NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
January 21, 2003
Present: Chair Carter, Chair-Elect Daley, Secretary Banks, Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators Allen, Ash, Atkin, Beasley, Bernhard, Brothers, Carter, DeLuca, Fahmy, Fikry, Garval, Griffin, Hammerberg, Havner, Headen, Hodge, Hooper, Honeycutt, Istook, Krotee, Lytle, Matthews, McRae, Misra, Peacock, Rice, Sawyers, Stoddard, Sylla, Tetro, Tyler, Weiner
Excused: Interim Provost Barnhardt; Senators Smoak, Jasper
Visitors: Ethon Hyman, News & Observer; Benny Benton, The Bulletin; Barbara Barrett, News & Observer; Aniesha Felton, Technician; Tom Stafford, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Henry Schaffer, Professor; Anuj Dhawan, Vice President of Graduate Student Association; Erich Fabricius, President ProTem, Student Senate; Clare Kristofco, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor; Kathy Hamilton Brown, Instructor, PRTM Department; George Worsley, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Business; Andy Willis, Assistant to the Chancellor for External Affairs; Nancy Whelchel, Adjunct Professor, Sociology; Jim Lucas, Director of News Services; Sandy Connolly, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Administration; George Wahl, Professor of Chemistry; Linda P. Brady, Dean of CHASS; Terry Wood, Vice Chancellor for Advancement; John Grainger, Professor; Ken Smith, WRAL; Natalie Duggins, Student; Walter Clark, Legal Specialist, NC Sea Grant; Pam Smith, Communication Specialist, Sea Grant; Jackie Gottlieb, Web Developer; Bobby Puryear, Director, Adult Credit Programs & Summer Sessions; Andrea Irby, Director; Jim Wilson, Professor & Head, Industrial Engineering; Viney Aneja, Professor, MEAS; Ellis Cowling; Distinguished Professor, Natural Resources & Agricultural & Life Sciences; Anthony LaVopa, Department of History; Shawn Smith, Assistant Director; Enrollment Management Services; Charles Carlton, Professor of History; John Riddle, Professor of History; Gerald Elkan, CALS
1. Call to Order
The special meeting of the forty-ninth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and Guests.
3. Remarks from the Chancellor
Thank you for the invitation to speak with you today. I want to say how deeply I regret the recent turmoil that our campus has faced. It has been a difficult time for us as a community. It has been a painful time for me personally. I realize that we all must remain steadfast in our desire to advance the vision and goals of North Carolina State University particularly in the area of academic affairs. I realize how difficult change can be but I believe that we also must be resolute in strengthening the voice of academic affairs at NC State. The changes that I made, I believe, were necessary to ensure the preeminence of academic affairs and I think that these turbulent times have pointed out that there are many valuable messages that can be learned as we work together to help advance this university. It has been very clear that you, the faculty have issued a call to me. I have been listening. I have sought out the opinion and the views of the faculty, and the academic leadership of this institution. We need to discuss today how we can go forward in this critical time in the life of our campus. I have sought the guidance of numerous groups, large and small from department heads, the general faculty, the deans, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. All of these meetings have been extremely informative and the interactions have been very beneficial to me and to the university, I believe. It is clear that the faculty want a very strong voice in academic affairs and they want an advocate for academic issues in the Office of the Provost who will be effective in communication. I share that view and I am committed to that course of action. I had a meeting with the deans last week, and, following that meeting, the deans provided me with a prescription of what would constitute a strong Office of the Provost. I have pledged to take up their recommendations and to act on them immediately. They acknowledged the need for a strong leadership team that is supportive and cooperative and responds to information requests in a timely and comprehensive manner. They also voiced the opinion that the Provost Search must be limited to internal candidates. That will be most desirable in allowing us to go forward quickly. Soon thereafter the deans wrote a very positive letter with suggestions for a stronger academic presence on campus. With that letter in hand I sought the opinions of my executive officers. I was very pleased with the endorsement that they had to accept the principles of the deans’ letter and I therefore pledged to proceed with the deans’ suggestions, with implementation details to be worked out by the next Provost. Again, I was pleased with the response from the academic leadership. The deans have stated their commitment to work and to improve academic communications. I met with department heads as well, and was heartened by their support for a strong Office of the Provost. The heads endorsed limiting the search to an internal candidate and the use of a Search Committee. Today the nomination committee for the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, a new name which is assigned to indicate the preeminence of the Academic Affairs Unit in this campus, has been announced. All of the members that I invited from the list provided by you, the Faculty Senate, enthusiastically agreed to serve the university in this important role and I repeat my gratitude to Dean Marvin Malecha for his commitment to help in this activity.
