April 5, 2005
Present: Chair Daley, Secretary Weiner, Chair-Elect Allen; Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Batra, Baynes, Bernhard, Blair, Blank, Branson, Brownie, Bruck, Estes, Fahmy, Fikry, Hanley-Bowdoin, Hooper, Kasal, Kellner, Krotee, Martin, Matthews, McRae, Miller, Moore, Robarge, B. Smith, R. Smith, Tetro, Warren
Excused: Senators Clark, Khosla
Absent: Senators Bitting, Fauntleroy, Johnson, Middleton, Stein, Wessels, Young
Visitors: Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Robert Barnhardt, Former Interim Chancellor; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Tom Kendig, Director of Transportation; Patrick Cleary, Student Senate President ProTempore; Slade McCalip, Transportation; Julia Kornegay, Department Head of Horticulture Science; Benny Benton, Editor of the Bulletin; James Oblinger, Chancellor; Jeff Braden, Psychology
1. Call to Order
Chair Dennis Daley called the fourteenth 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 that he would like to have the Faculty Senate elections completed before the end of the semester.
Chair Daley announced that the April 19 meeting would adjourn early to allow the selection of nominees for the standing committees.
Chair Daley announced that faculty members are invited to the Chancellor’s Installation scheduled on April 20 and they are not required to be robed.
Chair Daley congratulated Senator Miller on being named the SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 14, March 22, 2005
The motion passed to adopt the minutes as corrected.
4. Remarks from Former Interim Chancellor Barnhardt
Senator Warren read a resolution that was passed by the Faculty Senate to honor Former Interim Chancellor’s Barnhardt.
Comments from Forum Interim Chancellor Barnhardt
You don’t know how much this truly means to me. This is my last semester here at NC State and I can’t think of a better way of cycling out than being recognized by faculty for faculty activities. I like the very first paragraph, which talks about students and the interaction with students because if there is anything that I enjoyed at NC State it has been the interaction with students. As you all know they are unpredictable and you never know what they are going to say. I also appreciate the way you summarized forty-four years. That is not an easy thing to write and I appreciate the time and effort that it took to write all of those things.
I have been here eighteen years. The reason I came was because of the Centennial Campus. The whole concept of the Centennial Campus twenty years ago just seemed to me that this was going to lead this university to great new directions and opportunities and we were pleased to be the first college on the campus. I can remember people initially worried a little bit about being isolated from Holladay Hall. Can you imagine the opportunities and excitement of a new campus and a new facility and getting us started? I can remember being asked to go down to the Legislature to comment and testify on the extent of the Centennial Campus to help the College of Textiles. We grew our Research Program from less than one half million dollars per year, fifteen billion dollars a year during those times in good years. We had the same faculty, some new additions, etc., but it was because we had a new facility and we had the opportunity to do research when we never had before. I watched the new building at the Veterinary College going up. They are going to experience exactly the same thing.
The Provost job was a difficult time. The campus was very supportive of the office and they were supportive of me and that was very important. Some of the interactions with faculty committees weren’t always pleasant. They weren’t negative. We did not always agree on decisions that were made but the great thing to me was that at the end of every meeting everyone would say “Thanks for doing what you are doing” and that is all you need, all you need to leave everyday knowing that people appreciate it even though we can disagree.
The last six months were super because it gave me the opportunity to do some things that I had not had the chance to do before. I thought one of the important things that needed to happened during the Interim was to be visible as a Chancellor particularly on campus to accept as many invitations as you could, to go out and participate in recognition of faculty awards, going to Staff and Student Senates’ meetings and just trying to give the impression that things are going on an even keel. That was a great opportunity for me to get to know the university in a way that I have never known before, which was very nice. I did have one very uncomfortable time and that was when someone called and said you have to participate in the homecoming activities, which I expected. I was asked to sit on the back of my convertible and wave. I was able to get Miss Wolf to ride with me and I didn’t have to wave at all because everyone waved at Miss Wolf. I was very pleased to get off at the Bell Tower and say good-bye and let Miss Wolf ride on wherever she wanted to go.
I know from that experience I am going to write two great best sellers during the next few years. One is on being an introvert in an extrovert world and the second one will be how to survive several interim assignments. I think I have enough words of experience to be able to talk about them. I really do thank you for this and I thank you for all the support that you give not only to me personally but particularly to the Chancellor and to the Provost. It is difficult but if we could work collectively together, that makes everyone’s job a whole lot easier. Thank you again.
5. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
We do truly appreciate all that Bob Barnhardt has done for and with NC State. I can say that because I worked with Bob when he was a dean, I worked with him when he was Provost and I worked with him when he was the Chancellor. A hard act to follow because his comments about visibility are particularly true and I have lived that the last three months and I am going to give you an update on several fronts.
The last time I was here I told you how Diana and I were taking road trips. I gave you a thumbnail sketch of road trips in Eastern North Carolina. I think it was three days later that we took the road trip to Wilmington. In Wilmington as in the previous road trips and the one that will come in the future we will do alumni events as well as Chamber of Commerce events. We always take a dean or two along with faculty with us as well as students to represent NC State to talk about what NC State is doing in that particular region. Wilmington was not different from that. We started our program at GE Nuclear. Their international headquarters is in Wilmington. They are in the process of moving even more people to that facility. Of the 900 employees, 200 of them have college degrees and at that particular facility 50 of them are NC State graduates. We had good conversations with a built in alumni group and at the same time upper management with GE Nuclear and talked about everything from research to curriculum to how we can through the Industrial Extension Service and Corporative Extension Service and other relationships back to this campus help them do what they do in a partnering way. That has been one of the real benefits of these trips is to know our partners in their homes as opposed to them coming to us in Raleigh.
The Chancellor at UNC Wilmington hosted Diana and I and our small party at her home where we met civic leaders in the Wilmington area and renewed some old acquaintances of people that use to work here at NC State and now work at UNC Wilmington and other places. We met their Board of Trustees and several members of the Board of Governors were present at that event as well.
Last week Diana and I were hosted in Charlotte at Wachovia. More than 500 alumni of NC State University work for Wachovia. We had a wonderful alumni event there in the Wachovia Building in downtown Charlotte and again had the opportunity to talk about the impact of NC State on that area of the state. In particular some of the work that the College of Management is doing, what we hope to accomplish with the Friday Institute and Wachovia is a major supporter of the Joyner Visitor Center that you see coming up out of the ground next to the McKimmon Center. Two of the eight Vice Presidents of Wachovia are NC State graduates.
We are headed to Charlotte again the first part of May where we will be hosted by Chancellor Woodward who is in his last few months as Chancellor at UNC Charlotte. He is hosting us and we will have an editorial board with the Charlotte Observer and meet with the Chamber of Commerce and have an alumni affair as well. Visibility is important. It is important for your Chancellor and is important for this university. What is very hardening to me is the strong and positive feeling that NC State generates all across this state. I believe we are the only institution that has that type of recognition save for maybe our colleagues down the road as a result of his performance last night. I wrote to Chancellor Meoser very early this morning and congratulated him and their team on a great game. I think it is good for the ACC. It is good for North Carolina. It is good for student athletes. I also remember doing some legislative visits in Washington DC and I visited forty-five minutes to an hour with six of our delegations, both Senators Burr and Dole as well as Representatives Coble, Taylor, Jones, and Etheridge. I will tell you again the reputation of NC State is very high among those individuals. They realize what we do statewide. The representatives are very in tune with what is happening in their districts. The Senators are very knowledgeable about the entire state. They talked about the high quality of education because of the qualifications of our faculty. They talked about the importance of economic development and I think this institution as well as Carolina should feel particularly good about the way they credit research as a driver of high quality education and economic development in the quality of life.
I hope you have seen that the Board of Governors did approve the remaining tuition proposals that came from the campuses as well as the fees. They did modify Carolina’s values but ours stay in tact and so there will be tuition increases for out of state undergraduates as well as our graduate student population both in state and out of state and we did receive the fee increases that we proposed. I hope you also saw that we have two new members coming to our Board of Trustees. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for North Carolina, Judge Burly Mitchell and Lawrence Davenport a prominent farmer and businessman from Eastern North Carolina who was most recently chairman of the Golden Leaf Foundation, both replacing people who have been very important to us as trustees. Our Chair, Peaches Blank is finishing up her term and her service on the Board as is Dick Rob, who is part of the Park Foundation. Dick was not solely responsible for us having that program but he certainly did a lot of thought leadership as it relates to the parameters of that program and has had a general interest in all of our students, not just the Park scholars.
