September 4, 2001
Present: Chair Carter, Secretary Banks, Provost Cooper, Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators Allen, Ash, Bernhard, Blanchard, Braunbeck, Cassidy, Daley, Elmaghraby, Funderlic, Garval, Grainger, Grimes, Havner, Headen, Hodge, Hooper, Hughes-Oliver, Istook, Kimler, Kirby, Levine, Marshall, Misra, Rolle, Sawyers, Tucker, Tyler, Weiner, Wilkerson
Absent: Senators El-Masry, Lytle, Smoak, Vickery
Excused: Chair Emeritus Corbin
Visitors: Yvette McMillan, Director of University Benefits; Franks Abrams, Senior Associate Provost; Clare Kristofco, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor; Kathy Brown, Library Administration; Rosalind Thomas, Chair, Staff Senate; Robert Sowell, Dean of the Graduate School; Christina Costanzo, VP-University Graduate Student Association; Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost; Bruce Mallette, Vice Provost; Shane Pinson, Student Senate; Mary K. Harper, Student Senate; Hayley Phillips, Student Senate; Brad Dixon, Student Senate; Jonathan Ducote, Student Senate
1. Call to Order
The first meeting of the forty-eighth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Philip B. Carter.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and Guests.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 14, May 1, 2001
The minutes were approved without dissent.
4. Remarks from the Provost
Provost Cooper stated that it has been a great pleasure coming here and being able to meet faculty, staff and all the students that have come back to campus. "I’m looking forward to this semester as it unfolds. It was a difficult thing speaking at the university faculty meeting because the Chancellor got up and said all the good things that I might have said. It was a very good overview of the direction that the university is taking. I am very pleased to have come into a situation with the broad goals well defined. They are ones that I have great comfort with. There is no tension in my mind with the main thrust of where we hope to take the university, and that has not always been the case during my career. I think that the broad goals of moving the university to a higher level academically and otherwise is something that we all aspire to. We know that, in terms of the planning that has been done, we are going to grow larger, proportionally more at the graduate level, which brings it’s own kind of challenges. We want to continue development of the Centennial Campus which is very important. Finally a broad goal in the commitment of diversity in the student body, the faculty, and the staff is a thing that I will be happy to try to influence through my own interactions with the activity of the Provost staff, and hopefully amongst the faculty.
With respect to specifics beyond these broad goals, the compact plans have been a very useful process to define the university’s next steps. There have been several years of that activity. The challenge that we have now is providing enough budget so that all the planning can be implemented. To the extent that the Provost office has budget distributed in the academic programs, we are going to keep the funding of compact plans as a high priority.
With respect to our first view on the undergraduate program and attracting a diverse highly qualified freshmen class some of the statistics are showing a plateau in measurable things like high school grade point, etc., but it is still a significant improvement over the parameters from several years ago. I think we are on track to go even further in the direction of quality and diversity in the freshmen class. It is a difficult balancing act because as you push up quality you have to address the issue of access in the state university.
Certainly we want to work on improving matriculation and graduation rates, and we have activities in place that will eventually reach its way into the Faculty Senate on matriculation. We need to put in some ground rules that make it clear to students early on what is expected of them in terms of decision making and a standard that does not change as a student tries to matriculate a year or two after he or she first comes as a freshmen.
We want to continue academic enrichment programs, the Honors Programs, and the First Year Inquiry Program in academic affairs. There are other enrichment programs and scholars programs that are very important to potential freshmen and are important for us to support. We want to involve, in the undergraduate program, students in research as much as possible, intern experiences, co-op experiences so that they get more than simply a classroom experience on the way through North Carolina State. We are searching for a Director for International Programs. We will strengthen that program, and expect to make additional opportunities in Study Abroad available.
With respect to the Graduate Program, we want to accelerate graduate enrollment. Some of that is limited by the amount of research support that the faculty bring in. This has to occur by increasing effectiveness of the faculty in bringing in grant and contract funds. To make this work properly, we have to provide resources, tuition remission and other characteristics that make supporting graduate students attractive to the faculty. We ought to be able to support more post docs in our research laboratories.
