OCTOBER 19, 2004
Present: Chair Daley, Secretary Weiner, Chair-Elect Allen; Senators Batra, Baynes, Bernhard, Bitting, Blair, Blank, Branson, Brownie, Bruck, Clark, Fahmy, Fauntleroy, Fikry, Hanley-Bowdoin, :Hooper, Johnson, Kellner, Khosla, Krotee, Martin, McRae, Middleton, Miller, Moore, Robarge, B. Smith, R. Smith, Tetro, Warren, Wessels, Young
Excused: Provost Oblinger; Senators Kasal, Matthews
Absent: Senators Estes, Stein,
Visitors: Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Benny Benton, Bulletin Editor; Sam Averitt, Vice Provost for Information Technology; Saroj Primiani, Coordinator of Information Technology Accessibility
1. Call to Order
Chair Dennis Daley called the fifth meeting of the fifty-first session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Daley welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Daley announced; the reports on the Admission of First Year Students, the Honors Program, and the White Paper Layer 8 from Information Technology are available in the Senate Office.
Chair Daley congratulated Senator Bernhard on receiving the Faculty Award from the Friends of the Library.
Chair Daley announced that on Friday, November 12, the library will sponsor a symposium in conjunction with the display currently in D.H.Hill called “Transforming Society: The GI Bill Experience at NC State.” This symposium will be held at the McKimmon Center and will feature a keynote address by Doctor Milton Greenberg.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 4, October 5, 2004
The minutes were approved unanimously.
4. Memorial Statement for Professor Scott Chilton
Margaret Daub, Department Head of Botany read a memorial statement to honor Professor Scott Chilton who passed away unexpectedly on August 5 while on a hiking trip.
5. Remarks from Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost
Senior Vice Provost Perry reported that the interviews have begun for the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Five candidates will be coming to campus and the interviews are scheduled into early November.
College Faculty Committees are developing the survey instruments for the review process of three deans; Dean Moore in Education, Dean Solomon in Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Dean Godfrey in Textiles.
The Provost/Chancellor-Designate is currently underway with conversations about the Interim Provost. Anyone who feels strongly about potential candidates should contact the Provost’s Office. He plans to do a National Search and a Search Firm will be used. Provost/Chancellor-Designate Oblinger is hoping to launched that search by the end of this calendar year with hopes of having a new Provost on board by July 1, 2004 or sooner if possible.
Provost/Chancellor-Designate Oblinger would like to encourage the faculty to consider submissions of nominees for Honorary Degrees.
Senator Kellner wanted to know if there is an acknowledgement that comes from receipt of a nomination.
Senior Vice Provost Perry responded yes, they do acknowledge receipt of nominations.
6. Web Accessibility
Sam Averitt, Vice Provost for Information Technology stated that the University IT Committee considered a web accessibility policy for the university over a period of two years or more. “We finally came up with such a policy. I would like to briefly discuss my best understanding of web accessibility at this point to let you know where we are and what we are trying to accomplish. In simple terms we are trying to meet our obligations under the law and our moral responsibility to our students and do it in a way that is reasonable, which allows us to continue to do our work and to do it effectively and continues to use online information, materials, and resources. What happens as anything matures is that it becomes more regulated, rules requirements and obligations which has happened to the Internet, computing and what we do online. As time progresses there are more things that we have to take into account as we use the technology.