I would tell you that we are half way through the Bond build out. I would just tell you that when we had President Broad over in EB1 (Engineering Building I) we had a celebration of all the people associated with preparing the facility and building a facility like that including our contractors who participate with us on a variety of projects. It was a celebration of being half way through the build out on the NC State campus. If you have not been in EB1 it is a wonderful building. It is a building that in my case our youngest son has the pleasure of working in as a student in Chemical Engineering and Material Science and if you know faculty who are on those respective faculties I think you will sense the excitement of that facility through them which I think is the ultimate testimony for what a facility does for people and that is typical I think of our bond project, not just in our new buildings but hopefully that will be the case in our renovated buildings as well.
I participated last Thursday in the installation of Steve Ballard at East Carolina University. I was the delegate from NC State but in that afternoon period of time there was a Chancellor’s forum. The exact title of that forum was the “Future of the Public University Serving Our Society”, which is not a new topic for NC State University. It is being heavily discussed at ECU. ECU wants to make a difference particularly in Eastern North Carolina and they see public service as a way to do that, as a vehicle for relevance and responsiveness to their region. I served on a panel with former Governor Hunt, President Broad and one of Steve Ballard’s mentors from early in his career to discuss that and I think that I was asked to participate in that by Steve as a result of the reputation NC State has far and wide well beyond the boarders of this state, the regions and country for having that type of an impact in the economy of this state.
In the question and answer period they have some of the same concerns that I remember hearing in the early and mid-nineties here about rewards and recognition for people engaged in service to their university and their state via their vehicle. I remember the excellent work that Ellis Cowling and others including the Faculty Senate have worked on through the years since that was something that was talked about in these chambers and in the various colleges where that was very important. I will just tell you that we are supplying Ellis’ and your documentation to the faculty group that is taking on this project at ECU and they are already very grateful.
Last Friday the Board of Visitors met on this campus. We had faculty involved with that particular meeting. Thirty people total of which there were only twenty-eight there but that should give you some indication that they have when supporting NC State. The Board of Visitors heard from Blake Brown in Agriculture and Resource Economics as well as Roger Barker from the College of Textiles. They heard from a couple of our students about their NC State experience and importantly they heard from two Legislators. They heard from two Wake County members of their delegation here in Wake County. Representative Jeff Weiss and Senator Richard Stevens. Senator Stevens is on Appropriations and he was very candid about the budget situation that the state faces right now, one point three billion dollars short of meeting the obligations that they would like to be able to meet and I hope you have seen in the paper the news that the universities were in fact, to prepare budget reduction scenarios of one, two, three, and four percent. The Faculty Advisory Budget Committee is aware of those. Provost Neilsen has been in touch with them and they have a rather hurried scheduled meeting coming up in the not to distant future. I would tell you that we have submitted that report and as Senator Stevens described it let me describe it to you. This is the second of a five- act play. The first act is where the governor presents his recommendations for the next year’s budget and in that budget there is a 1% recurring reduction across the State budget. We think at a minimum that will hold. The second act of this play is in the Senate. The third act would be the House’s response to the Senate. The fourth act would be a committee to resolve the differences then it would go into act five back to the whole legislature for their ratification and/or approval or modification and then I guess there is a sixth act because the Governor could veto the budget if he so chooses. I will tell you that with that type of a short fall what the budget chairs were asked to do was to come up with half of that shortfall through reductions. We were given 48 hours to turn in our 4% reductions and after about 36 hours of that 48 hours period we were asked for an additional iteration by budget code. They wanted to know about legal and accounting fees. They wanted to know about cell phone charges. They wanted to know about honorariums. They wanted to know about instate and out of state travel. They wanted to know about out of country travel. They wanted to know about rental equipment, office equipment, the purchase of scientific equipment, motor vehicles, library books and journals, educational awards and other grants and aids, a very comprehensive distribution across the entire system of how much are you spending line by line that you ought to be concerned about. I have been visiting with Legislators talking about management flexibility, but if there are cuts to be taken then those cuts ought to be taken by people closest to them. In other words we want management flexibility at the campus level so that we can determine where any reduction would be taken. We do not really want to nor do we look forward to