NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
September 26, 2006
Present: Chair Allen, Secretary Bruck, Chair-Elect Martin, Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Akroyd, Blair, Branoff, Culbreth, Dawes, Evans, Fleisher, Genzer, Gustke, Hanley-Bowdoin, Heitmann, Hudson, Kellner, Kinsella, Jones, Lindbo, Moore, Murty, Overton, Raymond, Robarge, Schultheis, Scotford, Smith, Wessels, Williams, Crencho
Excused: Provost Nielsen; Senators Anson, Muddiman, Shamey
Absent: Senators Banks-Lee, Fauntleroy, Khosla, Mulvey, Ozturk
Visitors: James Oblinger, Chancellor; PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Suzanne Wiener, Library Administration; Marcia Gumperts, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty & Diversity; Lauren Gregg, Writer for News Services; David Horning, NC State Athletics; Thomas Conway, Dean, Undergraduate Academic Program
1. Call to Order
Chair Nina Strömgren Allen called the third meeting of the fifty-third session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements from the Chair
Chair Allen welcomed Senators and guests.
Chair Allen announced that the General Faculty Meeting would be held, Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 3 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Talley Student Center.
3. Approval of the Minutes Meeting No. 2, September 12, 2006
The motion passed unanimously to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
There are currently two committees meeting looking at Tuition and Fees. The Tuition Administrative Advisory Committee is co-chaired by Provost Nielsen and Study Body President Will Quick. Vice Chancellor Tom Staffor chairs the Fee Review Committee.
This year the Board of Governors will be reviewing the combined total increase of tuition and fees. ither approved or disapproved. NC State has had appropriate groups with students involved in both of those committees discussing what new fees might be proposed and they have already cleared through Finance and Business. They will not be able to approve them all because GA will impose a cap somewhere between five and ten percent growth in the tuition and fees amount. There will not only be that combined total of tuition and fees for a number and a percentage that would be allowable but there will also be a four-year plan associated with that so that students and their parents and families know that whatever tuition is proposed that it will not grow any larger than what the Board of Governors decide for the next four years.
Chancellor Oblinger read a portion of an article out of the Wall Street Journal about NC State and noted that he had received a lot of positive emails about the article. It is very important to our students to know that we are tied to the real world.
There is a publicly supported independent economic think tank known as the Milken Institute and they recently published this study that looks at how well institutions of higher education do at commercialization; the process of turning intellectual property into business startups and jobs. NC State is number twenty out of the 135 institutions that were ranked. UNC Chapel Hill was twenty-fifth; Duke University was thirty-eighth and Wake Forest was fifty-ninth.
Chancellor Oblinger read a portion of an interview with President Bowles by the Greater Charlotte Magazine, Bowles believes that it is important in this process (research and collaboration and utilization of resources) to find ways to reward the commercialization of intellectual property. “That is not a bad thing, it is a good thing,” he asserts. If it generates new businesses it can create the SAS Institute of tomorrow. NC State University does a better job of working with private industry than other universities in our system. I would like to see other universities step up like NC State has stepped up.
CNN Money. Com… There was a piece on America’s smartest cities where Raleigh was ranked number two in the country trailing Seattle and is tied with San Francisco. The index of smartest city is tied to the number of citizens in the urban area that have undergraduate baccalaureate degrees. Seattle’s percentage is 52.7% of the population. San Francisco and Raleigh’s percentage is 50.1 percent. When you think about smartness and education there are five cooperating Raleigh colleges but NC State is in Raleigh and I tend to think that we in the large part are responsible for some of that.
The Joyner Vista Center on Western Boulevard was dedicated on September 21st. There is easy parking over there and it is a spotlight, a lot of different aspects of NC State from student life to faculty life and research projects and the outreach activities of this campus across the country and around the world. Those displays will be updated and we anticipate that there will be from 25 to 35 thousand visitors a year to come through. Mayor Meeker was there and stayed for the entire ceremony. The building was funded through private donations in the like.
There will be a gala on November 17 when the Dorothy and Roy Park Building is officially dedicated.
There will be a seminar on Tuesday, October 17 at 2:30pm in Stewart Theater where US Senator from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham will be speaking.
Last Friday night was the eleventh annual lifetime giving society gala. There were approximately 500 people in attendance and as of August 31 we have raised $982.7M toward our billion-dollar campaign. We have eighteen months left therefore the message that evening was endowments for the future. There are only twenty-eight institutions in America that have had billion dollar capital campaigns. Most of them had medical schools and most of them are older than we are so this is an outstanding achievement for the university. It is a tremendous investment in the future of NC State.