To give you some background of the laws that apply to accessibility, there are three major ones. One is the Rehabilitation Act, which was in 1973 and it said that accessibility is a civil right. Then in 1990 we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, and then the State passed a law that widened the coverage and the responsibilities for accessibility. Some years ago we settled with the Office of Civil Rights a complaint in which we agreed that any software system costing more than $100,000 would be vetted carefully for its accessibility. A lot of people ask about Section 508, whether it applies or not and the law is certainly unclear on that point. There is the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which said that the Internet and computers in terms of accessibility must be readily achievable. We have gone to our legal team to see if they can translate all of this and the answer turns out to be, no. We have asked for a legal interpretation of what we should do that is clear. No such interpretation exists. I think if we have web materials and they are public they must be accessible. What happens if they are not accessible to the public? What happens if it’s a closed list? We think that in a closed group any special requirements for accessibility within that group can be addressed on an ad hoc basis. However, we can get no legal interpretation that says yes, that is the way it is. We do know from past experiences that if you have made a sincere and honest effort, that if you have a reason and justification for why you did something and there is a complaint and you are reviewed and it is found that you are short on compliance, their treatment of you will be very lenient if you clearly made an honest and sincere effort. If you try to weasel your way out and have lots of excuses you are going to be in trouble. We have had some complaints in the past. We have had some rulings against the university so we are in a situation where we need to deal with this in a very straightforward manner. We need to look at this and do what is correct but we don’t need to jump overboard. Compliance is not required where it is not reasonably attainable. It is not required where you are doing something that cannot be reasonably accommodated. For instance there are some visual materials that are absolutely critical to certain teaching situations for which an accommodation for a visually impaired person might be extraordinary, beyond anything that anybody but a real expert is able to do. That is not a level of reasonable expectation and we are not responsible for accessibility of external websites that we make available to our community. However, it is strongly encouraged that if you reference a site that is external to the university that you check it out and try to make them accessible if at all possible.
We are trying to meet the letter of the law, provide our students with learning opportunities and do it in a reasonable fashion, to do that we have a number of resource groups on campus. When you have problems or difficulties, please contact us and let us help you. The tools are advancing very rapidly. Building accessible websites are not the problem they used to be. We have training and we are also constantly investigating and looking at new tools and resources. We can help you make your site accessible. Three groups are available. DSS helps individual students. ITD looks at tools, infrastructure, provide training, provide assistance to colleges and departments as to how to address accessibility requirements. DELTA works with faculty and will actually do work for you, some of it, depending on the level they may do for you without a charge. Some will be for a charge. If you are in a situation where you want or need to make changes to be in compliance Saroj Primlani, Coordinator of Information Technology Accessibility is available to consult with you to help you understand what is required, to help you with tools and resources, as is DELTA. We are not leaving you out there alone in this requirement, but we do all have to be aware that we have some obligations and we are going to have to meet those obligations. To the best of our knowledge at this point you now know what I know.”
Senator Warren stated that she assumes that part of the requirement now is that DELTA courses that are fully distant education would be considered part of that more public arena whereas our courses that are developed within our departments at this point are a little less stringent. “Is that a general rule?”
Vice Provost Averitt stated that in general he thinks that is true, but if you start reading the fine points of the law you could have an online course that is a limited and closed as well. If you are publishing it then it is clear. If you have a closed group, an enumerated list of individuals and you know all of them and address all of their requirements, even if it is an online course it is not fair that the law is going to force you to make all of those materials accessible, but getting a concrete solid legal interpretation or guidance on that has been impossible.
Senator Bruck wanted to know if there is a tutorial for guidance on how to do a proper, distance education course.
Ms. Primlani stated that they have some tutorials on the web that shows exactly what you need to do. In addition they are looking at tools that will enable you to create an online course from a word documents.
Senator Miller wanted to know how the information presented today would be communicated to other faculty members.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that he would hope that college representatives on the IT Committee would communicate the information. “Everything we do is at least exposed or vetted in the University IT Committee. It is very important that you have not only your technical representatives, but academic representation as well. It is important that the discussions that take place in that forum go back to the college and its entire faculty. It is nearly impossible to hold small group discussions with everyone on the campus. Saroj or I would be glad to go anywhere that we can shed light and help people do the right thing and move forward with regard to accessibility.”
Senator Robarge stated that it is now possible with every operating system that is commonly used on computers to turn on a web server and run a personal web page. “We are searching for guidance on that. It appears not to be covered under this version 15. For instance, we have a faculty member who is widely known in international agriculture who has an extensive slide set that he is willing to share with his colleagues. He initially started putting that up on the web and then our IT people said if you are not going to make that ADA accessible you had better take it down which is what he has done. He does not have the time or inclination to go through every single one of those slides, yet it is a tremendous resource. What do we do in that situation?”
