SEPTEMBER 6, 2005
Regular Meeting No. 2 of the 52nd Session
Present: Chair Allen, Past Chair Daley, Secretary Bruck, Provost Nielsen; Senators Banks-Lee, Baynes, Blair, Blank, Branoff, Brownie, Clark, Culbreth, Fahmy, Fikry, Hanley-Bowdoin, Hudson, Kellner, Khosla, Kinsella, Krotee, Lindbo, Martin, Misra, Moore, Overton, Robarge, Scotford, B. Smith, R. Smith, Tetro, Williams, Yencho, Young
Excused: Senators Dawes, Hooper, Schultheis
Absent: Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Johnson, Wessels
Visitors: Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Robert Sowell, Dean, Graduate School; Matt Ronning, AVC, Research; Hishom Salama, Student Senate President ProTempore; Thomas Conway, Dean, Undergraduate Academic Programs; Lee Fowler, Athletics Director
1. Call to Order
Chair Nina Stromgren Allen called the second meeting of the fifty-second session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Allen welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Allen announced that the General Faculty meeting would be held on Monday, September 12 at 3 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Talley Student Center.
Comments from Secretary Bruck
Secretary Bruck stated that at the request of Chair Allen he has helped coordinate efforts of the faculty for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The university has responded in what he thinks is an outstanding manner. There was a meeting held last Thursday sponsored by the Greek and Student Leadership Councils. Approximately 100 people were in attendance to help coordinate efforts on campus.
Our university along with many others is now “open” for people displaced. There have been 57 inquiries so far from undergraduate students to attend NC State University and it is believed that thirty will probably attend. It is hoped that everyone would extend a welcome to these people. These people are going to need all the help that they can get. Additionally, they will need other help and NC State’s Counseling Center has volunteered to be open free of charge.
Secretary Bruck congratulated Lee Fowler from the Athletics Council. He recognized that there was a fund raising at the football game for the Red Cross in which approximately $45,000 was collected. The campus goal right now is to collect $150,000 for the Red Cross. There are a number of activities that will be taking place, which includes fund raising on the brickyard and a number of other things that can be done. There will be a blood drive that will be announced. Anyone wishing to write a check to the American Red Cross should write it to: Compassion in Action, American Red Cross, Box 7345, NC State, or checks can be delivered to 1104 Pullen Hall.
Wake County Humane Services is going to need help (212-9595); there is need for housing. Right now people are at the Nortel training center out by the state fair ground. There are plenty of medical doctors there and eventually they are going to need housing, clothing, and long-term jobs because these people are not going home.
Chair Allen stated that there would be collection boxes in the dean’s office of each of the colleges.
Senator Hanley-Bowdoin stated that the Veterinary College is working with LSU and Mississippi State for animal rescue and care, which is another way to contribute.
Senator Young wants to know if there are activities or efforts to reach out to faculty in the same way the university is reaching out to students and other individuals affected.
Secretary Bruck stated that Greek’s Leadership Council is going to be organizing trips over winter and spring breaks to coordinate doing Habitat for Humanity and other things that will be researched. This would enable students to donate their time to this cause.
3. Approval of the Minutes Meeting No. 1, August 23, 2005
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks by Provost Nielsen
Let me give you a little more update on the efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Bobby Puryear who is in charge of Summer School and Lifelong Education volunteered and it was the right place to have his office be the point of contact for all the things that students would need. He and his staff volunteered to keep their office open on Saturday and Sunday so we could take calls and contacts.
We have had approximately 150 contacts. We now have thirty-seven students that have been admitted, all through Lifelong education since that is how we are bringing people in because it alleviates the issues of getting accepted into a major. Our priority is for North Carolina residents, for the brothers and sisters or relatives of people who may have students here already and hence it would be easy and supportive for them to come here and also for people whose majors are very closely related to ours and they may be in a specialized area. Of the thirty-seven students admitted, twenty-five of them are already in classes. We have had incredible cooperation from faculty members letting students into their classes and willing to help them get this first three weeks under their belts. We also have tutorial services that are ready to support the students. We have space in housing and we are putting students in housing as quickly as possible. We have much more housing available for students.
We have received email from several faculty groups where they are working with their colleagues either through professional associations or through those colleagues at a particular university. We have not organized anything at the university level but please make every effort to bring your colleagues here if you have room in your lab, or if you have room in your department. In a situation like this we will find space for these folks. Their teaching is going to be interrupted and anything we can do to smooth this situation I think we should do.
