FACULTY SENATE MEETING
April 21, 2009
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner; Chair Elect Overton, Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin: Senators Akroyd, Ambaras, Anson, Auerbach, Bernhard, Carver, Daemon, Domingue, Edmisten, Franke, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Hergeth, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kotek, Levy, Lindsay, Murty, Poindexter, Poling, Ristaino, Roberts, Ting, Tu, Williams
Excused: Genereux, Honeycutt, Kocurek, Lindbo, Muddiman, Scotford
Absent: Senators Boone, Fahmy, Fleisher
Visitors: James Oblinger, Chancellor; P. J. Teal, Secretary of the University; Kevin Howell, External Affairs; Betsy Brown, Provost’s Office; Mary E. Kurz, Office of Legal Affairs; Marcia Gumpertz, AVP Faculty and Staff Diversity; Lee Fowler, Athletic Director; Jason Lindsay, Student Senate President Pro Tempore; Stuart Maxwell, Professor, Biochemistry
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the sixteenth 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 Senators and guests.
Chair Martin congratulated and welcomed the new Senators.
Dimitris Argyropoulos, Natural Resources; Richard Bernhard, Engineering (recurring); Barry Croom, CALS; James Kiwanuka-Tondo, CHASS; Hamid Krim, Engineering; Kerry Havner, Engineering (recurring); Henry Kidd, General Constituency; Michael Levy, Veterinary Medicine (recurring); Susan Miller-Cochran, CHASS; Barclay Poling, CALS (recurring); Roby Sawyers, Management; Scott Townsend, Design
Chair Martin asked the committee chairs to submit their annual report.
The Executive Committee meeting will be held at Porter’s on Hillsborough Street on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1 p.m.
The first Faculty Senate meeting for the fall will be August 25, 2009.
Executive Committee Summary
Chair Martin stated that the committee discussed the two resolutions before us today on Lactation Space and the Inclusion of Faculty in Policy and Review. They had extensive discussion on the Evaluation of Teaching guidelines, which have been on the WIKI and more discussion about the implementation of the new faculty activity reporting, both again expressing some of the concern about implementing new reporting systems now at a time when we don’t need one more thing implemented with budgets and such being cut. Also expressing significant concern about reducing faculty activity to a set of numbers.
Chair Martin stated that the good news is that the Delaware Study information isn’t going to be collected this year centrally, and so we will not collect it locally either, so that activity is put off at least for a year and this is a matter that we need to pay continued attention to.
Chair Martin reported that the committee had significant discussion about the relationship between the Senate and the Administrative Board of the Graduate School. This is an issue that came up with some policy discussions between APC and the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and is something that we are going to have to work on, sort of clarifying the relationship between our two bodies.
Provost Nielsen presented the committee with some information and discussion regarding the editorial in the News and Observer.
Chair Martin stated by way of update, the committee had concern about the policy on the appeals to the Board of Trustees following a grievance case where it was found in favor of the grievant, but was overruled by the Chancellor. We were given the opportunity to present concerns regarding that to the Board of Trustees last Thursday. If you’d like more information on that and the report please feel free to go the Faculty Senate website under the items of interest where I have now posted all of the quarterly reports to the Board of Trustees.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 15, April 7, 2009
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Chancellor Oblinger
I will begin my remarks this afternoon on a sad note.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that the university system and NC State in particular lost a great friend in Senator Vernon Malone. If you are not familiar with Senator Malone, he was the former teacher administrator for the Morehead School for the Blind. He served as the chairman of the Wake County School Board. He, way before his time, gave his time and effort to unite the school system of Wake County with the School System of Raleigh, twenty to thirty years ahead of what most similar districts in the land have done. He was the former chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. He was elected to the North Carolina Senate and I hope you recognize that for eight years Vernon Malone was a trustee on NC State’s Board -- from 1996 – 2003.
Chancellor Oblinger recollected the dinner that was held last Thursday night for the outgoing trustees where Senator Malone was in attendance. Chancellor Oblinger stated that he was fully engaged and appeared to be at the top of his game and then Saturday about 11:15 a.m. he passed away. We have lost a great ally, a great friend, and a great colleague. I would ask for a moment of silence from the Faculty Senate in memory of Senator Vernon Malone.
