FACULTY SENATE MEETING
January 15, 2008
Regular Meeting No. 9 of the 54th Session
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner, Past Chair Allen, Parliamentarian Corbin; Ambaras, Akroyd, Anson, Bernhard, Domingue, Evans, Fauntleroy, Fleisher, Genzer, Havner, Hergeth, Heitmann, Hudson, Lindbo, Lindsay, Moore, Murty, Overton, Ozturk, Poling, Raymond, Robarge, Schweitzer, Scotford, Ting, Walker, Wessels, Williams
Excused: Senators Levy, Shamey,
Absent: Senator Dawes, Hanley-Bowdoin, Muddiman, Ristaino
Visitors: PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Maxine Atkinson, Professor of Sociology FYI; Andrea Hunt, RA – FYI; Holly Faranda, First Year Student; Jessica Muckenfuss, First Year Student; Amanda Marsh, First Year Student; Lisa Simorelli, First Year Student; Nevin Kessler, Vice Chancellor, University Advancement; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Evlyn Reiman, AVC, Student Affairs; Amy Circosta, Assistant Vice Provost, OEO; Suzanne Weiner, Library Administration; Lee Fowler Athletic Director; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost, OEO; Willa Casstevens, Assistant Professor, Social Work; Jacqui Hawkins-Morton, Assistant Director, First Year College; Marcia Gumpertz, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Diversity; Amber Joyner, Student; John Ambrose, DUAP, Associate Dean; Mike Alston, Student Government; Carrie McLean, First Year College
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the ninth meeting of the fifty-fourth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
Welcome back and Happy New Year
Today as we begin the second half of the 54th session of the Faculty Senate, I thought it a good idea to evaluate the year so far, and consider what we want to accomplish in the rest of the year. This will primarily be done through reports from each of our committees; hopefully with good discussion on issues that each is working on.
As I look at the year so far, I am reminded of the set of remarks I made last year as Chair elect when I covered a session for Chair Allen. In my slightly sarcastic fashion, since we were covering the PACE initiative, i.e. looking for efficiency, I expressly noted that at least faculty governance, and possibly much of what a university does is not (and can’t be) efficient.
Now as Chair…and with an action-oriented personality, I again look at faculty governance and sometimes wonder what have we done? We talked of faculty wellbeing, and gender issues with respect to faculty retention. We have considered issues with respect to faculty grievance and hearings procedures. We considered the GEP, and issues of student retention. We talked about issues of energy and sustainability. We talked about UNC Tomorrow.
Some task forces have been set up to address aspects of these by us, and others. And it is there, by our committees, that the hard work must be done if anything more than talk is to be accomplished…and then the issues must come back for us to discuss and talk about some more.
Round and Round and Round…kind of like a bicycle wheel. (Spins bicycle wheel holding in both hands.)
But wait…with perspective, that is exactly what a wheel is supposed to do.
Now if you are a spoke on that wheel as it goes round and round, you don’t think you are making any progress. You see the same bicycle fork pass every revolution. But, if the wheel isn’t going around, the bike can’t move. Maybe a university and/or faculty governance needs to recognize that while it sometimes seems we go round and round on the same issue (i.e. life of the poor spoke), if we don’t go around and around we will make no progress.
Another interesting fact about a spinning wheel is that, it is pretty hard to turn…an object in motion will remain in motion until it is acted upon by another force…and maybe that is a good thing. A wheel that is stopped can easily be turned in any direction…very responsive, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. A wheel that is spinning wants to stay in motion, but will resist changes in the direction of that motion. This, while at times quite frustrating, is probably a good thing requiring a thoughtful and significant force to change direction.
Nevertheless, as long as the wheel is anchored to a reliable frame, in the case of the University analogy the frame is probably both the tradition and vision or mission, the wheel can be steered. By contrast, if we loose half of our frame (hold spinning bike wheel with one finger) the wheel will keep spinning, and can stay remarkably balanced, but it will just turn the whole organization in circles.
So this semester, as we again hear from the task force on faculty well being, or post tenure review, or as we dig further into the GEP particularly addressing the “interdisciplinary perspectives” etc. Let’s remember that for the institution to move forward, the wheels have to go round and round and round. But let’s also make sure that faculty governance provides a solid frame with leadership to steer the spinning wheel.
