FACULTY SENATE MEETING
January 27, 2009
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner; Chair Elect Overton, Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin; Senators Akroyd, Ambaras, Auerbach, Bernhard, Daemon, Domingue, Edmisten, Fahmy, Franke, Genereux, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Hergeth, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kocurek, Levy, Poindexter, Poling, Ristaino, Roberts, Ting, Tu, Williams
Excused: Senators Anson, Carver, Fleisher, Honeycutt, Lindbo, Lindsay
Absent: Senators Boone, Muddiman, Murty
Visitors: James Oblinger, Chancellor; David Rainer, Associate Vice Chancellor; Tina Marie Nelson, Risk Assessment Case Manager; Betsy Brown, Provost Office; Suzanne Weiner, Library Administration; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Barbara Carroll, AVC Human Resources; Charles Leffler, Vice Chancellor, Finance and Business; Jose’ Picart, Vice Provost Diversity and Inclusion
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the tenth meeting of the fifty-fifth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Drs. Daun Daemon and James Kiwanuka-Tondo to the Senate. Dr. Daemon will replace Janet Hudson who resigned from the Senate and Dr. Kiwanuka-Tondo is serving as an interim senator for Akram Khater who is on leave this semester.
Reflections on Coach Yow – Jim Martin, Chair of the Faculty
As we begin today, we mourn the loss of Coach Kay Yow and we want to recognize and celebrate her life and service.
On behalf of the faculty of NC State University I think it is most fitting that we the Faculty Senate endorse a statement in honor of her life and for the service that she has provided to all of us at NC State.
Chair Martin read a statement in honor of the life and service of Coach Yow. A motion passed to endorse the statement.
A tribute to Coach Yow is scheduled tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Reynolds Coliseum. All are invited. Also the public viewing will be Friday, January 30 from 10 – 2 p.m. The funeral will follow at 3 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary.
The Brotherhood Dinner and Lecture is scheduled February 6 and Wiley Gary who is a renowned trial lawyer, humanitarian, and co-founder of the Gary Foundation will give the lecture.
The Union Activities Board (UAB) is participating in the national teach in solutions for the first 100 days, which is focusing on global warming awareness.
The Emerging Issues Forum is February 9-10.
There will be a reception for Senior Vice Provost Katie Perry’s retirement on March 30th.
3. Remarks from Chair Martin
Chair Martin reported, last year, in thinking about the reorganization of the Faculty Senate, we worked to try to move toward formalizing relationships between the University Standing Committees and the Senate Committees. In addition to adding responsibilities for our liaisons, we recommended that we put into the formal charges to the University Standing Committees a connection to the Faculty Senate and to one of the Faculty Senate standing committees. That now is formalized and was adopted by the Committee on Committees last Friday. We will see those connections formalized now on those committee charges.
Chair Martin stated that the Executive Committee reviewed the letter from President Bowles and the campus response to it pertaining to faculty workload issues. There were some concerns in the letter where numbers were utilized to suggest faculty workloads have decreased. After significant discussions we made sure that our campus response, corrected that fact. We need to continue to be engaged in the discussion to recognize what workloads really are and the many responsibilities that go into being a faculty member.
Chair Martin reported that there was a significant discussion on more budget information. The General Faculty meeting will be coming up on March 23 and it is highly likely that the meeting will in some way focus on budget related issues. He solicited faculty input for specifics that might be useful in the General Faculty meeting context.
4. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 9, January 13, 2009
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
5. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
Reflections on Coach Yow
Chancellor Oblinger noted that the Rickover/Carter story is an interesting one and he thinks when and if Kay Yow was asked if she did her best, that the answer that most of us would provide for her would be, absolutely, she did her best.
Chancellor Oblinger referred to Coach Yow in many regards as a life’s coach. He stated that he came here as an Associate Dean for Academic Programs and for a long time the only coach that ever brought a prospective student by his office in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was Kay Yow. She wanted her “girls” to know what they were getting into academically, because she knew they knew through her what they were getting into as it relates to the competitive spirit in women’s basketball.
Coach Yow never talked about her situation. It was always about her team, the fans, the band, the cheerleaders; it was never about Kay Yow. She was a masterful coach, a superbly caring mentor and to many of us a friend. She was a fighter in every sense of the word and she was a winner that inspired us all.
Chancellor Oblinger asked that we observe a moment of silence in recognition and in honor of Coach Kay Yow.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that Founders Day is March 7 and there will be a weeklong celebration.
Chancellor Oblinger will give a State of the University Address Tuesday, March 10 at 11 a.m. in Stewart Theater. He noted that there would be considerable attention paid to the budget because as we get through January and into February there will be new levels of specificity that are expected and entirely appropriate.
