OCTOBER 4, 2005
Regular Meeting No. 4 of the 52nd Session
Present: Chair Allen, Secretary Bruck, Immediate Past Chair Daley, Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Banks-Lee, Baynes, Blair, Blank, Branoff, Brownie, Fahmy, Fikry, Hooper, Hudson, Kellner, Kinsella, Krotee, Lindbo, Moore, Overton, Robarge, Schultheis, Scotford, B. Smith, R. Smith, Williams, Yencho, Young
Excused: Senators Clark, Dawes, Fauntleroy, Martin, Tetro
Absent: Senators Culbreth, Gustke, Hanley-Bowdoin, Johnson, Khosla, Lindbo, Wessels
Visitors: Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Suzanne Weiner, Head, Collection Management; Mary Elizabeth Kurz, Vice Chancellor & General Counsel; Lee Fowler, Athletics Director; Thomas Conway, Dean, Undergraduate Academic Program
1. Call to Order
Chair Nina Strömgren Allen called the fourth 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 there would be an Executive Committee Meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Chair Allen announced that Erskine Bowles have been selected as the UNC Systems President.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 3, September 20, 2005
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.
Remarks Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen commented on ten items that he considered as good news.
Our six-year graduation rate for this pass year exceeded 70% for the first time in recent history, 70.3% up from 66.7% for the previous six-year class. It went up approximately four points last year. We have had this explosion in the percentage of people who are graduating which is really good. The five year graduation rate did not change over last year so I don’t think we can expect another 4% gain up to 74% or so next year. Our sophomore retention rating increased from 82% to 84% and this is a rate that has been lower here than it has been at peer schools.
Jeopardy filmed this past weekend at the RBC Center and it was great fun to be there. We had four area students in the first round: one from Duke, one from NC Central, one from Carolina, and one from NC State. Only one of the four advanced to the semi finals and that was Peter Ellis from NC State. The shows will air the weeks of November 7 and November 14 and you will be amazed when you watch them and see how prominent NC State plays in that for two weeks. They only go on the road once per year. NC State was chosen because we are a very good market for jeopardy.
Despite the fact on the foot ball field that we ended up on the lower half of the score board with North Carolina I would like for you to know that in patents issued in the RPT area the score last year was NC State 34 and Carolina 20 so we won where it really counts.
Mark Scarce who was the head of our music program was honored last week by being chosen by the Foundation for Universal Sacred Music to be the only composer commissioned for 2005 to commission a work where they put to music some sacred poems. It is an international competition. They usually choose two to four people to be a part of this but they chose only one this year, our own Mark Scarce.
The “YES” button is up and operating on the Provost’s website so if you have an idea on how to improve the world that we live in go to the “YES” button and you will come to a website where you can enter your suggestions. We will review them all.
We have had a task force working on University IT for some time and I hope you will think this is a good outcome. We have made the decision that we will go to one email and calendar system for the institution instead of the two that we have now. The group is putting together a comparative relationship between the two that are in use right now.
We were just given a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar grant by the National Science Foundation to be the national lead for consortion looking at research ethics for graduate students. We would be leading an eight-university group to develop a course for doctoral students that exposes them to the importance of research ethics.
The Chancellor and I had our first breakfast with faculty this morning and I have also been having lunch with all the members of the national academies that are at the university just to try to get to know people and to understand what is on their minds.
Last Friday we unveiled the one billion dollars achieve campaign for NC State. Despite the fact that we now have three years left on this campaign we have reached $836M in countable gifts toward the billion dollars campaign.
At 6 p.m. tonight we will be unveiling the new design for the official NC State class ring and it is official in the context that you will not be able to buy this ring unless you have achieved junior status. It is not for sale to the general public.
Those are ten good things that are happening at NC State. I would be happy to take questions.
Senator Yencho: I have a question regarding the endowment campaign. I see the breakdown as to how things are going to be spent, but could you describe a little more fully how those funds are disbursed? Does that represent a sum of capital of funds that we use the interest on or is that money to be used upfront that will never be there again?
Provost Nielsen: It’s a good point and I’m glad you used the word endowment campaign because it is not an endowment campaign; it is a campaign for private funds. They come in at a variety of ways. They come in first as the private industrial research gifts that you all get, things that don’t come through the contracts and grants office but they come through the university advancement office so there is a lot of money in there that you have raised yourself. There are annual gifts of various kinds and there is money that comes in for capital purposes and there are scholarship dollars that come in. Some of those are annual and some are endowment.
The endowment piece is money that is given to the university in a lump sum. It goes into an investment account from which we draw approximately 4% a year that goes into spending accounts for people to use. Much of this are state gifts or various kinds of gifts that are part of a state planning, and much of that we don’t get until it euphemistically matures. There is a lot of money in the pipeline that may come up some years in the future.