The major issue logistically relative to all this is tuition. Students had already paid tuition at those schools. They have gotten financial aid commitments at those schools; everyone is suspending rules to make things happen. We don’t have authority at NC State to waive tuition. I can tell you that we had an emergency conference call this morning and they are working on this at the Board of Governors so I am hopeful that we will get some relief that will allow students to come here with some lower level of tuition than we normally would have.
We have received more than one hundred emails in my office from folks like you offering housing and we appreciate that but at the moment we are working through the inventory of rooms and capabilities at the university and so far we still have space.
This came at an awkward time for us relative to some of our other institutions in the state because we were already two weeks into our semester when this happened. Duke and UNC Carolina were only three days into their semester. I don’t think we can continue to take students very, much longer. It probably would not be right for them, they should try some place else that is a little earlier. I suspect that we will go at least until the end of this week.
I am very pleased to be in this role and to be here to work with you. I have to tell you that as the six months as Interim Provost progressed I became much more use to some of the things. I began to realize that there is a great opportunity to help the mission of the institution, to help faculty, to help staff and students in this role and I was happy to enter the fray at that point. I appreciate your support and I’ll look for your support in the next eight to ten years while I am in this role.
We have a great team in the Office of the Provost and I want to give tremendous credit to Katie Perry, Vicki Walton, and others that are in our office that make it work terrific. We are also happy to be a team with the Faculty Senate. The opportunity to help NC State progress and prosper as the great institution that it already is and the greater institution that it will be is terrific for me. All of this is in the context of our Chancellor’s visions and goals and he has stated it many times; scholarship for the twenty first century, culture of innovation, community that is inclusive and diverse and an organization that has great capability to operate efficiently and effectively.
With some trepidation I’m going to hand out a sheet of paper. The Executive Officers had a retreat at which we were asked to list our challenges and initiatives that we saw were coming and then the Executive Officers commented on those for everyone else. I’m handing out to you what I took away from that meeting and it lists what I said were important things for me to do as I saw it and then the things that the other members of the team thought I should be doing with them. I say with some trepidation because you are going to see a lot of things up there and we are not going to get them all done, but I wanted to give you a sense of what the spirit and style of my thinking is relative to what you are interested in. I put down the first eight things that were on my mind.
1. The first of those is our version of the Carolina Covenant. We must generate a situation where we can provide an education to the lowest prosperity of the students who want to come here and are suitable to getting into the university. As I see it our version of the Carolina Covenant would be much better than their version of the Carolina Covenant. We are thinking that this will have at least four parts. 1) We will provide you the money to get an education. 2) We will provide a measure of stability in your tuition over four years. We are working on that strategy. 3) We will provide some extra tutoring, advising, etc., to make sure that you get through school well. 4) Something related to what I call progress toward degree guarantee, the idea is that we are not going to let anything slow down a student on his or her way to graduation that is not of their cost. We are going to get out of their way as far as making sure that the courses agreed upon that they need to take are available.
2. We have talked about it as international programming. It is very important for our students to be ready for the twenty-first century and for us to have more international programming and opportunities.
George Wilson, Director of our International Office will be going back to his department at the end of this year so we are in a situation where we will be trying to decide over the next six to twelve months exactly what the nature of our international program will be and how to organize it.
- The general education requirements—The task force that started last year will
Continue. This year is extremely important to us. I think that our GER has to get smaller. We have to figure out a way to condense it for the sake of progress to graduation and in terms of our budgetary situation.
- Study Integrity is one of the ideas that came up here and we followed up on it last
Spring and over the summer appointed a task force on student integrity. The idea was to develop an approach to student integrity that brings it in as part of the educational experience for our students.
There are many things on here, if you would read down to the suggestions from EO team members, specifically number three, continue to work closely with Faculty Senate and expand that to other Executive Officers so that the Faculty Senate and Executive Officers are conversing regularly about what is important and what needs to be done.
The Faculty Budget Advisory Committee was created about two years ago to help provide advice to the Executive Officers about how to handle our budgets and we have been meeting and continue to meet. We had a meeting last week where we are developing what we call budget principles that will help guide us in determining how to take budget cuts, how to use money that comes in an expansion mode, and how to be as efficient as possible with the funds that we have and I think that committee is getting somewhere.