Chancellor Oblinger reported that the Governor has already passed her version of the State Budget for next year. The Senate gave very favorable treatment to education in general, but in particular, higher education. NC State benefited a great deal from that because there were competitive research dollars in their version, there was additional tuition remission in their version, there was faculty retention dollars in their version, along with funds for Engineering and Kannapolis and full funding for enrollment increase and full funding for financial aid for needy students. In many respects considering the economic times it could not have been a more favorable budget to the university system.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we did not receive 7% of our allocated budget this current fiscal year, which is $35M. If you look toward next fiscal year as we prepare, we are currently operating under the assumption that we will have a 5% recurring reversion and that adds up to about $26M. We believe we have operated using the best advice and counsel that we could receive and that would include faculty, staff, and students. It would include committees that we have structured and I would give great credit to our Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business, Charles Leffler, and our Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Larry Nielsen, for taking leadership with the deans, department heads and the various committees that have reacted to really an unknown situation at this point in time. I would commend again to you the budget messages in Budget Central for everything that has transpired since the middle of September 2008.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that we hosted Hannah Gage, the Chair of the Board of Governors, on campus and gave her a wide-ranging tour of facilities [and] interaction with people at BTECH and the College of Design. She had particular interest in the [new] Student Center that is working its way forward in a planning group, a strong support from students for a very significant fee that will be related to debt retirement.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we have been successful in getting bonds and certificates of participation to be released as it relates to construction of the Hunt Library.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that the Talley Student Center was built in 1974 when the capacity was to be for 14,000. It has been modified little in that period of time and we now are 33,000 students. We need to have an exhaustive overhaul expansion of the student center and the majority of that cost will be through student fees for debt retirement.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that Ms. Gage recognizes that that will be coming to the Board and she wanted to know more about it and she wanted to see both the Centennial Campus and the site of the Hunt Library. She also wanted to see the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Centennial Biomedical Campus. I think she had a very good visit at NC State.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that Dr. Maxine Atkinson, Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, will be recognized as the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching from the NC State Campus.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that this past Monday night the General Assembly both in the Senate and the House honored Kay Yow and her family with a resolution for the years of service that she gave not just to NC State, but to causes such as breast cancer in women and all the millions of people that she touched simply by being Kay Yow. It was a very nice sponsored joint resolution in both bodies of the General Assembly.
Kelli Harper from Western Carolina was named the next women’s basketball coach. Harper has a degree in Mathematics.
The Campus Culture Taskforce
Chancellor Oblinger clarified the three areas that were taken by the taskforce as a result of the November incident in the free expression tunnel.
Chancellor Oblinger reported that there was a subcommittee chaired by Vice Chancellor Stafford and
Vice Provost Picart that dealt with the campus climate, which is a long going effort of discussion of what
we can do on this campus relative to values, ethics, and free speech. They will be working on that over
the summer and during next year.
The second area of emphasis was the student conduct code that Vice Chancellor Stafford bought to our Board of Trustees on Thursday. It was approved on Friday, [including] modifications to the language and the sanctions associated with that language in the code of conduct. Jay Dawkins, then Student Body President and now our Senior Class President, was in charge of the free expression tunnel and brick yard practices and if you have had a chance to be near the free expression tunnel you can see that the lighting has enhanced and the boundaries of the free expression are very clearly identified and there is a plaque there that talks about the reason behind the free expression tunnel.
Chancellor Oblinger stated that we are moving ahead on all three fronts of the recommendations, but two are essentially complete and the third will be ongoing and I think you will also recognize that that led Erskine Bowles to empower a panel on behalf of the entire system. They recently reported two recommendations. The first of which is a university wide policy for addressing hate crimes and acts of violence and a commitment to free speech and expression. Then they made a recommendation that they form a presidential task force to further study the development of a requirement again, university wide, for diversity orientation for all first time students. In fact, they expanded that to students, faculty, and staff. We already have diversity training in some orientation for our students and their parents. I believe we are at the leading edge of that, but NC State, I think, has addressed it.
Board of Trustee Changes
Chancellor Oblinger announced that the six people that will rotate off of our Board of Trustees on June 30 are Burley Mitchell, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court will be moving to the Board of Governors. He will be replaced by Jack Pizart who has for two years chaired our Board of Visitors and he is very familiar with the university and a variety of its programs. Jack has been provisionally approved by the committee of the Board of Governors, but will be voted on in the early May Board of Governors meeting. McQueen Campbell, Chair of the Board of Trustees will be leaving after eight years, Derrick Close who had four years of service on the Board of Governors before coming to us eight years ago, Suzanne Garden who served ten years on our Board of Trustees because she finished out a two year term and then had two consecutive four year terms, Bob Mattocks after eight years, and Jay Dawkins a one year term as a result of being our Student Body President.
The reappointments to the Board are Lawrence Davenport for an additional four-year term. The new appointments are Ben Jenkins, Jim Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois and our new Student Body President, Jim Ceresnak has been sworn in as the fourth. There are still two appointees that the Governor will need to make.
Chancellor Oblinger announced that graduation will be May 9th and the speaker and Honorary Degree recipient is John C. Brown, the former Chief Scientist for Xerox. He is known as an educational innovator and an educational entrepreneurial. Sarita Brown is also receiving an Honorary Degree. She is the President of Excelencia in Education, and Wayne Fuller who is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor in statistics and economics at Iowa State University will be the third of the three honorary degree recipients.
Chancellor Oblinger closed by thanking the Senators for being part of the Faculty Senate. Whether this is your last official meeting or whether this is your first or whether you are continuing, I appreciate what you have done for North Carolina State University and for your fellow faculty.
My last official duty of today is to in concert with Randy Hamm of our Alumni Association make a special presentation to the Chair of the Faculty Jim Martin. The Alumni Association presents in recognition of two years of dedicated service as Chair of the Faculty this NC State rocking chair.