On Friday I met with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate to hear their views about the actions that would be useful in order to strengthen the Office of the Provost. I was encouraged by that conversation. I thought it was very positive. The Executive Committee made a compelling case for the need to improve communication about academic issues. For example, they suggested that I might establish a routine walk-in hour for faculty as I do for students in which faculty members could meet with me to discuss whatever issues come to their mind. They stated that their perception was that faculty were reluctant now to impose on my schedule even though, to my knowledge, no faculty member has ever been denied an appointment who asked for one. They also suggested that the Provost and I should be much more visible on campus, not just for events. They suggested that one of us should routinely attend the annual or semi-annual college meetings and that the Provost or I should attend a wide variety of departmental meetings to encourage free-ranging discussions. I think those are very good suggestions and things that really can build this institution. They really capture the heart of what we are doing in trying to work together. I promised them that I would soon visit with the entire Faculty Senate and would confer with the new Provost about these suggestions. I hope that you see that my commitment to listening to these views is a real one, and that we share a common goal. It is a commitment that goes beyond this room. It is a commitment for a passionate dedication to the academic health of this institution. I cannot settle for less, you cannot settle for less. This is a difficult time but we really must go forward together.
I want you to understand that I understand that you disagree with some of the actions that I have taken, but please allow me to state that this was not acting in a precipitous manner. This was well reasoned over a very long period of many months. I pledge to you that I will continue to seek your views about strengthening the Office of the Provost and ensuring that the university’s decision makers hear the priorities of the faculty. I hope these short descriptions that you have allowed me to make as part of this talk to you today make it clear that I welcome faculty feedback. I have tried to respond positively and quickly to requests for discussions with any constituent group. I am very pleased that I have been able to listen to the faculty and that together we can go forward now and make real progress in strengthening the Provost’s Office and identifying a wonderful academic leader who can lead us forward to the next level. I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.
4. Resolution of Commendation for Dr. Bruce Mallette
Secretary Banks read the resolution for its first reading.
A motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules for a vote on the resolution.
The resolution was voted on and passed unanimously.
5. Old Business
Second Reading: Censure Resolution
Secretary Banks read the resolution for its second reading.
Senator Havner distributed a revised version of the resolution. He stated that, with regard to the resolution as read last week, impact would be stronger if it began with the Faculty Senate and included the point about the Chancellor’s authority within the opening statement.
Senator Havner stated that he spent several days soliciting comments from Faculty in two departments as a consequence of Chair Carter’s general invitation. "I have received approximately three dozen comments from faculty who are in favor of a strong censure motion by a proportion of about five to one. The majority of those who favored at least a censure motion felt that the resolution that they had seen is quite weak, that it needs to be something much stronger. In fact, in putting this resolution together, I made use of comments that were sent to me by many different colleagues."
Senator McRae stated that he has spoken to Frank Abrams directly about the circumstances of his firing. What he confirmed disagrees substantially with what the Chancellor has said.
"My readings of the situation agrees with Senator Havner’s that the faculty is more in support of a stronger resolution than the original one. I will support any strengthening that we can make on that. From a personal standpoint, the actions of the Chancellor violated the standard principles of leadership and management. Anytime you go over a subordinate’s head to make changes in that organization, that subordinate must resign. If the Chancellor had taken the actions that she did in my prior organization, she would not have lasted the day out."
Senator Allen thinks that the censure as it was proposed by the Executive Committee says enough compared to the new one. In particular, she does not think that some of the paragraphs would strengthen their stature outside of NC State. "It is very important that we disapprove some of the recent actions. I really do feel that the Chancellor has heard us quite effectively already and that she is trying in many ways to take corrective action. I think any stronger censure than what has already been written would be too much. I am not for censure. I am for a strong letter of disapproval rather than that."