There is a flavor that runs through a lot of these and if you read through that there is an impression that I get that we have a desire to have a strong Provost Office and strong Provost presence that is working with the other parts of the university to make sure that our cognitions of teaching of research, teaching, and extension are guiding and leading the development of the other parts of the institution. I think we can look forward to those ideas.
I think it is very important for us to have in addition to the strong college presence that we have a stronger university presence in a lot of ways and I will be working toward that end as well. One of those is embodied in the hiring of Mary Easley, First Lady of North Carolina beyond our teaching faculty and also to develop this thing, which we are tentatively now calling the NC State millennium seminars. These millennium seminars will happen twice a semester where we bring in really national and world leading figures to talk with us, to interact with our students, and write a perspective about their sector and then how higher education needs to interact with that sector to be as effective as possible in helping as we move that forward. The goal there is to have a national impact through those seminars and there are a lot of pieces involved with that.
The Provost Office is going to hire a Development Officer and the reason for this is that there are many parts of our program where we need some university level development fund raising. The idea is to be able to go to a set of people who are not necessarily alumni who not necessarily had a connection with the university but, can appreciate the ideas that we are bringing forward in diversity, in international programs, scholarships programs across the university for example and get new sources of funding, foundations in the like.
As you know last spring we contracted with the group Great Horizons to do a definitive study of both what the demand and opportunities were for childcare. They came back this summer with a report that showed 1) There was demand. 2) There was a couple of ways to meet it. The most desirable way of course is for us to build a childcare facility that would be part of NC State. The price tag to build the facility is approximately $4.5M. We don’t have $4.5M right now so in addition to working toward that end we are also looking at the idea of potentially contracting for a series of spaces in high quality daycare facilities in the area. Even if we do get to the point where we can figure out a way to build this childcare facility, it will be several years before it would be open and running. In the meantime we would have to have something else so we are pursuing this area of trying to find a strategy that would allow us to have guaranteed spots or priority registrations in a series of the best daycare facilities close to the university that would be on the way in for people. We asked the consulting company to bring us back proposals of that nature. They provided one in where I am waiting for some clarification on that and we are going to ask for a similar report that goes into another direction. I am not giving up on this idea. Childcare is something I think is very highly desired by all of you and I think we need to make it happen.
Katie Perry and I spent some time this summer talking to the folks at Carolina about what they have done. This is not going to be a simple thing for us to establish, partially because of the cost and partially because of understanding and figuring out how we can do it well, meaningfully at a scale that we can afford and we can get started now.
Our enrollment is approximately 30,143, which are twenty-seven students below what we said we would take from a budgetary standpoint. Last year we were 700 students below that then we had our growth for this year so we really have come back from that through the aggressive work of our admissions office. We are over quite a bit on undergraduate students and we are under quite a bit on masters and some on doctoral students, which has a profound effect on our budget because we get budgeted different amounts of money depending on where the students come from and when they don’t come in the cells of the twelve cells matrix exactly the way we said they were going to come we are short on money. Out of the tuition receipts that come in I have to put three million dollars into a reserve to cover the shortfalls that may occur because of this distribution. I wanted to give you some sense of where I was going and what I was thinking and your feedback and questions are always welcome.
Thank you for our next eight to ten years together.
Senator Fahmy: Is there a way for students affected by hurricane Katrina to be relieved of tuition.
Provost Nielsen: We are working on both sides of that equation. The rules that govern this say that if a student asks for tuition back the university where they are enrolled has to give it back to them. They can carry it with them to some place else. Also the US Department of Education has weighed a number of their rules about how financial aid is distributed so for example we can give financial aid to Lifelong Education students which we normally could not, you had to be a degree seeking student to get federal financial aid usually. When I say that we are trying to get to the point where we can provide some tuition relief that is what the Office of the President is working on right now and I am hoping by Thursday that we are going to be able to talk about this but whatever happens I’m pretty sure it is going to be for students who would qualify as North Carolina residence at NC State. It leaves a big hole specifically for international students. I asked the Office of the President to think about that because an international student displaced is a non-resident student any place so they are going to have trouble trying to land somewhere.
The problem with a student asking to get their tuition back from Tulane and then bringing it back up here is difficult because that is all Tulane has to operate on is tuition dollars and Xavier the same. The whole idea of how we are going to pay the cost of running these institutions is a tough one. If I had my way I believe that marginal cost of an additional one hundred students at NC State is near zero and we should be able to absorb it, in state or out of state but we have to get that permission from some place else.