Chair Martin invited the faculty to attend a strategic planning meeting on Thursday, January 24 at 3 p.m. in the Faculty Senate conference room.
Chair Martin announced that a task force has been set up to look at the grievance policy and that the task force consisted of half administrators and half faculty. The Personnel Policy Committee is working on creating a hearings policy, which we currently don’t have.
A task force is soon to be established on the well being survey and advisory committee that will also be constituted with half faculty and half administrators and that is at the stage where it will be announced very soon.
The General Faculty meeting will be March 20 in the Talley Student Center Ball room at 2:30 p.m.
The next Millennium Seminar will be January 31 at 3 p.m. in the Stewart Theatre. Robert Reich, formal Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration will be the keynote speaker.
Chair Martin announced that the design team has been selected for the Hunt Library. Snøhetta is the design team and they are based in Norway and New York. There will be a variety of sessions where they will listen to campus needs to get an understanding of this campus to shape into the building. There will be a lot of faculty forums as the process continues. Chair Martin is the contact point so if anyone is interested in participating in those forums let him know and he can transmit information or your name as someone who would like to be more involved in the process.
Chair Martin announced that there is a task force on undergraduate student transitions. “How do we insure successful transition of students to NC State to insure their success?” That task force as currently constituted, is heavily administrative in perspective between the Division of Undergraduate Academic Policy (DUAP) and Student Affairs, and they are looking initially at things that are heavily involved in the DUAP-Student Affairs side of things. They are requesting another representative from the Faculty Senate in part to just be liaison to keep us informed of what is going on. If anyone has interest in serving on that please let me know. We would like to have someone on that task force as soon as possible.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 8, December 4, 2007
The motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
Today I am bringing back another DVD that was put together by the same NC State grad who made the first DVD. It is a compilation of what was heard from 1100 participants and 6700 survey respondents relative to UNC Tomorrow. I want to give to you what was given to the Board of Governors this past Friday in Winston Salem at their January meeting because contained therein is a description of the responses that will be expected from the campuses in regard to UNC Tomorrow and what that commission and those entities heard from the citizens of North Carolina. I think you will see that this will be very important to NC State University and every other university in the system but particularly us because you will see things reflected in the executive summary of that report that caused many people to say, “this sounds like NC State wrote this”, but it talks about collaborations. It talks about programs being responsive to the needs of North Carolina. It talks about working with K-20 community colleges, K-12 in the like. It talks about research and I will give high marks to Dr. Martin for being there periodically to remind those listening that research extensive institutions in particular have the valuable mission of discovery and leveraging discovery in the practical applications many times.
We are in the process of putting together a task force that will respond in every way to something that I will point out to you. I think you will find with what you will hear from real citizens about their concerns for the future, that NC State University is well positioned to respond.
Those of you that saw the introductory DVD will also recall that I said in the early days of preparing for UNC Tomorrow, they referred to it as a mission study. I will tell you now that the report had been completed and the assignments have been made to the respective campuses. The Board Chair Jim Philips is back talking about mission creep. What I think we need to understand, and recognize is that many institutions in the system would like to be much more like NC State University in many regards and in many disciplines.
I have asked Provost Nielsen to convene this group. I assure you there will be faculty representation. Ruben Carbonell and Mike Warden respectively who were our two representatives on the scholars council will be intimately involved as will the faculty chair along with several other representatives from the faculty.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that long before UNC Tomorrow begins, because of an extensive, strategic planning effort on this campus involving the administration and most importantly, the faculty, we identified five focus areas for NC State.
Energy and the Environment: This morning we dedicated the largest array of photos-voltaic cells in North Carolina between the RBC and Carter Finley Stadium and had five government non-profit and profit organizations as partners.
Health and Well Being: We don’t have a medical school, but we do have a Vet School that researches diseases that jump from animals to human and we do a lot of biomedical work on this campus in a lot of different ways.
Leadership Development was at the heart of what many of those people had in their hearts.
Economic Development has been in our mission statement since 1887.
Innovations in Education across the Spectrum was the fifth.
You will all play a role in this. This is an opportunity that maybe we will have once and one time only. Yes I have a selfish slant that I want NC State to be absolute best in and yes there are some things I think we can cooperate with others in, but it is about us in every sense of the definition.