5. Administrative Actions
Consider membership changes to Faculty Assembly Charter
Chair Martin stated that the faculty need to change the charter for the Faculty Assembly for four reasons—to clean up language about professional staff, professional, how we count the faculty for constituting the membership of the delegation; it had been a five year rolling average and the recommendation of the current chair and accepted by the Faculty Assembly is that this go to an average of the three preceding years. There is recommended a change in the percentage cutoff for who gets the delegation of 5, who gets the delegation of 4 and so on. It use to be 10% and the recommendation is to move it to 7%, which that allows UNCG and UNC Charlotte to keep their delegations of five, and then the final change is to be a little more explicit in terms of the rule of the Faculty Chairs in the various institutions. Some campuses, as we do now, have the Chair of the Faculty as part of our delegation to the Faculty Assembly and that is being recommended as the normal course. Not everybody does that. If you don’t do that it is encouraged that the chairs participate, but not necessarily formally be a voting member. Those are the changes recommended to the bylaws for the charter of the Faculty Assembly. The Faculty Assembly has passed this, but for ratification it needs to be ratified by all of the constituent campuses, so I welcome a motion to approve these changes to the Faculty Assembly Charter.
The motion passed unanimously to approve the changes to the Faculty Assembly charter.
Modify General Faculty Bylaws to replace Senior Vice Provost with Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
Chair Martin stated that this item of administrative business has to do with the Faculty Bylaws. Since Katie Perry retired we no longer have a Senior Vice Provost; most of those duties are taken over by our Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, but this does require a change in the General Faculty Bylaws because the Senior Vice Provost was to be a member of the Committee on Committees. The recommendation is that we make the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs that representative to the Committee on Committees. I would like to obtain a motion that we make this revision to the General Faculty Bylaws.
The motion was made and passed to make the revision to the bylaws.
6. Report on the Grievance Process and Policy
Chair Martin highlighted the components of the Grievance Report from the Chair of the Faculty.
Part I – A summary of the cases for the 2007-2008 year. Chair Martin revised the report on April 17, 2009, which is now the official report that was distributed.
The second part of part one has information regarding the report from last year, and it is in the minutes of the first meeting of the Senate from last year.
Part II – A discussion of the state of the grievance process, articulating both the problems that I have seen and renewing problems that have been identified by past chairs.
Part III – A set of conclusions and recommendations that needs to be given some very serious considerations as we move forward. Many of the recommendations and considerations are elements that the Personnel Policy Committee has worked with and considered in some of the revisions that they have discussed.
Appendix – The appendix is a response from a grievance committee to the Chancellor and the Chair of the Faculty. I have taken out all personal identifying information from this, but it does give you a perspective directly from a grievance committee with no editorial comments from me or any other Chair of the Faculty as to their sense of the situation. Those materials will be helpful for providing the background of the grievance process.
Report from Barclay Poling, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee
Senator Poling acknowledged the members of the Personnel Policy Committee.
Senator Poling gave an overview of the committee’s work this year.
The Provost gave us an opportunity in the fall to review the faculty grievance procedure that was developed last year by a University Taskforce led by Dean Brown. I was on that taskforce as were other faculty -- in fact the taskforce I believe was evenly split with administration and faculty. We also had an opportunity last week to speak to the Board of Trustees about some issues of concerns that we have with the Board of Trustees appeal policy and that has been turned back to the campus by the Provost and I think that is a good handling of that situation. I believe a work in process actively describes that situation with that policy.
In evaluating the policies this year I think our committee has done a good job in operating on the principle that faculty and campus governance is collective and I think we made a very good effort all year long to include a number of critical stake holders in our meetings.
Senator Poling acknowledged the help of Mary Beth Kurz, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel in the Office of Legal Affairs, Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost. Other administrators that provided input were Dr. Bob Brown, Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Mark Okner, Director of Employee Relations.
Senator Poling stated that the Personnel Policy Committee members have signed off on the new Faculty Grievance Procedure and we felt this was the appropriate action to take on April 14, 2009, which was our last meeting. We developed a number of recommendations that we felt would be worth taking under advisement and I don’t think there is any special pressure here today to vote on this because of all that is involved. It may well be good to give further consideration to these documents that I’m sharing with you to give you a chance to review a little more at your leisure. I want to convey a general sense that the PPC felt that this grievance policy, which was generated last year, is a fairly formidable document and it’s about nineteen pages. Given that one of our challenges was to find a way to make it easier to understand, I must confess that we didn’t do very well in that front, while in fact, we felt it necessary to add sections. You may need to realize that this is not the place to be looking to do a lot of pruning. Pruning of this document is very difficult. In the end this is a very formal process, it is a very technical process, a lot of things need to happen in a certain way and it’s difficult to just streamline something this involved and this formal, so some of my remarks are going to be aimed at advising our Senators and Faculty as to what may be more productive avenues for us to pursue in the future.