On October 20 we are planning to have a budget forum. One of the issues that has come up is for faculty to understand the budget, and so on October 20 hosted by the Faculty and Staff Senates we will be having a forum where various of us will explain to you where our money comes from, where it goes, and how it all comes together and what the constraints are.
Senator Blank: The Gallery of Arts and Designs get contributions and those are not actually cash contributions but they are valued in some way. I’m not sure how much of this most recent 20/20 vision campaign was counted toward that, but there was a substantial amount of art given to the Gallery of Art Design and there is an endowment of the gallery itself that is part of this package.
Senator Yencho: Of the one billion dollars, what portion is going to be devoted toward endowment that is going to work for the university’s interest long term.
Provost Nielsen: I don’t have the numbers in front of mean but its around $250M. One of our biggest issues is the size of our endowment. You might have read in the paper last week that the Harvard endowment is 25.9 billion dollars. The next one in line is Yale, which have fifteen billion. Our total endowment is around $330M. We should really have an endowment of one billion dollars for an institution of our size. The emphasis in the remaining part of the campaign will be on trying to get people to give us endowment dollars.
Paul Williams: Do we offer annuity trust?
Provost Nielsen: Yes, there are very interesting ways to try to do something for your institution as well as yourself in terms of tax benefits and such.
4. Issues of Concern
Senator Robarge stated that his department head is concerned about thefts in several departments in CALS where items were removed from locked offices inside locked closets.
Chair Allen assigned the issue of concern to the Resources and Environment Committee.
Senator Rex Smith stated that his colleagues are concerned about the scheduled times of Retirement and Financial Planning sessions since the days and times are limited between 12noon and 2p.m., which interferes with teaching schedules.
Chair Allen assigned the issue of concern to the Personnel Policy Committee.
Provost Nielsen noted that he reminded the Vice Provosts that they are not suppose to schedule meetings during the time of the Faculty Senate meetings on Tuesday afternoon and they are endeavoring not to do so.
Senator Brownie would like to know what the university policy is on tenure track as opposed to academic track as opposed to administration to full professor.
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that it is based on your statement of mutual expectations. If you have an administrative role you still have the more faculty expectation. “Some of our department heads are full time administrators and some still carry on research or scholarship programs or teaching. If you have not achieved full professor yet and you go through the process that would incorporate into that; the piece of you that is still the scholarship part the expectation would be there and there would have to be productivity there but it would be a reduced quantity expectation relative to your administrative duties.”
Senator Blank observed that there is a lot of jobs that have to be done and you run out of full professors willing to do them so other people get tapped and that statement of mutual expectation has to reflect and define what those obligations are, which is part of the mix. Everyone has to make that decision for themselves and in his college people have stepped forward and taken those responsibilities without being full professors on many occasions. He noted that in a small college you don’t always have a lot of choices.
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that the statement of mutual expectation goes a long way in supporting this. It used to be where you were at the mercy of the culture or the unwritten practices of departments.
5. Old Business
Post Tenure Review of Faculty
Senator Wayne Robarge, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee recognized Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Mary Elizabeth Kurz.
Senator Robarge stated that the intention today is to not wordsmith and the intention is to allow you to focus on specific items that we in the Personnel Policy Committee want back from you in terms of where we see making progress on this regulation regarding post tenure review.
Senator Robarge directed attention to question two on his handout.
Who is responsible for executing post-tenure review? Why isn’t the annual review sufficient?
That specific question was asked because of a number of comments I received from faculty across campus of why administrators cannot conduct the post tenure review since we all go through annual reviews with our department heads or similar administrative leaders. I submitted that question to Vice Chancellor Kurz and her response was to quote the regulation at the UNC System regarding this. The regulation states that the post tenure review shall be by peer review. It makes acknowledgement of the fact that there are annual reviews and those are part of your review of faculty employment but the idea behind post tenure review is that there is to be a cumulative separate review and it is to be a peer review. Peer meaning fellow peers and not administrators.
On the second page of the handout there is further elaboration on this point; “this policy is thus clear that the annual performance review isn’t sufficient because the review is to cover an extended period of performance.” This is why we are not going to address the issue of why annual reviews are not sufficient in among themselves. This is not to say that they do not represent in some sort of aggregate a possible usage in post tenure review but a single annual review by itself by an administrator through the legal interpretation that we received is not appropriate for post tenure review. I would add at her (Vice Chancellor Kurz) permission that this whole episode is rather fortuitous because she was recently at a meeting of all of the legal counsels of the UNC System. At that meeting they discussed promotion, tenure, and review and what has been provided to you is the general consensus from that group on this issue. Post tenure review is to be a cumulative review by peers and the peers therefore are your fellow faculty members within your departments.