We have been asked as an institution to respond to five points about what are you doing well and what it will take for you to do it even better. We have a lot of examples of things that we can do and the citizens in the DVD mentioned a few of them.
New Programs -- This is not a pot of money at the end of the rainbow. We will need to judiciously and ardently argue for any new resources and we will be expected to give some things up.
Administrative Policy Changes – Not just at the campus level but at General Administration as well.
Do we need to proliferate five or six colleges of Engineering in the state? The thing that surprised me is, I heard indirectly from our scholars council members that every stop people talked about engineering. We are not letting that go. There is a plan and then there are time lines. President Bowles is very inpatient. We are supposed to have a preliminary draft of things that can be addressed immediately by the Board meeting in May, which means we have to turn it in, in April so the task force that I mentioned will be busy and routinely meeting.
I learned this week that we will not be permitted to ask for anything that we didn’t ask for in the long session. In many respects we didn’t get everything we wanted for the long session so it is time to follow up particularly on the operational items in four areas;
Engineering, BioEnergy, Entrepreneurism, and Stem education, broadly defined.
We worked very successfully last year with a new phase of engineering, a small animal hospital at the vet school, money to renovate the 4-H camps around the state and planning money for the much needed Hunt Library on Centennial Campus. Our first priority in capital this year is the balance of the library, $97M.
If you look at what wasn’t funded, there is still $600M that wasn’t funded and the Hunt Library is roughly one sixth of that amount. We have a second priority and that is to continue the move of engineering to Centennial Campus and at the same time provide dollars for renovation and repair of the buildings that are vacated so that they can turn out like Withers Hall has for Humanity and Social Sciences. The faculty that I know there, are absolutely thrilled with the quality of space that they have for teaching and research.
I want to introduce Nevin Kessler who is our new Vice Chancellor for University Advancements.
Mr. Kessler most recently was the Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations for the School of Management at Yale University. He has twenty-four years of extensive experience in higher education in the arena of both Student Affairs early on, but in the last twenty or so years in development and advancement activities.
Comments from Nevin Kessler
I just want to share with everyone how thrilled I am to be here. I had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Martin. I was very pleased that his vision for fund raising and my vision for future fund raising at NC State are very much aligned. I have been invited to come back to share a bit more detail, but let me say that all of the success we achieved with the ACHIEVE Campaign could not have been achieved without the faculty’s good work. Almost seventy percent of that campaign was the result of the corporate and foundation gifts and much of that as a result of faculty research. As we think about the future of fund raising here at NC State we are very focused on supporting academic programs and the essentials of that will be faculty research programs. Thank you for welcoming me.
5. “A Proposed Change to NC State’s Sexual Assault Policy”
Dr. Maxine Atkinson, Professor of Sociology stated that last semester a group of students who will present today completed an introductory sociology class that was taught as a first year inquiry course. A major part of this course was completing a research project and there were three objectives for this project. 1) that students actually do some social science research, 2) that students would be able to recognize the relationship between science and policy, and 3) that students would engage with their university community. Students were required to complete four research assignments and these assignments were originally written and piloted by a graduate student, Angela Hunt, who is currently the First Year Inquiry graduate assistant. The course culminated with a project that students will present today.
The students handed out to the Senate the current NC State Sexual Assault Policy, the proposed changes to the policy and a short survey of the students’ evaluation of the project.
The survey was a ten-point student survey. The students gave the project very high evaluations (except that they would have preferred another topic). The students did not interview sexual assault victims. They gathered data of their own but people that they interviewed to bring their own data to the project were people like police officers, their parents, and resident mentors. One of the things they wanted to find out was what parents expected and if parents feared sexual assault. They wanted to find out what other students knew about sexual assault. They wanted to find out if we in the university knew what the sexual assault policy was, so these are the kinds of people that they interviewed.
The students also used and analyzed national data. They had to learn to read social science tables so they had to read the national data and they brought their data from their interviews and the data from two national research projects to bear on their policy analysis. They analyzed this policy in the context of the research that they had done.
The students plan to meet with two other groups and the ASEAP (Association of Sexual Assault Prevention) to present a recommendation for a sexual assault awareness program.