Regrettably, this year we spent so much time on policy related issues that we didn’t get around to doing a whole lot in investigating some of the runs on the ladder that come well before you get to a grievance case. For example, one step down is a mediation option and in the new grievance policy that we have been asked to look at happily, I can report to you that mediation has been really highlighted, so this is a very strengthening aspect to the new policy in saying that not a lot of folks want to go into a grievance, but if you can do the mediation part and do it well, we might save ourselves a lot of stress and a lot of lost time.
The policy, in addition to making points about seeking mediation is also suggesting that we ought to consider very seriously the possibility of an ombudsman office. I think it’s exciting to know that in the letter from Dean Brown that was written to Provost Nielsen last year about this policy, the sense of the committee was this would be valuable down the road for us to investigate. This actually takes you even one rung down the ladder further and allows a case to be not even a case. In fact, it is so confidential that it could be that you are having a confidential visit with an ombudsman person and things can hopefully go a different course and maybe a more creative approach can be found of communicating issues and resolving matters before they even get to the mediation phase. We wanted to make sure that we made a pitch today for those alternatives to the grievance process.
What I would like to do with my remaining time is mention some of the dimensions of the grievance report itself and this gets into items number 2, 3, and 4 (attached).
Number 2—the evolution of this grievance policy begin more than a year and a half ago when the need was identified for this and then a group came together early last year and went to work on it and it has been such a long time since that group finished it’s work that new items have come to our attention and one relates to post tenure review. I noted in the email sent out to the Senate that you may want to take a look at this particular section. This is a new piece to the policy and will be added into the grievance policy officially. It discusses what is involved if we feel that need to bring the grievance against the chair of a post tenure review committee. Our committee has looked at this and we are satisfied that it does what we have been asked to do. This was a new Board of Governors policy item recommendation, that we add this to the NC State grievance procedure.
In addition, Mary Beth Kurz brought to our attention last fall another item that required some attention related to the deliberations of committee and this is in section eleven and essentially there had to be some language change made and that mostly appears on page 18. I believe that this was a very good rewording of some policy that needed to be improved upon. It actually came out of a grievance case that recognized that there was some problems with the policy that needed some attention and I think what we have ended up with for example, let’s say that a grievance committee resolves that the faculty grievant should have received some type of compensation that was not received and if they find in favor of the grievant, if the committee agrees with your request to have this looked at, what may come about with this new policy is that you would have a recommendation from the committee of what that merit amount might be. This did not happen before; the grievance committee was not authorized to make this sort of recommendation. There are also some nuances involved with how the respondent, it could be the department head as the respondent, how those two may work this out. Perhaps it might be that it could be handled between the grievant and department head as to how to make this adjustment and if they can’t come to a resolution then it does go to the Chancellor. I think it offers frankly, a little more flexibility with the policy.
Number 4—When we started the journey last January on the grievance task force we noticed the number 4 is the front page of the grievance policy and I highlighted the preamble, which identifies the university as committed to an internal process, and good faith resolution of employment related grievances filed by the faculty. This is very powerful language that was actually in the code before our task force went to work. In my report to you you will notice the heading “A Less Legalized Process” what we hear from faculty about the grievance procedure is that it is too legalized. There are a couple of things in the new policy that might help with this. First there is a request for a grievant assistant, which is a really a good way to help you navigate the process. Also, as a committee we are suggesting that at the conclusion of the case the panel would have an informal meeting with the Chancellor just to say we want to make sure that we are on the same page in our understanding of what has been recommended and we would like to have an opportunity to speak to you directly about the case and see if we can’t come to a fuller understanding of the total situation, so we don’t know if it needs to go to a policy. It may be one of those things that in the years ahead that we can work out simply on that good faith resolution idea. It may be that the Chancellor would see the benefit of such an informal visit before rendering a final judgment. To the Personnel Policy Committee we think this would be very desirable and so that is one of the ideas/recommendations that we have made. I have given you a little background on how we got to that point and I would like to conclude today by saying how much I have personally appreciated working with this committee and the administration. We have had some challenging meetings and I think through it all that we have come to an understanding that a lot of credit is due to a lot of people getting us to this point and our committee very much wants to say to the grievance task force that your work is certainly worth our certifying. It is a good job and there are some things that I’m going to be composing for the Provost in a letter from our committee that will carry some additional suggestions.
Senator Ambaras asked Senator Poling to elaborate on the following statements from the Personnel Policy Committee’s report.
I shared the information from Vice Chancellor Kurz’s report that the Chancellors from 1996 to October 2008 concurred with 16 of the 18 grievances. This data from the “Report of the Grievances Decided by the Chancellor” was met with considerable questioning by the Executive Committee.
Senator Poling responded that it was received with some disbelief, I think the Executive Committee was impressed that it couldn’t possibly be that way and so we had follow-up meetings to discuss why are we not connecting on this information. My personal sense is that we are missing a data set in this and that has to do with potential cases that never reached the point of a grievance. There are many things happening with faculty who are seeking help that they are not getting there. They are not finding the help I’m afraid that they need and according to the report of Chair Martin and former Chairs this is an area where there is a gap. Those cases that do not become formally organized -- what is happening to those people? -- and so we did not address that. I think we could have spent more time investigating this, but our committee was beginning to be challenged to get off into some other areas.