The next item I’m going to discuss in fairness to Senior Vice Provost Perry is exactly what was submitted to the Faculty Senate for consideration and has been approved by the Dean’s Council as of August 11, 2005. I have reduced it into outline form and Katie Perry has had the opportunity to review this and has made some corrections. (Reading from an overhead) Every five years is stated in the general regulation; a review for promotion for full professor can substitute, which was a welcomed change. Also the change was to remove the three-year for associates and to make everyone five years.
For joint appointments, the regulation was submitted to us for review states that it is to be via consultation between department heads for the departments where the joint appointment resides.
(Reading from the overhead) The body that actually conducts the review is now referred to as a post tenure review committee in these regulations. Term of service is to be set by consultation with dean and department head. It is the post tenure review committee and their recommendation according to this set of regulations proposed that is making the decision whether a faculty member meets or does not meet post tenure review. I’m not going to go into any further details because it basically comes down to if you meet expectations according to the PTRC it’s done. The next five years you will go through it again. If you do not meet expectations there is a sequence of things that has to happen including the plan for development. The only thing I would point out to you is to clarify for any future discussion today that the plan for development is in the UNC regulations.
When the Personnel Policy Committee received this document we reviewed it and there are a number of things we did not like. I have made the decision at this point not to even attempt to go through the draft that we tried to assemble. It was obvious that we were having problems. We felt that there was an inappropriate lack of checks and balances in the regulations as proposed.
The reason I think we are having trouble and this process is breaking down is because there are critical points that still need to be decided among the faculty. Once we reach agreement on what I am about to present I feel that we could move quickly forward and finalize our version of a regulation to send back to Katie Perry.
Senator Robarge moved that the Senate recess into a committee of the whole to address the points that he included in a handout to try and focus on to reach some understanding and agreement.
The motion was second and passed unanimously to recess into a committee of the whole.
Committee of the Whole Discussion
Secretary Bruck: I will rule out of order discussions about why do we have to do this. This is a regulation that came down from the UNC Board of Governors and it serves two different purposes. As Dr. Robarge said it is very critical that we protect the rights and the due process of every faculty member on this campus and in the inverse it is very important that we protect the university. As Dr. Robarge stated in a conversation yesterday, “Let’s look at the forest and not the trees.” All of us can say and relay our personal experiences. There are more than sixty departments on this campus and probably every department right now “the problem” does it in a different way. The question is can we put together a group of minimal regulations that can universally be accepted by both administration and faculty on this campus so that we are doing both jobs, protecting the individual and protecting the university, which is again protecting ourselves.
UNC Regulations Require Peer Review for the PTR Process:
Senator Kellner: Is this statement taken from section 1.d of the Board of Governor’s policy that there must be peer involvement in the review?
The response was yes.
Senator Kellner: I just wanted to suggest that perhaps peer involvement might be different from peer review. I have no particular feelings about how this has any impact on all the details in point one. I just wanted to call your attention to peer involvement in the review might be seen as being different from peer review in the PTR process.
Vice Chancellor Kurz: I can see how you can say that. I look at other portions of the policy for example, there is a section in there that also says a review undertaken to grant tenure or to decide on promotion qualifies a subject cumulative review. I think you can look at peer involvement in a different way other than a committee assessment which is the only involvement and I think our current procedures that we have in place recognize a portion to play by the faculty as well as by the head of the department as we move up the chain similar to sort of a tenure continuum but you are right in terms of the exact wording in here. It does say involvement and the question is, “What is that involvement?” By looking at other pieces in terms of how we look at our review process the preeminent role of faculty in the evaluation of their colleagues both pre-tenure and then in terms of the intent of the involvement in the Board of Governors policy I think it involves more than just faculty and at some point we will vote on maybe what an administrator does. It involves some type of assessment.
Senator Kellner: Your interpretation of this process is rather like a new tenure or promotion case every five years because you said its just the same analogy.
Vice Chancellor Kurz: No I think that the issues are slightly different but in terms of the review of credentials I think the same rationale exists and that is is my understanding that the faculty always have a preeminent role in determining the assessment of their colleagues for decisions that relate to tenure per say and a post tenure is dealing with a tenured faculty member which is a very important assessment over a cumulative period of time. The ultimate answer to that question would come from the Board of Governors if we sort to ask them to give us more elucidation. My understanding is based on dealing with issues that have come up in this context and I have given you my best interpretation of what I believe these policies mean in terms of what I read as well as conversations and experiences that I have had with general administration. I can’t say that I speak for them but this is my best interpretation.