Ms. Primlani stated that they do not have to do anything to a personal website, however if it states very clearly that it somehow represents NC State as a university, then you have a problem. “A personal website is okay. You can do whatever you want with your personal website.”
Senator Robarge stated that since we use fixed IP numbers that, identify us uniquely as NC State does that not automatically mean that it is an NC State computer and therefore an NC State webpage.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that you have to be very careful. If it were truly personal, our reading of the law would be that you are probably okay. If in anyway it gets connected as NC State and is something related to our mission here versus something that an individual has and is just putting out there we won’t know what the answer is until it goes to court.
Senator Moore stated that it appears from reading the handout that he can put his site up and not be concerned about ADA compliance until someone complains. “Then if they complain I can always take it down. Am I not accurate in my assessment?”
Vice Provost Averitt stated that they have really tried to find out and cannot. They have not been able to get a precise interpretation. “No one is willing to say, do this, don’t do that, here are the guidelines for when it will be okay versus when it will not be okay and as a result I can’t assess the risk or the exposure with regard to what you said because legally I don’t know at what point it becomes personal versus what point it becomes official university activity.”
Senator Fikry wanted to know if other universities have the same problem.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that he thinks all of these questions will get answered in time. We are very early in the process at moving forward to make things accessible.
Ms. Primlani stated that most of the major universities are definitely in the process of addressing it. Some of the smaller schools are struggling because they don’t have people committed to just doing this work. “However I was in Washington DC and the Department of Justice has now cited commercial sites. They are going after counties and states and North Carolina State passed the law so now, we are required by state law to comply.”
Senator Smith wanted to know if it is okay for a faculty member to run a personal website and charge it to the university.
Vice Provost Averitt stated that the university allows you to have a personal website within certain guidelines of material. “We believe that it would be okay if it is truly personal, but here again that is our interpretation after long conversations with our legal advisers and no clear answer from them.”
Senator Clark stated that we speak well of accessibility dealing with software issues but he wants to know where hardware issues fall.
Vice Provost Averitt responded, DSS. Generally if it is something that the student has or owns or needs that is personal to the student who needs the accommodations, DSS’s business is working with that student. Ours is more of a system issue. DSS will work with an individual independent of college.
Senator Blair stated that after hearing one of Vice Provost Averitt’s presentation at a college meeting he rushed back to test one of his class websites using a process made available by Dreamweaver which will give you an instantaneous report on how you faired and he said he was shocked because the list was so long and overwhelming and incomprehensible to him that he did not know where to start. The bad news was that this website had not been created by him but was created by someone last spring who had taken the Dreamweaver course and used this as their class project. “I was rather disappointed that somehow the message was not getting through the Dreamweaver course materials that this should be required.”
Ms. Primlani stated that all Dream weaver courses that are done in ITD have accessibility built into them.
Senator Tetro stated that during an Academic Policy Meeting the committee had a lot of questions answered by the Disability Services. She is going to check with the Chair of that committee to see if they will come to the Senate because many questions asked today are separate issues and when they spoke to the committee they were very clear on exactly what services are offered, how they work, for whom they work, and what happens on an individual basis.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Middleton is concerned about the university leave policy as it applies to the teaching faculty. He stated that the policy differs from one department to another. He feels that there should be some uniformity in the maternity leave policy.
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that Compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act is in the works. It will be sixty days and is currently getting wordsmith at this time because we have to comply with that and OP required that to be done. “I am guessing what may have happened in the past is that we had nine-month employees who did not earn leave and we have twelve month employees who did. There you have two faculty members who could be treated totally different within the same department. I believe the nine-month people who did not earn leave were covered in various ways so that would have had some variation. I believe this new compliance with FMLA, will go well beyond maternity and will be more uniformed.”