Senator Baynes: Is North Carolina eligible to receive disaster funds.
Provost Nielsen: The question would be would those students be able to get disaster relief funds that they could carry here.
Senator Rex Smith: Is there any way faculty can help when it comes to housing.
Provost Nielsen: Anyone wanting to send their willingness to accept a student or faculty member from someplace else could send a request to my office or email. When the time comes that housing is no longer available on campus a call will be put out.
Senator Tetro: What was the total number of incoming freshmen this fall?
Provost Nielsen: I think approximately 4200.
Senator Moore: Do the 30,143 students include students enrolled in online degree programs?
Provost Nielsen: Yes, more and more of those. In fact one of the things that we are finding is we have three general categories of real students, virtual students, undergraduate students, graduate students, the Ag Institute, and then we have lifelong education. We are finding that our lifelong education enrollment is declining. The distance education lifelong education is rising because a lot of the lifelong education students would just assume to take the course by distance.
Senator Robarge: I would like to ask a question about the childcare. Is the $4.5M to initiate the childcare center and then is there a recurring cost that has been rejected?
Provost Nielsen: The $4.5M is to build the facility outfitted and then pay some of the start up cost. After three years it would be self-supporting. For the first three years it was going to cost us a couple hundred thousand dollars to run it the first year and maybe sixty thousand dollars the second year and then zero from that point on. The size of the facility was based on the demand and it was based on market prices for high quality.
Secretary Bruck: Why does NC State have to run or own this program? Why couldn’t we contract a private organization and have some sort of a contract with them regarding quality and staffing?
Provost Nielsen: That is probably the way it will work. There was a desire by people to have sort of an NC State family presence in our childcare facility, which is why there is capacity out there. When it is close it is not affordable. People like the idea of having a facility that is people like us and one of the ideas of having three or four facilities where we might contract for forty spots in each one gives a presence.
The reason the daycare down the street went out of business is because the people felt that they were not getting the quality especially for the price that they were paying.
5. Remarks from Matt Ronning, AVC for Researach Administration
Chair Allen, thank you for inviting me to talk about a very narrow area of responsibility that I have in the research administration office. There are actually three different areas but they are in fact, the issues of conflict of interest and scientific misconduct. I hope everyone in the room has gone through the conflict of interest process this year. It was a change.
I would like to give you a thumbnail sketch of why we are asking about this personal information that is none of our business. There are a variety of reasons.
We are whether we admit it or not stewards and servants of the State of North Carolina and as such we are entrusted with privileged opportunities including using our research facilities and service centers and a decision making capacity as employees of the state that could buy an external observer, by your personal philosophy affect your private concerns. Where we most often see this is in start-up companies with licensing intellectual property from the institution, licensing intellectual property to the institution authoring textbooks and requiring them in your courses, all of which are good things. The university wants these things to happen because they are good things, they are natural things, they are economic development, they are examples of the excellence of our faculty and that they are promoting their own textbooks. These are good things but they require some level. Generally when you really get down to the dirt and nitty gritty of it very minor efforts to manage those circumstances so that decisions associated it with those circumstances are objective. The State of North Carolina has a law which if read to literally would suggest that these scenarios are prohibited. We fortunately have a very good legal operation that has helped us make the proper interpretation of that law. It requires very careful self-policing.
How many of you have gone through the COI disclosure this year? I am really thrilled about it because two years ago you had an eighteen-page form that you had to fill out. Last year we went through a process of consolidating that down to five pages, which was a stepping-stone to the web-based version, which is taking between ninety seconds and three minutes to complete. So the burden is zero. Let me not minimize the fact that disclosure largely transfers the risk of you being in a circumstance that is not appropriate to the institution so I can’t state enough that disclosure is a good thing. I am only aware of three or four circumstances institution wide that have not been allowed with proper management plan.
What is required by federal law, UNC, and NC State regulations is the disclosure of an equity interest of 5% in an external concern or one that is worth ten thousand dollars or more that would reasonably affect an individual’s objectivity; an external professional activity for pay wherein your earnings from a single concern during the academic year being defined as August 16 through August 15 that single firm that you are providing external professional activities for compensating you more than ten thousand dollars. Is this not appropriate? It is good, consulting is good, conflicts of interest, spin off companies, these things are good, textbooks are good, disclosure is better because it mitigates your individual risk and it helps the institution self police so that these literal laws that are made by politicians who frankly don’t have a lot of understanding on how a university works and they don’t need to don’t over regulate. The textbook issue is a matter of disclosure.