Senator Robarge: The assumption is the departmental voting faculty are the peers available to conduct the review. The definition of DVC is taken from the academic tenure policy. In my opinion, the DVF should never delegate their authority to the post tenure review committee made up of a subset of peers. I think this is really at the core of this issue we are struggling with. If you look at the case for tenure, academic tenure policy makes it clear to me that all of the departmental voting faculty vote in issues of tenure. Now we deal with a situation where we are doing post tenure review and the question becomes, “Do we as a faculty want to yield to a subset of our peers and give them that authority that normally is held by all of the faculty?”
Senator Blank: I feel it should be that the committee makes a recommendation at the full faculty of the department and then vote on it and it should be a recorded vote as it has been in our department and then it gets past on to the next level as a read record of the faculty’s will. If you want to abstain, you abstain but you have to vote.
Senator Robarge: Let’s separate the process of doing the written assessment and all the paperwork from the mere fact of who controls the power. Who makes that decision? Is it a subset of the peers or is it all the peers? If it is a subset then we get into discussions of how do we ensure that that is a fair selection of the subset? How deeply do we micromanage within the department to deal with it at that level? Rather than saying a check and balance is that whoever does the presentation of the assessment to the departmental voting faculty, they are presenting it to the entire faculty and that in itself is a check and balance. The one critical issue that we have to keep in mind is unlike tenure, which goes through a series of individuals and committees and reviews, this process ends inside the department. It begins and ends there from my reading of the regulations so from my perspective it is critical that there be some check and balance within this system.
Senator Blair: I would agree with you because of the comments I have received from the faculty in my department when I circulated the documents. The one thing that popped up most frequently is fear of lack of accountability and redress if something went wrong with the committee itself. You don’t eliminate the problem but you perhaps attenuate the problem by having a larger group of people working in this committee.
Senator Moore: If we are attempting to ascertain the best outcome then the more people involved would sort of indicate that you would have a better result. I know if I was a member of a three-person committee and I wasn’t accountable to anyone I just might whitewash the decision and go on with it.
Secretary Bruck: How do people think about what Senator Blank stated that the idea of having an actual committee to work up the dossier, to make a recommendation, then a vote by all the appropriate peer faculty is a good model to follow?
Senator Robarge: It has been an educational experience to be part of this institution, the Faculty Senate, and one that I would like to continue to enjoy in the future. This is an interesting place and it has many different variations and I think the main issue is can we as a group decide that it is the entire DVF who holds the authority and makes the vote. If we can reach that point then we have the freedom to relax a little bit more and hand back items to the department and let the department decide within their own venue whether they wish to have a committee, whether they wish to just let the department head do the paper work and come before the DVF and present the case and risk that the individual will make one recommendation and the DVF will make another. In fact, if we go this way it is in a sense a review of the department and the way the department head is conducting annual reviews and leading his or her faculty because if it is in fact a situation where the faculty are voting against the department heads I think that is saying something else.
Senior Vice Provost Perry: I am the messenger here but I feel like you need to know how it got to where it is. It may be that we are heading to a compromise point but what I would ask is that as you work toward this that is what was first presented to the deans and department heads the first time I drafted this for them because I was under this content that it is a continual of the reappointment promotion and tenure process so that the voting would be exactly the same and it was unanimous based on very serious concerns for you all and the load that it would bring. I will say that was in a context of the proposal I think encouraged but not mandated, that this process go on the same track with RPT. They were opposed to that and so it came to you the way it did. I just want you to know that so as you do this I think there would be a mechanism here if you want this to then go back and say we are willing to take the load and maybe we could come to a friendly agreement.
Secretary Bruck: Since we are speaking frankly is it your interpretation that is the sole reason why?
Senior Vice Provost Perry: Yes, there was a little bit of what Dr. Moore eluded to in that concerns especially when you are on a third time does not, that the burden on three people is a lot to bear. The flip of that came back last year, well if you spread it out over the bigger group that is not going to help either and I don’t have enough case experience, but that was sort of at both ends.
Senator Kellner: I see this Senate dividing between groups who just can’t imagine major injustice of problems arising and those for whom their administrators are deeply distrusted ax murderers. Secondly I come from a unit that has about forty-five tenured stream faculty if we had the PTRC coming in to discuss and vote for thirty minutes on each case. We are coming to a total of about 160 faculty hours, which the way I figure is four weeks. Long ago I said every committee that a university has should always log the aggregate number of faculty hours spent because that is money and that is career time so the objection is really about faculty time and in departments like mind it really adds up.
Senator Brent Smith: The way the regulations are written it essentially says that if a person is reviewed for promotion that that is the substitute for it which means it seems to say that if a person goes up for promotion to a professor and doesn’t get promoted that would be a does meet and I think that needs to be clear that there is a different expectation for this review compared to the expectation that someone would have to be promoted to a different rank.