Finally, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, there will be a lot of construction in the next few years with the bond money that becomes available and the movement of the College of Engineering to Centennial Campus. Facilities will be enhanced to support a greater research and instructional activity. I have been impressed with what I have seen with respect to space planning and research growth. I think we have good plans with some of these people. There is a lot of interaction with the faculty, and we hope to continue that dialog five to ten years out with respect to what is going to be going on on the campus. I think North Carolina State has been very effective in the area of entrepreneurship-- taking research results from the laboratory into the market place and we want to support the entrepreneurship of the faculty-- which is also a nice characteristic of the Centennial Campus.
With respect to faculty governance, I think the Provost’s office is much in support of Faculty Senate and faculty processes that come through the Senate. We want to continue to update reappointment, promotion and tenure guidelines. I hope to foster good communication between the faculty, chairs, deans, and the administration. I think that already exists to the extent that individuals feel comfortable about that. My door is open for suggestions on how that might be done.
I do not think I want to spend time with you talking about the research programmatic thrust. You have heard about them. They are in the Report of the Commission for the Future of North Carolina State that came out a few years ago. I think there are excellent opportunities there for the partnerships that we hope to develop between colleges and between the university and industry to move those areas forward, areas such as Advance Materials, Genomics, Environmental Science, K-12 education, etc. The only thing that I said to the university faculty is that you know my observations here are that North Carolina State has ten strong colleges and numerous high quality departments. We need to get a better presence in the outside world. Some of that is public relations in how we express ourselves. Some of it is a real need to foster more cooperation between units to the extent that we can help promote that. I think that would be significant.
I think it is important to maintain quality in Humanities and Social Sciences. Yes, I think we present a vision to the outside world that is very heavy on science, technology, and extension. To educate students you have to have a component that is very much based on arts, humanities, social sciences and design. That is some of the challenge-- to make it work. The challenges are really basically now in the trenches because this is a success of individual faculty, of departments, of faculty groups, of success in the student experience.
So what I wanted to say deals with the undergraduate program and a book that my wife gave me to read because it was reviewed about a month ago in the New York Times book review. Many of you will be familiar with this individual. The book is entitled Making the Most of College. The author is Richard Light, and he is from Harvard. Basically it is a distillation of many interviews that he and staff at Harvard have had with students–mostly at the undergraduate level, but occasionally graduate students. It is a very fascinating book. There are some universities, I have been told, that have everyone either buy this copy or have given a copy to freshmen at orientation. Although we might say that this is Harvard, I think a lot of the principles that are described in this book are being emulated at state universities like North Carolina State.
A few of the things related to this is making students feel comfortable and connected in a campus environment. Some of the suggestions I would just like to go over with you. One is to integrate in-class and out-of-class experiences. Students who are able to do this find that their career choices are more rational as opposed to something that your uncle told you was a good profession to be in. Particularly important for freshmen are learning survivor skills; of the importance of having students understand time management, of participation in club activities, of getting help when it is necessary and, particularly in this book, the issue of diversity. Harvard incorporates diversity very well, and we are trying to emulate a Harvard-like model because of the importance of the culture to engage in communication and to learn from people of different backgrounds. Harvard makes this possible a lot by design of living arrangements to promote interaction. I do not even know what the living arrangements are here or how those decisions are made, but it is something that has significant value.
With respect to making students feel comfortable, I was pleased to know that we do not do a bad job here with small class experiences. There is a whole chapter on small class experiences. In the year 2000 thirty-three percent of the classes at North Carolina State had fewer than twenty students. That is not bad. Only 15% of the classes had over fifty students. The small class experiences can be very positive for undergraduates. Group projects, group participation, and homework are mentioned as very important. There is a lot of discussion about those faculty who discourage cooperation in homework assignments. If you believe this guide, that is okay, but it is better when people cooperate if it is done right. Writing is very important. It is a very important skill not only in the technical fields, but elsewhere. There is a chapter on good mentoring and advising. I know when I was a young faculty member, we looked upon advising as getting the students into the right courses at the right time and keeping them on track for graduation. A satisfying experience, from a student’s perspective is for faculty to take the time to talk to the students about their career, the courses that drive toward that career and the choices they could make along the way. The book suggests in terms of survival skills, that students should try to get to know one faculty member well every semester that they are at the university. I think faculty can encourage collegiality particularly as they have the opportunity to work with upperclassmen in research experiences and writing. The students benefit from faculty feedback in feeling like they are part of the profession, that they are historians based on the project that they are doing, and the way they are looking at their work. There is a chapter on faculty who make a difference–faculty who treat the undergraduate as a professional in the field. You cannot do that unless you spend a little one on one time with the individual.