Ambaras: There is something that I don’t quite follow. It says Chancellors concurred with sixteen of the eighteen grievances. These are formal grievances that were filed, but you cite Dennis Daley’s report where it says [otherwise].
Senator Poling: Yes, Dennis made that comment at our opening session last August, and so that’s how we started our year and we began the process of interviewing observers to grievance cases. We had a closed meeting and I would say that we are very conscious of problems in this area, but how to render that information in a way that doesn’t cause more disruption is something that we have not figured out. I felt like after the meeting with the Executive Committee that we had to go back and spend more time detailing out some of these problem areas, which will require some valuable time to do.
These two propositions don’t match and this is where I think, it becomes difficult for us to juggle things of this nature, because at one hand we are kind of looking back at all the bad things that may have happened, and then we become immersed in that and it becomes very hard to come out of there and begin to press forward. I recognize the need to have and understand where you have been. For me it was valuable to understand that of the formal cases, this was the statistic that came out. I never thought it was that high percentage that had been favorably received.
Chair Martin stated that was the statistic reported to you from Legal Affairs. You get a different statistic of the actual same cases if you talk to the Chairs of the Faculty.
Senator Poling said that what they tried to do was to then reconvene, and Dennis Daley was, in fact, invited back and we didn’t connect with him.
Chair Martin stated that there is no need to take any action at this time because there is a lot of review that needs to be done.
Senator Poling stated that he would like to open the possibility that the Personnel Policy Committee is standing behind the policy that they received for review. They think it’s a good document. It offers advantages over the old grievance policy and his concern is that if they let this go too long they are going to lose the advantages of getting this into place.
Secretary Kellner wants to know if this issue will come up in the first meeting next year.
Chair Martin stated that this is an issue that cannot die. His concern about pushing a vote on policy of this significance is that it was only given to them yesterday and he doesn’t think it would be wise practice to approve a policy of this significance. He thinks the Senate needs an opportunity to look at all of the policy and make recommendations.
Senator Auerbach concurred.
Senator Levy proposed that the committee continue to meet and try to rap most of this up over the next two months.
Chair Martin thinks that is a good idea. He noted that the Senate session goes until June 30 so legally the committee can meet until that time.
7. Resolution on Faculty Involvement in Policy and Regulation Review
Senator Lindsay, Chair of the Governance Committee, reported that the resolution deals with communication and regulation 01.25.05, which has to do with our involvement in the development and discussion to policies, rules and regulations.
Senator Lindsay presented the resolution for first reading.
A motion was made and seconded to consider the resolution.
Senator Levy moved to suspend the rules to vote on the resolution today.
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Discussion on the Resolution
Secretary Kellner wants to know why the resolution is being presented now.
Chair Martin stated that the Governance Committee brought the resolution to us and it is a matter that has been in discussion for some time. Regulation 01.25.05, which is the regulation for modifying resolutions, nowhere in that entire document is faculty or Faculty Senate actually included. Initially the thought was a request to put into policy the check off box of the Faculty Senate. That did not receive favorable consideration from the Executive Officers of the University, so that now [it] came back to the Governance Committee and they worked on it and put together this resolution, basically acknowledging that if it’s not in policy then let it be known that this is the recommended facts.
Secretary Kellner stated that the first part of the resolution calls for continuation of current practice. Can you describe the current practice that the resolution is calling for the continuation of?
Chair Martin stated normally we get the check box on most of the policies that come to us.
Secretary Kellner stated that all the discussions [on this issue] had to do with changes in policies that were in the works, but not yet at an official point of making the rounds to all the ‘train stops’ along the way. [The problem was that] the Senate was learning of these changes later than one would have liked, is that correct?
Chair Martin stated that there are issues where sometimes policies would appear to be changed, and we wouldn’t know about it and that has happened on a couple of policies this year. There were other times where it was seen early in the process, not being aware of it. Normally we have the check box in front of the policy indicating that it has been through deans, legal, etc.
Secretary Kellner: So the purpose of the resolution was to address changes that were perceived to be surprises?
Chair Martin stated that to make sure that all policies that are pertinent to the faculty come through the faculty for review and then the question is who gets to define what is pertinent to the faculty and what is not pertinent to the faculty. So the idea was to acknowledge the policies that are changed.
Chair Martin made a friendly amendment to the resolution. A motion passed unanimously to adopt the resolution.
Provost Nielsen stated that in the motion he can guarantee that we will continue to upgrade under the good faith that we have used over the last several years, so bringing matters that we think are relevant or important to the Faculty Senate, I can verify for you that the Chancellor is a watch dog on this and will not let an Executive Officer move something through the process without having had a strong discussion about whether the Faculty Senate reviewed it, need to review it, or needs to have more time to review it.