Aaron Clark: I understand that ten thousand dollars or more when you give a date of a full academic year but those that are nine-month employees, can you explain that?
Ronning: First of all the conflict of interest is not really a function of time, it is just what do you have at any time during your employment in terms of this $10K or 5% equity interest. With respect to the external activities for pay technically it is for the nine-month academic period unless you earn one dollar during the summer from the university.
Senator Brent Smith: On the form it stated something like textbooks for which you receive royalties and other compensations but it doesn’t state that on your slide.
Ronning: It should. The rule is if you are selling it for money.
Senator Brent Smith: What if Wolf Copy is selling it?
Ronning: Then it does not count provided you are not receiving royalties.
Dean Conway: The conflict of interest form and the external activities for pay are separate forms. Does the external activity for pay have the $10K per entity rule also for filing it?
Ronning: Good question. The external professional activities for pay you have to disclose any external professional activities in which you receive compensation. Certain exclusions do exist; routine honorarium, $500 to serve on a peer review panel that is exempt in policy. We encourage people to use the system even if you are not receiving compensation, that is a good way to catalog your external professional activities but it is not required.
Those systems are available now and they are the only mechanisms available for you to secure your permission for external professional activities for pay and for conflict of interest and we are doing pretty well with it.
The only other thing I will say about external professional activities for pay is ten days prior to engagement is a policy requirement. Ten years after engagement is probably a good idea too especially if you are being investigated.
I am the research integrity officer which means when a circumstance of falsification, fabrication or plagiarism in the research arena is disclosed my office attempts to follow a policy that we call a policy for responding to allegations of research misconduct which is a faculty govern process. My office is only responsible for the secretarial duties of that policy which is a good spot to be. This faculty committee is put together and I consult the associate to the extent that there are not other conflicts. I consult the dean or the associate dean or the department head and I come up with experts in the field that are not otherwise compromised by their relationship with the principles and the whistle blowers and respondents. This is all spelled out for me in a policy for me that is promulgated by the federal government and adopted by UNC and codified by NC State in a regulation and it is pretty much exactly as the federal government has it.
The other thing that our policy does not cover but the federal regulations do cover and we are in technical noncompliance with a lot of other universities is this concept of fiduciary irresponsibility, responsibility failure to be responsible financially. It means overspending your grants, not spending the way you thought you were going to spend, violating cost accounting standards and these types of things that are rigorously controlled by accounting controls and processes.
Our policy doesn’t say this but whistle blowers need to be very conscious before blowing the whistle. They have an extremely important responsibility that they often fail to recognize and that is that they make allegations without having some level of understanding of why things are the way that they are. In fact, I find in my job having dealt with dozens of recent misconduct cases, that the primary principle number one problem is almost always a personal relationship gone badly. It is emotionally draining for those of us involved in it. Attempting to resolve the matter in a safer environment is critically important, in other words, if you can, talk to the person. We don’t have an ombudsman but for research misconduct purposes that tends to be me, your associate dean for research, your dean, or some authority that can help you recognize and understand what’s happening in your environment.
Good faith whistle blowing is a difficult issue because you almost have to investigate the whole thing and then go back and determine whether the whistle was blown in good faith. We have a responsibility to protect whistle blowers and help them make good faith allegations to the extent that they need to make. Vice Chancellor Gilligan appoints a misconduct inquiry committee that assesses the evidence that I was able to fleck by sequestering data from the lab to make sure the alleged perpetrators don’t tamper with that. If that committee assesses the evidence as sufficient to warrant an investigation they simply say “Dr. Gilligan investigate this,” who then ask for a five faculty member panel to investigate thoroughly. This is a 120 days process and they come to a point of collecting a lot of evidence and having lots of interviews and spending a lot of time with the transcripts of those interviews and basing an assessment based on the ponderance of that evidence, not on a reasonable doubt or guilty or anything like that. They look at it and decide that it is more likely than not that this person fabricated this data. It would be much nicer if it was based on proof but we probably would never have any findings then when their probably should be.
Chair Allen: How many of these hearings do you have a year?
Ronning: Fortunately we only have a couple but last year was a particularly robust year, we had about six.