Finally, the last couple of chapters in this book are issues of diversity on the campus. Particularly interesting, and I think we will find with our own students even more so, there is quite a difference between high school and college with respect to diversity issues, and how people feel about where they are coming from and their role in society. Part of our job as a community here is to influence the campus culture to be welcoming, to offer opportunities for people to learn about people from different backgrounds. To help with this we have to bring more people on campus from different backgrounds.
I wanted to give you a list of possible things that should be coming to the Senate this year as part of the normal process of discussion and eventually interpretation.
The copyright policy is being iterated between what we have done on campus with a task force and the University of North Carolina system requirements. That policy has come back with minor changes We will be discussing them, and the Senate will see a copy of that.
Another thing that is exciting is the thrust that is occurring in service learning. Service learning is not volunteer work. It is having a societal interaction in a course as a part of the four credit experience and requires a responsibility to be very reflective on the process. This is emerging from Doug Wellman in the Center for Teaching and Learning. We are going to try to do more. I do not think it will be a very intense program at State, but we want to have approximately forty to fifty faculty trained in the best practices of service learning and incorporate it every semester in thirty or forty courses for student experiences. We are going to present this thrust to the executive officers of the university. This is something that is going to be done in cooperation with Extension and Student Affairs.
I heard some concern about the university wide course evaluations and the response received from the Senate last year. We have been moving forward with respect to pilot testing the concept. We will be coming back to the Senate for further discussion. I personally feel it is valuable to have at least a component of course evaluation which is common so that one can track within a given college and across colleges certain assessment characteristics of how we are doing in teaching. It is not meant to take the place of departmental evaluations that could occur. I believe it is good practice and hopefully we can convince you of that as we go forward.
The Undergraduate Program review assessment is going to come to the Senate.
Promotion and tenure guidelines–I think there is some further discussion that will come up to the Senate this semester.
Senator Headen stated, "I hear you say diversity and trading diversity off against quality, standards, etc. That is something I think you might want to be sensitive to."
Provost Cooper responded that he only commented that there was some issue in the issue of access with respect to moving the student forward. "I did not discuss access in any other way but satisfying the desires of the people of the State of North Carolina. I do not think there are those trade offs because there are certain practices that we had to abandon because of legal challenges, but we are trying to be as aggressive as possible to bring in a diverse population of students–not only from the state of North Carolina but also working hard to recruit out of state."
Senator Headen stated that maybe he is unclear in what the Provost’s plans are regarding diversity, given the historical contexts of this university.
Provost Cooper stated that he is working with George Dixon and the enrollment management program. "We are reaching out. If I have a plan, it is to be able to put a little more money into it because that is a big decision factor for the quality of students that we want to get here in terms of their other opportunities both in-state and out-of-state. If you have a student that is at the high school class rank and test score level that we want, they have choices and we have to make sure it is affordable. I intend to work at it as an Engineer in a very practical way in trying to see where we can raise the scholarship dollars to provide this and also looking within the letter of the law. The other case would be to work on the internals of the campus so that students feel comfortable coming here. At Harvard they are broken out into four large categories (African American, Latino, Asian and Caucasian). In the future I see we are going to have a larger Latino population and we should be able to attract more Asian students. We have to do a lot better to attract African Americans here. So diversity does not mean only one class. It is very interesting in this book that at least one half of the examples on diversity deal with religious diversity and the learning experiences that come out of that.
Senator Grimes wants to know if there is a concern about students in the more rural parts of the state who do not have access to certain high school programs.
Provost Cooper stated that he learned today how the high school grade point is changed by taking advanced placement courses and the international baccalaureate . He said that, if you do not have those programs in your high school, you can suffer. He thinks NC State has a fairly professional admissions infrastructure and his impression is that in the last years they are comfortable in saying they serve the whole state. He asked, "Could we do better? I do not know, but they are trying hard."
Senator Hooper wants to know if the faculty can expect to hear strategies in the future about how they can begin to share their knowledge and do something more than what they can do separately.