8. Resolution on Provision for Lactation Spaces in Campus Facilities
Senator Williams, Chair of the Resources and Environment Committee, reported that the Group Insurance and Benefits Committee has been discussing this issue for some time. A number of women staff and faculty members on campus are concerned that some women have difficulty attending to lactation needs when those needs arise. Dennis Daley met with the group and had drafted a resolution requesting the creation of lactation rooms, which is something that Duke University actually has. They have designated spaces that actually have lactation pumps in them. Senator Williams stated that in the ranking of priority of things that we might be asking for, to ask for separate rooms might be a little extreme, so they amended Dr. Daley’s resolution with his approval to change it from rooms to space.
Senator Williams presented the resolution for first reading and moved approval of the document.
Secretary Kellner stated that they discussed this in the Executive Committee and he thinks the statement [by Williams] prior to reading the resolution made a lot more sense than the resolution does, that the resolution itself is entirely ‘geography’ related, when what we need is a flexible and wide spread sense that accommodation is needed and that can take many different forms. This is an issue that needs to be discussed at the local level, the unit level would make a lot of sense, so I’m suggesting there is a better resolution that can be written.
Vice Provost Gumpertz stated that this is an issue that has been very important to the Council on the Status of Women and is very important to women around the university. New mothers need to use this type of facility several times a day and they need to have a private place to do it. I have heard stories about staff stringing up blankets across windows and such things to get privacy. There are a couple of places now on campus in Talley Student Center and in the new Math and Statistics building. There is also an interim compromise, quick and easy space in the Admin II building and they have a plan to build a permanent space when they can. The AIA has guidelines if you would like to attach those to the resolution, so it would be very beneficial for the university if you were to pass this resolution.
Chair Martin commented that in many respects the first resolve is geography and the last resolve is more than geography.
Senator Williams stated that the most pressing issue apparently is an awareness on the part of some supervisors that this is a need and you can’t take it likely and you have to do something to provide a private space where these things can be done, [just as] every building has to have bathrooms. It is that kind of issue for some people. I think the intent of the resolution is that a message needs to be sent down through the administrative chain that if you have an employee that you supervise with this need, you have to accommodate or to notify that employee that she has the right to ask that this need be accommodated.
Senator Ambaras asked what kind of information is provided to employees about this issue and is there room to amend the resolution to add something to the effect that the Faculty Senate recommends that guidance be provided.
Vice Provost Gumpertz stated that they are going to be adding information about the three lactation rooms that exist to the website.
Chair Martin added the information as a friendly amendment to the resolution.
A motion passed to suspend the rules to vote on the resolution.
A motion passed unanimously to approve the resolution as amended.
9. Old Business
Guidelines/Principles for the use of ClassEval
Chair Martin stated that the Academic Policy has looked at this and the Executive Committees wanted to ensure that we added the citation “to where the Board of Governors does require” that we have the student evaluations of teaching. The Executive Committee also wanted to make sure that we add a purpose statement. The only point that seems to be of some contention is the infamous point three having to do with whether or not we want to include any kind of numerical discussion about confidence limits, etc., so Point 3 as revised many times currently has suggested that numerical data for class evals should not be considered as an absolute number. Current data analysis suggest that 90% confidence interval interpretation is no better than plus or minus .2 to plus or minus .3 in confidence intervals may vary depending on responses.
After our discussion last week, Marcia and I talked with Karen Helm and we involved the Statistics Department in looking at both the methodology and the results from the analysis. There is a meeting being set up where we are going to be meeting to review this stuff, working at trying to address the methodology for coming up with the confidence interval tables that you saw distributed last week. All of that is in progress and I think these numbers appropriately reflect the analysis to this point.
Chair Martin stated that David Genereux would like to see section 3 completely struck from the guidelines and if I understand it correctly the primary rationale is not whether or not these are correct, a concern that it is not wise practice to just sort of be given a set of tables and say here is the information, use it. We want to be able to see the methodology. We want to evaluate the data before we just accept data given to us, so the sense I get from David is that it is more of a principle issue -- are we going to blindly accept numbers even if they might be the right numbers or are we going to require a standard that we put in the rest of our professional activity. And I think his request is that any statements like this be removed until such time as there is the documentation and thorough analysis to support the conclusion.
Secretary Kellner stated that he does not agree with this. I think that even when all the figures come in, there is still no reason to put this thing here. I think that this confidence level stuff and the responses of the statistician are wonderful things; anybody should have access to them, if they choose. I’m never going to be persuaded one way or another, even if every student gave a faculty member a ‘four’, that it means anything other than four, which is one larger than three and one smaller than five. The question is what then does this absolute ‘four’ mean? It doesn’t count anything, so we haven’t gotten anywhere. There are larger issues than just process. To be sure, as David says, we haven’t got the whole deep and thick explanation of where the numbers from, but there is also a question of whether everybody wants to see things via numbers that do not count anything at all.