The Princeton Review listed NC State as six out of the top ten public universities in America that they termed best values. This is a combination of cost, assessability, quality, and the ability of students who leave us as alumni to find meaningful employment in today’s market place. NC State was the only University of North Carolina entity in the top ten.
The University will have five members rotate off the Board of Trustees and one of those five is the Student Body President. The other trustees either fill out someone’s four-year term or have a four-year team of their own. And of the remaining four, two will be appointed by Governor Purdue and two from the Board of Governors.
The Campus Culture Taskforce Draft Report is now on the Student Affair’s website. Chancellor Oblinger said it is a fine draft report, but they are soliciting input, reaction, suggestions, etc. He has delayed turning in the final report from early February to the end of February.
Chancellor Oblinger reported that he would be meeting with the Board of Governors on Friday to have an additional seven-hour workshop on tuition and fees. The Board is sincerely and appropriately concerned about the economic conditions in North Carolina. The Board is very concerned that any additional cost to education is going to create problems.
Chancellor Oblinger stated the administration and the Deans, in concert with department heads, have been spending a lot of time on the budget for the last two months. He stated that suggestions are needed. “My bottom line would be that I have tried along with Provost Nielsen and Vice Chancellor Leffler to be as transparent as possible as we have undergone this process of discussion and deliberation of how we would address a 3% recurring budget cut or a 5% recurring budget cut or a 7% recurring budget cut, which would begin July 1, 2009 -- i.e., 15, 26, and 36 million dollars, which is a huge number of dollars in an organizational budget that has a tremendous percentage (depending on the unit) earmarked for salaries. Once we drift above three percent there will be reductions in force.”
Chancellor Oblinger stated that they have attempted to communicate consistently what we are dealing with. North Carolina has favored education for a long time budgetarily. When you get 46% of your budget from an appropriated source, i.e., the state, and the state’s revenue collections both from an individual tax standpoint and corporate tax standpoint are significantly down, then the chances are you will not continue to get a 46% appropriation. That is what we are looking at. Tuition is not the way that this institution will continue to survive. We will do everything that we can to continue to offer the high quality programs that we offer.
Chancellor Oblinger urged people to go to the homepage to find out where we stand right now. He stated that they will begin to get increasingly specific since people are wanting to know if we get these levels of cuts, will there be jobs lost, and the answer is yes.
Secretary Kellner: I heard you say that the university had proposed a 6.5% increase in fees, 3% plus increase in tuition, and I heard that President Bowles would be putting pressure against the increase of 6.5%. Does that refer to the fee increase?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that the Board of Governors in our system has the final say even over the President. They set tuition and fees but the President is charged with gathering information and presenting it to them on behalf of the campuses.
President Bowles felt that predictability was important for families and students. Instead of starting their semester and then hearing that there has been a tuition increase the same semester, we needed to have a four-year plan for tuition and fees. After a lot of discussion, it was decided that a figure of 6.5% for both tuition and fees was an appropriate cap, so that the predictability of no more than 6.5 in those categories would hold true. The first year we requested 3.2% on tuition and 6.4% on fees and that passed. The deal the President has with the Legislature is if you ever get a higher appropriation than 6.5% increase to your budget, you won’t be allowed to ask for anything other than that amount above subtracted from the 6.5%, trying to encourage strong continued funding for the General Assembly.
Chancellor Oblinger said everyone recognizes that the economy is in the tank, to be polite and a lot of people are suffering. With that in mind President Bowles met yesterday with the Chancellors and said the Board is not really sure they are going to let anyone increase tuition and fees. You have a spectrum of opinion there, so they are in an internal discussion in the Board of Governors and one thing President Bowles brought to that body is discussion. We were asked, what do you propose for your campus initiated tuition and fee increase? We said 6.3% is what we think is appropriate on the fee side, but we think that 3.6 are what we ought to be asking for as it relates to tuition. That is what we sent to President Bowles and that is what he said he was willing to take to the Board. That is the discussion point that the Board will be asked to decide on in February, but in preparation for their February meeting they want to have another session, this time with the Chancellors to talk about campus by campus needs and on what basis do we ask for 6.3% fees, somebody else 6.2, which is a totally different direction of where those fees are going. It decentralized to the campus to decide. We have had the committees work for months to come to those recommendations, and we have made our recommendation to the President, who now has to get the Board to approve it or the Board can modify it. President Bowles wants them to decide based on having as much information as they feel they need. The final word on tuition and fees is down Hillsborough Street in the General Assembly. Some of you have been here as long or longer than I have been and you can remember times when the Board of Governors set a tuition level only to have it either turned down, endorsed or increased by the General Assembly. If you superimpose upon this an economic trauma in this country and in the world the likes of which, Erskine Bowles says, he has never seen this level of a challenge, so he wants to do it right and he wants to do it well and he wants to help the Board as much as possible.