Chair Allen and Chair Elect Martin attended most of the Board of Trustees meeting, which was held last Thursday and Friday. There are a few people on the Board of Trustees who have donated a million dollars each to name certain features in that building. Dorothy Park gave $5M for the opportunity to name the building for here husband and herself but one of our former board chairs had not seen the board room that he had named for his father. Ed Hood actually led the first successful combined campaign that we had, which was the campaign for NC State students that started with a goal of forty million dollars and ended up with $128M, which told us, we could run a combined campaign across all of our foundations if we agreed on what we were raising money for. Ed Hood is a former Vice President of GE, very unemotional is my experience with him. He walked in the building and looked around and his response was “Wow.”
My last comment is about the Wake County Public School bond vote and it is not to tell you how to vote it is to ask you to vote on November 7. I sit on the steering committee that supports passage of this bond issue. I am one of about twenty people that have committed to talk about the bond issue. It is a business deal, it is how to borrow money to do something known as build schools and renovate schools. I would ask you to vote.
Senator Dawes wants to know where CHASS fits into the university.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that CHASS is an essential part of an appropriate portfolio for a world-class institution like NC State University. I have talked to Toby Parcel about what I believe is a trend particularly as it relates to humanities and social sciences. I think if you look back during my days as Provost I would key it to that.; The college has submitted and had approved advanced degrees and targeted areas that are unique. The humanities and social sciences are unique to the system because that is important at the system level too and I have told Toby that for us to be a truly world class wide portfolio institution it is more than science, technology, and engineering.
We have a wonderful Design College, extraordinarily well recognized. I think you will be seeing the growth of advanced degree programs, which is what I think we need to do a lot of in humanities and social sciences in particular. I would like to see the history of science PhD come back into the mix. That was the last one that was turned down at the system level and we were pushing hard for that and we have pushed hard for degrees since then and they have come to us. I am sorry if you feel I have not given due coverage to all disciplines. There isn’t a college or a program that I don’t value.
Chair Allen commented that she thinks it is truly important not to lose track of how important basic research is, which could be science or not science and knowledge gained by the faculty. It is interesting that I had that same thought and I guest it is what we are being told to do in general by the UNC System. It is of course how we are going to get our money but we must not forget the rest.
Chancellor Oblinger state that the speech that he gave when he was installed does not slant one way or the other. “Please remember one of the objectives in my four vision points and it was the one of scholarships for the twenty-first century. Scholarship is universal as far as I am concerned across all of our disciplines. In one form or another it is there and we need to leverage that in a variety of ways. I use to brag a lot about mentored experiences with faculty. I ask you as faculty to think of ways that you could work with our students who are undergraduates to expose them to what a unique opportunity they have here at NC State as a Research Extensive, Land Grant Institution but an opportunity to work with a faculty member as he or she is engaged in their discipline in their scholarship and it doesn’t necessarily have to be research. You can do it in outreach and you can do it in teaching as well.”
Remarks by Matt Ronning, Research Administration
I’m coming here today to talk to you about conflicts of interest and commitment.
We have recently gone through the annual conflict of interest process. We try to present this information to approximately six to eight hundred people per year. I am talking about basic objectivity in your scholarship. NC State is a powerhouse when it comes to entreprenueralship and impact of our technologies. We have a lot of exposure in the area of conflicts of interest. We have startup companies. We have consulting practices. We have consulting endeavors that we engage upon. We have several hundred million dollars worth of grant contract funding; all of this is extremely well received and highly encouraged by administration.; We want faculty to have consulting engagements because it brings back real world experience to the classroom and to the scholarly endeavors. We want faculty to start up companies. We want you to bring in research dollars. This is an encouraged relationship, however it must be carefully managed.
Ronning highlighted some items from a handout he distributed.
I don’t make these policies up but these are policies and rules and regulations promulgated by particularly two federal agencies, the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation and they are called the common rules so all federal agencies adopt these rules. Then there is the North Carolina State statue which if you read it without reading the federal rules you would see that it would be very difficult under the law of the state of North Carolina to consult to have a start up company that does business with the university and to have some of these other privileged relationships that are afforded to faculty of academic institutions. The conflict of interest regulations are being modified, if you haven’t you will be seeing that soon.