being told by someone from downtown or someone from the Office of the President that thou shall reduce from this line, that does not make sense with the complexity of budget that we have on this campus but I will tell you right now I have been arguing quality, access, facilities and administration, F&A overhead money they have not really been talking about that a great deal yet but they are looking at all sources of revenue and I have also been talking about vacancies. A lot of people evidently in the Legislature feel that vacancies are vacancies; that there is nothing happening with the money that is sitting in that vacant position. You as faculty know for sure that you are paying temporary teachers in many respects particularly in CHASS, PAMS, and several of our colleges have temporary instructors and faculty paid from vacant lines. We all have graduate students who are paid from vacant lines. There are a variety of utilization of dollars in vacant lines and I can remember standing before you the last time I was here and talking about how we take operating dollars from vacant lines because we have cleared ours through budget reductions, our operating budget so we move back and forth. It is very important to us that the General Assembly understands how vacancies are used differently from agency to agency in State Government. I am not convinced that they do. I will tell you that we had a follow up request for additional cell phone information. I can tell you that tomorrow the Dean from Agriculture and Life Sciences is testifying about Corporative Extension Services budget and its utilization and the Institute for Emerging Issues has been asked to talk about its budget. So there are a lot of things happening relative to this budget. Please see it as an evolving scenario. Right now the Senate is charged with coming up with the money, the 1.2 billion dollars shortfall so that they can past off their budget into the House to respond to so this is an evolving situation and I thought you should be as up to date on it as possible and I look to the Provost and Charlie Leffler to utilize the Budget Advisory Committee. I know that the deans and department heads also are very much at work on this subject.
I have not seen this written anywhere but I had the opportunity to meet with Les Merit the State Auditor. We are required annually to have an audit on this campus and I would just tell you that we all have reason to be proud that we had an absolutely sparkling clean audit, and accolades to Charlie Leffler in Business and all the people that worked very diligently almost year round to make sure that I could be in the position that I am in today bragging about an absolutely sparkling clean audit from the State Auditor who is new who is looking to establish his record as a diligent State Auditor and this is a large organization so I am very proud of that.
Our faculty continue to win awards. Two faculty members from Engineering, NSF career awards; Meredith Davis, Professor of Graphics Design in the College of Design awarded an American Institute of Graphics Art Medal for 2005, the absolute highest honor in that profession; Major Grant in the Department of Wood and Paper Science from the Department of Energy to two faculty members.
I hope you have seen the two Goldwaters that we recently received. There were forty-six new park scholars announced within the last two weeks.
I have talked a lot about the pride that I am able to share about our faculty and our staff and our students and our alumni. I have talked about the capital campaign with you still in the silent phase. We have talked a little bit about rankings in this group before too. I want to tell you about some fund raising rankings that have recently been announced and I will give you a couple of figures. This relates to public research universities. I will compare where we were in the fiscal year 2000, where we are in fiscal year 2004 and I hope you hope the pride that I do in these figures.
Public Research Universities in terms of where we were ranked, in 2000 we were ranked thirtieth. In 2004 we are sixteenth in the country. If you look at corporate giving to the university for research, in the year 2000 we were ranked fifteenth. If you look in the year 2004 we were ranked third in the nation, third in the nation trailing two systems, not individual institutions, California system and the University of Texas System and then its NC State University. For Alumni giving in the year 2000, we were ranked twenty-ninth in the country, now twenty-forth. Philanthropic Foundations, forty-first in the year 2000, twenty-fifth in the year 2004. That is a tribute to our faculty, a tribute to the programs that emanate from our faculty, a tribute to our students who participate with our faculty, that is a tribute to our staff that provides the infrastructure and it is a tribute to the institution and to our development officers.
Saturday I had the opportunity to participate in Service Raleigh. Service Raleigh started eight years ago by the Park Scholars and Students Government. Eight years ago it involved about 600 students and twenty organizations in the Raleigh area. Now it is a project undertaken by the association of Student Government on behalf of the system and there are several universities in the system that have a service mode to what they are all about. This is a generation that enjoyed giving back and I joined them in some of that on Saturday. There were 2000 students assembled under Harrelson Hall and sixty organizations that benefited from that service. Everything from picking up trash to building houses for Habitat for Humanity to in my case helping sort out a library in the Horizon Center for communities and schools, lots to be proud of.