Senator Fikry stated that the faculty in the College of Engineering responded with a 60-40% ratio in favor of censure.
Senator Sylla from CHASS stated that the majority of the people who contacted her were in favor of censure, but were not in favor of a vote of no confidence. She is in favor of the stronger censure resolution, which indicates that they want to have a strong Provost who speaks for academic affairs.
Senator Hammerberg stated that he and Senator Smoak polled approximately one third of the faculty in College of Veterinary Medicine and their results were much more dramatic. They were getting four or five to one against censure. "The action by the Chancellor is not something that they want to see at the university, however they do not think that a censureship motion was an appropriate response."
Senator Headen from the College of Management stated that the faculty from his college does not favor censure.
Senator Peacock from CALS stated that he polled his department and twenty-two were in favor of censure and one was not. Of those twenty-two, sixteen would like to see something beyond censure.
Senator Peaock pointed out that he resented the email he received from the Vice Chancellors, trying to influence his decision making process in the Faculty Senate.
Secretary Banks reported that the sentiments from the faculty in PAMS are in favor of a censure.
Senator DeLuca from the College of Education reported that of twenty-three faculty members, twenty-two were in favor of a censure vote with five supporting stronger action, and one did not support censure.
Senator Matthews from CALS stated that he had a 50/50 split on the emails. Verbally approximately fifteen people were in favor of censure, with five of those in favor of stronger than censure.
Senator Fahmy reported that he received twenty-two responses. Six were against censure and the remaining were for the censure.
Senator Lytle reported that he received approximately forty responses which were evenly split. A handful commented that they would go further than censure. He was impressed by the number of long thoughtful emails that he received.
Senator Stoddard from PAMS stated that he shares the same experience in the long, well thought out messages. Those who contacted him were between three and four to one in favor of censure.
Senator Stoddard stated that he thinks the university’s public image is damaged more by not voting censure in this case.
Senator Atkin from CHASS stated that she received eight responses favoring censure and a few expressed the desire for a more strongly worded censure resolution.
Senator Griffin from CHASS stated that he too received a significant number of emails from various departments in CHASS. The initial response from his colleagues in Political Science was that the initial resolution was weak. He feels that the amended resolution from Senator Havner will meet their approval. He too characterized his emails as well thought out arguments. Those few that he received opposing censure were one liners. He has been strongly influenced by what appears to be the significant amount of effort that has been put into the opinions or the views of those who are urging him to vote in favor of censure. "I am in support of this motion."
Senator Sawyers stated that the faculty in the Department of Accounting do support a motion of censure. With respect to what is leading him toward a vote of censure is listening to his colleagues not only in the department but also his more experienced colleagues in the Faculty Senate.
Senator Havner stated that he would support having some positive statements in the resolution about what the faculty hope to improve in the future.
Senator Garval from CHASS stated that he thinks the resolution from Senator Havner concurs with what he has heard from his colleagues.
Senator Sawyers suggested replacing one of the whereas’s with a resolve in the resolution.
Senator Havner moved that his censure resolution be substituted for the original resolution. The motion was seconded.
Secretary Banks moved that there be a written ballot on the replacement of the new resolution for the original. The motion was seconded and passed .
The results were twenty-six for continuing with the resolution amended by Senator Havner and four against.
Professor Anthony LaVopa from the Department of History stated that he is in favor of the motion for censure for several reasons. He thinks that, listening to the Chancellor at the last meeting and even moreso this meeting, she does not get it. "She left us with the distinct impression that if we had kept the people in office who she fired, we would be settling for less. That is to my mind a matter of not getting the point. I also have to say that the letter from the Vice Chancellors indicates that they do not get it either. The divisiveness would be a burden laid on us. I think that a message in the form of a censure, given what we have heard from the Chancellor remains necessary. It seems to me that it behooves the faculty to make clear to her that we expect more than paper changes and that this is an issue about the academic integrity of the university."