Chair Martin stated that the real question that we don’t yet want to admit is are the numbers valid at all? To be honest working with numbers as I do all the time, the numbers are invalid. The numbers mean nothing, so if we were being truly scientific we would throw out the numbers all together. The issue here is that there are people who try to fine tune and say you have got a 3.82 instead of a 3.80, so therefore you’ve improved. That level of nuance in numbers is using a sledgehammer to do fine carpentry, it does not make sense, so the purpose of putting numbers in is to remind people this is a blunt instrument. Don’t use it for fine-tuning.
Chair Martin stated that he doesn’t think the Senate is going to resolve this at this point. He suggested that the Senate take an up or down vote to include it or not include it.
Secretary Kellner offered an amendment to the document.
Senator Ambaras read the compromise language from Senator Genereux.
Several friendly amendments were made to the document.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the amended document.
Chair Martin stated that the document would stay on the WIKI for a while before formalizing it. Based on the work that has gone into it at this stage, overall there is an advantage if you vote favorably, there is an advantage by considering this as a recommendation that we recommend that this go forward to be considered to be added to the teaching evaluation website.
The motion passed (four opposed) to endorse the modified document.
Chair Martin recognized and presented gifts to Vernice Stevenson, Executive Assistant, and the outgoing and incoming Secretaries of the Faculty (Hans Kellner/Helmut Hergeth). He also recognized and presented Margery Overton, Chair Elect of the Faculty with a gift.
10. Chair’s Remarks
Reflections On Faculty Governance Upon Completion Of My Term As Chair
Jim Martin, Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Faculty 2007-2009
In the spring of 2006, recognizing that there were great challenges and opportunities in the leadership of Faculty governance, I offered my candidacy to be Chair of the Faculty. I promised to approach leadership in faculty governance the same way I approach my research in Chemistry, with creativity and objectivity and a high standard of looking at data and facts to understand issues and make decisions. In my campaign platform, I pledged to work to “ensure that faculty are full partners in the strategic planning and function of NC State.” I have endeavored to provide that kind of leadership.
Then, like today, a simple objective look at our university suggests that our academic, human, physical and financial infrastructure, are the four most critical challenges facing us. As a reminder that objective simplicity is usually the best basis for wise decisions, I again wear my Winnie-the-Pooh tie as I did to my first Senate session as Chair of the Faculty. That bear with little brain was generally brilliant in his simplicity.
Reflecting over the last two years during which I have served as Chair of the Faculty, I believe we in the Faculty Senate have diligently faced aspects of each of these challenges. I have put the quarterly reports made to the Board of Trustees on our Faculty Senate web page under “items of interest.” These serve as a summative history of what we have worked on and accomplished over these last two years. As a Faculty Senate, I believe we have much to be proud of, with a record that demonstrates the clear relevance and value of strong faculty governance.
We did some effective self-evaluation resulting improvement in our own function including revision to our by-laws, improving our electoral process, and improving our governing relationship with University Standing Committees.
We effectively reviewed many University policies and regulations. The record clearly shows that our review routinely resulted in improvements to both language and content. Our invaluable contribution to regulation and policy stems from the fact that we are the most interdisciplinary unit on campus. With representation from each of the college’s and the general constituency, we are able to function from a University perspective to look at the issues being addressed from diverse perspectives…even if we don’t completely understand each other’s culture and practice.
We helped advance campus safety, and sustainability. We increased campus communication to resolve issues such as changes to the University calendar, and the preservation of Miller field. We effectively continue to address mechanics of ClassEval, in spite of the controversy over its implementation. And our guidelines for the use of Teaching Evaluations are an important step toward correcting problems that have been encountered from their mis- or over-interpretation.
We tackled the challenges of the GEP revision, at least trying to provide a forum for all to be heard. I can’t say I fully understand all the issues surrounding the GEP, but I do have to reflect that I think a significant part of the controversy stemmed from the fact that administratively the GEP too often seemed to be viewed as “requirements that have to be met” as opposed to articulating their core value to a quality education.
I am proud that we stood with the students in speaking out against the hateful messages painted in the Free Expression Tunnel, and also strongly stood for the protection of Free Speech. Yet I am saddened that as an institution we seem to have had more concern for protection of the anonymity of rogue graffiti artists than we have been willing to assure due process for allegations of the abrogation of free of speech in the Faculty Grievance process. I hope we will learn to address matters of discrimination, harassment and retaliation because it is the right thing to do, not because it finally reaches an unlawful level.
Working to get maximal faculty involvement in the UNC Tomorrow initiative demonstrated the value of faculty governance in university strategic planning. If you haven’t done so, read our Faculty Response to the UNC Tomorrow report in which we laid out effective strategic vision.
More challenging with respect to University strategic planning has been our work to understand and prioritize issues surround budgeting and the University’s growth (or lack there of). Our work has been critical to increasing transparency in budgeting, but also to articulating strategic priorities. When we look at University growth projections, we rightly question growth that is not paid for. Similarly we have a responsibility to hold the University accountable with respect to how it hires, retains, compensates, develops and treats its faculty.
Potentially one of our most important contributions was standing up against the proposed revisions to the UNC Code that clearly would have undermined rights of faculty, almost facilitating discharge/dismissal and non-reappointment; and related to that, efforts to make post-tenure review a disciplinary as opposed to a developmental tool. Rather than simply objecting to the revisions, we worked hard to craft an appropriate post-tenure review policy that is focused on development rather than discipline.