The committee doesn’t make a decision. Dr. Gilligan makes the decision since he is the institutional official for all of these and the decision cannot be appealed.
Senator Kinsella: Is it subject to a lawsuit?
Ronning: An external lawsuit yes. You could sue and that happens and rarely in my experience is fruitful.
If the federal government decides that they can buy into the evidence that was presented and the decision that was made then that is a decision that is published to everybody and it is on a website, but if they decide that they don’t necessarily want to proceed they literally don’t acknowledge it ever existed. They either decide yes, this is severe enough for us to publish and we agree with the decisions or they say no, we don’t think this is severe enough. The university did what is necessary for the university in their pursuit of moral objective ethical standards.
Senator Young: Can you talk about confidentiality?
Ronning: Confidentiality is critically important and is addressed in the policy, the research misconduct policy during the research misconduct inquiry and investigation phase. As with most polices, and rules and laws, it fails to address the issue beyond that. Confidentiality is something that is often breached by the principles in some fashion or another during the process and that is a difficult issue to deal with because oftentimes they are affected professionally during that period of time. They are spending a lot of time either defending themselves or pursuing untrues. The university hopefully being all administration and faculty and staff of the university are obligated to maintain confidentiality and when it is not maintained problems happen. It is a dicey situation. There have been scenarios where we become aware of gross breaches and confidentialities and we will have the dean in some form or fashion remind faculty and staff that if they become aware of circumstances that these are suppose to be confidential circumstances and to try to stop the rumor mill. There is difficulty. We are all human beings and we tend not to keep everything we should keep close to our chest.
With respect to the restoration of reputation, the federal government has an entire booklet that discusses whistle blower protection and that booklet and our policy generally addresses protection in terms of during the process. If some of these reputations have been tarnished in some fashion we have an obligation to restore that reputation and that is a very difficult thing to do. In fact, it is an impossible thing to do. We can send letters out that advise an appropriate public whether that is their peers or the senior faculty of the department that XYZ person was engaged in a research misconduct case as a whistle blower. The catch 22 there is hopefully most of those people had no idea this was going on so their reputation was not tarnished until they got the letter saying that this person wasted all their time defending a case that never even got published by the federal government.
Secretary Bruck: I’m an English Professor and I get a grant to write poetry and I plagiarize. Am I guilty of scientific misconduct?
Ronning: If the title and the words that are being used are not necessarily congruent with the discipline I think that is just a fault of the federal policy makers in drafting the policy but yes you are subject to this policy.
The official federal title is scientific misconduct. The official university title is regulation for responding to allegations of recent misconduct.
The issue of how to prevent scientific misconduct is a good one to talk about. What I see as probably a good lesson for everybody to take back and I have written some things out here but it is useless unless you go talk to your graduate students and your post docs because they need to know your expectations and you cannot assume that they learned it during their academic programs. In fact, it is appalling how poor of a job the academy does at teaching ethical principles. The problem really is second grade in the fact that they don’t get theirs and it’s difficult to teach them when they are twenty years old. The only thing I can say is document everything you do even if you are using computer generated data and for goodness sake know the names of people working in your lab. You are responsible for every single thing that comes out of your lab so if you blow the whistle on one of your students you are going to be the respondent.
Every piece of knowledge and documentation that you create at NC State is owned, belong, and shall stay with NC State. Do a better job organizing your research data than you do your AC/DC’s. I think you will find that if you are frank and honest with yourself that you are probably failing that miserably. If you want to go back to that data from three years ago that you collected and you have already published and you threw away all the reprints you might be hard pressed to find it.
Secretary Bruck: How long are you supposed to hold on to these records?
Ronning: The federal rule is three years past the term of a grant. The state rules are a little more vague on that issue. If you are talking about a federal grant, all data three years post term. If you are talking about state items I don’t have an answer. I think most people probably keep it a lot longer than three years and I would recommend that you do. I would recommend that you catalog and back things up and log what you are doing.