Dr. Richard Gilbert stated that he was on the Faculty Senate in 1970. It was treated by the administration and most faculty members as a useless debating society. "I think if this issue had come up with Chancellor Caldwell he would have treated it with contempt and ignored it and continued to ignore the Faculty Senate. There is a positive aspect here that the Chancellor has come twice before this body and spoken. She is trying to maintain a relationship. I think you should take that into consideration. There is a positive aspect here that the Senate is now becoming a recognized voice and I worry that if you pass this censure it will not be as strong a voice or even a voice. Secondly, I would like to echo the remarks of Professor Boss at the last meeting. In my opinion, Chancellor Fox has raised the prestige of this university as a first class research university both nationally and internationally. Again, I worry about this censure particularly with all the media attention, that the university is going to suffer as a result."
Nancy Whelchel from University Planning and Analysis stated that on January 10th her office sent letters to 10,000 alumni. In scanning the thousand or so that they have received back so far, there has been one comment relating to this issue.
Senator Krotee from the General Constituency stated that the vast majority of people who contacted him were not in favor of censure. Some wanted to know what rights an at-will person has, and to explicitly communicate what the Chancellor’s right is regarding at-will people. "To take that off by accepting this resolution maybe short changes the view of what is really legal and what is not, or whether the censure is really about behaviour. Nobody really condoned her behaviour, but this was an administrative decision regarding an at-will appointment. Maybe that due process is not the same as what we are talking about. We have read what the deans and department heads have said. They did not mobilize for censure. They have written in letters that they did not agree with the method that she used. They all said that she had the right to do what she did."
Chair Carter stated that we have heard it first hand today from Professor Abrams and Professor Cooper (statements from Professors Abrams and Cooper are attached).
Professor Ellis Cowling stated that there are two things he would like to say about how to make this a positive resolution for censure.
"This university was founded in 1887. For the first sixty-seven years before 1954 there was no Faculty Senate. We have had a weak Faculty Senate I would say. I would suggest this derives in part from the participation we have had in the Council of University Professors. The considered judgement of the Council of University Professors that an enduring and continuing faculty-driven opportunity for consultation with the Chancellor and Senior Administrators is called for and needed if we are to fulfill the potentials of this institution to become a truly distinguished model landgrant university. There is risk associated with a resolution of censure. We have considered two possibilities within the Council. As a model there is an elected group or committee at the University of Wisconsin called the University Faculty Committee. The power of that body to influence the Chancellor is substantial. I would suggest that one of the things you might say in the resolve is that the Faculty Senate looks forward to a regular recurring mutually respectful dialog with not only the Chancellor of our university, but also others in Senior Administration; and that the Faculty Senate might call for, and the Council on University Professors would endorse with you the concern in our Council that we should not be viewed in any other way than a part of the faculty of this institution. Therefore, the Council of University Professors would welcome an initiative within the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to create what the people of Wisconsin call the power pool. One that is influential with decisions and can monitor the affairs of the institution with an opportunity for regular expression of faculty opinion of the aspirations that they have for what this institution should become."
Professor George Wahl suggested that Professor Cowling review the bylaws of the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Bylaws of North Carolina State University. "We have all of the access that is needed. The effectiveness of that access is directly proportional to the people who are involved accessing and listening. There has never been a problem in the fifteen years that I have been associated with the Senate in gaining access. Whenever there is a problem we get a large number of people saying that there should be a strong organization here. My challenge is that those people for whom you speak ought to take a much more active voice in the Senate. They would get regular interactions with the Provost and with the Chancellor. Essentially there is never a meeting of the Faculty Senate at which one of them is not present. They usually make remarks. The Chair of the Faculty serves in the Academic and Administrative Coordinating Group which is one of the highest decision making groups at the university. If he is not hearing enough from the folks who are unhappy, I am not sure that that is a problem with this organization. I am not sure it is a problem with Phil. I think we just need to encourage more standing room only Faculty Senate meetings. With all due respect, I know that there are lots of other things out there to be done, but please let us not use this as a way that we will study it for a year and we will come up with a new group. We have a group, so let’s populate it with great people. Within the next month there will be a call for elections for one half of the Faculty Senate. I strongly encourage everyone who feels unrepresented to get up and say I will run. I bet you we will not have these kind of dark days nearly as often."