We have accomplished a lot. In looking at our work over the last two years, I submit that we were at our best when working to maximize the development of our fellow faculty, the development of our students and the accountability of our institution. In doing so, I, and we, have worked toward faculty governance that is wise, conscientious, and courageous.
Many times the questions we have asked and positions that needed to be taken weren’t necessarily easy. More than once we have heard the admonition…“be careful not to step on toes,” or “don’t make waves.”
Those cautions don’t speak to me very well. You see, I am a ballroom dancer and a sailor.
When you dance, it is important that you don’t go out of your way to step on toes. But we also recognize that there is only one way not to get your toes stepped on occasionally. That is to not dance. We also note, that if your foot is on the bottom, i.e. is the one stepped on, it is usually because you were not moving. I choose to dance.
And as a sailor, I recognize that there are only three situations in which you don’t make waves. When your boat is on the hard (land). When your boat is sunk, resting on the bottom. And when you are becalmed. Any time the boat is moving it will make waves. Of course when sailing you have to watch out for the waves created by motor boats cutting by too closely. And Mother Nature can send you some pretty big waves. I will never forget sailing through a tropical depression in the Caribbean ocean. You reduce sail, keep a steady hand on the helm, watch your charts, and ride the waves. I choose to sail, waves and all.
There is much we can and should celebrate here at NC State. With creative faculty and students we are making remarkable advances in areas of study from the understanding languages and dialects to the cause and treatment of disease. We design new materials and systems as architects working at the atomic scale to the industrial and monumental scale. We unravel the complexity of human social systems, as well as climatic and eco systems. There are many great things about our university.
In his state of NC State address, after citing many accomplishments the Chancellor asked a series of unanswered questions around the theme of “can we continue to be…” These questions were clearly asked in the face current challenges and budget cuts. I submit the answer to most of those questions is that, It Depends.
Will we reverse the trend of the decline in the number of tenured faculty—those who are expected to integrate teaching and research as educators? Or will we justify the current situation suggesting we have built “a cadre of career path, non-tenure track teaching faculty,” mind you with stagnant, very low salaries and fewer rights than any other class of University employee?
Will we have the courage to preserve the importance of being a Research University over the quest to continue to be the largest institution in the UNC system? Will we ensure sustainable growth? Or will we increase enrollment because it is a way to increase revenue…even though enrollment growth funding doesn’t really cover the cost?
Will economic development continue to be the very important by-product OF quality higher education? Or will economic development become the justification FOR higher education? Will “job training” and “worker preparedness” supplant critical thinking as the foundation of education?
I believe we have the potential for greatness and the potential of great risk in our future.
Like for any institution, our greatest risk will come if and when we showcase great accomplishments while going to lengths to explain away rather than seriously address weaknesses before they become critical. Even the casual student of history will recall the greatness of the Soviet space program. Their Soyuz technology is still in use at the International Space Station of today. Great science continued to emerge from the Soviet system, even as the system itself crumbled.
Please understand I am not trying to declare NC State a “failed State” like the Soviet Union. But, to achieve the greatness that is in our grasp,
- We must know who we are.
- We must grow our faculty appropriate for that of a Research University.
- We must ensure sustainable growth, providing the necessary personnel and physical infrastructure to excel at our mission.
- We must adequately address the true cost of education, and meet that cost through appropriate tuition, endowments and appropriations.
- We must ensure our regulations and policies are functional organizing principals rather than an authoritarian legalistic code.
- And Faculty must be full partners in leadership, not merely employees of the University.
Strong faculty governance will need to play an ever more critical role to realize the greatness that NC State is capable of. As in the greater world, governance of, for, and by the people being governed is the system of governance most likely to lead to true greatness. I would like to challenge NC State to move to a new level of inclusion of Faculty Governance in the core of its institution. We have made the student body president a voting member of the Board of Trustees. Chancellor, I would like to encourage you to make the Chair of the Faculty officially one of the Executive Officers of the University.
These past two years as Chair of the Faculty have been an incredible and challenging experience. Thank you for the trust you placed in me. I have endeavored to use your trust as responsibly as I could to move our University forward.
11. Passing of the Gavel, Chair James D. Martin
It is now time for me to pass the gavel to our next Chair. I am confident in passing the helm to Professor Margery Overton. I wish you smooth sailing. Enjoy the waves in your wake that are the evidence of making progress. And I wish you wisdom and courage to navigate a safe course through the less pleasant waves, whether from motorboats or Mother Nature.
And to the Senate, remember, you are crew, not tourists. An exciting journey lies ahead.
12. Nomination for 2009-2010 Executive Committee
Chair-Elect Overton handed out the list of senators eligible to serve on next year’s Executive Committee. The six top vote getters will be selected to serve on the 2009-2010 Executive Committee.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.
The motion passed unanimously to adjourn the fifty-fifth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate at 5:05 p.m..