I was asked at a Staff Senate event on yesterday what I enjoyed most about being Chancellor and I really did not hesitate and responded as I would if you had asked me that question that representing NC State is a pleasure because you as Chancellor get credit for all the good things that everybody that is part of this great university is really responsible for and that feels very good. One of the things I want to be sure to do with each and every one of you is share that because it is because of you because we are NC State. Thank you.
Senator Martin stated that we are doing more than we ever have with less than we ever had and it just does not jive with the public accolades that seem like grandma’s apple pie. It is easy to say we love you, we support you NC State but when are we going to see the rubber actually meet the road when it comes to an honest budget that allows us to do what we are doing.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that when you sustain appropriated budget cuts from the state fourteen of the last fifteen years, then how are you managing to get through and yet if you turn to Charlie Leffler or your budget officer probably we have never spent more money at the end of the year than we have spent in the past fiscal year for a variety of reasons. We have grants and contracts growing at an incredible rate, which is increasing the expenditures that flow out of NC State. We have grant and contract activity that account for some of that growth in expenditures. We have growth in our development activity, foundation and related fund raising and that shows up because much of that money is spent as well. I have talked to them about how we have for several years sustained cuts and not touched the classroom at all. That stopped about five years ago. We have had to go into budgets that support the classrooms and laboratory experience of our student pretty significantly over the last several years and then when we get enrollment increase money which was the only new money that was coming on the campus prior to the campus initiated increase dollars, we would take that money and along about the summer we would hear that we had “X” number of freshmen coming and they were not able to develop full schedules so the Provost would take out of the reserve account. We have supplied to high demand areas dollars from the Provost reserve to accommodate incoming students. This year we are not going to be able to do that. We are even concerned about being able to have our already on campus students matriculate through their degree programs. Are they going to have access to all the sections and seats that we have had in the past? Probably not depending on the nature of the cut. I think there will be a budget cut. I don’t know what the magnitude of that will be. We have talked and we should never forget that when cuts have come K-12 and higher education have received lower cuts than other state agencies so it is a delicate balance here for us talking about what we are not going to be able to do versus full funding or keep us harmless from any type of budget cut. They are getting the understanding that access is something that we have prided ourselves on. Every year we have taken additional students. This system is faced with a huge on slot of students, new students over and above what we have. Over the next ten years the demographics are such that we will have ever increasing numbers of college bound students. We have worked with our deans because we have better graduation rates than we have had in the past. We are moving students through here quicker. They are graduating on a schedule at an accelerated rate compared to just last year and the year before. That has decreased our overall enrollment because they are leaving sooner than what would have been projected in the past so we have to beef up the number of transfers as well as first time freshmen that we are taking to maintain and increase our enrollment over time because I still see only enrollment increase money as the new money coming into campus and if you have seen the numbers in the last couple of years instead of like four and five years ago when we were having seven, eight, and ten million dollars in enrollment increase money coming to the campus for distribution as new dollars, two years ago we had 1.2M then 1.8M and that money does not go very far.
Senator Bruck stated that the numbers never jive. You read the News and Observer and the economy of North Carolina is growing at 1.3%, unemployment is down. Nationally it is the same picture. We took cuts last year and we are taking cuts this year, somehow we are missing 1.2 billion dollars. It is like two plus two equals one. I have never understood how this occurs and how can you run a government this way.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that a major portion of this is health care cost even with the health care policy that we have. It is health care cost. It is a real challenge. It is the fastest growing expenditure in the state budget.
Chancellor Oblinger stated, “I have been reading some analysis of business taxes in North Carolina. We have a fairly high business income tax compared to our surrounding states in particular the southeast. I think ours is 6.7% and a couple of our neighbors are down in the 5’s and 4’s. That is a long term stunting effect if you talk to most economists in terms of growth in the economy because they can do business elsewhere and pay less tax on it and you are familiar with commerce trying to assist luring companies into the state and often it is a tax break that is made in those cases. So there is no one thing that would fix this. It is a very complex environment budgetarily.”
Senator Robarge wanted to know if the proposal to reduce or eliminate taxes has come up at the State level.