Provost Cooper stated that he can try but faculty tend to resist the top down suggestions about how to get better. "My expectation is that we will try to be open to ideas and concepts which combine activities and departments. A partnership concept that combines a thrust in more than one college in a creative way; of looking at those centers from the point of view of how much they knit things together. That is not to say you could not have a very powerful concept within a given unit. Everything is fair game. I think, in terms of other things being equal, the ones that have a built in connection with a component even of undergraduate involvement , I think are the ones to try to support. We could market the whole university a little bit better by coordinating what we do. I do not have the answers. In fact, it is probably not even under the Provost’s office to worry about those things. There are kinds of things that might make us more effective, more of a presence nationally. That plus a winning football team."
A student wanted to know how Provost Cooper would attract out of state students while competing with an institution that might be closer and more feasible.
Provost Cooper responded that it is very hard. "We have raised in the last capital campaign scholarship dollars. We have to raise even more that could be applied and be earmarked for out of state enrollment. That is a challenge. It is not easy. That is one area where money is very important and scholarship incentives are priorities in the next phase of a capital campaign. We are only at about 12% out of state enrollment. We can go up to 18% and there are many advantages to increasing out of state enrollment in terms of geographic and ethnic diversity. If we could get 2-3% international students, they would provide a lot of seasoning. Can we find them? I think we can. They are more drawn by the reputation of given departments and programs that you have here. If we could do a little better with international students and a little better with recruiting in the United States, I think it would strengthen the experience here."
Senator Tyler said she understands that Provost Cooper is considering restructuring . They have been looking at who to have the international director report to. She encouraged him to look back at the information that committees provided for that. She stated that part of the problem was that it is hard for strategy to go against structure. If the person reports at a certain level, it is really hard to be very strategic or to leave a very favorable impression especially when international visitors are here. Historically because of where it has been located and how it has been managed maybe there has not been as good of an impression internationally. She encouraged the Provost to look at the things that have been documented by the committee in prior years as to maybe the best way to structure that relationship.
Provost Cooper stated that he has interacted with the group that is involved with recruiting a director for the program. "I think I am correct in stating that the way the job description reads now, the director of the program reports directly to the Provost. That is how we are trying to make the position attractive. I do not see any change.
Senator Funderlic wanted to know, with respect to the discussion of attracting diversity, if there is any chance that we could determine sets of students that did not live in the state who we could charge just in-state-tuition rather than out-of-state tuition.
Provost Cooper stated that he does not think that we have the legal capacity to do that. It might not be legal in terms of what the Legislature set forth as our mandate of how we handle tuition. Secondly it might be illegal from the point of view of affirmative action case law that is developing.
Senator Kimler wanted to know if the recent court case in Georgia affected the university system admissions. He stated that they ruled against a point distribution being given on an affirmative action case.
Provost Cooper stated that we fall back on this question of looking at the whole portfolio of a student. He thinks the university is okay with how it makes decisions.
5. Unfinished Business
Senator Kimler stated that people were concerned about there being a wide array of leadership choice on this campus-- that some seem to be appointed by a dean, some seem to be strongly voted in by faculty, some actually functioning as chairs, i.e, rotating amongst members of the department serving three to five years. Others had been in place for many years with some faculty happy and some unhappy. "So we thought we would review the situation to find out if there was a need for university wide coherence of the policies or if there were problems. There have been several suggestions of what problems might be like. It might cost us a lot of money to be searching outside for leadership in departments, that faculty might not have a voice, that there needs to be a serious review of departmental leadership from the administration. We quickly found that using the words head and chair did not make things better because everyone has some experience of what they think that those terms mean. We abandoned the terms. We quickly found a wide array of policies, but some very interesting data about NC State. It basically states that we have moved functionally to a chair system. Most of our heads i.e., 77%, have come from within the departments in recent years. Most have served a relatively short period of time. The average is 4.8 years for a term. We have come to something much like a chair system at many of the universities. Then we abandoned the effort to find one or the other system for this campus and turned to thinking about how we could encourage our faculty to consider what it is they really expect the department leader to do. What are the functions of this leader? How should it be budgeted? What should the terms be like? Should they be fixed? Should they serve at the pleasure or discretion of the dean? We found out that we do not know how this is done across all departments across NC State."
Senator Kimler stated that this semester, the committee is planning to ask the senators to go back to the colleges to bring some notion to the Senate about how departmental leadership should be working at NC State. A number of questions has been defined.