Senator Griffin stated that when the time comes for a role call his vote is going to be guided by the information that he gathered from the responses he received via email. "This is a choice that we are all making. When I cast my vote I am being guided by the sentiments that were conveyed to me. When the call was sent out and people chose not to respond then I do not know to what extent that I have to ponder about the reason why they did not respond. I only have to be guided by my own convictions as well as the information that I gathered."
Secretary Banks read the revised resolution.
Senator Bernhard moved that a slight change be made in the second resolve of the resolution.
The motion for the modification was seconded and passed.
Secretary Banks handed out the ballots.
The resolution for censure was voted on and passed with a vote of 29 for and 6 against.
Senator McRae moved that a vote of no confidence be taken on the Chancellor.
The motion was seconded.
Chair Carter stated that he has heard from faculty, and has represented their sentiments to the Board of Trustees that the review of the Chancellor was not broad enough.
Senator Sylla stated that she is opposed to a vote of no confidence, and is also opposed to taking it to the faculty without the Faculty Senate discussing it. She moved to table the motion.
The motion passed unanimously to table the motion.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.
January 20, 2003
To: Professor Philip Carter, Chair of the Faculty
CC: Dennis Daley, Chair-Elect of the Faculty
From: Stuart L. Cooper
Subject: Senate Meeting of January 14, 2003
I have reviewed the videotape of the January 14 meeting of the Faculty Senate and commend you for the most professional way in which you led the meeting. I have also read the article about that meeting posted on the university’s web site and subsequently on the Bulletin-on line site. There are comments made by the chancellor in the video and article to which I will respond. I request that you share my comments below with the full Faculty Senate prior to the January 21 Faculty Senate Meeting.
The chancellor cited seven areas “not being advanced” by the Provost’s Office as emblematic of the deficiencies in leadership of that office. These areas are “overcrowded classrooms, departmental operating budgets, flexibility in moving accounts from one account to another, graduation rates, facilities for offices, classrooms and laboratories, thresholds for undergraduate and graduate admissions and faculty recruitment.”
There has been extensive and considerable effort and communication by the Provost’s Office, as well as in several cases other vice chancellor’s offices, in dealing with these issues. Faculty and staff committees, task forces, and other work groups have been hard at work on these and other topics important to the success of NC State. Let me cite just a few examples of these activities in this academic year alone:
- Implementation of Progress to the Degree (Thomas Conway, James Anderson and others).
- Retention Task Force (Gail O’Brien, John Ambrose, Thomas Conway, Alton Banks, Ken Esbenshade, Tony Mitchell, Louis Hunt, Amy Caison, Bruce Mallette, and student Malika Mustafa)
- Block Funding for Operation Expenses from enrollment funding distributed to colleges for departments (Bruce Mallette, Frank Abrams, and Karen Helm)
- Account Flexibility Issues (Bruce Mallette, Steve Keto, and university business officers)
- Classroom Crowding (Louis Hunt, Martha O’Donnell, Bruce Mallette and Deans—more than $700K from the Provost’s Reserves (one-time) was allocated in Summer 2002 to mediate Fall enrollment crunch and budget cuts at the college/department levels.
- Classroom Quality/Technology (Helga Braunbeck, Sam Averitt, Charles Leffler, Bruce Mallette, and more than 15 other individuals, including the Classroom Environment Committee, Facilities Planning, University Architect’s Office, and college representatives) working on a plan for pilot initiatives and other improvements
Some of the areas cited, such as facilities for offices and laboratories and graduate admissions, are primarily under other vice chancellors. On the topic of faculty recruitment, the deans and departments heads had a particularly good year considering the budget in hiring more than 70 new faculty. These additions to our university were of the highest quality and added significant diversity to our ranks.