Chancellor Oblinger stated, “What Senator Robarge is referring to is federal appropriation relative to the Hatch Act and the Hatch Act appropriates money to, in our case the Agriculture Research Service. It’s a formulae derivation based on acres under tillage and numbers of farms and things like that. The President’s budget in a two-year period lined that out. There has been no discussion at the state level about the Hatch funds but when I was in Washington and talked with the delegation I talked with each of the delegation about that. We are not nearly as dependent as some of the other institutions are on Hatch funds but I will give you this now from Washington. I talked with the Chair for the Agriculture Appropriation Committee who is actually a representative from Kentucky. He happened to be where I was and we had a good conversation about that. He said you know the President can recommend anything that he wants to but we are the appropriators. That was a code message for he can represent any case that he wants to, any scenario but if we don’t want to go along with it we won’t and we won’t in this case, that is what I have been told by a fellow who should know. Our delegation is very supportive.
Senator Hanley-Bowdoin stated that she was in Washington approximately two weeks ago at NRI when this was discussed and she thinks the consensus is that it is not going to happen now but the other part of that is that it is basically a warning that something along those lines is going to happen. Maybe not this year or next year but five years down the road, that there could very well be major cuts in Hatch. One of the things she came away with through NRI was kind of disturbing. There seems to be an internal competition at the USDA for money and the NRI really wants a bigger part of the pie which is why the president’s proposal and yet they have not come to terms with how things that are covered by the hatch will be funded.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that he would share one other thought and that is that the NRI is the National Research Initiative. It is a competitive grant program that flows out of USDA. I would tell you that our faculty on this campus compete exceptionally well in the NRI and in a worse case scenario one would want to take a formulae driven application and put it into competitive funding and we would do very well with that. The other thing that is obvious in Washington, if that was not challenged it would happen and some times that is the way budgeters work, they will put it out there and if no one objects it is gone. That is true about state reductions at the one, two, three, and four percent level as well which is why I am very concerned about the definition of vacancies.
Senator Brownie wanted to know if it would be appropriate to share with the faculty the O Max Gardner Award.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that unfortunately, it is not.
Senator Kellner, “Did I understand in your talk that there are certain perverse incentives for the university to increase its graduation rate, that this cause is short term, short falls as people leave the university and I was wondering if that is the case. What is the long-term picture in terms of working on strategies to improve the graduation rate? How does this help the university and what kind of steps? If all it does is to raise our rank and make the figures look better, but in fact it is not of economic benefit although it may well be an academic benefit, how are things to be balanced?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that if you look at peer comparison people look at thirty or forty different parameters when they characterize an institution’s performance if you will and one of the things that are looked at is graduation rates and do we have plenty of room to increase our graduation rates. I think what has happened by virtue of some of the things that have been put in place over the last five to seven years we have started to see students get better advising and they don’t take courses that don’t count toward their graduation, they are coming in with a lot more AP credits than they use to, that tends to speed up the progress toward degree. Progress toward degree is also shown up in the graduation rate. I think what we need to do through enrollment management is to be much more in tune with what is happening at every class level. What is our retention rate in the first place? We do very well freshmen to sophomore. It starts to fall off sophomore to junior, junior to senior but I don’t think there is anything the matter with improving our graduation rate as long as we are in touch with what our overall enrollment is and what we have found is that when you have several sources of students, not just your incoming freshmen, but you have transfer students, you have a graduate student population that we are trying to grow with a variety of techniques. It is a very complex mix. We are concerned about enrollment increase dollars. If your enrollment is off 700 then I will tell you that the budgeters, the people that do the appropriating will say that they told us they were going to have this number of students and they are 700 under that. Well we need to smooth out the bumps in the road and a four percentage point jump in graduation rates in one year is extraordinary I would say particularly if you were in the mid sixties and you are now pushing sixty-eight or sixty-nine percent. With our combination of disciplines that is a very respectable graduation rate but we are always looking to improve.
Interim Provost Nielsen stated that basically we have this formula that says new students coming in and graduating students going out the other end can result in a number of students on campus and what happen is the outgoing students increased without us adjusting the model for how many students we need to bring in the front end. What we have done is we have gone back and adjusted the model so that we have more students coming in the front end and I think what this means is we will be able to be more efficient at educating more students through the time that they are graduating quicker. The problem is that it also results in a different distribution of students as they go through and until it gets stabilized again then we have to figure out that we need some resources.