Chair-Elect Allen stated that the Association of Women Faculty have discussed this and found that different departments have different responses and in many places you have to go through your department head and in some places that is fine and in some places it is not.
Chair Daley wanted to know if there is a current forty-day paid leave policy.
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that the new one is going to be sixty days. FMLA is paid but is determined by whether or not you were earning leave so there is still the variation between them.Senator Tetro stated that having gone through maternity leave at this university nineteen years ago her experience is that the official leave policy only allows a person take leave that has been accumulated and the only leave you are entitled to use is leave that you have accumulated. There is no 40 or 60-day period where a person is actually given leave. She hopes that the Family Medical Leave Act does not require that a new parent use up all of their leave before they are entitled to the family medical benefit.
Chair Daley stated that he believes Chancellor Fox did institute as part of the FMLA last year this forty day paid leave policy. This was designed for nine-month employees who had no leave. It is forty days every year. You don’t accumulate those forty days toward anything else.
Chair Daley assigned the issue of concern to the Personnel Policy Committee.
8. New Business
Grievance Committee Chairs
A motion was made and seconded to elect Shannon M. Carey and Honora F. Nerz to serve as Grievance Panel Chairs.
The motion was voted on and passed unanimously.
Senator Middleton reported that the Administrative Board of the Graduate School is currently reviewing the regulation on doctoral examinations. He would like anyone with suggestions on how they should be conducted to contact him.
Senator Tetro, Vice Chair of the Academic Policy Committee reported that there is a mechanism in place, which will not allow students to register for more than eighteen credits unless their adviser gives them approval to register for more.
Senator Robarge reported that the Bookstore Committee had their fall meeting on October 8, 2004, and they are moving toward putting the minutes on the website as well as past reports and other items. “There is one request from the Bookstore Manager that I want to bring to your attention and seek your guidance on but before I bring that up let me bring some items up that we will be addressing in the near future. One is the issue of book rentals. We have asked Richard Hayes who is currently the manager of the bookstore to assemble information on that. This issue was brought to my attention through Vice Provost Conway as a matter of interest from the Student Body. I am waiting on information from him as well. The slowest moving undergraduate initiative for computers known is right here on the eastern seaboard but we are moving forward with an undergraduate computer initiative at this university and about 300 students purchased computers this past fall. That number will continue to increase. All of that is being handled through the bookstore and that will eventually become a substantial source of revenue. However if you are going to ask if that means that you can get a further discounted computer through the Book Store the answer is no. The volume of sells will have to reach more than 4,000 for that to become a significant factor.
Another issue that we are going to discuss is current and potential new locations. I want to remind those of you who are fairly new to the campus that the Bookstore is self-supporting entirely. They receive no money from the university so everything that you see down there is funded through receipts. They make a substantial donation from profit line items every year to scholarships on campus, somewhere in excess of $300,000. If you patronize the Bookstore you are helping the university and you should think of it that way. There are currently six locations that are being operated serving across the campus and of course Centennial campus is a very modest almost insignificant presence over there right now. Next year approximately 4,000 Engineering students will be over there full time which will change the nature of that campus from a business perspective into one where students survive by the bus, get off the bus going into a building and come back out and leave again to one of actually having a presence of people there on a regular basis and in fairly large numbers. There is some discussion but there is currently no identified location there. The other issue I will remind people of is that food services and the book store are completely different entities and are not to be associated in any way.
Richard Hayes is in the process of purchasing new management software for the bookstore in an attempt to bring his operation more into the mother umbrella of People Soft. However he is constantly seeking ways to help the university and especially the faculty and what he is wanting input on now is what type of additional services would the faculty like in regards to the bookstore in terms of information contact. One thing that he is thinking of and using as a guide post in buying this new software is basically tracking your orders from the moment that you submit them, making sure you will get email confirmation, then you will get email confirmation that in fact that order is fulfilled, the book is available, when it is scheduled to come in, and when it shows up on the loading dock. At the moment it is scanned the software will email you to let you know that your books are here and they will be on the shelves in a few days. In addition to that he would like to know if it is useful for faculty to know how well their books are selling. If you are having a class of 300 every semester and he is only selling eighty books a semester, he is losing money and he is wondering if you know how little your books are being used. The advice that I seek from this is how best to go back to the faculty and request this information. I am going to see if there is a way to find out who the undergraduate and graduate coordinators are in departments and try to solicit that information from them. We need that feedback fairly quickly as he needs to make a decision soon about the purchase of this software. Any other services that you have desired that would make your life more productive in the academic environment are also welcome at this point.”