Each faculty senator has a varying degree of personal knowledge of the extent and quality of the activities in the Provost’s Office. I will simply state that Frank Abrams and Bruce Mallette were in the forefront of these activities, either directly or by supporting their many colleagues in and outside the Provost’s Office. Through Dean’s Council meetings, Dean’s Steering Committee meetings, my weekly meetings with the chancellor, and interactions across divisions at various administrative levels, these activities were known, communicated, and moving our campus forward in a consultative, inclusive, and collegial manner. The public record is replete with evidence attesting to this reality. During my brief 17 months as provost it was my great pleasure to work with a highly professional and competent Provost Office staff. The university deserves no less.
Note: Upon preparing to leave NC State in December of 2003 to become chair of chemical engineering at The Ohio State University, Dr. Cooper provided further insight and reflection on the university and leadership. See further attachment.
January 20, 2003
To: The NCSU Faculty Senate
c/o Professor Philip B. Carter, Chair of the Faculty
c: Dennis Daley, Chair-Elect of the Faculty
From: Frank Abrams
Subject: January 14, 2003 Meeting of the Faculty Senate
A videotape of the recent meeting of the Faculty Senate was provided to me. I sincerely thank all meeting participants. Their presence signified intense interest in the well being of the university. The kind expressions about me were humbling and heart-warming.
The Faculty Senate honored me with a resolution of commendation, and I am most thankful. The same devotion, diligence, good judgement, fairness, and collegiality mentioned in the resolution have existed throughout the entire Office of the Provost in my eight years as part of that office under three provosts and two interim provosts.
My love and respect for NC State compel me to make three observations:
- I am stunned, having been fired “at will and not for cause,” at the repeated commentary from the chancellor to multiple groups, the media, and in the posting on the NCSU web.
- The chancellor listed several topical areas of concern regarding communication and collaboration. The documentation and the magnitude of people involved with the current work on these issues attest to the “Provost’s Office’s” diligent pursuit of these issues, its continuing communication about them at all levels, and its wide collaboration on them across academic and non-academic areas.
- The chancellor asserted that the actions were “only apparently precipitous” and “should not have been a surprise to them” because of an extended period of “negotiation and discussion about improvement of teamwork.” Neither my personnel file nor any communication between the chancellor and me supports that assertion.
Our university is about discovery of knowledge and service to people. Our university must be about truth, not rhetoric. Our university must be about actions, not merely words. Our university must be a place where creativity prospers, collegiality flourishes, and people work in an atmosphere of openness and civility. The issue at hand is far greater than the wielding of authorized power; it is about character, truth, and leadership. The Faculty Senate is the voice of the faculty.
To: College Deans
Robert Sowell, Dean of the Graduate School
Dennis Daily, Chair of the Faculty
Anthony Caravano, Student Body President
Erich Fabricius, Student Senate President
Jon Barnwell, Chair of Staff Senate
From: Stuart L. Cooper
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Date: December 16, 2003
Subject: Reflections on a Great University
Time and distance away from one’s past experiences provides opportunity for reflection. As I prepare to leave for The Ohio State University and new professional opportunities, I wish now to speak, and to share with you several reflections from my two and one half years in the NC State community, 18 months of which I served as your provost.
I am honored to have been part of this university. NC State has an excellent faculty, in the classroom, in research, and in service to the people of the state and society in general. There is a dedication here to excellence in service to society that I do not believe is exceeded anywhere. That the faculty assume their noble calling responsibly, responsively, and with great creativity is a wonderful credit to this institution and the State of North Carolina.
The faculty are joined by dedicated staff who help deliver the diverse academic programs of the university and provide the very important support services essential to a great university. The loyalty of the staff to their work amid the difficult budget times is admirable.
The deans are an experienced team of scholars and administrators who do a splendid job at facilitating our diverse set of disciplines in a time of expanding scholarship and dwindling resources. And, on balance, the academic and administrative leadership throughout the university works very hard to support, enhance, encourage, and guide the very best from our faculty, staff, and students.
This dedication and commitment comes together to make NC State the most popular public institution of higher education in North Carolina, one that attracts a fine student body, which itself, is led consistently by outstanding student leaders. Student leadership is important, as is student opinion. Just as students ask questions in the classroom, students should be encouraged at all times to ask the tough questions of our campus community and its administration. Candid and civil dialogue is good for the academy, its students, its staff, its faculty, and the people it serves.