Senator Tetro stated that it is good news that the students are graduating but it is bad news that we have had to up the incoming number because there are not dollars to increase chemistry sections. If we are adding to the freshmen numbers then we have to add to the maths and chemistries. The question is, do we have to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Provost Neilsen stated that in the long run every college department is going to have to look at course offerings. We will be looking at how we apply new dollars this year to make sure that the interim student classes have enough seats to fulfill our responsibility. It gets more difficult as the budget shrinks. One of the things that has happened over the last two years as we had CIT and enrollment increase dollars as the Provost now Chancellor has put those dollars in the places where they were bottlenecks for students getting through and we have reduced those bottlenecks and I know that is part of what the graduation rate increase is about. For example we have reduced the number of full sections by 15% over the last two years. My fear is with the budget cuts we are going to go back at that figure and if we want that trend to continue and it is not going to be able to because we are not going to have enough money to put there. The real tragedy is it gets real expensive when you have to stay another semester to take the course that you could and should have taken during the four years but you were unable to get into the course.
6. Remarks on Campus Pathways
Slade McCalip, Assistant Director of Planning and Operation in the Department of Transportation stated that as far as traffic improvements, Dan Allen is the worst. We do not have the resources to address Dan Allen in the next five years but we can make the traffic better around the coliseum deck. We are going forward with implementing a one-way street system around the coliseum deck and are also implementing a traffic signal at the intersection of Cates and Pullen. A traffic circle or a roundabout at Cates and Pullen would have to be much bigger than the current traffic circle at Stinson and Pullen and given the concern the city has about impacts to property around Pullen Park we felt it would be better to just go with a signal. We are trying to make improvements in the next five years.
In the next five years while we are trying to get these projects done we want to go forward with doing some master planning. We want to look at what the best solution is for addressing the conflicts on Dan Allen Drive. We also want to look at what the impact would be when Varsity Drive becomes a full intersection, and the impact of pedestrians trying to cross Western Boulevard. We are well aware of these things and are working on them. We have already requested from the federal and state regional government a pedestrian underpass under Western Boulevard. It would be in excess of a $10M project but we want it big enough so that pedestrians, bicycles and some form of transit vehicle can get through that underpass.
A lot of the transit improvements that are in the plan are tied to the traffic improvements. Right now all of our Wolfline buses travel in a clockwise fashion because they can’t make left turns. If you want to use one of our shuttles to go from east to west you have to go east first to go west. If we get some traffic signals in it will help us to put some buses going the other way. We also want to implement some demand response buses for the handicap. We also want to put in some smaller vehicles that will circulate on North Campus and Centennial Campus. We are working with the university architect now to figure out a bus transfer center on Centennial Campus. We wanted to do more with bicycle pedestrian improvements but this is a physically constraint plan and our department is charged with parking and transit. We could not do any more than another responsibility in which we have which is signage across campus so we have focused our efforts awareness when it comes to bicycle pedestrians. We want to enhance our pedestrian and bicycle signage here at NC State. The other thing that we are going to try is a Sharrow (Share the Road Arrow). We are going to put one on Stinson Drive. It indicates that if you are driving a car, expect to see bicycles and if you are on a bicycle the placement of the arrow pretty much tells you where you should probably ride.
One of the things we are trying to do is put our buses on the Internet so you will be able to log in and see the Wolflink Shuttle Live to see when the next bus is coming to your nearest stop. We are trying to listen to the students since they pay for most of the bus services. We are also trying to make our bus system management more efficient for the dispatchers. If you have three buses on one route they can keep those three buses equal distance so that they are maintaining their schedules. We will also receive management reports on the on time performance of our system and that will enable us to penalize the new service provider. If they don’t provide good on time performance they are not going to get their full salary. A particular interest to faculty would be if you have students that say that they missed the bus or the buses were late, you can let us know and we may be able to email you the on time performance for that route.
I want to thank the faculty here at NC State because this is an experimental project. It is the first of it’s kind with this type of technology in the country and it is by NC State students. These students wanted to give back to NC State. They approached us and said, “We want NC State to be first to use this system.” I think that says a lot about the faculty and staff here at NC State.
Senator Tetro wanted to know if parking fees would increase.
The response was yes.