Senator Robarge: We are very much aware of that. No disrespect to anyone I had to make a decision as to what key points to focus on. That one will not escape us. I still want clarity on that issue myself.
Senator Brent Smith: Just along the lines of what has been going on I am extremely concerned about the time load that it takes. It seems to me that if you have a committee to review and the whole faculty reviews you have essentially given two different entities for the same job. I think one or the other because both I think is just too much.
Senator Robarge: That is why I am making the distinction that really the decision should be who are we delegating the authority to take the vote. Let’s not worry about the process. If we make the decision that it should be the DVF then that is the consensus of the faculty. Then how you get to that point is a whole different issue and whether you need a PTRC or not is something we might simply delegate to a departmental decision. It may be satisfactory that the department head does essentially all of the overhead in terms of doing the reassessment and simply comes in and presents the review, but I would imagine that any UNC regulation is written with the idea that it is not going to be carried out in thirty seconds.
Senator Baynes: As we are scientists and get more specialized you get more and more removed and as the other departments get larger this provides an opportunity for members in the department to understand and learn of what others are doing. It also prevents groups of specialists in one area from going after. What if that committee is stacked?
Secretary Bruck: The point that Senate Robarge made was critical that we are talking about a two-prong thing here. We are talking about a process. What we are discussing right now is voting. Should the entire voting faculty be responsible for passing a decision once the process is over?
Senator Yencho: My inclination is to say that all the voting faculty should vote but I think that we should let the process be up to the individual department because each department has a different culture and the complexity of each department is different. Allow the process to come out of the department but ensure that the final vote is uniform across departments and I think the easiest way to do that is just to have a vote of all DVFs.
Senator Blank: That is essentially what I agree with. In our department we do have a committee because we have such a diversity of people that it is impossible for you to totally understand all of these niches that everybody is in. By having a committee you tend to get diverse connections to those people, but if you have a small department and you have a person in the position to know the range of things that these people are doing and to present to the rest of the faculty the reasonable case then that makes perfect sense. I don’t have a problem. I don’t think we ought to get down into the department and how they do their business but we should hold all faculty responsible for the quality of their department and that is what the vote is about. You vote to bring people into your department then you ought to vote for the best people you can get and if you do what you are supposed to do as a department to support those people when they come in and they are the best people that you can get the chances are they will go through the process and they will succeed. They will be seeing each other’s work along the way as a good thing. There has been nothing that has been more disheartening to me than to read the dossiers of my colleagues younger that have come up through the ranks that are looking at getting promoted, tenured, continued that is what they do.
What is minimum documentation to qualify as valid peer review?
Senator Robarge: The attempt here is to try to look at some way to avoid micro managing within departments but yet have some minimal representation across the university through this process. The first question that I ask given the comments that have been made and given the diversity that we have is, is this something to even be attempted? As a point of reference what Katie Perry had included in her document that she submitted to us for review were specific references to the headings under the realms of responsibility as being part of the documentation. She did make the reference to the fact that you could choose to follow the regular promotion and tenure type of dossier or something equivalent. There have been some really strong objections to that and other questions and points raised about why not just use a comprehensive CV and perhaps a one or two page statement and then attach the annual reviews for the past five years. Is that a sufficient peer review, cumulative peer review over time? I don’t think we are necessarily going to get an answer from the UNC regulations. It is going to be pretty much what we decide should be done.
Senior Vice Provost Perry: The suggestion is to take sections one through eight which is the part that the candidate puts together. It is not the external letters and it is not the full-blown dossier. It is those pieces that with the concept being the person will already have this. They have been tenured here so they would have gone through that unless they have been here a long time and they would have the equivalent of that.
Senator: Is that the faculty activity report.
Perry: No, the dossier, reappointment, promotion, and tenure dossier.
Senator Brent Smith: I think it used to be called PA2
Perry: Well the PA2 is just the form on top, which is now just called the dossier cover form.
Secretary Bruck: Should there be a minimum requirement or what form that requirement should take in order for you to prepare your documents for post tenure review?
Senator Robarge: What I’m saying is that we would put into the regulations that there is going to be some outline format that should be standardized. The depth of material is to be essentially left up to the department and included in their department rules.
Senator Scotford: I have helped several junior faculty through various processes and the amount of time spent searching for answers and stressing over have I got this organized correctly, if there could be very simple guidelines and minimum requirements I think that would simplify it reducing the amount of time and reducing the stress.
Senator Lindbo: I just went through it and quite frankly there were very specific guidelines. It took me a couple of hours and that was it and that was using all the previous years reports putting them in there. It is not that big a deal.
Senator Robarge: The regulation is going to have to be clear that we do not require another complete package.
