December 4, 2007
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the eighth meeting of the fifty-fourth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome & Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Martin announced that the Executive Committee would meet in the Faculty Senate Conference Room Thursday, December 6 at 3 p.m.; the graduation exercise would be held December 19; the next Faculty Senate meeting will be Tuesday, January 15, 2008.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 7, November 20, 2007
The motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from the Chair
Retention and Graduation Rates
Chair Martin stated that retention and graduation rates are obviously something that educators need to care about. In our academic setting, retention is necessary because it’s hard to educate students if they are not here. The rate that our students are retained and graduate is obviously always of importance to us, but in particular these two topics have come into significant scrutiny in the last couple of years -- in part, because of concerns over education. If students don’t have to take as many years getting that education, then the cost to them or their families are not as large.
Chair Martin thinks we are dealing with these issues because the total number of students going to college is increasing and that has an impact on issues like retention and graduation rates.
5. Remarks from Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen stated that he spoke at the Rotary Club in Kingston last week and was asked to address questions about distance education and the early college programs in high school. He stated that these two questions demonstrated the depth of the thinking that folks out there were doing about the opportunities and the necessity for higher education and the new ways that we need to be thinking about providing education for our students.
Provost Nielsen reported that in any particular year 2.4% of our undergraduate population was going on study abroad and last year 3.4% of the student body did so, which is a major increase in the percentage participation.
Provost Nielsen shared part of an email message he received from Carrie Ledger who was the Assistant Director in the academic support program for student athletes prior to going to work for the NCAA. She commended the university for being committed to enhancing the experience of its student athletes and to the integrity of their institution.
Provost Nielsen announced that he became a grandfather for the first time last Wednesday at 10:54 p.m.
6. Retention and Graduation Rates
Thomas Conway-Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs
Dean Conway stated that when you look at the issue of graduation rates and retention it is clear that the faculty’s role is often overlooked in this process. Graduation rates haven’t changed at institutions in the last twenty-five years. He challenged anyone to find a program anywhere in the country with a double-digit change in graduation rate that does not actively engage faculty in the process. There is clear evidence that faculty at North Carolina State have had to be engaged in this process.
Dean Conway reported that since 1997 NC State has experienced a 15% increase in its four-year graduation rate. The six-year graduation rate for the university over that same period of time has been as high as 7.3% but it has averaged around 6.8% or so. NC State has increased both the four-year graduation rate and the six-year graduation to a significant extent, which goes back to those kinds of things don’t happen without faculty involvement.
Dean Conway stated that faculty participation is needed in the following areas:
- Faculty engagement and support for professional advisers. The Provost is going to provide funding for three positions and the majority of those positions will be spread across the colleges.
- Encourage faculty involvement through the Center of Excellence and Curricula Engagement.
- Expansion of undergraduate research opportunities in all colleges.
- Review of academic policies mentioned in Regulation 400.1.5
- Disscussion on how to come to an effective resolution of core intra-campus issues.
7. Election of the Grievance Committee Chair Panel
An election was held to select three members to stagger terms on the Grievance Committee Chair Panel. Those elected were Aaron Clark (five year term), Clay Clark (four year term), and Alan Tonelli (3 year term).
Course Hosting Policy
Chair Martin reported that legalism related to the online hosting material is not clear. The parties that were looking into it are requesting an opinion from the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education.
Chair Martin stated that the recommendation is to leave approval of the policy tabled until there has been a formal ruling.
9. Issues of Concern
Senator Akroyd stated an issue of concern about the seamlessness between regular courses and DE courses.
Chair Martin agrees that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. He stated that some headway was made on the issue this past summer.
A motion passed to adjourn the meeting at 5 p.m.