I have a website on everything that I talked about and I have listed in a document the things that I see as quite important. I’m not trying to pontificate my personal beliefs but this is what I see as a research officer. I see people failing to record what they are doing and that is usually because of the digital age. Going back and reviewing not only what you have recorded. As the senior faculty member, senior member of the lab you need to record too but reviewing what your subordinate scientist and scholars have recorded. Instructing, I said at the very beginning, have a staff meeting and know the names of the people in your lab. You would be surprised how often I run into this. There is a problem and more so the problem of the subordinates not fully understanding your expectation of ethical behavior. Counseling them in proper methodology and providing them with that kind of insight. Something that is funny to even say but is critically important are a lot of people got caught because they just forgot to think. They are thinking so fast and so far in the future about where the program is going. Stopping and thinking I think could solve a lot of problems. Double-checking everything is not a bad idea but most importantly because we are as a community eager-centric we have to be honest with ourselves about that and as eager maniacs we have enemies. We have people we don’t like and people we mistrust, and people who have differing opinions on our element of our issues.
Senator Martin: I fully appreciate and respect that prevention is the best cure to all of this. I further appreciate that we want to avoid bringing any of these kinds of issues up where it is sort of a personality vendetta. Two aspects of the tenor of your presentation was a concern to me and I would like to comment. At the beginning you were almost searching for a word but you noted that your office attempts to follow the process. You were searching for the word attempt and I don’t understand why we have to attempt to as opposed to following a process. It makes it sound like if we from the administrative side don’t necessarily follow the process we still attempted to and that is good enough whereas a lot of what you seem to imply from the PI side was the PI has to take whatever it is handed down whether its from Gilligan or anyone else and so this contrasting tenor concerns me a little particularly because it really seems to be little or not faculty recourse in the end. Could you comment on that?
Ronning: Excellent point. Policies are difficult to write to accommodate every possible situation and all policy does for us especially in this regard is attempt to provide a path of due diligence and that is what is maintained by policy, the path. Now how we get there can be detoured by various events, for example, violations of the confidentiality provisions of those policies where there are circumstances that will cause you to need to make a slight detour here even if the policy says the next step will go from an inquiry immediately to an investigation. An example might be that there is a thesis under review in the graduate school and we have to consider whether we should hold that thesis pending the conclusion of a research misconduct case when you are sort of innocent until proven guilty type of thing and why would we do that so maybe you can see where if I look at the research misconduct case alone and it says you need to move from an inquiry to an investigation in thirty days but there is another policy in play here that is going to be compromised by some event you have to consider those things so every circumstance can’t be accommodated. The word attempt I think is a good description of how we try to interpret and abide by all of the policies of the university. There have to be some level of flexibility in order for us to get to the judicious end of the process.
Senator Martin: I guest part of my concern was the faculty protection versus system aspect of the attempt because if a faculty member or whoever is being investigated doesn’t necessarily feel like that diversion was the right way to go where is the check and balances. Again because some of the tenors that I heard was be careful bringing even these issues up because XY or Z. I completely agree we should be careful about the personality vendetta because that really doesn’t have any place in true scholarship but I would have like to have heard the tenor that encourages bringing forward any issues to be looked at and then make sure that there are the protections in place and not just hear at the end that Gilligan makes the decision that its final, no appeals unless we try to go to a lawsuit. For a faculty standpoint, that doesn’t exactly sound terribly reassuring that this process is going to be free and fair.
Senator Yencho: Aside from what I have been able to learn through your presentation right now which I thought was quite good, probably the best slide you have right now is lab management. Is there something in place right now that is a morning or one day training seminar in basics of lab management for incoming faculty? I don’t think it is there but its very needed and this way you can sensitize incoming new faculty members to important issues that they need to think about that they have not been trained for at the graduate level. It is totally lacking but it is becoming increasingly important in modern science.
Ronning: I have been attending a new faculty orientation program for the last four or five years to give a two-hour seminar on this topic.
To address the accommodation issue it is in fact, not my intent to discourage whistle blowing. It is my intent to bring out some of the things that I see as problematic and unfortunately part of that includes training our new faculty.
Senator Fahmy: What is your definition of professional activity. For example, if my profession is engineering and I am asked to sit on the Board of Directors of a theatrical company, is that professional activity?
Ronning: For example, I am a pianist and I perform frequently. Is that something that I should disclose? If you read literally policy, it doesn’t define professional activity real well.
Provost Nielsen: Let’s say you have a farm and you sell apples on Saturday at the Farmer’s Market and you are a Physics professor, that is not considered professional activity for pay. In my opinion you could do it without disclosing it to the university. If however you are an Ag Extension Horticulture specialist with a farm and you sell apples at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday that probably is and you need to disclose it. It really is a conflict of professional commitment.