Senior Vice Provost Perry: What is in there now says you will go there to that dossier and complete questions one through eight basically.
Secretary Bruck: The question is that every faculty member answers these eight different questions.
Senator: We just discussed this issue in Horticulture Science and I think the general consensus was this; is that the format that Dr. Perry is talking about which is the general outline to us make great sense to follow that format because many of the junior professors are going to be looking for promotion to assistant and they are going to be looking for promotion to professor and you want to use this as a package to build on. I don’t want to duplicate and be required to prepare a new RPT package every time so I want to use this, I want to use my annual reports as sufficiently as possible to document those with the RPT process and to ducktail that and eventually that is going to get created into an application package for promotion to Professor. Let the departments make the final choices but the university lay out broad as to what they are requiring. I think what they have done so far meets those needs and that they have laid out a pretty good set of guidelines with which to follow. They build from time to time so I think it is a good system that we are establishing.
Senator Robarge: My colleague is from CALS and it is really important from our perspective on the PPC that we understand the points of view from across the university.
My understanding is everyone has annual reviews.
Senator B. Smith: Since this documentation is never going to be looked at the university level it just seems to me that it makes sense to give the department as much freedom as possible as to what they want to have produced. It is not something that is going to ever go to the university level; it is only for departmental use so they should be able to do what is right for them.
Senator Robarge: I understand what you were saying and that is what I’m searching for if we could simply have an outline and then try to say within the departmental rules determine the amount of depth they wish to put into that document.
Senior Vice Provost Perry: I am having trouble listening to this because as proposed it proposes the outline that says word equivalent document. Doesn’t that give all of you the option?
Vice Chancellor Kurz: I have been listening to this conversation and there are various pieces that have not been discussed that I think bare someone on this. My concern is that whatever you come up with in terms of what use to be reviewed and how it will be reviewed is not going to be attached on you did a slip shot job because in the policy there are two things that you are looking at and that is faculty doing an outstanding job and continuing and hoping they will continue their performance along and then in those rare cases where there are problems you make a decision that can impact that person no longer having a job and in that process that calls for another level of peer review. I can tell from having been involved in some of those processes either in the grievance world or in the discharge that faculty committees are going to be looking at departments and these committees then saying, “You did not take this seriously.” You know you had little information and you have established a process because you are required to do something with people who don’t meet expectations.” I think that is a word we have corned as a result of a task force that first set up this procedure that you are examining now. My concern from a legal perspective in the world is that you have to address that issue in what ever you come up with and uniformity is a very important thing when you are speaking to what is tenure. Different disciplines have different issues but the idea of minimum criteria and the expectations I think uniformity is important.
Secretary Bruck: The example here is that you want to discharge me and I can prove that the process that I went through does not amount to due process. I may have a case whereas if it is done in some minimum, standardize way that is accepted by everyone then I’m through with my case.
Vice Chancellor Kurz: The other thing is courts will defer. I mean we always argue on behalf of the university and the faculty but the expertise of the faculty the court should defer to that and they normally do unless there is a civil rights issue for example. So you want to set up a system that has credibility with an outside reviewer that is based on legitimate academic criteria.
Senator Robarge: The other issue that stands out and was in what Katie submitted for the Senate to review was once a does not meet is taken the plan of development has to be done and then you start a cycle which can go on for five years. The problem is I didn’t see where this would ever end. It simply states that this yearly review continues until the assessment changes and then later in the section there are comments that if you failed three consecutive years this could be considered as reason for dismissal for cause. If a faculty member does not choose to actually make the goals set forth and this process just keeps going on year after year after year, when does it end?
Perry: I think the key piece here to remember is that the does or does not meet is the end of the decision but there is more to this process. It is advising an administrator, your department head. Now we actually have one case where they have gone beyond the three because the person is making progress and I guess it is one of those where it is worth it to them that this faculty member is getting there and maybe they are not getting there as quick as they like but they are getting there. This by design is my understanding that you can go past three years. You can have four does not meets.
Secretary Bruck: When does the five-year cycle kick back in? When does it end?
Perry: If that person were to meet that is it.
Chair Allen: What if you have two do not meets and one meets and the other is a do not meet?
Perry: That won’t work anymore if we go to five years because the only reason that can happen now is because we are three-year.
Senator Robarge: When does the review stop?
Perry: If you get a meet it stops. You report that to the department head and are done. The only thing we see at the Provost’s level are the total numbers and the does not. If it is a does not you would go through the process again the following year.
Senator Robarge: Is that still considered part of the original post tenure review?
Perry: No. That is a new cycle. That is a second go round and if it’s a does not again it would be repeated. Each year it ends. It either ends in a meet or it does not meet so they all end.
Senator Robarge: So does a new plan of development have to be made up every year.