Senator Levy: What would be the total cost to the average student and how much discretionary funds would the administration have from that amount of (tuition increase)?
Provost Nielsen responded $140 for tuition and $72 for fees.
Chair Martin: If we don’t get that campus initiated tuition increase (CITI) which took virtually all of the faculty salary dollars from past ones, will those going through the promotional track not get it, or do we have monies set aside (for promotion raises) to make sure that happens no matter what?
Chancellor Oblinger stated that it should be permitted still to come from that fund because of the rigors of the review process. The high water marks associated with those ranks, keeping our best people essentially. We have made that pitch already. We will make that happen, one way or the other.
Senator Genereux asked who would be cut if there is a cut of more than 3%, staff or faculty or administration?
Chancellor Oblinger responded that you could say, all of the above. It will not involve tenured faculty because the only way to eliminate tenured faculty is through declaration of fiscal exigency. In the plan there are graduate student stipends involved in the surrender. There are SPA employees involved. There are non-tenure track EPA positions and there are yet to be filled tenure track positions involved.
Senator Ambaras: In terms of your response, could you use a hypothetical situation where a tenure track Assistant Professor is not renewed for financial reasons.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that he is not going to envision that.
6. Risk Assessment and Campus Safety
Tina Nelson, Risk Assessment and Campus Safety Manager stated that her role is to help administer the threat assessment team. There are several different individuals on that team. There are representatives from University Police, the Office of Student Conduct, Counseling Center and Housing. As a team they look at incidents where there is concern about students, faculty or staff. Staff and faculty issues will have representatives from Human Resources and will have legal representatives present to give legal advice.
Nelson stated that most of what they do is look at student issues because they are the larger part of our population. A lot of those cases involve incidents that some may have thought a few years ago weren’t that big a deal, such as partner relational problems, stalking, harassment, and mental health issues.
The group meets weekly to review cases and Nelson meets daily with the University Police to make sure that they are doing what they need to do to properly assess these cases.
Outreach and Prevention
Tina Nelson stated that her job is to make sure that you know what to do if there is a student who has issues in your classes. She urged the faculty to contact her to get information for staff meetings or training and she can also provide information on where to go if there is an issue.
Nelson noted that she has had several calls from faculty with particular concerns involving students. Once a situation has been handled the caller is notified of the action that has been taken. You will receive a phone call letting you know that something is being done in regard to these students, that there is follow-up and your liability is no longer there.
Nelson explained the actions of disruptive, psychological, and aggressive/violent students and noted that you should call her or law enforcement if you come in contact with a student acting in that manner.
Nelson stated that there are a lot of things she can be utilized for. She urged faculty to contact her. She can be contacted at 513-4224 or you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Ambaras: Given the diversity of students at universities like ours, how are you dealing with the cultural issues involved in assessing contacting, trying to figure out how to communicate effectively with a diverse student population.
Nelson stated that one way that could be done is work with the organizations that manage foreign exchange students to ensure that we look at the cultural sensitivity aspects and communication aspects. She has worked with someone from the Department of Housing on several cases and has looked at the whole spectrum.
Senator Fahmy: Would you be willing to receive anonymous calls?
Nelson responded, yes.
Senator Headen: You are the faculty member and you have a class and someone behaves in a particular way -- different faculty might perceive that differently, but it is still the faculty member’s responsibility to respond based primarily on their perception of the event.
Nelson responded that in the PRR there is a workplace violence policy that tells us all the things that we are to report in regards to violence. I would encourage you to make the report right then while the information is still fresh in your mind.
Barbara Carroll, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, stated that she thinks the answer is, if you are wondering whether or not you should call and have a contact with Tina, the answer would be yes, and then she can engage in the process.
Senator Williams: How do I know I should be concerned? Are there any kinds of definitive behaviors that ought to signal concern?
Nelson responded definitely and things to look for are changes in behavior or a student that appears agitated in class or threatening in nature.
Senator Hemenway: Is there any legal ramification?
Nelson responded no. If you are expressing concern about a student you have every right to notify someone.
Senator Auerbach wanted to know which place is better to send a student, the Counseling Center or her office.
Nelson stated that the student can go to the Counseling Center, but for follow-up, you would need to go through her office.
7. Budget Reductions Strategies and Options
Chair Martin stated that the work today is to think about how to deal with some of the realities of that $28M to the academic affairs budget, and $36M if you look at all of our budget cuts.
Chair Martin provided a copy of the summary, put together by Provost Nielsen with a cover letter from the Chancellor, of information the Senate requested in a resolution to receive reports from the various units on budget cuts. He requested that close attention be paid to the cover letter that the Chancellor provided. This is the response that needed to go to GA to say -- if the cuts are this size, these are the kinds of things that we are going to have to do. Chair Martin feels that it shows the magnitude of what we face.