Senator Tetro wanted to know who other than the students pay for bus service.
McCalip stated that it comes out of Parking.
Senator Bruck stated that if this university is going to expand in terms of its enrollment, scope, and duties has it ever run across anyone’s mind to eliminate the traffic from this campus and have peripheral lots for people to come in.
McCalip stated that their plan is based on the NC State Physical Master Plan and that is supposed to be open for discussion starting this fall.
Senator McRae stated that the problem with emphasis on the schedule is when the drivers tend to get behind they have a tendency to speed. I think you either need more buses so that you can make the route shorter or smaller buses so that they can be more flexible or you need to pay attention to the speed that the drivers are doing.
McCalip stated that last fall they worked out a new timetable to try to make it more reasonable so that they could attain schedule without speeding. If they are still speeding we do have a radar gun from the Police Department and we audit them from time to time.
Senator Blank stated that he noticed while on Chapel Hill’s campus that at 5 p.m. there was campus security directing traffic at intersections. I use Dan Allen crossing the campus all the time and I have never seen a campus security person at Sullivan and Dan Allen intersection and the Cates/Dan Allen intersection directing traffic. It would seem that those two places are critically important for that traffic tie-up on Dan Allen and it doesn’t seem to me that it would be that problematic to have campus security people at those two locations coordinating the traffic.
Senator Tetro stated that to pay for a service that the students use approximately 90% of the time and the Faculty and Staff might use approximately 6% is something that she would like to find out about.
McCalip stated that what they are trying to do is to provide mobility options to everyone and they have the largest park and ride lot probably in North Carolina at Carter Finley Stadium. They are trying to provide options for every economic bracket of every faculty, staff, student and employee here at NC State. As far as the precise mix it is part of your system.
Tom Kendig, Director of Parking stated that the students pay 80% of the transit contract cost and the remaining 20% comes from parking and fees. That parking fee includes students’ parking fees as well so the exact share that staff and faculty are paying he does not know. We shoot for that 80% and think that is fair and is certainly something that they will study to see if that is appropriate.
Senator Hanley-Bowdoin stated that she speaks favorable of the buses because she has been riding them since January. She noted that she can leave her office of the third floor and within twenty minutes she is getting off of the bus in the middle of North Campus. She cannot drive, park and walk that quickly. The only time it does not work like that is when it is raining. Her request is that there be shelters so you don’t have to stand in the rain.
Secretary Suzanne Weiner and Senator Cecil Brownie were elected to serve on the Athletics Council.
Senators Scott McRae and Catherine Warren were elected to the serve on the Faculty Assembly.
Professor Muhammad Noori from the College of Engineering was elected to serve as an alternate.
8. Old Business
Senator Brownie stated that it was brought before the Senate a few years ago whether or not the College of Veterinary Medicine wants to go with the negative or positive side of plus/minus.
Chair Daley stated that he would try to track it down.
Senator Bruck reported that in order to be eligible for admission to the graduate school all International applicants must demonstrate proficiency of a) provide a TOEFL score of 213 or higher b) be from one of what is now 55 different countries where either or in secondary school and higher education English is the spoken language c) if you have already attended a college that has spoken English at it and you are transferring into our graduate school, you are admitted to the school. He will provide the Senate with a report on this material before the semester ends.
Senator Bruck stated that Thomas Conway presented a PowerPoint presentation to the Academic Policy Committee of the two biggies (enrolling and graduating). He broke it down in graphs and charts and will be giving a presentation to the Senate on May 3. He stated that many of the assumptions that we have been making regarding both admissions and graduation rates are at least in my way of thinking really off the wall.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator McRae stated that the Personnel Policy Committee is working on some modifications to the regulation on the statement of mutual expectations.
Senator Miller reported that the Evaluation of Teaching Committee has been working much this year on a revision of academic policy on evaluation of teaching, REG052010. The major changes that they are taking into account are arranging it so that it speaks to the university wide evaluation instrument that incorporates evaluation of distance education courses and that incorporates other forms of evaluation.
Provost Neilsen reported that they passed an enormous number of regulation revisions through the university in the last several months and noted that we owe that largely to the work of Katie Perry who is an absolute wonder when it comes to these items. Her willingness and ability on these things are making a big difference on moving these things along.
Chair Daley adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.