Perry: In the second one you would amend the first one or you would say that you are making progress.
Senator Krotee: How many people have ever been dismissed having say last year or the year before.
Senator Krotee: That goes through the process in the worse way.
Perry: It varies but anywhere from a handful to I think we had a year with fourteen does nots campus-wide. Then you go to two times in a row and there are three times in a row and I do know of one past three.
Senator B. Smith: I am interested in how you think it would work if the committee reviews and says I meet and the departmental faculty votes does not meet. Where does that go?
Senator Robarge: There is a flaw somewhat in that assumption. There is only one group that makes the decision of meets or does not meet.
Senator B. Smith: After the voting faculty says does not meet then the committee reviews him after a year and if they have said meet and they keep finding meet where does that lead?
Senator Robarge: If there is a does not meet by whoever we decide is the deciding entity.
Senator B. Smith: Let’s say the voting faculty.
Senator Robarge: Then there is a plan of development that must be done according to UNC regulations with specific goals outlined. To my knowledge Katie that becomes what the individual is assessed on, by whatever entity we are talking about.
Senator B. Smith: Would the voting faculty then meet every year on that person?
Senator Robarge: That is why I’m doing it this way. I’m not trying to be that specific at this time because it really depends on what this entity is. If we are staying with the departmental voting faculty then we are going to allow the department to say, “Okay, how do you want to do this?” We may have the department head do it so it is the department head who then goes back, develop a plan of development and looks at it and comes back the next year and says, you know this individual is making progress but it is still not there.
Senator B. Smith: Am I hearing you right that once the departmental faculty says voting faculty says no that it is not necessarily the committee that does the assessments after that.
Senator Robarge: I am not saying there has to be a committee. I’m saying we are going to leave that to the department.
Perry: It has to be the same each year. If the committee ends up with a does not meet there is a plan developed to meet expectations. They are not assessed against the plan. They are assessed against the same expectations, which they were not meeting. The plan is how are you a guy who does not meet is going to get to succeed and meet the expectations so that does not change. The next year they will come back and say are you meeting now and it may be yes or no and then the plan gets tweet to help them further.
Senator Robarge: What I want to try to keep separate here is that we can have an entity that is charged with making a vote and then we can allow the department to decide on what the entity is that carries out monitoring this process and assessment and that could be the department head or it could be a committee. So there no longer needs to be a requirement that there has to be a post tenure review committee.
Perry: No, I don’t think that is right. At the end of the cycles and each one is the same so as far as who goes off and helps that person make the plan and coming with the plan and have monthly or bimonthly or however he wants to do with checks on the plan that is your business. The following year you have a new DVF. They will again accept that person by the exact same setup and they come to a meet or a does not meet which will end again and if it’s a meet that person is finish until five years hence and if not you do the plan.
Senator Yencho: At what point are you denied tenure and you have to leave your position.
Perry: A lot of people think three strikes and you are out but it is not. These are results just like your annual review is. It is quite possible someone could be moved to dismiss in his or her third year between the five. They got a meets and then they are going down hill and in the third year the department says I am proceeding with dismissing you based on annual reviews. This is just a mechanism. The Board of Governors thought that tenure was go smoke a cigar and go hang out in the library. They wanted to dictate how it was not going to be that and we were going to make sure we were reviewing people and that is why this happened. The system is there I always thought as affirming that you are still doing your job.
Senator Yencho: Am I to understand then that the number of cycles of do not meet that one goes through before they are terminated is going to be up to the termination of the individual’s department.
Secretary Bruck: This is simply one process that we are going through. You could be dismissed for cause anytime.
Perry: In practice three has become a pretty big signal.
Senator Young: If the deficiency is so serious maybe discharge but if the deficiency is something that is less serious it may be just a reweighing of the realms of responsibility so that the consequence you know three strikes is not discharge but three strikes is your expectation for teaching is increased and your expectation for research is decreasing as a consequence of being found deficient in this way. There is no automatic discharge on the failure.
Senator Fahmy: So the responsibility of a faculty that does not meet is not just to follow the plan for proficient and development. In fact he may not even do that at all. His responsibility is to past the next year to a meet. Is that correct?
Perry: You do have to do the plan.
Senator Robarge: The last thing is do we need a fail safe option somewhere in the regulations that we would consider appropriate with the concept of checks and balances. If we were to accept the fact that the entire departmental voting faculty is the deciding entity then it is not inconceivable that a block could form within that departmental voting faculty and always vote in a certain direction. At that point that the department head is powerless one way or the other and the question is do we need a fail safe option specifically stating that the deans have the option to come in and say things are not working in that department anymore in terms of post tenure review. I (the Dean) am going to step in and superimpose a different process.