1. Can colleges vary in departmental leadership systems? Can departments vary within colleges?
2. What qualities and credentials must our departmental leaders possess in order to understand and respond to the needs of their colleagues, to enjoy sufficient respect from their colleagues, and/or to conduct sufficiently scholarly and desirable programs as faculty members at NC State?
3. To what extent should departmental leaders be expected to conduct scholarly teaching, research, and/or extension programs in their field of expertise?
4. To what extent should departmental leaders facilitate faculty mentoring of junior faculty?
5. What length of contract (number of months) best suits our departmental leaders? Is "minding the store" during the summer crucial or not?
6. How should the term of initial appointment of departmental leaders (head, chair, or other designation) be specified in their contracts?
7. How, and how often, should reviews of departmental leader performance be conducted?
8. What characteristics of departmental leader reviews are desirable? Should they: a) involve all departmental faculty/staff/students/external reviewers , b) be flexible by college or department in terms of the questions to be asked of reviewers and the factors to be judged, c) be discussed by deans and faculty after completion, d) be clear and effective in prescribing consequences of the reviews?
9. By what mechanisms and to what extent should faculty join or replace the dean in decisions regarding hiring and terminating departmental leaders?
10. Recognizing that departmental leaders must represent and be responsible to the interests and concerns of both the departmental faculty and the dean,
should the leader be considered primarily a college administrator (manager) or faculty representative?
Senator Kimler said they would like to get some sense at NC State of balance between departmental leaders as faculty and administrator. There are specific questions that are part of the discussion.
"We do not want to have a Senate resolution to come out about something. This is a huge area of importance to every faculty member on campus. Your relationship with the department leader is the most crucial one early in your career. We want some serious input from faculty. We have been, as a committee, going over several things we might do. One seems to be that several of the colleges have faculty councils or some other form of governance. We do not want a report from the department heads about how they feel about department heads. We do not want a report from the deans. We want their report as fellow faculty members. We need that departmental level to find out where people are concerned, where people are happy. What do they think their department leaders’ job ought to be? We have some new review mechanism in place compared to five years ago. There are no real expectations of the answers here. This is a true request for input. Contact faculty directly and ask for some input. We need a wider voice and if necessary we could use the faculty listserv. The time table says we would like to have something in February so that we can issue some sort of white paper or recommendations."
Senator Funderlic wanted to know if there is advice on how to collect these data.
Senator Kimler suggested going for a survey or a sense of the college. He stated that you get a lot of feedback from colleagues who will send emails. Even a report from the senators of a college is good. He noted that the committee would rather leave it to the colleges that know already how they reach out.
Senator Sawyers stated that he sent an email to his department asking for feedback on the individual questions. He thinks it is important to gather this information at the departmental level even though you are looking for a report from each of the colleges. In his college there are different views among departments about how leadership should operate.
Senator Kimler stated that part of this issue is that sometimes single units are managed differently.
Senator Grainger stated that the ten questions could be developed into a standard form with suggestions of attributes of a departmental leader. It seems to him that many of the questions require an essay type of reply. He feels that people will not respond.
Senator Kimler stated that there are three or four different categories. He thinks this is going to be something that is going to take some effort to take to colleagues to explain.
Senator Hughes-Oliver wants to know how this information will be used. "Will this be used to develop some uniformity across campus or across departments within the college or could a department just say that we would like the option of being able to decide the answers to the questions at the given time because these answers could change over time?"
Senator Kimler stated that one thing that came clear among the senators is that no one in the room was interested in applying some uniform rules for all departments, that all governance on campus will be done the same way. He said this is a not a senate plan to create a book of rules of how department leaders are chosen. They want departments to feel that there is faculty input in faculty leadership and the first and most important level of faculty leadership is often that department leader.
Senator Levine stated that perhaps the issue that needs to be addressed is not being addressed, that is, the makeup of our departments on campus. Maybe there is a need to look at restructuring them. Many departments have been that way for as long as the university has been around. Maybe dissatisfaction comes from faculty not feeling like they are collectively represented.
Senator Grainger stated that there is an implication that in those questions there is a model that is sort of leading you in that way and if you are going to go that way, then you really have to start to get prescriptive. One of the basic questions that he would ask his faculty would be, are you aware that you do have the option of having a different form of departmental chairman. "Just basic questions would raise the feeling of what should and should not be."