Objectivity impairment doesn’t have to be real, it can be a perceived impairment and I am talking about multiple or competing obligations. If you are conducting research on a product or in a field and you own a company that will benefit from the results of that research you have a potential competing obligation and your objectivity in reporting those results could be impaired. I am not saying your objectivity will be impaired but it is not only the possibility but there is a perception especially from the public and from your sponsors as well as others that you may not be the most objective presenter of results when you stand to benefit through your private concern.
Other issues associated with conflicts of interest go from the obvious to the not so obvious. One of the most obvious ones is procurement issues. If you are a faculty member and has a spouse who owns a firm that supplies to the university materials and supplies of any kind that you are in a position to select that firm for purchasing those materials, that is a procurement prohibition.
The not so obvious is things like the textbook selection process. The point is if you are instructor and author of record then you probably should have an independent assessment that that text is the best text for NC State. It should be and I have never heard of it not being selected. It is highly improbable that anything like that would happen. All you have to do is disclose that you are using your text.
I think that our process is much better than it has been over the years.
We call consulting at the university external activities professional activities for pay. We have a regulation that is being combined with the conflict of interest regulation that requires all EPA faculty and EPA professionals to disclose or seek your intent to consult or engage with professional activities for pay, a minimum of ten days prior to doing that. If you miss the ten days you can disclose post commitment. The regulation is ten days and that is a UNC regulation. We don’t ask other than athletics how much money you are going to earn. We don’t ask that kind of personal information. All we ask for as is required is how much time you plan to commit to this external endeavor and what are you going to do, and we have the administrative supervisor of your position review that and say if you are going to spend 1000 hours on that are you going to be able to teach the classes you are signed up for, are you going to be able to do the research that you are committed to? Are you going to be able to fulfill your commitment to the institution? This is an automated process. I have in your packet a document that the legal office and I put together and it is called independent consulting frequently asked questions.
The university does not want to see those agreements and we don’t review them. They are yours and are between you and the company. All you have to do is to disclose or notify your department head through the Notice of Intent System that you are planning to engage in professional activity and it is approved and you go and do it and you sign the contracts. I highly recommend that you get an attorney.
Usually that is a contractual obligation to the company so the firm will usually own that intellectual property. You are essentially becoming a work for hire employee of that firm however if you use any university resources or it is tied to any other research program like a sponsored project or something to that effect then you must disclose to the company your obligation to disclose to the institution any intellectual property you create in that consulting endeavor. As a result of that requirement, you by policy of UNC system are required to disclose all intellectual property you create whether you are creating it or have created it as an employee of the university on external activities for pay or in your garage. Does that mean the university owns it?; No. The university doesn’t necessarily take ownership but you as an employee of the university are obligated to disclose intellectual property and the institution protects you by saying you are right we don’t have anything to do with this. If you don’t disclose and it is later determined that institutional resources were used, you will find yourself in a bad situation. It can even be elevated to some sort of criminal prosecution because we have a law in the state that says we don’t give away state property and intellectual property is state property.
Ronning reviewed several conflicts of interest and commitments that have gone wrong. He noted that it can happen anywhere and that he has seen these types of situations.
Secretary Bruck stated that there have been a number of incidents where property is involved and where money is coming in. Where do you draw the line between the start and stop of your university responsibilities and what is appropriate?
Ronning responded that it is almost impossible. As a general rule of thumb if the objective of the effort is to contribute to general knowledge through a systematic process of scholarship then it is a university function.
Senator Yencho stated that there is an office on Centennial Campus that is helping to facilitate the entrepreneurial spirits of the university. Generally he has found them to be very useful and very proactive.
Senator Moore reported that he attended a Distance Education meeting in CALS where the Associate Dean was discussing some items happening at the university level.; University wide evaluation of teaching form is being converted to an electronic form on the Internet.
Senator Fleisher stated that the Veterinary College did the form on the web last year and there was an enormous decrease in the number of student replies.
Dean Conway stated that essentially our students have access to their grades as soon as they are posted and that has been part of the service culture that has been there. The idea is about getting the data efficiently collected so that it can be analyzed, but at the same time the issue of how to get the response rate to a reasonable level is something that is being discussed by the committee.
Senator Hanley-Bowdoin stated that she thinks evaluation scores are going to decrease and that they are not going to be representative. “You probably will not get a lot of favorable comments because students that like the class will communicate it to the instructor and they don’t feel obligated to report that. I see this as a way of not getting accurate feedback and it is going to be the detriment of the faculty.”
Chair Allen forwarded the topic to the Academic Policy Committee for review.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 4 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.