Immediate Past Chair Daley: This process is advisory. It is not an administrative action. The department head could ignore it. The department head could dismiss on any other grounds if they are willing to risk it. If you are having voting blocks and the department head or dean thinks they are off base they don’t have to seek dismissal.
Secretary Bruck: I think it is very important to note and it has been stated a few times this thing that we have been talking about is an advisory capacity. A department head, a dean, or a Provost can overturn any decision that is made by this committee.
Perry: On the rules a departmental rule is subject to approval of the deans, which is subject to approval of the Provost. The Provost does not have to approve a rule.
Kurz: Well if it is an official rule as part of our process it is in place until you change it according to the official protocol. You can always change procedures but you don’t change things that affect substance to somebody in mid-stream. I would come down on the principle that you do not take an action in changing something that would be negative or affect adversely a faculty member who you created an expectation.
Senator Robarge: What I am saying is that if we go the route of having departmental voting faculty being the deciding entity and it is by majority vote, that it is not inconceivable that a majority of faculty might then decide that we are never going to vote to dismiss anyone or there would never be a does not meet in this faculty as long as we are sitting here. A new department head may come in and finds themselves blocked from being able to move forward.
Past Chair Daley: If there is a faculty member that deserves to be dismissed the department head can have the documentation there and proceed to dismiss for cause.
Vice Chancellor Kurz: It is very hard to prove that you have three faculty against someone. I know people feel that sometimes that is the case and it may be. The ability to make an assessment that’s happening and have a dean come in and do that is very dangerous and I would say that if the dean were to come to me to ask can I change this process because of this I am going to say prove it to me. If the dean cannot prove it to me then I am going to say your only recourse is until your department changes its number of folks and things are better you need to access the information and the rationales that are provided by a variety of faculty and if you independently feel you have enough evidence in the record provided from what you hear from the folks around the table you can go independently which is very difficult to do. Your hands are kind of tied so you really have to develop the relationships with your faculty where they are doing the right thing. It is a practical problem.
Secretary Bruck: Senator Robarge’s committee is going to go back based on what he and the committee has heard today and try to formulate these statements that have come out of administration and come back here and ultimately have a consensus and vote on it.
Senator Baynes: Who are your peers? Are your peers all associate professors, all full professors, who are your peers?
Secretary Bruck: If you are an associate professor coming out for peer review full and associate. If you are a full professor it is only full.
Kurz: When I go to a state institution and constitutional requirements on how a state operates there is a framework called a rationale based for looking at equivalencies and we argue why are faculty involved in the tenure process. What is the rationale that under girds that? What undergirds is that the faculty are in the best position to assess their colleagues performance. There are different considerations involved in terms of a department head and then administrator up the line that has a variety of other issues that go into assessing performance in addition to relying upon the collegial judgment of teaching research and service from that perspective. The question that I have in my head is when you are looking at establishing a different process is your rationale different? Is there a different basis to say that you want your faculty involved in the pre-tenure decisions for reappointment tenure track and for making the tenure decisions why would you not want them involved in the post tenure review? If you have a rationale basis that would past muster then you could have a separate process but from what I’m looking at as an outsider what occurs to me and what I think would occur to a court is if that decision for tenure involves the preeminent decision of the faculty member why wouldn’t the continuation of a faculty member which is probably more important because you have a higher standard dealing with someone who has permanent tenure than someone who yet has not got there. Why would you not involve the same level of review, the same people involved and defer to the academic judgment of the college? If you can come up with a different reason that would convince somebody neutral looking at that then you are fine otherwise you are compromising your initial assessment that faculty ought to be involved in the pre-tenure process.
Senator Fikry: I’m going to end on a very light note, I’m glad I’m retired.
Secretary Bruck ended the session and turned the meeting back over to Chair Allen.
Immediate Past Chair Daley reported that there is a major concern on the tuition task force, which applies to Chapel Hill and NC State in terms of giving us discretion over raises and tuition.
Students are concerned with the Board of Governors on textbooks prices. They are talking about mandating the professors and the bookstores to tell the students what textbooks they are going to use two to three weeks before the classes start which is what NC State does anyway.
Nothing was accomplished this last session on the pay and health benefits. Technically both of these are alive and they are hoping in the short session to bring up a pay increase and the pilot project for a health benefit for the university system.
Resources and Environment
Senator Blank reported that the Resources and Environment Committee met and considered the tuition waiver matching policy. Vice Chancellor Gilligan will attend the next Faculty Senate meeting to clarify what is happening with that policy and some questions as a result of the committee’s discussion.
Senator Bruck reported that the Katrina Committee has raised more than $77,000, which puts NC State ahead of any other university in the state. Senator Bruck noted that we should continue to support that effort since the problem is not over.
Chair Allen adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.