Senator Kimler stated that there are two solid assumptions here. One of those is that at a Research I institution, department leaders should be researchers, should be scholars like our Provost and our Chancellor. If they can do it, why not the department leaders. The second one was that review is a serious business.
Secretary Banks noted that the committee was careful and argued about the terminology. They agonized over putting these questions together with the intent of not forcing the issue one way or the other. We wanted to say to faculty here is a broad question and we would like their thoughtful discussion of this question. We wanted to keep the discussion as open as possible.
Senator Grainger noted that being department chair is not the most desirable job.
Senator Havner stated that he is confused as to what they were doing in approving these two sentences in the Senate. He thought that in seeking at the last meeting and obtaining full Senate endorsement of the committee report that it was going forward to the administration, that they were requesting that the administration ask that there be such a campus wide study that would be initiated so that this would have the support of the administration. In Engineering he thought that the departments would be divided among the Senators and that it would be understood because the word would have gone out that the administration was agreeing that this is something that should be going on this fall. "We would be leading this. We would each go to a meeting of the departmental faculty. It would be done in this organized systematic way. Of course we could individually talk with our colleagues and bring hearsay views back to the senate, but I do not see that particularly accomplishing very much. I hear you say nothing about what I thought that this endorsed approved report was asking the administration to do."
Senator Kimler responded, "It strikes me that you have just described what we want you to do, to go to your departments and divide among the senators in your college to bring back to us. I seem to recall the College of Engineering senators objecting particularly to the reappointment promotion and tenure policies coming as a request of information from the Provost. We thought it would be nice to have it generated from the Senate. The Chancellor and Provost are in agreement that this would be a good thing to be doing."
Senator Havner stated that colleagues do not like to waste time at faculty meetings. This is another meeting in which they are obligated to try to think about these issues and discuss them and debate them. To know that it is just not something that the Senate thought up would be a good idea for them to do, something that a lot of time was put into as was the case and the Chancellor and Provost recognize this and feel that it should be something that is being discussed and such discussions are taking place. He stated that if he can tell his colleagues this, this is very good. "I have nothing in writing that says I can tell them this."
Senator Kimler stated that there was not a written resolution of the Senate. It was an adoption of the joint committee report which means that it does not require the Chancellor to respond. The committee did, of course, tell the Chancellor what happened. He noted that they have a commitment. Senator Kimler feels that it probably would help to have an email to the faculty from the Provost saying ,"what a marvelous development. I hope that faculty will engage in this exercise, etc."
Senator Tucker stated that it was concluded that the committee was going to send the report to the Chancellor and the Chancellor was going to send it to the dean’s executive committees and then it would filter down from there. "Now in hind sight it might be helpful because a lot of us have background on it that is missing for everyone else. Maybe we should add some paragraphs for reasons and goals of this survey. I think that would be very helpful to other people."
Senator Hooper stated that as far as department heads are concerned, the College of Design is engaged in a number of searches now. The faculty head is one of the most despised jobs in the College. Whether one serves as a colleague or whether someone serves as a captain who is directing things, this depends very much on the culture of the individual department. He feels that it is very difficult to change cultures.
Senator Misra stated that the Math Department had, with the blessing of the dean, established a policy for having their head to act as a chair. While outside the department the leader is recognized as a head, he is in fact a chair. Term limits were viewed as important.
Senator Blanchard wanted to know when other institutions were surveyed, if any governance of departments, or any methods where people actually wanted to head the departments were found. She said, "What I am hearing is that part of our problem is that we have a job that no one wants. So if we have a job that no one wants, then we need to look at ways to restructure the job so that it is attractive to people that we want to have as our leaders."
Senator Wilkerson feels that it would be much more productive to get input from faculty than the long list of questions which 90% will not even bother to read through.
Senator Tyler feels that people are being left out and stated that any leader has a personality.
Chair Carter stated that he will solicit the support of the Chancellor and Provost for this proceeding at the college level this year. He agrees with Senator Havner that if we have the support of the upper administration, that would make it easier on all of the senators.
6. New Business
Update on Benefit Changes
Yvette McMillan, Director of Benefits talked to the faculty about the information that had been sent out regarding benefits.