My staff and I built upon the vision, values, and principled leadership brought to the university by Provost Stiles and Provost Hall. Much of what the Office of the Provost sought to accomplish during my 18 months as provost derived from their leadership, initiatives, and direction.
I would like to briefly summarize seven issues that have not had benefit of the clarity and public discussion that each deserves. Seven causal points were cited before the Faculty Senate on January 14, 2003 as areas where attention from the Office of the Provost had been lacking, that were not coming forward for discussion, and about which communication at the executive officer level had not occurred. These seven items as well as the full transcript of the January 14 Faculty Senate meeting can be found at http://www2.ncsu.edu/faculty_senate/14jan03.htm, and a record of the meeting is also available on videotape in the Faculty Senate Office.
It is of concern that the statements of January 14, repeated in multiple other forums, have not been corrected by executive administration in the last year. The extensive public record documentation and the large number of people involved with the past and, at that time, current work on these issues are testimony to the "Provost's Office's" diligent and inventive pursuit of solutions, its continuing communication about them across administrative levels and channels, and its wide collaboration on these topics in academic and non-academic areas. Those points, with further elaboration, are:
- “Overcrowded classrooms”: NC State’s scheduling system does not allow enrollments beyond the classroom seating capacity set by the faculty and Registration & Records. However, the underlying and more accurate issue is that of availability of sufficient sections. The Office of the Provost worked closely with the deans and the registrar to identify section needs and to allocate additional resources from the funds available to the provost to add sections. In fact, in fall 2002, approximately $750,000 was allocated for this purpose. This process to review the need for extra sections has been continued by Provost Oblinger.
- In addition, the Classroom Environment Committee (CEC), with the involvement of over 25 faculty, staff, and students in fall 2002, developed an idea for a pilot project for high tech classrooms that crystallized into a recommendation resulting in funding support from Interim Provost Barnhardt in spring 2003. The CEC was a grass roots effort in the truest sense where skilled and concerned members of our campus community came together across divisional lines to enhance the quality of the academic experience. The CEC has always been led by an able faculty chair and supported by numerous administrative offices, including the Office of the Provost. Provost Oblinger has continued to support this initiative.
- “Departmental operating budgets”: Provost Hall established Budget Principles and Enrollment Change Budget Principles in an attempt to bring greater rationality to the allocation of resources available to the provost. These principles have remained a source of guidance since their inception and remain on Provost Oblinger’s web at http://www.ncsu.edu/provost/admin_resources/index.html. To my knowledge, the Office of the Provost is the only division with a published set of budget principles. In addition, in 2001-02 and 2002-03, the Office of the Provost, through discussions with the deans, developed an academic affairs fiscal plan that disclosed sources of funds, allocations, assumptions, and constraints to the fiscal system. This summary plan was not only shared with deans and vice provosts but also their business officers. To my knowledge, the Office of the Provost is the only division to have developed and regularly disclosed such information. The erosion of resources available at the departmental level was the core of deans’ discussions in summer/fall 2002 as preparations were made for a new round of compact planning. In fact, through discussions with deans, we determined that compact plans in academic affairs needed to focus not only on old initiatives and new cutting edge initiatives, but also core operating needs and opportunities for initiatives that may emerge on short notice. A compact plan approach very similar to this has been adopted by Provost Oblinger.
- “Flexibility in moving funds from one account to another”: With the multitude of budgetary regulations within the State of NC, the Office of the Provost worked closely with Finance and Business to fully understand the many nuances of these regulations so that local control and flexibility were maximized. In fact, upon the recommendation of the Office of the Provost, the University Budget Office added a field on the budget revision form to record the use of budget flexibility in accordance with the annual management flexibility report. Further, the Office of the Provost worked closely with the internal auditor, the University Budget Office, and college business officers in the evolution of the Quarterly Lapsed Salary Report format. Also, on two occasions in the past three years, the Office of the Provost coordinated a review of 1110 and 1310 funds in the colleges. It should be noted that Provost Oblinger has retained all the staff he inherited in the Office of the Provost who work on these very important fiscal matters.