The students reported that Sexual Assault is an issue on campus. Across the nation approximately 25% of all college women are raped per year, which suggest that about 180 women on NC State’s campus may be raped during the year, although few instances are reported.
They pointed out that rape is not defined in the current policy. There are many different ways to define rape and in the current policy it is not defined. Also some other forms of sexual assault are not listed, such as sexual battery, threat, which are things that are very important when it comes to sexual assault.
The students stated that the commentary was a little overwhelming for students because the information is so congested that it is hard to focus on what it’s actually saying to the victim or to the individual.
Also it mentioned the statutory age of consent. That age is not listed on the policy. There are no contact numbers and there is no one listed for students to know exactly where to go.
The students demonstrated how difficult it is to actually find the NCSU sexual assault policy, which they thought was a bit discouraging.
The students’ goal is for ASEP to be able to rewrite the policy for students to be able to better understand and have it on hand.
They elaborated on every single issue mentioned so that there was no confusion for any victim on the campus and they rewrote the commentary to make it easier for someone who had been hurt to be able to read.
The students also added the hot line numbers and the contact information so that students are able to contact the Women's Center, counseling center or campus police.
The students recommended that that the policy be changed within a year. They feel that changing the policy will make students at NC State feel more secure.
Senator Scotford wanted to know if the students had considered asking for better navigation within the website.
The student responded that they mentioned it to a guest speaker from the Women’s Center and was told that it was an issue and that it would be included on the Women’s Center web page.
Senator Fleisher: You gave a statistic of 25% of all American women in college are raped per year. Is that the government’s statistic? What definition of rape do they use?
The response was, any level of sexual assault.
Senator Robarge: This is certainly a difficult subject in the sense of my perspective that it causes both the criminal world as well as an atmosphere of having a more diverse open campus. Certainly the criminal side of this is very avid. This brings the question of how easy is it for women to go to the authorities, what support should be there for women reporting a crime, how do we interact between campus police, Raleigh police and of course the Wake County Sheriff that would be involved with that immediately. Then there is the other side of just building a better campus which is a major effort to faculty in terms of helping with this policy about diversity training and harassment training so, to some degree it is a little perplexing how to respond to your initiative in that you have both a criminal element directly involved with this as well as all the initiatives on campus. I’m wondering to what degree have you interacted with Human Resources.
Professor Atkinson stated that their recommendation is that they have a task force on campus called “The Allowance for Sexual Assault Prevention” and they are the people that we have been interacting with and this students’ group recommendation is that ASEP rewrite our sexual assault policy partially just because of the complexity.
We looked on the North Carolina website to see what punishment is given and they did have direct punishment for rape, direct punishment for sexual assault whether it was jail or a fine, but when you go to our code of conduct it is not directly listed. The wording is these things could happen but it is not directly listed. We need something in there for an offender to realize that these things [sanctions] could happen.
Senator Robarge stated that he is a little confused by the message because, on the one hand, rape is a crime. Any individual who commits a rape should be told that you will be prosecuted and then I think the other aspect is more along the line of making sure 1) women are protected and knowing how to respond and know they will be properly taken care of should this occur, and 2) make sure the general community has this greater acceptance in diversity. It is confusing to me about your message and what it is it is trying to accomplish.
Chair Martin stated that they have highlighted clearly muddled messages that we have on campus and that needs to be clarified. They are not the policy rewriters and I think what potentially the action that could come from this, the task force may be ready to write the policy themselves but the Senate could endorse your call for the rewriting of the policy. What I am hearing is, make sure you know how to report. The criminal side is established once it is reported but until its reported, nothing can happen.
Senator Robarge stated, if we have the potential of 450 women being raped on this campus per year, that is an epidemic.
Senator Williams stated that he thinks one of the things in clarifying these definitions is just what that term embraces so that everyone is aware of the things that people don’t consider to be felonious.
Senator Ting stated that he did some research on the topic of rape years ago. Rape at colleges and universities is complicated by the nature of that conduct. Many of these incidents happen in date rape. There were not many incidents that were not reported. “I would like the research team to help me clarify, about 3,000 women at NC State every year are sexually assaulted. If this is the case, reported or not reported, I think as a faculty and administration we need to do something. That is a high number and I want you to clarify that number.”