6. New Business
REG 05.20.4 – Post Tenure Review of Faculty - Chair Allen assigned to the Personnel Policy Committee
REG 05.50.2 Review of College Deans
Senator Moore: Should we not occasionally have an opportunity to evaluate the Graduate and Undergraduate Deans?
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that the Graduate and Undergraduate deans get an annual review by their immediate supervisors and noted that there is no five-year review of a number of administrative levels including Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellors.
Past Chair Daley: I would like to have a committee review REG 05.05.2 – Review of College Deans on how the committee is constituted. Currently the regulation calls for the committee to be predominantly faculty senators or former senators. This was designed to assure that faculty participating in the review could be assured confidentiality of their responses. If the dean can hand pick cronies to serve on the committee that might threaten that confidentiality and the suggestion should also be made to use electronic web surveys.
Senior Vice Provost Perry: That has not been very popular because the only way to use a computer with a web base is for someone to check all the identifications so you know that they cannot be duplicated or that someone actually did one. The feeling of that ultimately being confidential has always been a concern. It has never addressed.
Past Chair Daley: That still has the problem of the confidence in the confidentiality survey if there are a lot of other people there who have not at least gone through electronic processing and people know who they are.
Senator Robarge: I have a question on REG 05.20.13 – Joint and Associate Faculty Appointments. Just briefly I see joint and associate faculty appointments. I see the difference financially between them, which with the additional verbiage added underneath associate faculty appointments are now confused as to what is an associate faculty appointment and can the Provost or Vice Provost give me an example of one?
Senior Vice Provost Perry: They don’t pay you but they like you and want to claim you so you are deemed an Associate. You don’t vote. It is really just a terminology to formalize. You are considered one of them up to a point.
Senator Robarge: Does this facilitate then an associate member across college lines so that someone from CALS would now help teach a course in PAMS by being an associate member of the faculty?
Senior Vice Provost Perry: There are no formal relations on what your responsibilities are relative to being an associate and to my understanding there usually are none.
Senator Robarge: What I’m trying to understand is this facilitates something that cannot already be accomplished. I can’t see any restrictions if an individual is a member of the graduate faculty and can serve on the graduate committee and if there is no money transferred then there really is no issue in terms of percentage of time allocation.
Chair Allen stated that the regulation would be discussed in the next meeting.
Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Robarge, Chair of the Committee reported that they had five items on the agenda. He discussed three of them.
- The committee visited the issue of statement of mutual expectations. The current policy regarding SME’s is best found going through the academic tenure policy on the web page (Policy # 05-20-01). You want to look at the current SME wording as linked through the academic tenure policy.
Senator Robarge stated that Senior Vice Provost Perry told him that the Provost is working on some sort of additional training for Department Heads regarding SME’s and trying to help clarify filling them out and noted that this is an evolving process given just the anecdotal comments among the committee members themselves.
- The committee was asked to review the changing in retirement definition, which was the result of a recent IRS ruling. The Chair had instructed them to consider formulation of a resolution regarding this policy. The committee at this time has not decided to do that; they are seeking further information as to exactly what the ruling means.
For those who may not have seen the emails, the IRS is redefining retirement, as being if you retire from the university you must not receive any compensation of any type for six months. There has been a concern raised about what this is going to mean with people who have existing grants and are drawing salaries from those grants. It even affects partial retirement as it is currently being executed on the campus. There is an exemption until 2007. If the current ruling stands as it does even partial retirement will have to be done away with.
- Mandatory training: The committee received a draft policy to review. The committee reviewed that document and has the following comments. First of all the committee doesn’t object to any mandatory training on this campus. They are concerned about the nature of the document as it is currently written. It seems to be heavily weighed toward sexual harassment. Senator Hanley-Bowdoin had an excellent suggestion that it is too negative when referring to unlawful harassment. It is really about diversity. The committee is also a little disturbed that it is kind of a one-time shot. They are going through great lengths of threatening you, which is not appropriate. If you don’t attend the mandatory training they will dismiss you, which is made very clear in the document. The committee thinks it should be continual.
Academic Policy Committee
Senator Martin, Chair of the Academic Policy Committee, reported that the committee would be reviewing course action forms at its next meeting. They are also in the process of reviewing issues with transferring intellectual property. Anyone with ideas should contact a member of the Academic Policy Committee.
Chair Allen adjourned the meeting at 5:10 p.m.