She reviewed the benefits that are being sponsored on campus and the ones that are being sponsored by Financials Strategies Group.
She noted that she has asked all the vendors to do a session on the tax changes with the new tax law. Additionally there is a session that is on the Bailey Patent Emery settlement. That is for the state taxes especially for anyone that was vested prior to August 12, 1989. That session is on September 19.
There is a session particularly for women on Tuesday, September 25, 2001. All the sessions are held in the Student Center from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
She noted that a session for individuals who are more advanced in their investments is offered by Fidelity on October 9, 2001.
The State Retirement System is doing three sessions, and Social Security is doing several sessions.
The other sessions are on minimum distribution requirements that is being offered by TIAA-CREF on October 30.
McMillan reminded the faculty that there have been some changes made to prior authorizations, particularly with the pharmacy benefit. A packet from the State Health plan will soon be sent.
They are calling for a 30% premium increase. She stated that they have been have been advised by the State Health Plans Office to go forward with the new premium increases although it has not been approved. She feels certain that those changes are going to take place because all the changes that were made with the health plan for the coming year were based on that percentage increase.
There are discussions going on about doing an age-based rate schedule.
Additionally, there has been a 10% rate deduction with Met Life. McMillan noted that the state does not provide a life insurance plan if you are not in the TSER’s plan. It is important that you have something else in place. The new rates are effective January 1, 2002.
The NC Flex annual enrollment period starts in October and will run through November. It is very important now that you utilize your flexible spending account.
One of the last things is the Benefits Fair which is being done in conjunction with Employee’s Appreciation Day. One big event is the Hepatitis B vaccine. Approximately 425 people have signed up for the vaccine. It is a three dose vaccine .
One of the big issues that has been circulating through campus for many years is child care. The Benefits Office has been charged to develop a business plan to create a child care program for campus which preferably will include a child care facility on campus. The work that has been done so far is basically the research and gathering of information. They have sent a survey to peer institutions as well as to companies and universities that offer child care programs. The data have not been compiled yet. There has been a child care task force also charged. They will be circulating a survey at the Benefits Fair to try to get people interested in participating in focused groups. The initial report is due February and has to be completed by June.
Senator Blanchard stated that she is curious as to how a change could be made in the health care policy. She has a husband at home and no children. They are paying the same rate as families with husbands and children. She feels that it does not seem equitable.
McMillan stated that because the state has so many retirees on its program and the retirees pay the same level that active employees pay, there is no tier of employee/spouse, particularly because everyone is funding at the higher level for employee/spouse tier. The State Health Plan is looking at what they can do about the dependent cost. She feels that the State can do a much better job in the structuring of the funding. Hopefully with their new initiatives, there will be some changes.
Senator Sawyers requested that the Benefits Office and the Insurance and Benefits Committee look at the possibility of offering payroll deduction for Internal Revenue Code, Section 529 College Savings Plan. Some of the changes in the tax law in the last six months have made them very viable and popular alternatives.
McMillan stated that with the new tax changes there are things now one can do with IRAs that could not be done before. They will be looking into the request.
Senator Daley wanted to know if they are keeping track of how many faculty or staff with family are not using the family health option because it is not affordable.
McMillan responded no. They have had requests to try for employees in general. She feels that it is something that they need to be thinking about.
Senator Funderlic wanted to know if there are peer institutions that are getting hit as hard as NC State University.
McMillan stated that the State of North Carolina is a little different from some other places in that their programs are not controlled by the state. There is not a benefits committee that the State Health Plan is working with. She thinks the state of North Carolina is unique in that everything is controlled at the state level. She noted that the state’s plan is fairly competitive to the market from some of the data that she has seen recently.
7. New Business
Knight Commission Report
Chair Carter stated that in this report co-chaired by two NC State Alumni the request is specifically made that Faculty Senates at Division One schools pass a resolution of support. The challenge is to come up with a responsible resolution.
8. Issues of Concern
Senator Braunbeck stated an issue of concern from her department about the structure of post tenure review. The fact that Associate Professors are reviewed by Full Professors whereas the Full Professors review themselves. She stated that there was concern that could lead to problematic situations.
Chair Carter assigned the issue of concern to the Personnel Policy Committee.
Senator Blanchard commented that it would better to assign it to another committee.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.