Professor Atkinson responded that there is a US Justice report in the year 2000 and the year 2005 and she believes that number is for the time that they are on college campuses and the number one victim of sexual assault on college campuses is a first year white female.
The students stated that one of the big reasons that women did not report is because they were not sure if the incident occurred would be considered on or off campus because Fraternities are located off campus so they weren’t sure whether to contact local or campus police.
Also if drugs or alcohol was in the picture students were afraid that they would get charged for drugs and alcohol rather than their sexual assault or rape.
Some students also weren’t sure of their confidentiality if they reported an incident. They were worried that their parents would find out or their names would somehow end up in the news.
Senator Ambaras feels that the policy needs to be expanded to include sexual violence against men since they are also victims of sexual assault.
Professor Atkinson stated that the class was set up to see what the research said and the research does not indicate a lot of sexual assault on college men. It is primarily college women.
Senator Ambaras stated that he is thinking more in terms of where sexual assault can be a hate crime and he wonders what might be appropriate information for students to reassure them that they have access to resources, that they have the support of the university community.
Professor Atkinson feels men should have access to university resources. She thinks if the sexual assault policy was rewritten there is no reason why men shouldn’t be included. She noted that none of the terms that these students helped define are gendered, even though the incidents of sexual assaults are.
Chair Martin stated that we can do better as a university than this in our policy, and the Senate will work with you to try to make that happen.
Chancellor Oblinger wanted to know if other websites were looked at that might have handled this better than NC State, a best practices kind of approach.
The student stated that the male groups looked more in depth on other university sites. They noted that UNCW has a really good site and also UNC Greensboro as well has a very good site.
6. Reports: mid-year committee updates
Academic Policy Committee - Janet Hudson, Chair
General Education Program Proposal
The Council on Undergraduate Education has formed a subcommittee, which is in the initial stages of developing a symposium with the ultimate propose of better defining the IP category of the GEP.
Accelerated Bachelor’s Master’s (ABM)
Senator Ristaino, Academic Policy Committee liaison, has asked for ongoing feedback on the ABM, a proposal that exceptional students have the opportunity to complete both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in 4 ½ years. She has been working with the graduate school and will give an update at the next meeting.
Extended Drop Date
Department Head John Fountain provided some feedback about the drop date being extended from six to eight weeks. He said some of the Heads were concerned that they and the faculty would invest eight weeks and not receive credit for it and the grading curve would suffer as a result.
Senator Hudson reported that the extension is part of a larger plan intended to change student behavior around signing up for too many courses and then dropping. Potential ideas associated with this are charging tuition by number of credit hours; increasing the full-time load to 15 hours; and requiring permission of academic advisors for students signing up for more than 19 hours.
After discussion, the Academic Policy Committee decided not to recommend any Senate action on the change.
Class Averages on Transcripts
The Academic Policy Committee received a suggestion that class averages be added to transcripts to address concerns about grade inflation so that it would be clear as to whether a 3.2 was above, below, or on par with the rest of the class and to encourage instructors to avoid inflating grades. After researching a similar initiative at UNC Chapel Hill as well as practices at other peer institutions, APC decided not to pursue this suggestion (10/2/07). It was thought that, since the practice would be fairly unique to NCSU, it could pose a potential disadvantage to graduates.
Student Incentives for Online Evaluations
Chair Martin asked APC to explore an 8/15/07 message to faculty from UPA, which referenced a potential process offering incentives to increase response rates for online evaluations. UPA Director Karen Helm conveyed that she intended only to suggest an alternative to one particular incentive that threatens students’ confidentiality, consistent with advice from the Evaluation of Teaching Committee and the Class Evaluation Implementation Team. In later communications with faculty, there were no further comments on incentives.
Chair Martin wanted to know what is being done with the teacher evaluations. To some degree it is a blunt measuring tool. Even a 60% response rate would probably tell us major fluctuations.
Senator Ambaras pointed out that faculty have not received the evaluations back this semester. He stated that, for the people who are piloting new courses, people who are experimenting, and people who are attentive to their own pedagogy, it is imperative that they get them back in a timely manner, whether this is a question of software that is being used or whether it’s a question of developers working on the developers time line as opposed to on faculty’s timelines. I think those issues have to be addressed because many of us waited patiently for our evaluations to come back and it’s been three weeks.