Senator Warren offered a suggestion: “I am often confused because they will split the orders up between several bookstores and when I am trying to advise the students about where to go it would be useful if as a part of the tracking system they could not only say your books are here but if they could say where they are splitting them up across campus.”
Senator Bruck stated that prices of the books at particular technical institutions have gone through the roof. “I have my students buy none of the books at the bookstore. You can go on Ebay or Amazon and find those exact books at 80% or more discount. Regarding the rental theory of books, I use a book in my largest class right now where basically every fourteen months a new edition of that book comes out. The bookstore will not sell the students last year’s book. To me it is like an Enron scam going on between the publishing companies.”
Senator Robarge stated that those issues were discussed last March as well. In terms of the discounts members of the committee have asked the exact same question. The only answer right now is that the bookstore is bound by the rules and regulations that are at both the university and state level and he has to manage to support the store. He has reduced the cost of textbooks. He went on to say, “I am going to work with Richard to scan in the reports that he is obligated each year to file with Vice Chancellor Leffler’s office and put those on line so they can be readily accessible as public information to show you the cost. It is well over a $4M operation. In terms of the rental issue, the one point that is completely opposite from his perspective in that he is fully aware that every two years generally that is the average there are new editions coming out. He has addressed that with the book vendors. His main argument is the other side, that the faculty are not paying enough attention to that and are not being critical enough and saying that an old edition is satisfactorily, so there is obviously room for communication here. Thank you for your observation. “
Senator Fikry stated that he does not think the needs of the distance education students are being taken into consideration.
Senator Robarge stated that his understanding from their last meeting is that the bookstore will be the official outlet for DELTA.
Senator Tetro stated that perhaps we are moving to a new form of buying and the bookstore for all that it does do it is doing less for more students and fewer students are actually using it to buy their books and that is not going to become more it is going to become less. “Whatever financial connection was there that worked well for many years seems to be working less. “
Senator Robarge stated that according to the statistics Mr. Hayes has provided as of last year 7,000 students had placed online orders for their textbooks. He fully expects that number to increase. Looking at our undergraduate population that is a sizable percentage of the undergraduates on this campus. I am not entirely sure that he would agree with your observation that fewer students are using the bookstore.
Senator Bruck reported that the Academic Policy Committee is still awaiting a resolution from the Administrative Board of the Graduate School regarding the question of TOEFL.
Senator McRae, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee stated that he hopes everyone has received a survey on healthcare and insurance. He urged everyone to fill out the survey.
Senator McRae plans to attend the University Reappointment Promotion and Tenure Committee meeting on October 29 when they will be considering the latest changes to academic tenure policy. He plans to report back to the Senate at the next meeting.
Senator Warren reported that the deans are reviewing the issue of daycare on campus and are very interested and enthusiastic and committed to this issue.
Senator Bernhard stated that the Resources and Environment Committee continues to meet on alternate weeks from the Faculty Senate meetings. At their last meeting they met on K-12 outreach. They are not yet ready to report but have achieved an agreement.
Senator Bernhard stated that he has invited the transportation folks to the Resources and Environment Committee Meeting three weeks from today to discuss both parking and the Wolfline operation along with their plans for next year.
Senator Batra wanted to know what happened after the passing of the resolution on academic freedom at the last meeting.
Senator Warren reported that the intention is to put this in as a bill with the General Assembly. She thinks in terms of media coverage we have been quite fortunate.
Chair Daley adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.