- “Graduation rates”: This is a perennial issue in nearly all public universities, and there have been myriad efforts at NC State over the years to address this topic. The development of the Plan of Study occurred during AY 2001-02, and I appointed a task force on undergraduate retention in September 2002 to undertake serious study of the issue. That 10-member task force, under the able leadership of the associate dean for academic affairs in CHASS, provided its final report in May 2003. The task force report can be read at http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/studentprogress/taskforce/report.htm. In fact, Provost Oblinger’s commitment to this task force’s recommendations was expressed before the Faculty Senate on August 26. Further, the new vice provost for diversity and African-American affairs referenced the importance of the on-going campus climate studies in relation to retention before the Faculty Senate on November 4. The climate study was an initiative of the Office of the Provost.
- “Facilities for offices and laboratories”: This issue was very much at the top of the agenda at all times. The agendas and minutes of the University Space Committee (http://www.ncsu.edu/provost/governance/admin_committees/spacecom/index.html), the activities of the staff overseeing the bond build out, and the work group on space in the colleges provided extensive and candid dialogue on this topic. The multiple offices involved in these efforts included the Office of the University Architect, Facilities Planning and Design, DELTA, the Office of the Provost, and University Planning & Analysis just to name a few. The University Space Committee web site also provides the space principles and a description of the cross-divisional staff support work group developed by Provost Hall, that I endorsed, and that Provost Oblinger has continued to support.
- “Thresholds for undergraduate and graduate admission”: These two very different issues were, and are, constantly under scrutiny. The Undergraduate Admissions Office, the Athletics Council, the Admissions Committee, the Enrollment Planning and Retention Committee, and University Planning & Analysis are all connected to the multitude of issues related to quality and quantity of our undergraduates within the context of the The University of North Carolina’s overall enrollment demands. The able leadership of The Graduate School has taken giant steps in improving the recognition of graduate education as a part of our mission and in bringing into being the kinds of capabilities that help the faculty recruit the very best graduate students.
- “Faculty recruiting”: The Office of the Provost was, and remains, very active in enabling deans and department heads to recruit and retain the best faculty at all times. Programmatically, the spousal hiring program was initiated by Provost Hall and continued by me, and remains in place under Provost Oblinger as he noted this fall at Faculty Senate on August 26. Further, an extensive salary equity study was conducted and served as the basis to create a new and improved baseline methodology for monitoring this important issue and as guidance for the allocation of funds to reduce inequities. Further, in September 2002, the Office of the Provost created a Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTT) Task Force to address issues raised by the Office of President. The draft report of that task force can be found at
The opportunity to present a factual, documented response to these seven points raised on January 14, 2003, calls for further reflection. The administrative environment in which our excellent faculty, staff, and students live and work as scholars and learners remains in need of fundamental change. There is a significant need for a true expression of principled leadership guided by explicitly held and stated values. NC State’s challenge now is to provide real substance to its daily operational character. The excellent aims of community, partnerships, and an efficient business model await fulfillment.
There is an immediate opportunity for this campus to demonstrate a first step toward meaningful integration of these three ideas on campus. The Faculty Senate’s current draft “Resolution to Form a Faculty Budget Advisory Committee” is an important beginning. It addresses a key element of what is lacking in the current campus culture – transparency of budget and public discussion of the total institutional economy. The Faculty Senate’s resolution establishes an environment where more people would know how funding decisions are being made and what funding models are being used including, for example, the funding model for the development and operations of Centennial Campus.
I encourage the Faculty Senate to expand their resolution to include the creation of a Selective Investment Committee, composed of representatives of the faculty, staff, and students, along with administration, to review the university’s top compact initiatives and establish a priority list of initiatives, in rank order, informed by the university’s publicly expressed goals, that will be submitted to the executive officers, who in term will provide a public response. I sincerely hope the deans and department heads become actively engaged in this discussion.
Finally, I want to express my confidence in, and support of, Provost Oblinger, the deans, and the remaining and new members of the Office of the Provost staff. I encourage them to remember that just as in research, in administration we build on the shoulders of those who have come before us. I wish all of you well in your personal and professional journeys ahead.