Senator Hudson said if we voice our concerns to our representatives on the committees I think we will be heard.
Chair Martin noted that Karen Helm’s committee does great on the response issue but the issue of what is being done with the evaluations is not in Karen’s shop, it is an academic question, so where is that question being addressed?
Senator Hudson responded that it is what they heard a lot of at length so they started to look at how the evaluations are being fixed and the more they learned about the more they learned that it is inconsistent. It is inconsistent between colleges, between disciplines, it is very different and that seems to be where a lot of concern is. It doesn’t seem to be really about the instrument itself or the fact that the instrument is online, but what is being done with it so they looked at the teaching evaluation regulation that was being developed by David Shew, the Evaluation of Teaching Committee. They have thought about some minor revisions to it, but they have not made a decision yet so the committee welcomes feedback.
Senior Vice Provost stated that one format that would come out of the evaluation system was the promotion and tenure dossiers. Right now there is bite there on what you are to include, we get variable input there so they are being asked to do that. I don’t imagine that is going to happen in one year but that is on the agenda of that committee as well which certainly speaks to how we are going to use evaluations.
Senator Kellner stated that there are several issues here and on the one hand the students don’t participate as much as we might like. On the other hand there is the deal of variety about what is being done with student evaluation of teaching whether online or paper. It doesn’t really matter which. There is what we call inconsistency. I like inconsistency and I think in both cases a broad way of looking at this is the notion of cultures. It may seem shocking (to some) that Engineering hasn’t got with the program and modeled itself after the English department in how it deals with every little matter, but I’m not sure that is the answer to things.
We have different cultures in different areas of the university and I think the university culture will have to change on the other question (of on-line evaluation) for students to get a culture of participation in this. I would like to say when you see the word inconsistency we might like to ask ourselves whether diversity couldn’t be substituted and whether that is always a bad thing.
Senator Hudson stated that there is a lot we that can pursue with this in terms of looking at evaluation and teaching and looking at culture and one of the things we have been working on is prioritizing so it would be helpful from you all as we look at the issues that we have before us, which one you suggest as being most important.
Evaluation of Teaching REG 05.10.20
On 10/2/07 David Shew, Chair of the Evaluation of Teaching Committee, visited and we discussed how evaluation is used in teaching and the regulation his committee was in the process of writing when the online evaluation decisions were made. This became an APC topic last year when we noted that much of the concern about online evaluations was based on how evaluations are actually used. In the process, we discovered the way they are used is inconsistent from one college to the next. APC decided to review the teaching evaluation reg to determine whether we would like to emphasize it to faculty and administrators and/or recommend revision. This discussion is ongoing.
Online Course Material Host Requirements REG 08.00.11
On 10/16/07 APC began reviewing proposed revisions of REG 08.00.11 (Course Hosting reg) resulting from a concern raised by DSO. The revisions would require that all electronically hosted course components be accessible; state that all accessibility issues be worked out (rather than worked out during the drop/add period); remove an exception clause which states instructors are not responsible for ensuring privacy and accessibility for electronic components which are not required for the course (but should consider privacy and accessibility and warn students about potential accessibility concerns).
APC did not think it practical to require that every electronic course component be accessible for every potential disability from the outset. The committee met with Ricky Lee (DSO), Tom Miller (DELTA), Katie Perry (Provost Office), and Saroj Primlani on October 30 to gather further information and insight. The committee then recommended that no changes be made to the Course Hosting regulation except to state that all accessibility issues be worked out (rather than worked out during the drop/add period), and it also recommended adding references to the Web Page Accessibility Regulation (REG 04.25.05) Implementation Guidelines, which already govern the Course Hosting regulation.
DELTA Vice Provost Tom Miller revised the regulation as suggested by APC and the proposed revisions moved to the full Senate for consideration.
At the 11/20/07 Faculty Senate meeting a concern was raised about one of the added references to the Web Page Accessibility Guidelines, “Accessibility of electronically hosted course components is required. . .for any course components that are made available to the public.” This further called into question the Web Page Accessibility regulation and the issue was tabled.
Update: The NCSU Office of Legal Affairs is communicating with the Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education as to the legal requirements regarding accessibility of publicly available course components. Once this determination is made, there will be further conversation as to proposed revisions of one or both regulations.
