to make specific recommendations on the peer review of teaching process. In his experience that process is much more directed at the content and rigor of the material, and that can be appraised by peers. It cannot be appraised by students, and so it is important to recognize that this is only one aspect of the attempt to evaluate teachers.
Senator Lytle stated that the committee has tackled one of the most difficult tasks in teaching. There has been a long history of attempts at this institution over the last thirty years to try to come up with a common system evaluation. There are advantages and disadvantages in attempting a centralized evaluation system. Some of the specific problems that have emerged from every attempt include the design of applicable questions on a questionnaire that will suit a senior level seminar course and a freshmen level chemistry course. The questions come out so that the students recognize that the question is not appropriate to this course, but they feel that they should fill in the blank anyway. There are very serious problems in the interpretation. He stated that faculty use these evaluations selectively to make whatever case they want to make. That is not an infrequent practice among administrators. If it is there, they will use it to defend their case. The potential for abuse is enormous. He is impressed with the design because it provides a lot of flexibility. He is skeptical enough to believe that relatively few instructors and or departments will take advantage of the flexibility that it has. Senator Lytle thinks this could provide a data pool that would be very valuable. He is deeply concerned about the potential for and the expectation of serious misuses.
Professor Lapp stated that there certainly is a danger in collecting any quantifiable data. Every department on campus with perhaps a few exceptions captures at least some quantifiable data and produces scores on various questions of students’ reactions. This does not change that. If the data are going to be misused with this instrument, they are already being misused with another instrument. The difference here is that the data offer comparability, so that there is more information in the numbers. The chances for abuse are lessened here because there is comparability through a much larger population. Therefore, there are fewer problems associated with small sample sizes and inappropriate comparisons. He noted that the focus here has been largely on some of the abuse of these data. Their intention is primarily to provide more formative information so that faculty who are having trouble with a particular class or problem in the classroom in general can look and see the characteristics that cause difficulties and use that as the beginning of an opportunity to change their teaching in a way that is more effective.
Senator Banks moved that the Faculty Senate endorse the use of the University Wide Evaluation Instrument.
Senator Lytle wanted to know if the data will be subject to the Public Information Act.
Vice Provost Abrams responded absolutely not, on an individual basis.
Senator Sawyers wanted to know if the faculty have any authority to approve or disapprove, or if this document is something that is going from the committee to the administration.
Senator Banks stated that he was hoping that the faculty would be able to endorse the University Wide Evaluation Instrument and suggest its implementation at the earliest possible time with budget considerations taken into account.
The motion was seconded and passed with a count of 14 for, 12 against, and one abstention.
Resources and Environment Committee
Secretary Brown stated that one of the issues facing her committee is the Intellectual Property Implementation Report. They will be addressing that in the coming weeks. She introduced Karl Bowman, Chair of the University Library Committee.
Dr. Bowman, Chair of the University Library Committee, stated that they have been concerned about escalating cost of journal subscriptions. He realizes that within the context of the larger budget cuts that are being discussed that these may seem small and to a certain degree may be perceived as a self interest. They have been working on an open letter to the NCSU community about these concerns. This was approved by the Library Committee on March 27, 2001. He stated that they are still very concerned about the overall subscription costs. He noted that clearly the loss of budget is going to have an effect on acquisitions for the collections, particularly the journal subscriptions. They would like the Faculty Senate to endorse the letter so that it can be communicated to members of the NCSU community through the appropriate channels.
Senator Brown moved that the University Library Committee’s letter be endorsed by the Faculty Senate and that it be distributed as appropriate.
The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
Secretary Brown stated that there are a number of issues with the copyright issue. She urged the faculty to look at the section where it defines excessive use of university resources. The Scholarly Communication Subcommittee of the University Library Committee felt that students should be added to the committee that has been established. There will be a couple of committees working on this in the next several weeks–the Resources and Environment Committee, the Academic Policy Committee and the Executive Committee. The final recommendations are due to General Administration on August 1, 2001.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Bottcher reported that the Lifelong Faculty Involvement Committee, Chaired by Senator Kerry Havner, have worked hard to modify the emeritus policy at NC State University to draft a revised policy to address several issues. They have also addressed concerns that have been
expressed within the Personnel Policy Committee and by University General Counsel, Mary Beth Kurz.
The committee developed a draft policy to replace the existing policy on awarding emeritus status to retiring faculty.
Senator Havner stated that this is a proposal that faculty in individual departments or active emeriti who are also still involved in their professional field might be interested in continuing to participate in some local votes, including promotion and tenure in their departments. Whether they are granted that right or not should be decided by the tenured faculty in their own department.
Senator Bottcher also presented a report of the Academic Policy and Personnel Policy Committees of the Faculty Senate on departmental leadership at NC State and made a motion that the Faculty Senate endorse the reports.
The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
Senator Bottcher presented the Personnel Policy Committee’s Final Report, which summarized issues that the committee addressed during the semester. He moved that the Faculty Senate accept the committee’s final report.
The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
Senator Robert Bottcher and Dr. Talmage Brown were elected to serve three-year terms on the Council on Athletics.
Senator Gary Hodge was elected to serve a one-year term.
Dr. Richard Bernhard was elected to serve a two-year term as an alternate on the Faculty Assembly.
Secretary of the Faculty Senate
Senator Alton Banks was nominated to serve as Secretary of the Faculty Senate. The motion was made and seconded to elect Senator Banks by acclamation. The motion passed without dissent. Senator Banks was elected to serve from July 1, 2001 - June 30, 2003.
7. Transfer of Gavel to Chair-Elect Philip Carter
Chair Corbin turned the gavel over to Chair-Elect Carter.
Chair Elect- Carter presented Chair Wahl with a chair in appreciation for distinguished services during his term as Chair of the Faculty from 1997-1999.
Chair-Elect Carter adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.