Chair Martin stated when we are talking about budget cuts, sometimes it is difficult to talk about these types of things when we don’t really know where the dollars are, or what programs even exist. So if we are going to come up with ideas as to where we might go for cuts and if we don’t know what the existing programs are, we don’t know where to even think about making what kinds of cuts or what impact various things would have. So this is healthful, it breaks down, particularly, the academic affairs budget and again that academic affairs budget is sort of the budget for most of what we do at the university as the core mission, exempting the agricultural research service and the cooperative extension service. Basically everything else gets folded into the academic affairs budget, so you can see it broken out in terms of the college and other units. The Executive Committee broke out the Finance and Business section a little bit. Finance and Business is the budget line that captures quite a number of other units.
We recognized in conversations in the Executive Committee that a large percentage of the appropriated budget does go to salaries and benefits and so, when we look at these kinds of numbers – say, here is a number, and how much can we cut -- when we talk about holding travel or purchasing or those kinds of things, in fact, the reason we can’t cut is that there is not much of a travel budget, nor large supply budgets. So we have broken out what percentages of each of those budgets is salary and you see a lot of numbers above ninety percent. All of the college budgets are above the nineties so that helps us put into perspective the monumental measure of the task that is before us.
Chair Martin invited the senators and visitors to break out into discussion groups to identify programs, strategies, and processes that can be eliminated or reorganized to meet the challenge of cutting $36 million from the University’s continuing budget.
Chair Martin stated that he had set up a MOODLE site to capture the information from each group.
The focus was on three questions.
We want to look at university strategies that we must consider to significantly reduce the budget.
Are there specific strategies that we need to be looking at?
The second item we want to think about is the specific processes that are redundant or unnecessary that could potentially be eliminated. A suggestion that came from the Faculty Assembly is instead of thinking about furloughing people, what if we furloughed processes? Some of us talked about furloughing teaching evaluations for example. Are there some things that we do that take up an awful lot of time or a lot of structure? Is there a process that maybe we should be furloughing or eliminating? These kinds of ideas are things that you deal with all the time; we deal with all the time -- that headache, extra form to fill out or reporting that needed to be done, that maybe doesn’t have a benefit -- or maybe it does. Let’s throw those ideas out on the table for some real serious evaluation.
Are there any programs that could or should be eliminated? This really pertains to the suggestion that Provost Nielsen has talked about a number times, thinking about vertical cuts as opposed to across the board cuts, so if we were to make a vertical cut, what might we consider looking at for such a vertical so that we don’t have to deal with as many across the board cuts?
Provost Nielsen asked that they be as specific as possible as they offer ideas.
Chair Martin encouraged everyone to go back and visit the MOODLE site to add more comments.
Input from the Groups
Senator Edmisten stated that one thing that was discussed in his group is that it would be good to look at these figures over time, looking at what the budget is now; you have no realization of what has been growing or what has been cut.
Senator Ristaino stated that it looks like so much of the money is tied up in salaries in all of the administrative groups around campus and people are going to lose their jobs, so we should be thinking about how we decide who loses their job. Someone at the department level is going to have to figure that out so we need to decide.
Senator Ting stated things happen to students because we are an education institution. We should try to benefit students as much as we can in the reduction process. For example, I know we have a pre-college program that has already been eliminated during the holiday, which means that a lot of disadvantaged high schools could not come to campus to take advantage of the college opportunities, which I think will hurt opportunities.
Chair Martin stated one thing to look at is limiting the number of times the student can take a class. We can’t just blindly say everything is okay. If a student is taking a course five times, something is going on here. We need to have some responsibility as part of the protection and in fact, some of that responsibility maybe is part of the protection.
Senator Williams stated that if we can figure out how to cut utilities by 10% that would be $3.0M. Also student financial aid because a lot of students that get financial aid could get by without it. To evaluate the criteria that we use in giving it out because there are people on financial aid that have a car or living in an apartment. If you could cut $9.0M out of that and cut utilities by 10% you are half way home. You have to look at where you don’t have salaries and utilities and student financial aid are the two places where there are just pools of money and if you can think of ways to shrink those.
Senator Ting stated that administration has grown in our country tremendously, according to the Chronicles, by more than 100%, a lot more than faculty growth in the past ten years. For example, on our campus and elsewhere I think we have seen more and more titles like Assistant, Associate, and Vice Provosts and particularly those who are now in those positions at such a financial difficult time. If they still have a faculty line in their department, which will not affect their income or their position maybe they can be encouraged to return to their department temporarily.
Chair Martin stated that the discussions were very helpful.
The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.