Senator Overton noted that one of the things you did earlier in the semester was the GEP and the issues of the interdisciplinary courses and we know where that stands on campus with respect to that issue. In this UNC Tomorrow initiative we heard the word interdisciplinary quite a few times and so that is a larger university issue and it is a larger university system issue with respect to dealing with interdisciplinary issues. As you talk about your comments how we discuss your item number 2 caught my attention discussing how different colleges communicate because interdisciplinary across this campus is really going to get down to colleges being able to talk to each other and develop interdisciplinary programs that actually work. I think that it is a very important issue in itself. It is an academic role of the Faculty Senate issue, I think.
Senator Hudson stated that she thinks we need to develop some clear structures to make sure everyone knows that this is how education works and we are on board with it and its simple and there are a lot of issues associated with that but I think having some clear structure will be very helpful.
Senator Ozturk stated, on the communication issue he thinks there is something we can do for the Senate. In my view I think where the Senate falls on this whole communication issue is very unclear. I think routinely the chairs of the (university standing) committees should come and talk with us and report to the senate instead of waiting for problems to happen.
Chair Martin stated that we have a mechanism in place that is suppose to do that but it doesn’t work that well. Every committee has been assigned a Senate liaison and that is where this is supposed to happen.
Senator Ozturk stated that even though there are liaisons he thinks it would be good to have the chairs report to the Senate.
Senator Hudson asked are we supposed to have reports from liaisons at Faculty Senate meetings?
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that she assumed that was the way it worked. They are struggling now to get committee members.
Senator Ozturk stated that he is talking about making the committees accountable and not just the liaisons reporting.
Senator Hudson stated that a lot of us have a lot of ideas. She would like to see an opportunity for us to have a discussion. Maybe we could encourage the Chancellor to talk with us.
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that they have revamped all the committees that were approved in 2004 and as of this year that has been completed. We have a wonderful administrative assistant, Vicki Walton’s assistant, who got all the reports out last year and they are really much more now aligned to administrative units that give them ongoing and stable support. I don’t know how it would work if accountability was shifted back to this body.
We currently have the survey out there for people who would like to serve on these committees and to date, 141 people have entered and I don’t know if that is faculty or EPA. We have a culture challenge to get the buy in and participation there.
Chancellor Oblinger noted that he was the Provost in 2004 and was concerned about what is behind discussed right now. It is not always the administration that is not communicating and we have structures in place and if they were working, we would be all a lot better off.
Past Chair Allen stated that we really have improved the committees from what they were so give it one more year. I think the fact is that we are still not communicating well and so the question really is, how can we get more of a culture of communication. That was one of the things that I was concerned with. It very difficult to do that but we need to do more.
Chair Martin stated that this is an issue that is much bigger than just Academic Policy and a week from Thursday this is one of those aspects I think in strategic planning for what faculty governance can and should do. This really is one of the biggest things that we need to deal with.
You know there are all kinds of things that we could say we could do if we had money, but we don’t control the purse strings. One of the issue that really came up in the Universal Council is looking at summer school and that is something we on campus have a lot more possibility to do. Well, I relate that to this conversation; we can at least work at addressing communication on faculty groups. We will keep working at it with the administration groups but in talking to all of us as faculty, let’s work at areas where we actually can have control.
If you are liaison on a committee, please be in communication with your committee. One of our goals would be to have all those standing committees have in their charge a connection to a Senate Committee and that may help but it’s only going to help if we make that connection.
Senator Fleisher commented on grade inflation and he wanted to know why we have an A+. All we have done is expand the grade range. If we get rid of A+ and keep everything else we would certainly reduce to some extent grade inflation.
Senator: I have a little anecdote doing the academic eligibility rule review in the athletic department last week and looked at a transcript of this very brilliant student who bagged it the last semester, made a “D” in a course and still has a 4.0 GPA. He had enough pluses to offset a “D” so he still got an “A” average.
Chair Martin stated that the communication issues and the evaluations are big.
Chair Martin announced that Lisa Marshall who chairs the Provost Council on the Status of Women would like to get some more faculty onto that council. Currently I am the Senate representation but she would like to get more faculty involved in this process so if you or you know of anybody who would like to join the council on women please let me know.
The meeting adjourned at 5 p.m.